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Reviewed by Jason Zingale
t all started with the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, but 121 episodes, countless time jumps and many, many deaths later, “Lost” has become a lot more than just a modern-day “Gilligan’s Island.” Although that was one of many inspirations in creating the island drama, audiences soon discovered that hidden beneath its basic premise laid an expansive mythology that kept us on the edge of our seats for the next six years. And whether you like the show or not, it’s hard to deny that “Lost” has been a part of everyone's pop culture diet since its debut in 2004. Back then, no one could have anticipated just how big the show would become (many even felt that the departure of co-creator J.J. Abrams would prove to be the death knell of the series), but under the guidance of executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, it blossomed into one of the most original, thought-provoking dramas in the history of TV.
The first season introduced us to a cornucopia of castaways – including surgeon Dr. Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), fugitive Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly), conman James “Sawyer” Ford (Josh Holloway), cursed lottery winner Hugo “Hurley” Reyes (Jorge Garcia), survival expert John Locke (Terry O'Quinn), and ex-Iraqi Republican Guard Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) – but as the series progressed and the cast continued to grow, “Lost” not only became a show about strangers forced to “live together or die alone,” but also the strange mysteries of the island and its connection to each character. And with every answer came more questions, as Season Two and Three found the Losties reunited with passengers from the tail-end of the plane and pitted against a tribe of natives called the Others (led by the manipulative Benjamin Linus, played by Michael Emerson). They also met lovelorn traveler Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick), who was shipwrecked on the island three years prior and had been living in a research bunker built by the Dharma Initiative – a scientific organization that conducted experiments on the island – with the sole task of entering numbers into a computer every 108 minutes. The same numbers that Hurley used to win the lottery. And though the importance of those numbers fluctuated throughout the course of the series, they remain one of the most popular mysteries among viewers.
While the first three seasons employed the use of flashbacks to fill in the characters’ backstories, Season Four changed everything when the flashback became the flash-forward, thus revealing the future of the Oceanic Six and confirming that, yes, some of the castaways would eventually get off the island. That they managed to be rescued two seasons before the series’ determined end date, however, meant that they’d be coming back before long, and sure enough, Season Five found Jack and Co. trying to return to the island while the remaining castaways start a new life as Dharma employees after they’re sent back in time to 1974. That season ended in typical cliffhanger fashion with a white flash after Juliette (Elizabeth Mitchell) detonated a nuclear bomb in the belief that it would negate Oceanic Flight 815 from ever crashing, but while it seemed like the plan had worked with the introduction of the flash-sideways at the beginning of Season Six, as fans of the show now know, that alternate timeline was something else entirely.
Though it wasn’t as controversial as the now infamous finale of “The Sopranos” (the unofficial litmus test of all series finales), fans were definitely divided over the final episode, with some content with the poignant conclusion and others feeling duped by Lindelof and Cuse for taking the so-called easy way out. Personally, I wasn’t crazy about the ending the first time around, but I also didn’t hate it as much as some people did. Upon repeated viewings, though, it’s really grown on me, to the point that I’m not sure there’s a better way they could have ended it. In fact, Lindelof and Cuse should not only be applauded for ending the series with aplomb, but for finding room for science and faith to exist in the same story without feeling forced to pick one as the ultimate truth.
Both played a big part in the show from Day One, whether it was the conflicting beliefs of Jack and Locke, the co-existence of Dharma and Jacob (Mark Pellegrino), or the recurring motifs of time travel and redemption. This science versus faith dynamic was also inherent in many of the island’s mysteries, and though the writers did a pretty good job of answering as many of those mysteries as they could, at the end of the day, “Lost” was first and foremost about the characters. It’s hard to play favorites with such an incredible cast, but there are still some definite standouts, including Matthew Fox as the show’s tragic hero, Josh Holloway as the bad seed-turned-romantic, Jorge Garcia as the comic relief, and Terry O’Quinn as the mysterious Locke, who actually delivered his best work as the Smoke Monster in Season Six. Other noteworthy cast members include fan favorites like Dominic Monaghan, Jeremy Davies, and the aforementioned Michael Emerson and Henry Ian Cusick, who may have joined the cast late in the game, but quickly became two of the most significant (and beloved) characters on the series.
There’s a lot more to say about a show like “Lost” – so much, in fact, that it’s hard to know when to stop – but that’s to be expected from a series with such a deep mythology and a plethora of interesting characters. That’s also where something like a complete series comes in to play, because while there were certain benefits to watching the show live (the water cooler discussion the next day, the excruciatingly long breaks in between seasons to ponder the latest cliffhanger), “Lost” practically demands repeat viewings. And when you’re dealing with one of the most entertaining and influential TV shows of its generation, it’s not a matter of if you’ll watch it again, but how many times.
Special Features: In true “Lost” fashion, Walt Disney has delivered a Blu-ray release fully deserving of its hardcore fanbase. The package itself is designed in the style of an Egyptian temple, while the inside contains a box that houses each season in its own digicase, as well as an episode guide and other goodies like a map of the island, a Senet board game, a miniature Ankh, a page from the Black Rock journal, and a small black light. All of the bonus material from the first six seasons – including the much-anticipated “New Man in Charge” epilogue – is included on their respective discs, but there’s also some hidden extras that you’ll need to find on your own. This includes a 40-minute retrospective with the cast and crew (“Letting Go: Reflections of a Six-Year Journey”), a tour inside the prop house (“Artifacts of the Island”), a featurette about the show’s global fanbase (“Planet Lost”), a featurette on scoring the final episode (“Swan Song”), all of the Lost Slapdown webisodes, a collection of the best Lost podcasts, and additional featurettes and deleted scenes not included on previous season releases.