Created by J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse
Starring Mathew Fox, Evangeline Lilly
I was a huge fan of J.J. Abrams after watching Alias. Abrams tends to get things started, get a little bored, and moves on to other projects. His move on to another show was destructive to Alias with the last two seasons falling far below the quality of the first one. That new show though, LOST, was highly intriguing to me. I watched the pilot and was hooked right away. I remember it being promoted to me as a sort of dramatic Gilligan’s Island. That might have turned me off but I just knew there would be more to it than that with Abrams behind it and sure enough there was.
This first season not introduces a new story but it also introduces a new form of storytelling that would only be built upon in future seasons. Abrams and company also did another amazing thing here; they brought science fiction and horror to a mainstream audience. They slipped those genres in stealthily. By the time viewers that weren’t fans of these genres realized that they were in fact watching a series based on those genres it was too late, they were already hooked on the show. The innovative style of storytelling involves the heavy use of flashbacks. Other series have utilized this tool before but none to the extent that LOST did in season one. In the opening moments of the first episode, a plane crashes on a remote island and the surviving passengers regroup and try to help each other. As the episodes progress, the characters are deepened and decisions they make on the island are given weight through flashbacks. Each episode features two storylines; one from the current situation on the island and a second character specific flashback.
Viewers were hooked early on because this series also brought back a storytelling style that had all but disappeared from mainstream TV: serialization. Each episode ended with a riveting cliffhanger and each episode asked tons of questions that viewers would have to come back week after week to get answers. Many questions were asked in season one that have yet to be answered all of these years later. Add to that charismatic actors and stylish production and you get the first season of one of the best television shows available.
The mysteries of the island, the murderous smoke monster, and the extremely out of place polar bear are so ingeniously conceived that the series, especially in that first season, was almost painfully addictive. While the survived attempt to simply survive they are plagued with all of these weird happenings and even right away a pilot is killed on the island. One Survivor, John Locke, is keeping possibly the most important secret of all; before crashing on the island he was stuck in a wheelchair but on the island je can now walk.
The most important story arc of the season is easily all about the hatch. Locke and Boone discover an odd hatch buried in the ground on the island. The two of them become obsessed with it and work through the second half of the season to get it open. The final moments of season one were both exhilarating and infuriating to fans. Sure enough, Locke gets that hatch open and he peers down into the dark tunnel, then the LOST logo appears and the season is over. This season successfully launches one of the best shows on TV: ever.
Like the other sets that are already out on Blu-Ray, the 1080p AVC presentation here is stunning, one of the best TV in HD presentations available. Detail levels are incredibly high throughout the episodes and colors are vibrant and artifact free. Black levels are deep and bright scenes are perfectly executed without blowing out the image. The only minor issues are the appearance of some grain here and there and the jaggy look of the animated title is more obvious in this HD presentation than it is in the original broadcast. These complaints are really minor and overall this presentation is completely gorgeous.
There’s Dolby Digital 5.1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio Track audio option. Both choices are great but the DTS-HD audio is easily the better of the two choices. Since this is a television series, there’s not a lot in the way of heavy surround paunchiness but there are some ambient jungle sounds that keep the back speakers active. Sound effects, score, and dialogue are well balanced and they feature a much more impressive dynamic range than moist other television shows out there. For a television release this is an impressive presentation.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The Blu-Ray set comes packaged in a slim box with a slipcover. The art is actually quite subtle simply featuring a giant title on the front of the package and slipcover.
The first big extra is five audio commentaries. The commentaries are well balanced featuring the creators of the show and actors. So there are commentaries that focus on the creation of the series and the making of specific episodes and there are others where actors offer behind the scenes stories and anecdotes along with character breakdowns. All of these commentaries offer interesting information to fans about the season in particular.
“The Lost Flashbacks – All New and Unseen Flashbacks Reveal Additional Secrets” is basically a couple of flashbacks that were cut from the season finale that involve Claire and Sayid. It’s great to see these brief scenes but they really don’t offer much in the way of new information.
There’s a bevy of featurettes that cover virtually all aspects of the television series. One featurette focuses on the making of the pilot episode, another featuring the series creators discussing the creation and evolution of the show, a featurette on the design of the sets, a making of featurette that covers the making of ten of the season’s episodes that includes tons of behind the scenes footage and cast interviews, a featurette covering the use of flashbacks in the series, and finally one that focuses on the casting of the show. All of these featurettes enhance the viewing experience of the show and ultimately that’s the point of having these bonus features. The casting feature includes some of the original cast audition tapes which is always fun.
There are some bloopers and deleted scenes that don’t expand on the mythology but are an entertaining watch. There’s a photo gallery of images taken by Mathew Fox during the pilot shoot. He does voiceover for the slideshow. There’s a really brief self serving clip from the screening of the pilot at San Diego Comic Con. There’s really not much to it since the panel discussion that surely followed the screening wasn’t included here. Live from the Museum of Television and Radio is a panel discussion with the cast and there’s a cotton candy sort of featurette with Jimmy Kimmel asking the cast goofy questions.
All of these features are available on the standard def DVD set. There are only two bonus features here that are exclusive to the blu-ray release. The first is the “Season Play” option. With season play active, the set remembers what the last episode you watched in the season was and it remembers where you stopped if you stop watching during an episode so that when you return to the box set, you don’t have to search around to figure out where you left off. This is actually a cool feature. Then, there’s the D-Box technology. If you have the very expensive D-Box motion device this box set will work with it to allow you to experience motion while watching the season. This is obviously a really niche feature.
There’s a ton of bonus features available for the hardcore LOST fan here. It would have been great to have seen the addition of more blu-ray exclusives but the holdovers from the SD release are nearly all solid features.
LOST : The Complete First Seasonwas a breath of fresh air when it premiered and it’s easily the most imitated series currently on television. Skip the copycats and watch the show that started it all.
Overall (Not an average) 9/10
The Season 10/10
The Video 9.5/10
The Audio 8.5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8.5/10
Overall (Not an average) 9/10