by Dan Goldwasser
Describing what "Lost" is about is rather hard - you have to see it to believe it. But the basic premise is that the survivors of a plane crash are stranded on a tropical island. But things aren't exactly what they seem, and the island holds many secrets. As the season progresses, through the use of flashbacks, we learn more about the principle characters, and how their lives crossed paths before boarding the fateful flight. It's a great show, and many viewers have highlighted Michael Giacchino's music, something that did not go unnoticed, as he won an Emmy award for his work on it just recently.
Recently, the complete first season of the show was released on DVD. Presented in 16x9 anamorphic widescreen, all 24 episodes have 5.1 surround sound, and the moment you start watching, you will find yourself sucked into the mysterious world that has entranced millions of viewers.
The DVD bonus features are quite good. Disc 1 has feature commentary on the pilot by executive producers J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Bryan Burk. What makes these commentaries better than your average commentary is that occasionally Abrams will say "let's stop here for a second", and then the disc will automatically go to a behind-the-scenes mini featurette to highlight a particular topic that Abrams wants to discuss at that point. It's more dynamic and interesting than just your normal talking points commentary, although there is plenty of insightful material shared. Giacchino and the music are mentioned quite frequently, but it doesn't really go into too much detail on the musical process. Also on the first disc is a commentary for "Walkabout", the episode focusing on Locke's background, with commentary by executive producers Jack Bender, David Fury and actor Terry O'Quinn. (They talk about Giacchino's music heart-wrenching emotional music at the end of the episode.)
Disc 2 contains "The Moth", with commentary by executive producers Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk, with co-star Dominic Monaghan ("Charlie"). This is a fun one, as Monaghan is no strangers to commentaries (having contributed to the cast commentaries on the Lord of the Rings films), and the three of them have a good time remembering anecdotal moments from shooting this particular episode. As Charlie is the lead singer of "Driveshaft", a rock band, portions of the commentary discuss the origin of the song that appears on the episode, which Monaghan actually sings himself. (More on Driveshaft when we get to Disc 7.)
Disc 3 has no extras, and Disc 4 has a commentary track on "Hearts and Minds" with executive producer Carlton Cuse, Supervising producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, and co-stars Maggie Grace and Ian Sommerhalder. There is nothing on Disc 5 or even Disc 6, which is a shame. I would have loved to hear a commentary on the very important Koran-speaking-only episode "House of the Rising Sun", because of the pivotal use of music and how they managed to get away with an entire hour without English (for the most part), and it also would have been nice to have a commentary on the season finale - especially considering all the things that happened at the end of the season!
Disc 7 is where the bonus features really live. In the Departure section, there are featurettes focused on the making of the show. "The Genesis of Lost" is a short bit about how the show came about, and "Designing a Disaster" is an interesting segment about the plane crash set. "Before They Were Lost" is a nice 22-minute piece about casting the show, and as an extra bonus, footage from "Audition Tapes" are included as well.
"Welcome to Oahu: The Making the Pilot" is a 30-minute documentary about the struggles with shooting the pilot for the show in Hawaii. Lots of good anecdotal stories here, and music fans will definitely enjoy the end, when Michael Giacchino shows up to talk about his approach to the music on the show, and the make up of the orchestra. (Did you know that they have a metal anklung used on the show that is made up of airplane parts from the set?)
"The Art of Matthew Fox" is a nice segment showcasing the photos that Fox took during the shooting of the pilot, as he talk about the background of selected pictures. "Lost @ ComicCon" is a quick look at the reaction "Lost" got when they brought the pilot to ComicCon, and the huge audience reaction it garnered.
The Tales from the Island section includes a slew of mini-bits with "Lost: On Location". Featurettes involving the boars, the sets, certain characters, and more. "On Set with Jimmy Kimmel" is a comedic segment from his show when Kimmel visited the set, and talked with the cast and crew of "Lost". It's very light-spirited, and good for a laugh. "Backstage with Driveshaft" is a 6.5-minute bit about the history of the fictional band within the show, and it's ultimate downfall. It gives us a bit more insight into Charlie's background, and the history of the pop song featured in the episode, "The Moth", from its humble beginnings as a line from an old Phil Donahue show, to an inside-joke around the crew, to actually being written into the show.
In Lost Revealed, we have "The Lost Flashbacks", which are two flashbacks from the season finale that didn't appear in the final cut of the show, of Claire at the airport interacting with the doomed pilot, and Sayid buying a tie before being apprehended by airport security. Also, 15-minutes of deleted scenes from the season are included, which are interesting to see, mainly because it adds more character moments. "Bloopers from the Set" is a jokey montage of outtakes, some of which are funny, and some which aren't. The last segment is a 10-minute bit from a panel discussion at the Museum of Television and Radio, including an audience Q&A, which has some fun moments too.
Overall, this is a great DVD set for a show that has many people talking after each episode airs. The extras are well done, but more commentaries would be appreciated next time. "Lost" is a show everyone should check out, and the second season premieres on September 21, 2005 on ABC.
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