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Lost: The Complete First Season(TV) (2004-2005)
After a somewhat mysterious sequence of events, an oceanic flight from Sydney to LA crashes on what appears to be a deserted island. The chance of being found and rescued is fairly small, so the survivors have to cope with a set of challenges. They have to learn to survive on the island, a mysterious place with enough dangers on its own. Also, they have to learn to live with each other if any success is to be expected. And finally, they have to live with themselves and their pasts. Interwoven with the events on the islands are flashbacks to the pasts of 14 main characters. Step by step, we learn a little more about their diverse and unexpected pasts as the group's quest to survive takes shape.
For more about Lost: The Complete First Season and the Lost: The Complete First Season Blu-ray release, see Lost: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on June 8, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Jorge García, Josh Holloway, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson
Directors: Jack Bender, Stephen Williams
» See full cast & crew
Lost: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review
Welcome to a series that goes for the jugular...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, June 8, 2009
With a tight closeup of a dilating eye, the soft rustle of a canopy of trees, and the distant wheen of a downed airplane engine, Lost emerged from ABC's shadows, redefining network dramas and single-handedly influencing the next five years of television programming. Conceived in the sharp, overactive minds of wunderkind, super-producer J.J. Abrams and writer Damon Lindelof, and greenlit by Sopranos producer and ABC chairman Lloyd Braun, the series debuted with a fractured, nonlinear story that grabbed hold of viewers and refused to let go. On paper, the premise seemed simple: a group of castaways band together to survive the perils of a mysterious island. In actuality, the show was far more complex than a simple one-line synopsis could ever convey. Before long, the series had thrilled, baffled, and mesmerized its audience with early glimpses of a sprawling mythology, a reservoir of daunting mysteries, and more than a dozen well-conceived, meticulously-developed characters. Even before its first season came to a close, Lost was well on its way to becoming a modern serialized masterwork.
Of the 324 people who boarded Oceanic Flight 815, only 48 would survive a tragic accident that would leave them shambling away from the fiery wreckage of their plane. Of those 48 men and women, fifteen would soon begin to understand they were on a crash course with fate itself; a destiny some would embrace wholeheartedly and others would resist with all their might. Among these key castaways are haunted surgeon Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), cursed lottery winner Hugo Reyes (Jorge Garcia), scruffy loner Sawyer (Josh Holloway), fugitive Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly), ex-Iraqi Republican Guard Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews), a young pregnant woman named Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin), former "Drive Shaft" guitarist Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), married couple Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Sun Kwon (Yunjin Kim), struggling father Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) and his gifted son Walt (Malcolm David Kelley), bickering step-siblings Shannon Rutherford (Maggie Grace) and Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder), wizened elder Rose Henderson (L. Scott Caldwell) and, of course, survival enthusiast and man of growing faith, John Locke (the indomitable Terry O'Quinn in a career defining role).
But it doesn't take them long to realize that they aren't alone. Over the course of season one's intense twenty-five episodes, the survivors are forced to elude an unseen monster responsible for the death of their co-pilot, come to grips with visions of dead family members, and deal with a crafty impostor (William Mapother) who was already on the island when their airliner crashed. More importantly, they have to deal with strange supernatural occurrences (miraculous healing and resurrection seemingly among them) and uncover the motivations of the island's inhospitable natives. By the time they find another downed plane suspended high in the trees (loaded with heroin), zero in on a rescue beacon, attempt to build a hefty raft (a project that doesn't end as well as they hoped), and stumble across a massive hatch on the jungle floor (a startling discovery that culminates with a nerve-racking cliffhanger), they're well on their way to becoming a part of the island's unsettling history; a history dotted with shipwrecks, unexplainable phenomena, and unfortunate disasters.
Lost flourishes in its first season with a variety of irresistible hooks designed to keep viewers coming back each week. Weaving flashbacks and origin stories together with the survivors' experiences on the island not only keeps things from growing stale and repetitive, it allows the writers to release delicious nuggets of information when and where they see fit, unravel the complexities and drive of each character, and dole out quite a few bristling twists and turns (in five seasons, the series still hasn't matched the sheer impact of the wait-wait-what? reveal in the Locke-centric episode, "Walkabout"). Season one may be surprisingly quaint and simplistic in retrospect (especially compared to later years when time travel, relativity, and metaphysics would come to dominate the story), but the series has long had a difficult time recreating the allure of meeting Jack and company for the first time. You'll find yourself switching allegiances as often as Kate; you'll ask yourself if Locke is a godsend or a madman, if Sawyer is a hero or villain, and if anyone's agenda is remotely selfless. As each revelation bubbles to the surface, you'll begin to wonder who you can trust... who you can feel safe with. It's a thoroughly absorbing ride that barrels towards its conclusion with the abandon of a derailed train.
Full credit goes to writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse -- J.J. Abrams may have brought his Midas touch to the series, but it's Lindelof and Cuse that managed to transform it into such a gripping multi-character study and addicting serialized drama. While some fans have come to see the show as an infuriating mess filled with too many unanswered questions, I relish the ambiguity and inscrutable mysteries of the island. Too often film and television writers feel the need to spoon feed their audience clumsy exposition and easy answers, but not Lindelof or Cuse. They stand at the front of the line, holding cups of tasty porridge just out of reach until you have no choice but to utter please sir, I want some more. Honestly, the effect is invigorating. Every episode leaves you wondering what will come next, each development leaves you connecting dots that may or may not be there, and every slick-haired twist leaves you spinning in shock. Sure, a few subplots meander as the writers room gets a handle on the direction of the series, but it's all worthwhile. By the time a beam of light strikes the sky and a castaway bleeds out, you'll be thanking the ABC gods that Lost is now coursing through your veins.
Lost: The Complete First Season is a blast to watch. Whether you're revisiting episodes you haven't seen in years or encountering each one for the first time, sit back and soak in its every secret and revelation. Its characters will draw you into the tale, its flashbacks will hold you in place, and the unrelenting power of its story will keep you snug within its arms. I can't imagine a more rewarding television experience.
Lost: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Chalk it up to uneven production values or an ever-evolving network budget, but Lost: The Complete First Season features a somewhat weaker 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer than its series' Blu-ray brethren. While colors remain decidedly strong and stable, blacks remain deep and inky, and detail has been dramatically improved in the move to high definition, the picture often exhibits a slight artificiality that, in light of the best television transfers on the market, can be a tad distracting from time to time. Don't misunderstand: I have no doubt much of what I'm describing should be attributed to the original source rather than Disney's technical transfer, but it's nevertheless a bit of a downer, particularly if you hop back and forth between this and Lost: The Complete Second Season, a concurrently-released 7-disc set with a near-perfect presentation that hasn't detached itself from my corneas just yet.
But let's not nitpick too far off the beaten path. The lush green foliage of the jungle and the vivid blue skies look as impressive as ever, and everything from Locke's leathery skin to Jack and Sawyer's dueling stubble has been rendered with care. Contrast is more overblown than in later seasons (occasionally resulting in crushed blacks and overheated whites), but depth is still commendable -- every jaunt down the beach is framed by an endless ocean, every trip into the belly of the island haunted by absorbing shadows that threaten to engulf the castaways at any moment. Like most Disney transfers, edge enhancement, noise reduction and, really, any meddlesome post-production nonsense that might rob the image of its intended appearance are kept to a minimum. Grain is a key factor in the presentation, granting the series a fitting filmic swagger that grounds even its most surreal episodes in a familiar reality. Artifacting pops up from time to time (generally when characters sprint through the jungle), but the picture is actually quite clean over the course of its twenty-plus episodes (only the pilot suffers from any disconcerting visual anomalies, all of which are easy to overlook).
So no, it doesn't stack up to the sparkling Blu-ray releases of later seasons and, no, videophiles won't be left nodding their heads and rubbing their eyes. However, each episode thoroughly trounces its standard DVD and HD broadcast presentations and stands head and shoulders above most other high definition television releases. If you're anything like me, you'll shrug your shoulders, assume this is the best The Complete First Season could possibly look, and enjoy the castaways' early encounters with the island's denizens.
Lost: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Disney's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is more true to form than its video transfer, living up to the output and prowess of later season releases, and leaving a mark all its own. Dialogue, ever the priority in Lost, is crisp, intelligible, and neatly prioritized amongst the jungle's dangerous beasties and mysterious onlookers. Branches and leaves crunch and mash underfoot, trees rustle under the assault of ocean winds, and distant waves brush the shores with increasing subtlety. Rear speaker activity is a key component in each case, delivering aggressive ambience and assisting in a variety of convincing illusions that occasionally tricked me into turning my head. LFE power is striking, bolstering the exploding engines of Oceanic 815, the bizarre cries of the island's frightening caretaker, and the shouts and bellows of fleeing survivors. Moreover, pans and directionality are smooth and accurate, leaving little doubt as to whether the integrity of the original sound design has been preserved. My only criticism lies with the pilot episode -- the series' two-part debut struggles at times with inconsistent normalization and fading fidelity -- but its negligible in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, Losties will be thrilled to hear the Complete First Season in all its lossless glory. I, for one, was exceedingly pleased with the results.
Lost: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The 7-disc Blu-ray edition of Lost: The Complete First Season splashes down with the same special features that originally appeared on its 2005 DVD counterpart. The video content is still presented in standard definition and I would have liked to find more than five commentaries, but the overall package is extensive and involving enough to keep fans entertained for days.
Lost: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Lost's first outing may be surprisingly simplistic in lieu of later seasons in the series, but it's still a captivating introduction to a slew of intriguing characters, the roots of an enthralling mythology, and the surreal adventure of a lifetime. More importantly, its Blu-ray debut is a striking one that outclasses its DVD counterpart in every conceivable way. Delivering an excellent video transfer, a stunning DTS-HD Master Audio track, and hours of supplemental materials, Lost: The Complete First Season is a must-have release available at a fantastic price point. If you've never committed yourself to the series, there's no time like the present; if you're familiar with every inch of the island, there's no better edition of the season to own; and if you consider yourself any sort of fan of the show, this release should already be on the way, on your doorstep, or on your shelf.
Lost: Other Seasons
Blu-ray bundles with Lost: The Complete First Season (2 bundles)
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