Created by Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof
Starring Mathew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson, Naveen Andrews, Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Emilie de Raven, Dominic Monaghan, Elizabeth Mitchell
Watching bonus features of on TV show DVD’s that have been cancelled or simply finished their runs usually means looking at interviews with cast and crew that look back fondly on their experience. The one standout exception is the cast interview on the Firefly box set. The cast and crew of this series were truly attached to each other and the work so seeing it all end before it was time still effected them months after the show was done and many of them had already moved on to other projects. There are many tears in that interview. Viewing those features was a uniquely emotional experience until checking out LOST season six.
Season six was a tough season for the creators, cast, crew, and the audience because everyone knew going in that this was it, the last group of episodes of one of the most innovative shows on television. No one is ever going to be completely happy with what they get and there’s never been a perfect television series so yes there are bumps in the road of season six but the dead end, the final two hour episode is nothing short of stunning.
Season six of LOST had a lot to accomplish. There were many dramatic story arcs to complete and many more mysteries that required solving. Fans demanded answers and while the creators planned to offer up many of those answers they also had a bigger task in mind. They managed to, by the end of the season, make not only the characters realize who they are but they also made us, the audience, take a real look at ourselves. They managed to make us feel stupid for demanding answers to the tiniest little detail when the truth is that the characters are what really mattered the whole time. These characters were put in offbeat situations for sure but it was always about the characters. The sort of emotional arc and final realizations crafted in this series are more common to great pieces of literature, some film, and very few television shows.
Season six introduced a new storytelling device that would be a point of controversy among fans; the flash-sideways. The flash-sideways initially appeared to almost be a what if sort of situation. What if these people had lived the flash-sideways lives rather than the ones that brought them to the island? Other fans thought that these stories were set in some sort of alternate dimension. A fellow fan complained to me that these flash-sideways were a waste of time. Seeing him proved so wrong by season’s end was thrilling. Many characters that had previously died made a comeback in this offbeat season in the flash-sideways in completely different situations than you’d expect. Perhaps the most funny character change was seeing Sawyer, the bad boy, as a cop. Ben’s new life in the flash-sideways is also really entertaining. The real world story followed the castaways as they tried to stay alive in the wake of the smoke monster, or man in black, whichever you prefer sets out to kill them all.
There are a couple of episodes that are just a little weaker or slower than the rest of the season. The worst of the two is Ab Aetemo. This entire episode was meant to give up some answers about who the mysterious Richard Alpert is. It did give those answers but the story felt drug out. The worst this show had to offer at the time it was broadcast was still leaps and bounds beyond anything else on television except for possibly Battlestar Galactica. I’ll say it again, the episode titled The End is one of, if not the most moving and powerful closer to any series that has ever been on television.
The 1080p 1.78:1 presentation on blu-ray looks pretty great overall with nice color representation and good detail. The graininess in some of the scenes is purposeful and part of the film look of the show. The only real issue is a little murkiness in some blacks in just a couple of scenes. This is a theatrical film quality transfer here not your average TV show on blu-ray. One of the best TV show transfers to date.
The HD lossless audio here is again cinema quality with solid use of the surround environment, great sub woofer action, and cleanly mixed dialogue, score, and fx. Hearing this series is a real treat. The sounds of the smoke monster, and the ambient jungle sounds are downright creepy. Explosions are teeth rattlers and subtle quiet moments are just that. This is one of the best television series audio presentations I’ve experienced.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The box set is presented in a slim blu-ray amaray case with a glossy slipcover featuring the show’s title in bright silver. The packaging makes the show feel important as it should. There are no floating heads of the stars thankfully because this is an ensemble show. The title in the right font is really all that’s necessary to sell this series.
There are only four commentaries in this box set but they are very strategically planned to enhance the viewing experience of the season overall. The best of the four are the two featuring producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. These two have unending enthusiasm for the story they had set off to tell when the series began and the changes they had to make to see the story through to its conclusion. Their commentaries are on LAX and Across the Sea, two pivotal episodes for season six. Actor Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) and two writers from the series chat about the episode Dr. Linus and two other writers and Nestor Caronell (Alpert) cover Ab Aeterno. These last two commentaries are very informative and more character specific.
The New Man in Charge is a 12 minute epilogue that the cast and producers have been promoting since the series ended. It turns out that these 12 minutes haven’t been overhyped. Those last remaining minutes of story are riveting and they actually answer another big question. This short add on story is a fantastic coda to an amazing series. What are been and Hurley’s first duties having taken over the island? Hurley does say that he can do things different on the island than they were done before at the end of the series finale and he wasn’t joking.
Lost in 8:15 – A Crash Course is brief amusing recap of the entire Lost series. Not much to this really but it is funny. Crafting a Final Season is a near 40 minute documentary covering the production of the final season of the show. The cast and crew really feel like a family and as the final episodes draw near the sadness mixed with the anticipation of the finale is palpable. The most powerful part of this featurette is watching Jorge Garcia (Hugo) read the finale script for the first time. When it draws him to tears you’re right there with him, if you’re a fan of course. As an interesting addition to the season coverage this featurette also has interviews with some of TV’s best known creators discussing ending their shows sprinkled in. Lost on Location is a featurette focusing on the production of several of the episodes with special looks at the sets. This featurette is more of a fly on the wall doc but interaction with some of the cast and crew make it a must watch. A Heroes Journey is a look at the evolution of all of the characters throughout the six seasons and what made them all heroes. See You in Another Life, Brotha is short featurette looking at the side-ways stories of the season. This one is a little too sound bite-ish and doesn’t really offer a lot of new information. Finally there are 9 deleted scenes and four minutes of bloopers. It’s all worth a watch. There is a blu-ray feature that promises to offer a lot more bonus material but it wasn’t working as of this writing.
The commentaries, Crafting the Final Season, and most importantly New Man in Charge offer up the goods and then some so everything else is just icing on the cake.
Watching LOST was like watching a mini movie each week. Few shows can compare on any level to this one making it required viewing for anyone that likes a great story.
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Overall (Not an average) 9/10