I treated myself this year. Having grown frustrated with the broadcasting scheduling of ABC, that saw week breaks in between the transmission of Lost episodes, I held back the entirety of season five for the disc release. More to the point, I got to try the series for the first time in high definition.
On the way, I met a new Disney feature. Season Play is designed to be a system whereby you can track exactly where you are in a given TV series, and jump exactly to the right spot. Bizarrely, it insists that you must create a profile – to watch a TV programme! – and then it’ll keep track of where you are. Failing that, on the menu from any of the discs in the set, you can choose an episode. So if you’re on disc three, you can pick an episode on disc four. The advantage to doing this is, if you do so, when you pop disc four in, you don’t have to sit through all the guff at the start of a disc and simply delve straight into the episode. That was advantageous, but we still found Season Play a feature that seemed something Disney was happier with than we were (although we can see it might have use if six or seven of you are watching the show at different points).
Lost season five, though, was very good. This, for me, was the season when some important decisions were made about the show. It seemed to be that, for the first time, Lost wasn’t afraid to embrace science fiction, which is fortunate, given that time travel made its appearance. This, in true Lost fashion, made things horrendously confusing at times. It was tricky enough keeping track of everyone on the island and where they were up to before. Now you have to wrap your head around when they are as well. It’s increasingly a show that you have to sit and watch with a notepad by your side.
That said, season five does push things forward, particularly where the characters of Benjamin Linus and John Locke are concerned. The former, in particular, gets a terrific episode devoted to him, while the latter now seems a million miles away from the character we met right after the original plane crash. The show also digs into some more of its mysteries, such as how the plane crashed in the first place, who Jacob is and what the smoke monster is all about. But, as usual, answers are not in abundance here. Instead, the pieces are moved round the board, and characters have their emotions tested. And we also have to factor in the likes of Sawyer and Juliette together, having worked on the island for three years before the escapees make good their return.
I had real problems with Lost‘s second and third seasons, and was ready to jack the show in. But I’m firmly glad that I didn’t. Season five is by turns frustrating, intriguing and very entertaining, and it’s setting things up for a fascinating final season. I’m no more convinced than I was before that we’re getting many answers when the final episodes screen next Spring, but I do believe that there’s an endpoint, and I’m fascinated to know what it holds.
The Blu-ray presentation I thought was strong. You don’t get feature-quality high definition here – or you certainly didn’t seem to from the evidence of my eyes – but it was a sharper picture, and more vibrant audio, than I’ve been used to getting from my DVD sets. It’s certainly one of the best-looking TV shows we’ve seen on the format, and that quality also extends to the audio work.
There are plenty of extras too, but nothing really to get too excited about. A couple of episodes have audio commentaries, and while these are interesting, you really wish that a few more had been recorded, certainly as the season heads towards its denouement.
Then there’s some bitty features and featurettes. These include a starter guide to the show (you need more than five minutes to recap four seasons of Lost in our view), while you also get lots of talking heads talking about episode 100 of the show. It strikes you as more important for them than it is for you.
Perhaps the best is the featurette that looks at the Dharma initiative, which is at the heart of season five. We quite enjoyed the look at location filming too, although could easily leave the tour of the production offices behind.
There are also deleted scenes and outtakes, neither of which enthralled us very much at all.
While their presentation does ensure that Lost is worth a Blu-ray upgrade, though, the package of extras is passable more than anything. The Season Play we found quite annoying but could understand how others would find it useful, while the season itself was certainly one for the more devoted Lost fan. But it’s sure got us looking forward to the final season…
The Show:The Discs:
Lost Complete Fifth Season is out now on Blu-ray.