Lost Season One

Cover Art and Menu: 7/10
The overall package for this maiden voyage of this somewhat groundbreaking series. I’ll address the “somewhat groundbreaking” later in the review. At the moment I’ll go over the packaging efforts. The slide off plastic cover is a trick a lot of DVD packages sport these days. It’s nice enough, sturdy and complete with a little window. It does, however, add one more step to getting at the discs, and we all know I don’t have 3 seconds to spare in my busy schedule so they are basically wasting my precious time. 🙂 I’m assuming, hoping rather, that they keep the same theme with the simple silver cover with the season boldly presented on the front. For people like my super wonderful husband who require all his DVD’s be a standard size and each series have a matching packing theme. I know, it’s a tad demanding, but hey, every collector has his/her quirks 🙂

The custom fold out case is one of the ways to dish out several discs. I prefer the slim DVD boxes tucked in one larger box, but that’s just me. Each disc has the face of a different character so when you open the whole thing up it’s quite striking to anyone who loves these LOST victims.

The menus are pretty cool with scenes from the show and some attention paid to the text links. Sometimes TV series DVD menus are barely functional, let alone attractive.

Extras & Features: 7/10

  • Uncut Extended Pilot Episode – If you are a purest you might want to start with this extended pilot just because it’s got a tiny bit more blood and two additional minutes of footage that was edited out for the TV audience. Don’t be a nerd and bark out the additional footage if you are watching with a LOST virgin, that’s just rude.
  • Audio Commentaries On Select Episodes – The people who make LOST are so in love with the project it’s great to listen to them fawn over it’s every detail. We don’t get commentary on every episode, but then again, sometimes you just want to be left wondering why why why why…who needs those TV execs to explain things to us when we can let our brains bleed from the strain of trying to figure it out on our own?
  • Deleted Scenes – I’m slowly becoming a non-fan of deleted scenes on DVD’s. More and more they don’t add anything, they’re are just tacked on to bulk up the “extras”. From now on, deleted scenes, trailers, photo galleries, bloopers, and commentaries should be standard ingredients of a DVD, NOT listed as extras…let’s call the Hollywood Execs and start a revolution!!!
  • Behind The Scenes – Anyone who has watched this show has to be desperate for details about where the story is going, and how this top quality series is made scene by scene. This extra shows us the trenches of making the pilot episode on a real beach, in a real jungle environment, with real rain, real mud, etc. It even goes through the whole process of buying an actual airplane, destroying it, shipping it to Hawaii. That’s the most impressive detail of the whole production. We also get the whole back story on the show from the first glimmer of an idea, to scribbles on paper, to the deals that got made to get it to the small screen.
  • Casting Tapes – If you are obsessed with the characters you will enjoy seeing how they came to be who they are. Some characters didn’t even exist in the original drafts of the show concept, but evolved through the casting process.
  • Blooper Reel – We all love seeing people screw up, let’s face it. Giggling is the worst offender when a scene is supposed to be rolling along smoothly.

The Show: 8/10:
I don’t like to be sucked into trendy TV culture. I stopped watching Friends after the second season. I stopped watching Seinfeld after the second season. I even stopped watching Frazier after the first season, not because it wasn’t good, but I got sooooo sick and tired of hearing everyone talk about it I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it anymore. I do watch the odd rerun of any of these if the mood is just right, but as a rule I abandon anything that’s massively popular because I’m a rebel, a rogue, a loner. I have had to fight the urge to abandon LOST for the exact same reason. When people go to work and discuss characters of TV shows as if they were real people it’s not just creepy, it’s like they belong to some psycho cult of entertainment zombies. Don’t get me wrong. I might be as into a show and loving it from week to week, but I keep it to myself. Until I write a review of course, the obviously intellectual way of appreciating a piece of entertainment. So my point is that people obsess on shows like LOST, and as much as I try to avoid the mass hysteria cultish atmosphere I have to confess, after 37 years of power TV watching, this show is quite captivating.

Ok, that was my confession. I like the show, not enough to slosh over it with co-workers or strangers in the line at the grocery store, but enough to watch the first season from start to finish and still looking forward to season number two.

Here’s the scoop on the show. First of all it’s top quality. The sets are stunning, the directing is wonderful, and it’s more like a weekly movie than a TV show. That I look forward to in other dramas on TV. As for the content of the show, a plane crashes on a tropical island. Several people survive. There’s a mystery “monster” in the nearby jungle. Strange things happen to each person. Each of these people have a back story, which is presented as flashbacks in every episode. That’s it really. It’s an ensemble cast with individual characters with their own strong personality quirks. Some interesting, some so boring they will bring tears to your eyes. Judge for yourself who’s who.

I won’t reveal anyone’s stories here, in case you haven’t seen the show yet. I will say that this airplane was full of criminals, jerks, a killer, a drug addict, and several troubled souls. Hmmmm A plane full of well balanced, emotionally stable individuals might not be as interesting.

Once you get through the initial plane crash, which is the best plane crash sequence I can think of in any movie or TV show in a long long time. It’s exciting and troubling at the same time, they did good work with this high budget disaster for sure.

I think an underlying theme of the show is how a group of people learn to cope and build a new society when they are away from all modern day amenities. They don’t focus on this too much, but as one character suggests they keep a roster of who is alive, they start to form a rustic government of sorts. When weapons are discovered they appoint certain characters to be in charge of them, thus forming some type of law enforcement. They delegate tasks of making food, forging for water, hunting, etc. to each person and somehow they don’t starve or seem to be having much difficulty surviving on this uninhabited island…or is it?

I really like the lead hero guy, Matthew Fox. He’s humble enough, strong, but troubled in his own way, was there any doubt? He’s the doctor and so is in charge of all medicines scavenged from the plane wreckage, and is charged with caring for the entire population’s aches and pains. There is the pregnant girl, the heroine addict, the federal agent in dire need of an operation, a young man with a crushed leg in need of a blood transfusion, and so much more physical trauma that comes along.

There is a semi-creepy, but most interesting bloke who has taken on the task of figuring out the mysteries of the island. Terry O’Quinn plays Locke who’s own secret is best revealed when you watch the show. The thing about him is that O’Quinn consistently gives one of the two best performances in the whole season. The other being Dominic Monaghan, the resident junkie ex-rock star. Monaghan is, of course, from Lord of the Rings and I think he made a smooth transition from the big screen to the small screen.

The complaint I have about this show is that the writers and producers seem to think it’s ok to string the audience along from week to week and add mystery to mystery, answer one question and ask seven more…but it’s not. It’s frustrating. If there is a secret, reveal it. If there’s a plot point hidden in the jungle, don’t tease us, just get to it. I got the feeling after a few episodes that this show is meant to keep people in front of the TV to watch all the commercials, sell a bunch of crap, and keep us all in a trance and tuned into ABC to be manipulated into watching more commercials, and making the advertisers happy.

That’s my take on a show that draws us to the end of season one and answers no questions, does not fulfill any needs the audience might have to resolve some of the mysteries and story lines. Call me skeptic, but the writers might have gotten a big ego from the success of the show and as they wrote each episode just wanted to continue their reign and their big pay checks. Let’s just hope they get a clue in season two, giving us a bit more substance and less fluffy, not-so-clever mysterious hoo-haa. They can keep the quality, lose the dangling string they use to torture their loyal audience with week after week.

That being said, I will watch the first episode of the next season and make the decision as to whether they have made the show more intriguing and thus deserve my time or if they just want me to buy more products of the sponsors in bed with ABC.

Value: 7/10
For around $35.00 you do get a full season of what may be your favorite show in the history of television. For me, TV series DVD sets should be about $5.00. Why? Well, as a fan I have sat through the commercials, waited from week to week for every episode, and now that it’s on DVD for me to have of my very own I deserve a break!! I’m fairly sure my price point won’t catch on so I will suffer in silence on the subject for ever more (or until the next over priced DVD comes along).

As far as DVD sets go, this one is strictly average. The behind the scene feature is a bonus and the show is quite revolutionary TV, if I do say so myself. If you are a fan you have to have it. If you haven’t seen it, rent it and see what you think before committing nearly a day’s wages to it’s purchase.

Overall Score 7/10