Lost: The Complete Fourth Season (2008) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Adventure / Drama / Fantasy / Mystery|
|Buena Vista || NR - 604 minutes - $96.99 || December 9, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-11-27|
Writer(s): J.J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, Damon Lindelof (created by)
Cast: Matthew Fox, Josh Halloway, Evangline Lilly, Naveen Andrews, Jorge Garcia, Daniel Dae Kim, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson, Elizabeth Mitchell
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“Lost: Season Four” would be a very tough season to review if I was unable to talk about some of the key plot points. I will do my best not to give away the bulk of the mysteries and surprises but ultimately it would be impossible to discuss the high and lows of this season if I didn't. Please be forewarned I will possibly spoil some of the secrets from this season.
Season one was amazing. We had a great set of characters, an intriguing storyline, and we got just enough answers to keep us going week to week. Season Two hit what many would consider the "sophomore slump". While it still had some pretty good story lines and a few good new characters (Desmond, Ben) most of the season took a backseat to introduce too many characters that would be killed off later in the season (nearly all of the tailies for instance). Season three came and while the first handful of episodes were fairly boring (Jack, Kate and Sawyer locked up in the Others camp for six episodes), the show eventually ramped up and became very good (I won't mention Nikki or Paulo... ugh).
Towards the end of season three ABC announced the show would go on for another three seasons and have 16 episodes each. Why would they do this? To give viewers an idea of an end date and allow the producers and writers know that they have a certain amount of time to wrap up any story lines that they have brewing (which is a good idea). With that information at hand viewers would have to wait nearly 8 months for new episodes... and the wait was brutal. Finally, after what seemed like forever, season four premiered and let me tell you, it is awesome.
While I have enjoyed “Lost” from the start, Season Two was a bit of a letdown and Season 3 only felt a little bit better. Season four, however, blew my mind. Week after week they kept giving me answers to things that have been bugging me for years. Gone were the annoying characters to be replaced with far more interesting ones (Miles, Charlotte, Penny) and with the knowledge they were going to be around for another two years they were able to give the show a much better pace to it then seasons before. Because the writers’ strike happened halfway through, the season was threatened. Would the season end at the eighth episode and be continued almost a year later? Nope. The writers’ strike was eventually settled and the show came back, with a much quicker pace.
What did I like? Way too much to discuss here in this review to be honest. This season, in my opinion, was almost as perfect as Season One. Ben and Juliette took center stage this season and they were definitely some of the better, new characters from Season Three. Each week their story lines got deeper and deeper and revealed even more back story on who they are and where they came from. Ben, for instance, seemed like a total jerk in season three became a character some could even root for, especially after a major tragedy befalls him halfway through that will send ripples in the course the series. Juliette continues to be a stronger, more supportive character then Kate could ever be to Jack and makes me wonder why Jack could even consider being with Kate anymore after what Juliette has gone through to make sure he is safe.
Desmond continues to be one of my favorite characters on the show and this season he was given a very powerful episode, ‘The Constant’. Now, I won't ruin the episode for you, but if you don't crack a tear at the end there is something wrong with you. Not only is it incredibly moving and emotional, but it’s easily one of the series finest episodes. Just thinking about it brings chills to my body and a longing to re-watch it yet again. For the sixth time.
“The Freighter Folk” were a new addition this season and once again we, the viewers, are unable to determine their motives. Are they good or evil? Well, it becomes known fairly soon that some of these Folk's could go either way but some of them are seemingly tied to the island (Charlotte, Faraday). I really liked the addition of these characters as I was getting tired of hearing a random "lostie" talk to the core group like their opinions seem to matter or that we actually know who they are. They brought a great twist to the Season and I'm glad most of them will be sticking around for season five.
This season takes a twist with the core group of “losties” splitting off into two groups - one that wants to get off the island and the other which wants to stay. Jack and Locke have been at odds from the start of the show and the repercussions from Season Three's finale are still felt. Jack, eager to get off the island and return home, believed that the Freighter Folk are there to help him and the others leave while Locke believes they are there for something else... and really, why would Locke want to leave the island he loves so much? Not only has it allowed him to walk again but has brought him so much hope at a time that he was in what could be described as a depression.
This season also brought the addition of "flash forwards"; last seen in the season three finale. We now know who got the Island, who didn't, and because of this the show can expand a bit more and give us even more details into the general mythology. These were a welcome addition as we could only get so many flashbacks of Jack dealing with his dad yet again.
What didn't I like? Admittedly, not much. While it’s not a big surprise anymore since it was ruined at Comic-Con 2007, Michael has returned the show. Last seen sailing off with his son Walt in the season two finale, he makes a surprising return as a deck swab on the Freighter Folks ship. We eventually learn why he wants to come back but overall his presence felt like a waste. I didn't care for him when he was on before and I certainly didn't care for his useless return. He brought nothing new to the show and his story was better left untold.
Season four brought a ton of twists and turns to the show and it’s certainly an improvement over seasons 2 and 3. Almost every episode this season answers a burning question the viewers have had for years and the finale brings even more questions that will (hopefully) be answered early on in season five.
All Special Features are Presented in HD.
Sadly, Disney changed things up a bit for the season 4 release on Blu-ray. Gone from the season 3 release is the nice, hard cardboard style case with Velcro in favor of a flimsy slip case. Not only does it look different from the previous release, but it’s not as tall and as wide as season 3. This will cause your shelf to look a bit odd. Sigh.
Some of the following special features may ruin the season for you. I'd advise you not to read the descriptions at all unless you have seen it as several key plot points are given away.
Commentaries on the following Episodes: “The Beginning of the End”, “The Constant”, “Ji Yeon” and “There's No Place Like Home (Part 2)”
Lost: Missing Pieces (Mobisodes) (31 Minutes) - While not mentioned on the box, these are all included. Most of these help fill in some of the gaps from previous seasons (mostly Season One) but besides the very last one they were not very enjoyable.
Deleted Scenes (9 Minutes) - A mixture of decent scenes and poor ones here. Nothing you'll want to watch more than once.
Course of the Future: The Interactive Flash Forwards - I'm really not sure what this is. Apparently, you have 10 clips from various episodes and arrange them in order. If you do it correct, the Frozen Donkey Wheel will move. It’s very slow... but maybe someday I'll complete it. Once you do, you apparently get access to a plethora of extras like Insider Notes, videos etc. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies (20 Minutes) - Think E! True Hollywood Story-type feature. This is a mix of footage from the TV Show and a incredibly deep announcer telling us (the viewers, as if this really happened) what went on. Surprisingly I really liked this. They even get some "experts" telling is how the Oceanic Six were liars.
The Freighter Folk (13 Minutes) - The viewers remain divided on if they Freighter Folk are good or evil, but like any TV Show, I welcome any change that may make the show stronger. The Freighter Folk do this perfectly. While some of them can be a bit annoying at times (Faraday), the others are very interesting and will help shape the show into something more (Miles, Charlotte). This little feature gives us some insight on each character and what unique abilities they bring to the show.
Offshore Shoot (11 Minutes) - A look at the boat used in Season 4 and some of the crew on it.
Lost on Location (42 Minutes) - Takes us through several episodes and shows us how certain scenes were setup and filmed.
The Island Backlot (18 Minutes) - An interesting look at how some of the scenes that we think are filmed in other locations (flash forwards) are actually done in various parts of Hawaii.
The Right to Bear Arms (11 Minutes) - The show has various guns and this feature shows where some guns came from and where they went. I never really noticed how many guns the show used and it’s become a joke that nearly every character somehow has one or has stashed some somewhere.
Soundtrack of Survival (26 Minutes) - A very in-depth look at the musical score used in various episodes and scenes. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Rounding things out is a Lost in 8:15 which helps viewers who have never watched "Lost" before get an understanding for the show and a blooper reel. But that's not all! This release all packs "Season Play" ** Blu-ray Exclusive ** which allows the player to keep track of the episode you last watched so you don't have to guess if you stop at a random episode on a disc. Finally a very cute Safety Guide is included in the case with some humorous pictures.
A small note - I read others were having problems with the discs loading in certain players. All five discs played fine in my Sony S550.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
“Lost Season Four” arrives on Blu-ray in 1.78:1 (AVC/MPEG-4) on 5 - 50GB Discs. Like with all my TV on BD reviews I tend to hold TV shows in a different light than movies. With that said, this season is nothing short of amazing. Colors are very vibrant and blacks are perfect. This is easily one of the best looking TV Shows on Blu-ray - even surpassing “Pushing Daisies”.
Disney once again has included an English PCM track for each episode as well as a standard English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Just like the Picture Quality the sound is astonishing. My rear speakers were filled nearly every episode with a slight ambiance of noise - whether it being birds chirping, water rushing, or the slightest movement of characters. Disney certainly knows how to do the show justice. I compared the season finale on both Blu-ray and my HD broadcast (saved on my DVR) and found the Blu-ray to be miles better. You're in for a treat.
“Lost Season Four” brings so much to the table it’s hard to ignore it. Any fan of the show will want to dig deep into the Special Features and if you watch the show exclusively on Blu-ray you will enjoy nearly every second. Season five is only a few short months away... and I cannot wait to see if they can top this one!