Thursday, 6 October 2005

Whoa, that was like a... Jedi moment

The following, exhautive, review is based on the R1 release of Lost Season 1.

Disc 1 (2:48:39)
Pilot - Part 1 (42:13) 
Pilot - Part 2 (40:17)
 Tabula Rasa (43:27) 
Walkabout (42:42)



Disc 2 (2:51:38)

White Rabbit (42:30) 
House of the Rising Sun (42:44) 
The Moth (43:14)
 Confidence Man (43:10)



Disc 3 (2:51:13)
Solitary (43:08)
 Raised By Another (42:45) 
All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues (42:08)
 Whatever the Case May Be (43:12)



Disc 4 (2:51:24)
Hearts and Minds (43:17) 
Special (43:15) 
Homecoming (41:36) 
Outlaws (43:16)



Disc 5 (2:52:01)

In Translation (43:02)
 Numbers (43:06)
 Deus Ex Machina (42:39) 
Do No Harm (43:14)



Disc 6 (3:34:43)

The Greater Good (43:15) 
Born to Run (43:14) 
Exodus, Part 1 (43:16) 
Exodus, Part 2 (1:24:58)

Video

Unlike the US 4:3 broadcast (only available in widescreen for HDTV consumers), Channel 4 is airing Lost in its original 16:9 aspect ratio. The DVD retains the 1.78:1 formatting and eclipses the PAL standard definition picture with 480p (compatible television required). The transfer is so vivid that it’s easy to forget that you’re looking at a screen. The image pops and colors are luxuriant.

Audio

The perfect presentation is not exclusively limited to sight. The sounds of the island are all encompassing. My Kef 5.1 speaker setup heightened the tension to such a degree that there were times when it became almost unbearable (check John Carpenter’s The Thing or Jurassic Park for comparison). The audio mix would be worthy of Skywalker Sound's Gary Rydstrom.

Extras
Often dubbed as "bonus features," "special features" and "added value", for many DVD consumers they're a compelling reason to buy a DVD set. The Mouse House has come a long way since those first, faltering, steps with Warner Home Video. A time when "special features" were anything but, and consumers should have sued for compensation.

Commentary Tracks
Pilot Parts 1 & 2 - Executive producers J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk
Walkabout - Executive producer Jack Bender, Co-executive producer David Fury and Terry O'Quinn (Locke)
 The Moth - Damon Lindelof, Bryan Burk and Dominic Monaghan (Charlie)
 Hearts and Minds - Executive producer Carlton Cuse, supervising producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Maggie Grace (Shannon) and Ian Sommerhalder (Boone).

The Genesis of Lost (8:40)
The tale of how Lost became a TV show. This featurette includes interviews with executives from ABC, and the producers of the series.



Designing a Disaster (7:59)
How did they construct one of the most incredible series openings of all time?

Before They Were Lost (22:55)
The formation of the cast as told by JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, April Webster (casting director), Bryan Burk, and the crew. There are lots of audition tapes included in the featurette, and you can watch the entire tape in...



Audition Tapes (23:34)

Audition tapes for the cast members. Matthew Fox (3:31), Evangeline Lilly (2:53), Dominic Monaghan (1:16), Naveen Andrews (2:01), Yunjin Kim (1:10), Daniel Dae Kim (0:46), Josh Holloway (1:20), Jorge Garcia (1:57), Ian Somerhalder (1:36), Maggie Grace (1:48), Harold Perrineau (1:35), Malcolm David Kelley (1:22) and Emilie de Ravin (2:19). These are pretty interesting, especially because there are things that didn't make it into the show, or actors are auditioning for different characters.



Welcome to Oahu: The Making of the Pilot (33:20)
Self explanatory and artfully leveraging the DVD medium a la Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Art of Matthew Fox (6:07)
When watching Party Of Five, it was clear that there was an inherent sadness in Matthew’s studied performance of Charlie and one that may or may not be autobiographical. This feature arguably lends further credence to my observation! I hope his photographic endeavors touch you as deeply.

Lost @ Comicon (1:50)

The cast and producers headed to Comicon last July where they debuted the pilot. Now this looked like fun unlike Bournemouth’s Excalibur.

Lost: On Location (43:42)
A few featurettes that focus on an episode, or a single aspect with shooting it. The Trouble With Boars (5:19), House of the Rising Sun (7:19), Confidence Man (4:24), All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues (4:56), Whatever the Case May Be (2:58), Hearts and Minds (6:20), Special (3:05) and Exodus (9:21).



On Set With Jimmy Kemmel (7:15)
Kimmel visits the set of Lost. This had me in stitches and the ‘monster reveal’ culminated in hyperventilation!

Backstage with Driveshaft (6:40)
Dominic Monaghan talks about "Driveshaft," and the "hit" song that they sang. The producers explain the idea behind the song, and how it was recorded.

The Lost Flashbacks (4:35)
A couple of flashbacks that weren't shown on TV, which makes them "Lost Flashbacks" and not "Lost Flashbacks." I really enjoyed the Claire flashback. At the Airport: Claire (3:07)
 At the Airport: Sayid (1:28)



Deleted Scenes (14:41)
There are 13 deleted scenes from the first season.



Bloopers from the Set (4:17)

Live from the Museum of Television & Radio (10:56)
The chemistry between the cast and crew is palpable, and it’s a genuine shame that this was only an appetizer.

Scriptscanner

If you have a PC you can read the script to the pilot episode while it plays.

Sneak Peeks (14:22)
Trailers for movies and TV shows can be found in this section. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe looks enchanting, and maybe the movie of the year for me. There are trailers for The Chronicles of Narnia (2:33), TV on DVD (1:56), Lost Season 2 - spoiler free! - (0:32), Alias Season 4 (1:19), Desperate Housewives Season 1 (0:32), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2:25), Scrubs Season 2 (1:33), Dark Water (2:33) and Jimmy Kimmel Live (0:59).

Easter Eggs (1:58)

Alternate Main Title Sequence (0:22) – Just terrible and evokes the X-Files opening titles. Want to find it? Put in disc seven, go to "Tales from the Island" and press left twice, then enter.

Locke and the Orange (1:36) - Want to find it? Select "Tales From the Island" on Disc 7, then highlight "Main Menu," press right, and then enter.

In summary
When you have the collective talents behind Alias, Buffy, Angel and Batman: The Animated Series how can you go wrong?

Theories regarding how the Sydney to LA Oceanic flight crashed are as abundant as they are diverse. Are the passengers dead and struggling to make peace with their past lives before moving on or is it The Truman Show meets Survivor? Whatever. Discuss by all means. But, as my Media Studies tutor once said – the journey is often far more interesting than the destination!

There’s a liberal sprinkling of Star Wars and Star Trek in-jokes set against a Planet of the Apes backdrop. Hurley's "Dude" manages to remain humorous and so revealing of the character - a gentle giant a la Chewbacca. And then there's Sawyer who immediately reminded me of Solo - I couldn't stop grinning at the lines including "Princess", "Sulu" and "I'm a complex guy!" And John Locke's character resonates as I'm a paraplegic due to a serious head injury in first school - a classmate was pushed into me. And, yes, I was in a wheelchair...

The inaugural season of Lost is the finest DVD presentation of a television series I’ve viewed since purchasing my first Sony DVD player in 1998. Yes, it really is that good. This is a seminal seven-disc treatment and only Battlestar Galactica (2004) can take the edge off withdrawal symptoms.