What began as "Castaway as a weekly series" became one of the ABC network's first breakout hits in years, and along with its sister success story, Desperate Housewives, revived the weekly TV serial. Not bad for a rush job that the producer didn't even want in the first place.
The setup is simple but rapidly gets complicated: Forty-eight people impossibly survive the breakup and crash of a transcontinental jetliner. Further investigation reveals they were also blown off course, meaning any rescue operation is looking in the wrong place. And, oh yeah, there's a giant monster roaming around. And that's only the first of the many weird mysteries of the island.
That all by itself would make for some compelling viewing, but where Lost shines is its formula: each episode advances the major story arc, yes, but it mainly centers on one of the major characters, revealing their backstory - and how they came to be on the doomed flight - in non-island bound flashbacks. Here the series seems to delight in violating our assumptions and expectations, thus becoming geniuinely surprising and exciting. The various enigmas of the island sparked many a water-cooler and internet forum discussion, but it was the tales of the con man Sawyer, the shamanisitic Locke and the conflicted Korean Couple, Jin and Sun, that haunt us.
If there is one thing that gives me pause in my praise of Lost, it's that eventually all these things will be explained (producer J.J. Abrams has alluded that he has a specific run time in mind), and I genuinely enjoy the feeling of being baffled by the rococo tapestry of mystery Lost presents. So often I find the solution of such stories so powerfully mundane that they tarnish my prior enjoyment of what came before; I can only hope that Lost continues its streak, and the end of the journey will prove as magnetic as its beginning.
Design of box sets must be a bit of a toughie, as I have seen very few that totally satisfy me, but I really hate this one: the package unrolls like a pillbug, with two discs on each "page" overlapping each other, so pulling out the even-numbered discs entails also removing the odds.
The menu design is quite thoughtful, integrating images from the series. Oddly, I was constantly reminded of the menu for The Blair Witch Project, with it's titles fading in and out of focus - the effect is similarly creepy.
Buena Vista is the distributor of this set, so Disc One is going to reward you with previews for Disney's Christmas Narnia movie, The Lion, the Witch,and the Wardrobe, BV's current batch of TV box sets, a blurb for the second season of Lost (which began the whole Blair Witch comparison for me), and the fourth season box set of the J.J. Abrams-produced Alias.
There are audio commentaries on five of the episodes (the pilot being divided into two) by various producers including Abrams, and actors like Terry O'Quinn (Locke) and Dominic Monaghan (the recovering rock star and junkie Charlie). These provide easy listening, and many nuggets of on-set information. A nice use of DVD's branching capabilities is evident when someone says, "Let's stop the film," and the episode is interrupted for some documentary footage.
Disc One also contains "The Lost Scriptscanner", a nifty little option for your DVD-ROM. It will run the pilot and its script simultanously in a framed viewer, either scrolling the script in sync with the footage, or allowing you to click on a specific line and jump to that scene immediately.
Disc Seven contains the bulk of the Making-of features, titled "The Essential Lost":
A very nice set for the show, cagily released just in time to prep you for the series' return on Sept. 21st. Enjoy. But hurry. That's a lot of stuff to get through.
Dr. Freex, 9/14/2005