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Lost: The Complete Fourth Season(TV) (2008)
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 Fourth Season and the Lost: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray release, see Lost: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on December 8, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 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 Fourth Season Blu-ray Review
The best show on TV is even better on Blu-ray
Reviewed by Ben Williams, December 8, 2008
I rarely make pronouncements as dramatic as this one, but "Lost" is, quite simply, the best television show in the history of the medium. That's a bold statement with all of the quality shows that have graced the small screen over the last decade. The creative forces behind "Lost," Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, have created a show so rich with new ideas, exceptional character development and highly imaginative storytelling, that they've elevated each weekly episode of "Lost" into the same league as the finest motion pictures. In addition to the show's evolved storytelling and production values, "Lost" has become a true pop culture phenomenon and has spawned a devoted legion of fans worldwide. Season four of "Lost" had the potential to be a complete disaster, like the ill-fated second season of competing show "Heroes." The writer's strike had taken its toll on both productions and both shows were in danger of presenting seriously shortened seasons that would have been unable to complete the story-arcs that both writing teams had been striving for. Rather than taking the rest of the year off after the writer's strike was settled, as the creators of "Heroes" chose to do, the "Lost" crew soldiered on and managed to put together the show's finest season yet. Season 4 of "Lost" is a true revelation that has cemented the show's iconic status as a television masterpiece.
Note: For those of you who haven't seen the show, please be wary of light spoilers for the remainder of this section of the review. Those who would prefer to stay spoiler-free, please skip ahead to the video section of the review.
Season 4 of "Lost" begins with a quick re-telling of the events that lead to the season finale of Season 3. Our intrepid castaways have made advances across the island and have taken the elusive Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) captive. Jack (Matthew Fox) has finally taken the leadership reigns among the survivors of Oceanic flight 815, Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) has been killed in an explosion and Locke (Terry O'Quinn) has miraculously survived being shot by Ben. As season 4 expands, the castaways will divide into two groups: one sect who will follow Locke back to the Others' camp and take up residence there as well as those who follow Jack back to the island shore to await what is thought to be a rescue attempt. Locke is convinced that the supposed rescuers will bring death and destruction to the islanders. Of course, the big moment in season 3 of "Lost" was the season finale shocker that revealed that viewers hadn't been witnessing another of the show's many flashback sequences, but had actually been viewing a flash-forward that made clear that some of the castaways had made it off the island. Season 4 expands on this and we are soon introduced to the characters who will officially become known as the "Oceanic Six," or, the six characters who manage to make it off the island. The show's love triangle between Sawyer (Josh Holloway), Kate (Evangeline Lilly) and Jack continues to entertain and surprise throughout the season while new visitors to the island bring suffering and fear to the castaways. Ben, of course, still looms over every event on the island and his wicked sense of power, authority and responsibility for the island and all it represents is a core element of this 4th season.
With the game-changing flash-forward to end Season 3, "Lost" has proven to be a continually inventive and groundbreaking show. The show is endlessly creative and takes its audience along for a ride that is filled with mystery, suspense, action, heartbreak and genuine intrigue. My favorite episode of the season is "The Constant," an emotionally powerful episode that expertly blends the show's science fiction elements with its more dramatic and even soap opera-like story lines. The episode focuses on Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) as he becomes trapped in a temporal time rift while attempting to leave the island. Like many of the themes of the show, describing an episode of "Lost" to a non-viewer is a difficult if not impossible task. In fact, Carlton Cuse spoke at length about this problem at this year's Comic Con. In reference to "The Constant," he stated that he and Damon Lindelof had such a difficult time communicating the events of the episode to the network brass, that they almost had to give up on the story altogether. Fortunately, they were allowed creative leeway with the episode and the results speak for themselves and will likely be handsomely rewarded by Emmy voters. "The Constant" is a master-class in storytelling that leaps between events that have taken place in Desmond's life. The heart of the episode is the continuation of the series long Desmond and Penny (Sonya Walger) love story. It's as emotionally powerful as anything I've seen on screen while maintaining that certain eerie "Lost" sensibility of science fiction that is the hallmark of the show. Perhaps it's ABC's willingness to let the artists that work on this miraculous show do their thing without interruption or impediment that allows the show to be so creatively charged. Regardless, "The Constant" will stand as one of the finest pieces of television writing in history. It's just that good.
While "The Constant" does represent the emotional high-point of the season, that's not to say that the remaining twelve episodes are lacking in any way. In fact, Season 4 is so incredibly effective in its storytelling, that the show has proven that it can be to the point and efficient while never leaving the viewer with the feeling that any stray plot detail or line of dialogue has been left out. That's quite a feat for 13 episodes of top tier television filled with mysteries, twists, turns and shocking plot developments that were written on an exceedingly abbreviated strike affected writing schedule. Season 4 of "Lost" is exceptional television and will prove to be incredibly rewarding to those that follow the show. Unfortunately, for those of you that have yet to watch "Lost," you'd best do some catching up as this is not a show that can be jumped into in the middle of the series.
Season four of "Lost" Contains the following episodes:
-The Beginning of the End
-The Other Woman
-Meet Kevin Johnson
-The Shape of Things to Come
-Something Nice Back Home
-There's No Place Like Home: Part 1
-There's No Place Like Home: Part 2
Lost: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
"Lost: Season 4" Arrives on Blu-ray in full 1080P in its original televised aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Disney has, as usual, chosen the AVC compression codec to do the heavy lifting and the results are simply stunning. "Lost" is broadcast in 720P on ABC and this Blu-ray set is a major upgrade over the broadcast version from a picture quality standpoint. In addition to its superior resolution, "Lost" is also encoded at a much higher bitrate for Blu-ray and the set is noticeably more film-like than its broadcast counterpart. "Lost" is one of the few shows on television that is shot with as much attention to cinematographic technique as most high budget films. It's really a stunning visual experience.
With the show's setting becoming more global, "Lost" was host to many more locations than ever before in season 4. In addition to the ubiquitous Island, the show visits Los Angeles, several Middle Eastern countries as well as various European locations. As a result, the show has adopted a more naturalistic approach to filming in each location. Colors are uniformly lush where appropriate and washed out and faded depending upon location. Similarly, various special filming techniques are used throughout the season to heighten the emotional and analytical impact of what unfolds on screen. I had never been as aware of the painstaking attention to detail that the production takes until I finally saw the show on Blu-ray. As such, this is a Blu-ray transfer that maintains an amazing sense of depth and detail throughout. Contrast is uniformly excellent with deep, satisfying black levels and exceptional attention to shadow details. Distracting picture artifacts are noticeably absent as well with the entire series of episodes achieving a very film-like appearance. "Lost" on Blu-ray is a must own title for fans of the show. For those not yet into the show, once season 4 rolls around for you, this set will not disappoint.
Lost: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Disney has wisely utilized uncompressed PCM 5.1 sound for "Lost: Season 4". Along with the vast improvements in picture quality offered on Blu-ray, the show's audio is leaps and bounds better than that which is broadcast on ABC. While "Lost" does occasionally feature exciting action sequences that come across akin to a big budget action movie, the majority of the show is dialogue driven affair with the occasional atmospheric effect perfectly integrated for ambience. Of course, "Lost" is an inherently creepy show and the series' sound designers have apparently had a great deal of fun with loads of spooky rear channel activity that amps up the chill factor. Dialogue is also extremely well presented and overcomes the occasional shortcomings of broadcast Dolby Digital that crop up in the show's regular TV airings. "Lost" also features a remarkable musical score that is littered with the occasional dash of popular music. This is also well presented and placed perfectly within the mix. The show does a remarkable job of creating a spacial feel with its sound design. This helps to create an enveloping experience that transports the viewer into the lives of the characters within the show. It might not be a constantly flashy experience, but is is extremely effective.
Lost: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Disney hasn't skimped on the supplements with the release of "Lost: Season 4."
Here's what's included:
-LOST in 8:15
-The Right to Bear Arms
-The Freighter Folk
-The Island Backlot: Lost in Hawaii
-The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies
-Soundtrack of Survival: Composing for Character, Conflict and the Crash
-LOST on Location
-Course of the Future: The Definitive Flash-forwards
-Course of the Future: The Definitive Interactive Flash-forwards
-More from the Symphony
Starting off the set is "LOST in 8:15." The featurette attempts to provide the novice "Lost" viewer with an 8 minute catch-up session for the entire series. It's a nice idea, with the caveat that no 8 minute clip could ever begin to explain the complexities of this incredibly detailed show in such a short period of time. Up next are featurettes that introduce the audience to the new characters appearing on the show, the guns used in the series as well as the show's intricate set design. of my favorite features is the "Soundtrack of Survival" clips that showcase the show's excellent soundtrack being performed in front of a live audience by the Honolulu Symphony Pops. Fans of the show will likely be impressed with the numerous deleted scenes contained within the set as well as the on-set bloopers and in-depth audio commentaries. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof are always passionate, funny and enlightening when discussing their show, and they are equally impressive here. This Blu-ray set also includes the SeasonPlay feature that keeps track of which episodes you've watched, just in case you happen to forget. It's a nice feature that really helps those viewers who don't view the show in long marathon sessions to keep track of their progress through the season. All told, this is a comprehensive and entertaining set of supplements that serve as an excellent backdrop to this groundbreaking series.
Lost: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
In its 4th and most engaging season, "Lost" has established itself as a show for the ages. It never ceases to be continually engaging, groundbreaking, emotionally grounded and fascinating. By focusing a show that deals in heavy science fiction, horror and suspense into an in-depth character study, the show's creators have achieved the impossible: they've made a genre show into something for the masses. "Lost" storms onto Blu-ray sporting a first rate video transfer that is superior in every way to the broadcast versions of the show. Sound is equally impressive and helps to enforce the spooky nature of the show. Finally, the supplements are in-depth and provide a well rounded look behind the scenes while simultaneously building on the aura of the show. "Lost" on Blu-ray is a must own title and easily earns my highest recommendation.
Lost: Other Seasons
Blu-ray bundles with Lost: The Complete Fourth Season (2 bundles)
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