With the LOST television series now only a fond memory, ABC has assembled all sixteen episodes of Season Six into nice five-disc Blu-ray set that offers lovely widescreen transfers, with the usual options for sound (5.1 stereo, 2.0 stereo) and subtitles (English, English for the hearing impaired, etc). With its lush location shooting and elaborate production values, each episode feels like a mini-movie – an experienced enhanced by the Blu-ray medium.
For such a final farewell, the bonus material is a bit thin; fortunately, what’s here is very good. Most of the interesting features are on the final disc, with Discs 1 through 4 featuring one audio commentary each, for the episodes “LAX,” “Dr. Linus,” “Ab Aerterno,” and “Across the Sea,” respectively. Each commentary comes with a warning that the participants discuss plot spoilers for future episodes; viewers are recommended to watch the series first, then go back and listen to the commentaries.
One eccentricity of the Blu-ray discs is that clicking on “Features” or “Set Up” does not take you to a new menu. Instead, the options appear in a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, requiring you to use the arrows on your remote to scroll through the choices. There is a welcome simplicity to this approach (you do not have to wait for a new set of dizzying computer graphics to load each time you click), but it is not always obvious which buttons you need to press to navigate through the options, especially when the screen becomes cluttered with the spoiler alert for the audio commentaries.
Disc 1 (which, inevitably, begins with promos for ABC shows on DVD) does include one other, absolutely essential bonus feature: the hilarious montage “LOST in 8:15 – A Crash Course,” which sums up all you need to know before watching the sixth season episodes. With its dead-pan narration (“Wow,” says the female voice, without inflection, while revealing some new plot twist), “A Crash Course” serves equally well as a recapitulation for the fan, an introduction for the uninitiated, and a dry parody of the series’ labyrinthine plotting.
Disc 5 contains the majority of the bonus material, including “New Man in Charge,” a new 12-minute LOST chapter, which offers a look at what Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and Ben (Michael Emerson) do as the new Island overseers. In the grand tradition of the SEINFELD box sets, LOST: THE COMPLETE AND FINAL SEASON offers a variety features that provide both an overview of the season and a closer examination of individual episodes.
“Crafting the Final Season” is in the former category – a lengthy documentary about the pressure of paying off after five years of teasing viewers. Featuring interviews with the cast and crew, this feature is a bit self-congratulatory, but it is not a typical promotional puff piece; it plays much better as a retrospective look back at the final season, with the writers talking about recapitulating ideas from the first season and the actors joking about whose character will be killed off.
“A Hero’s Journey“: Here, the staff of LOST go Joseph Cambell on us (by way of STAR WARS, of course). Interview snippets about turning the characters into heroes (even the unlikely, somewhat selfish ones) are intercut with printed quotes from Campbell’s work, describing the nature of the archetypal hero that appears in stories, times, and cultures from around the world.
“See You in Another Life, Brotha” offers a look at the “flash sideways” into a parallel timeline that allowed the writers to explore the characters in a different context.
“Lost on Location” provides a behind-the-scenes look at the technical challenges involved in specific episodes. Unlike the other bonus material, which focuses on the show’s themes and ambitions, these segments examine the nuts and bolts of getting the shows in the camera:
- “LAX” examines construction of the indoor-outdoor temple set
- “The Substitute” features stunts on a cliff overlooking the ocean
- “Recon” is a fun look at filming cops-and-robbers scenes in the alternate timeline
- “Ab Aeterno” depicts the trials and tribulations of filming in a claustrophobic set for the hold of a wooden ship, along with a live pig that refuses to perform on cue, necessitating a prop substitute.
- “Happily Ever After” documents a tricky location stunt with a car plunging off a pier into a harbor, followed by on-set filming of the car underwater in a studio tank.
- “The Candidate” offers more underwater filming, this time on a submarine set
“Lost Bloopers” is a snappily edited montage that jumps around quickly to different bits and pieces – sometimes so fast that the blooper is not obviously apparent. Some funny stuff, nonetheless.
“Deleted Scenes” includes nine sequences.
“Lost University: Masters Program” is a BD Live-enabled feature that requires a broadband connection to your Blu-ray player in order to gain access to additional material delving into the minutia of LOST.
Overall, the bonus features are insightful and interesting. Despite the occasional air of pretension (understandable after six years of pop culture success and stardom), the featurettes and other material will appeal not only to hardcore fans but also to more general viewers who want to learn a little bit more about the LOST phenomenon. In short, you don’t have to be a dedicated insider to enjoy this Blu-ray set, and if you’re feeling that you missed the boat on some or all of the episodes, this is a great way to catch up.