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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - September, 2010

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"Lost - Season 6" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-september-2010-lost-6

Synopsis

Lost began in 2004 with one of the most spectacular plane crash sequences ever shown on TV.  43 survivors emerged from the wreckage on a mysterious island in the middle of the Pacific.  They soon discovered two things, their plane had been hundreds of miles off course so no one would be looking for them and their new home was full of deadly mysteries.  Dr. Jack Shephard (Fox) led the castaways with the promise of rescue.  Through flashbacks, we learned of the characters pasts and sometimes fateful relationships with each other.  Along the way some died and some were reborn as their lives started again on The Island.

Season Six finds our core group of characters having returned to The Island in an attempt to change time and prevent the plane crash from ever taking place.  The mysterious Others are still there trying to protect The Island’s secrets and more importantly to prevent an evil force from escaping.  At the end of Season Five, an H-bomb was detonated supposedly to alter the timeline and reset everyone’s lives.  It’s not clear if this was successful as we see the action unfold in two realities or “flash-sideways.”  One reality begins as Flight 815 lands safely in Los Angeles; and the other leaves our heroes still on The Island picking up the pieces.  How will this all play out?  You’ll have to watch to find out.

Specifications

  • ABC Studios
  • 2010, Color, Not Rated, 13 Hr 22 min (16 Episodes)
  • Aspect Ratio:  1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Naveen Andrews, Yunjin Kim, Daniel Dae Kim, Terry O’Quinn
  • Directed by Various Directors
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: No

Commentary

I apologize for the minimalist synopsis but Lost really must be experienced to be understood.  No one can really “tell you what happens.”  The plot has taken so many unexpected twists and turns it’s barely recognizable as the story that began in 2004 with that amazing plane crash.  I admit I was a latecomer to this ground-breaking series picking it up during Season 2.  I haven’t been anything but a rabid fan since then, tuning in every week and, thanks to the magic of my DVR, watching each episode twice to catch extra details missed the first time around.  If you’re a newcomer to this show, you really should watch all the previous seasons before embarking on number six.  Trust me; you won’t know what’s going on if you don’t start at the beginning.  Block out some time because if you get hooked like millions of others have, you will be watching three or four episodes a night just to see what happens next.

I remember an interview with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof where he said the team’s goal was to write themselves into a corner as often as possible.  You’ll quickly see what he means when you experience it.  There are countless scenarios where you can’t possibly imagine the resolution or the escape but the brilliant architects of this story find a way almost every time.  Almost, you say?  Yes, it’s not a perfect show.  There are some unresolved plot threads and a few head-scratching moments.  And the series finale?  Let’s just say it’s polarizing and leave it at that.

If you haven’t watched Lost before, I urge you to give it a try.  If you’re still a fan after five seasons, number six is a must-see.  I bought the first four seasons on DVD and then on Blu-ray.  Adding this set to my library was a certainty.  I pre-ordered it before it was even shown on TV.  Highly recommended.

Technical

In general the image is of reference quality.  Detail and color saturation are stunning, especially during scenes on The Island.  Lost is filmed in Hawaii and all the lush hues and tones of this tropical paradise are captured beautifully.  The scenes taking place in Los Angeles have a slightly hazy filtered look and are less saturated.  I expect this is by design.  Flesh tones are always accurate and natural.  Contrast is excellent with a wide dynamic range.  My only reason for knocking off a half star is varying black levels.  Nighttime scenes on The Island show different black levels, sometimes within the same scene.  One moment blacks are rich and deep; then the camera angle changes and they’re suddenly gray and grainy.  It’s the only flaw in an otherwise stellar presentation.  Watching the Blu-rays also showed me how poor ABC’s broadcast HD is.  I watched every episode when it aired and saw mostly poor color saturation, frame drops and annoying judder.  The discs display none of this.

The DTS-HD Master Audio track is not quite up to the level of the video.  Dialog and sound effects are clear but sound compressed in volume.  Perhaps it’s the result of so  much location shooting.  By the time background noise is filtered out, dialog becomes flat and one-dimensional.  It didn’t matter whether the action took place in the jungle or in a cab, voices always had the same processed feel.  The music by Michael Giacchino sounds fantastic and is easily the best part of the audio presentation.  Not only does it fit the material perfectly, it’s mixed superbly.  Bravo!

Extras

Every previous release of Lost has included a large set of bonus materials and Season 6 continues that tradition.  In addition to the usual blooper reel, deleted scenes and making-of featurettes, there are several story extenders.  Billed as a new chapter, The New Man In Charge is a 12-minute post-script that ties up a few loose ends to the overall plot.  It’s a very nice gift to Lost’s devoted fans.  Other features cover the various hero characters’ development and give us further explanation of the unique “flash sideways” plot element.  Interactive material is called Lost University and gives access to many hours of lectures and documentaries on the science depicted in the show.  Finally, there is a neat feature called Season Play that remembers your place on each disc and even prompts you to insert the next one when necessary.  This is something I’d like to see on all TV Blu-rays, very cool!