Saturday, April 27, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Lost - Season 4

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great acting brings a mind bending story to life.
Cons: None worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Do not start show here
Are you already viewing?
You'll enjoy this set

Who Are the Oceanic Six?

How to describe the phenomenon that is Lost?  The initial premise sounded simple.  The show followed the survivors of a plane crash on a remote island.  But things aren't nearly that simple.  It turns out that the island contains mysteries as weird things keep happening to the castaways.  There is a group on the island known as "The Others," but what their real intent is remains a mystery.  There are flashbacks to let us know about the characters before they arrived on the island.  And there are the cliffhangers that end each episode and definitely leaving you hanging at the end of each season.

There is no way to discuss season four of Lost without spoiling the previous three seasons.  If you haven't seen them, this is your only warning.  If you have, rest assured that I am only giving minor spoilers from this season.

Since crash landing on the island, all the survivors of Oceanic flight 815 have wanted is rescue.  And now they think it has come.  A boat and a helicopter are waiting not too far from shore.  This is thrilling news to Jack (Matthew Fox).  Locke (Terry O'Quinn), on the other hand, is convinced they all need to stay on the island.  And so the survivors are split into two camps.

But when the "rescue party" arrives on the island, they don't seem to know who any of the survivors are and aren't that interested in rescuing them.  Instead, newcomers Daniel (Jeremy Davies), Miles (Ken Leung), and Charlotte (Rebecca Mader) seem to have an agenda of their own.  An agenda that involves Ben (Michael Emerson), leader of "The Others."  And when Sayid (Naveen Andrews) and Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) make it to the ship, they make a surprising discovery.

As if all this weren't enough, we have the character flashback and flash forwards.  It's always obvious which one we are having.  And they always provide the most tantalizing clues.  In this case, the trips forward in time reveal that only six of the castaways make it off the island.  Who are they?  And what happens to the others?

Due to the boneheaded writer's strike, we only got 13 of the originally planned 16 episodes of the season.   On the one hand, I missed those extra moments.  On the other hand, it made these episodes that much better.  There is not one weak or sub-par episode in the mix.  Every one moves the story forward.

I honestly think the decision to announce the show's end (we've got two more seasons to go) was responsible for much of this.  At times in the last two seasons, I've felt like the writers were treading water, trying to draw the story out for all it is worth.  But that's no longer the case.  They can now move forward toward the end without fear they will be required to fill more time then they have story.

The one thing you have never been able to fault on this show is the acting.  And that's the case here as well.  The actors take the material and knock it out of the park.  The show has a large ensemble (I just barely scratched the surface earlier with the cast), but there isn't one weak link in the bunch.  The new comers this season fit right in.  But special praise goes to Michael Emerson.  Ever since he joined part way through season 2, he has been the most outstanding member of the cast.  I still can't decide what I think of Ben, and part of that is his wonderful acting.  The fact that he has yet to win an acting award is a travesty.

Fans of the show have come to expect nothing less then outstanding when it comes to the DVD releases, and this season is no exception.  The set includes five discs this time because of the fewer number of episodes.  Extras include the standard deleted scenes, bloopers, and audio commentaries.  But the real fun is on the last disc where we get behind the scenes information on the weapons used on the show and how the set people turn Hawaii into not only The Island but also the locations used for the flashbacks and flash forwards.  All this, plus we get the sharp picture and truly immersive surround sound we've come to expect from the show.

I am currently counting down the days until we get new episodes of Lost.  This show is completely addicting.  You definitely need to watch it in order, but trust me, that won't be a problem.  Even if you started now, you'd be done with this season four set before you even realize it.

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