Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Video Review: "Lost" Season Six and Complete Collections

When it debuted in 2004, "Lost" was immediately recognizable as groundbreaking television.

Here was a huge, high-budget network show with an excellent cast and an ambitious, sprawling narrative -- the sort of thing that previously had only been attempted on HBO, or theatrical film series like "Lord of the Rings."

Like millions, I was entranced by the riddle of a mysterious island on which a disparate group of passengers from Oceanic Flight 815 crash-land.

The first season introduced us to a roster of engaging characters -- stoic doctor Jack Shephard, escaped convict Kate Austen, tortured con man Sawyer, and tracker John Locke comprised the core of a cast that eventually numbered in the dozens -- and slowly unveiled the layered mysteries of the island: Marauding jungle monster, crazy French scientist-turned-hermit, and a strange hatch buried in the ground.

Also like many others, I felt the series lost its way in its second year -- personified by Mr. Eko, a would-be priest whose redemptive journey dominated that entire season, but who, after his abrupt death, was never mentioned again.

"Lost" sporadically regained its focus in subsequent seasons -- especially a strong third year buoyed by the introduction of the slithery, charismatic leader of The Others, Ben Linus -- but never recaptured the magic of that first outing.

I, for one, found the show's conclusion to be a disappointing, not to mention predictable, variation on (spoiler ahead) the tired old "it-was-all-just-a-dream" deus ex machina.

The sixth and final season is now available as a collection, and there's a pricey -- but exhaustively complete -- series collection.

The season six collection contains a host of extras. The DVD version includes commentaries, bloopers, deleted scenes and features about the show's conclusion, heroes' journey and "flash sideways" narrative. Plus, a "new chapter" about the island. The Blu-ray comes with all these plus a "Lost University: Masters Program" feature.

For the hardcore "Lost" fan with plenty of bucks to spend, the Complete Collection is not to be missed. Expect to pay, though: Around $150 for the DVD version, and 200 clams for the Blu-ray.

In addition to all 121 episodes, it includes the bonus material from all six season collections, plus one extra disc of never-before-seen footage. And there's toys: A replica of the island, black light, ankh -- even a special edition of the board game played by Jacob and the Man in Black!

Show: 3 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars

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