Case Number 15145

LOST: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON

Buena Vista // 2007 // 604 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 3rd, 2008

The Charge

Locke: Is he talking about what I think he's talking about?
Ben: If you mean time traveling bunnies, yes.

Opening Statement

All this year seems we have been moaning how the Writers Strike of 2007-2008 ruined television, but one show actually seemed to benefit by being cut down to 14 episodes. An abbreviated run meant Season Four had to find ways to move quickly toward the conclusion the creators wanted, and it reinvigorated the mystery drama concerning some 40-odd passengers who survive a plane crash on the world's freakiest deserted island. The series moved at breakneck speed, something the show needed to do after a season or two of lollygagging its way through piling up the questions without moving forward fast enough. Frankly, Lost seemed in better shape than ever with this sense of playing out the start of a planned end game coming in the sixth year. Fans and critics rallied around the show which seemed to found sure footing with a new lightning fast pace. Buena Vista has a stellar track record with presenting the series on DVD, and this time they add a full two discs of bonus material to compensate for the reduced episode count. Here it is folks, easily the best TV on DVD set this year. The isle of mystery is still alive and well with tons of stories to tell.

Facts of the Case

Every time it resurfaces, Lost reinvents itself completely, becoming a brand new show dealing with one large arc. For season four a freighter arrives at the top of the first episode which we assume is there to rescue our castaways. But this being Lost, the folks who arrive with the ship all have very different agendas as unpredictable as the rest of the mysteries. Are these good guys or a nefarious group of assassins aiming to keep the island a secret? Also integrated in to this arc is the story of the "Oceanic 6," who are the people we know through flash forwards make it off the island. Yet it will take all 14 Season Four episodes to find out who they are and how they get rescued. The time line of the show gets a new thrust with flashbacks now teamed up with flash forwards, meaning the story is free to move in any direction the writers can imagine. There are enough new mysteries to drive a person crazy, and we get an amazing amount of information to further develop the theories of what the hell is really going on here.

The Evidence

Buena Vista keeps the bar high for Lost: The Complete Fourth Season with the usually beautifully crafted set. From a technical standpoint the picture is extremely clean and precise, and no doubt the high definition broadcasts insure we get an amazing looking experience. Black levels and colors are uniformly well balanced, and there's a sumptuous quality to the overall look of the show. Sound design is masterful as well with five speakers always engaged. This set doesn't scrimp on the extras; with four commentaries and two discs of bonus materials, it's enough to make a fan boy tremble with excitement. Don't forget about the mysterious Easter eggs that are scattered across the set waiting to be found as well (the impatient can see Lostpedia in the Accomplices section if you need help finding all of them). Even the packaging reveals a visual clue when you look for what happens to the cast picture when you slide out the set from its plastic slipcase.

Commentaries include:

* "The Beginning of the End" with actors Evangeline Lilly (Kate) and Jorge Garcia (Hurly). It's the first episode of the year, and the track seems to have been recorded long after the episode wrapped filming, but during the season's shooting. It's a really funny discussion about what the series is like for the actors.

* "The Constant" with editor Mark Goldman joined by executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Frequently this episode seems to be listed as a favorite of fans, so we get a nice track analyzing what it means to the mythology of the show. Recorded during the time these guys were working on the season finale. It's an excellent commentary with Lindelof and Cuse dominating the discussion.

* "Ji Yeon" with editor Stephen Semel accompanied by actors Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) and Yunjin Kim (Sun). This is one of the most structurally complex episodes, so it's nice to have the cast and editor here to explain it.

* "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3" with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse talking through the last two hours of the show, and promising to do your laundry and explain the rest of the season if you learn the correct catch phrase. Lindelof and Cuse have a nice rapport, and this is one of the rare occasions they get to discuss a finale for the series.

On Disc One before the show starts, we get Lost in 8:15, which is the story of the first three seasons in just over eight minutes. It's incredibly silly, but might be useful if for some reason you've decided to buy the fourth season of an elaborate mystery serial drama for grins.

Extras are found on the last two discs and include the following:

Disc Five
* "Lost on Location : Behind the Scenes" -- Segments exploring the making of several episodes in the season including input from the cast, crew, and even the stunt doubles of the actors. Option to watch all in sequential order or skip to specific ones.

* "The Right to Bear Arms" -- A look at the guns and weapons used on the series.

* "The Island Backlot" -- How they make Hawaii look like a remote uncivilized island as well as global locations for the series. Lost has only done location shooting off the islands on two separate occasions, and those were for secrecy and to connect two actors who were geographically too far apart.

* Blooper Reel -- The gag reel from this season.

* Deleted Scenes -- Moments excised from the show that provide extra character beats, but nothing substantial to the mythology of the series.

* "Soundtrack of Survival" -- Behind the music with the composer talking about his process including footage from a concert in Hawaii showcasing the soundtrack.

Disc Six
* "The Oceanic Six: The Definitive Flash forwards" -- A discussion of the Season Four constructs from the cast and creators. Then we get footage of the Oceanic Six's press conference and sequences that happened afterwards to each character in the correct order for the time line. Like getting one whole "off island" episode, although the footage is trimmed from what you see in the actual series.

* "The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies Documentary" -- A fake documentary that looks at the holes in the story of the survivors of flight 815.

* "The Freighter Folk" -- Meet the new cast who fans and critics seemed to actually like as compared to the unlucky season two and three additions who were dispatched of as quickly as they came (a moment of silence for Ana-Lucia, Paulo, and Nikki). Cast and creators discuss what the plan was for these characters, and how they executed it.

* Offshore Shoot -- A look at what filming was like on the freighter set which was actually a functioning ship out in the ocean off the coast of Hawaii called the Kahana.

* Mobisodes -- A collection of the short clips cellular customers were able to see and download. Some have material that have fans hotly debating what they mean to the series, particularly the one with Jack's dad.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Fans wondering about the differences between this set and the Blu Ray edition can rest easy knowing the only additional features are an interactive game type segment that forces viewers to assemble clips in to the correct time line and more footage from the Hawaii symphony playing "The Others" theme. It's not enough to say one is better than the other for the sake of extras, so you're fine with either format for home viewing without worrying you're missing out on any crucial information. Although I have heard there may be more Easter egg on the high definition format.

On DVD, this round of shows does feel like a short season, and when you consider it all fits on four discs, it literally is the least amount of episodes we've ever seen. Fans who seem to hold out for one marathon viewing will find it is easily watchable in a day rather than a two day venture as in the past. It's eight or nine episodes less than what we've had before. The results on the show meant some of the main characters did not get an episode dedicated to them, and for the first year Sawyer and Claire are not given a standalone hour. ABC and creators promise two hours will be added in the next couple of seasons to make up for any time missed from this year which was planned to be shorter at any rate.

Closing Statement

The faithful who have hung on for four years have certainly been rewarded with an excellently told story and a quartet of nicely produced DVD sets. Lost is an infuriating, ever-growing cluster of endless mysteries, and there is no way the resolves can live up to the build up we've had so far. I've heard murmuring the next two years will focus on getting back to the island and then what happens once the survivors return. We'll see more about the corporations behind the island such as Dharma along with Widmore, and discover how everything works. It'll be strange not to have as many questions as we're left with by the end of Season Four. i can't imagine a world where we're not wondering what's really going on with the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Lost is easily one of the best shows on the air right now, with only a few minor missteps along the way. Lost: The Complete Fourth Season should tide fans over until the premiere of Season Five on January 21st, 2009.

The Verdict

Guilty of being the most insanely addictive mystery fantasy series ever aired, this set upholds the promise of the previous seasons and adds depth to them. Lost continues the tradition of infuriating us with unsolved mysteries, creepy sequences, and a cast that knows how to capture our imagination. Free to go on for another two seasons, but with a warning that the payoff better be worth all of this.

Review content copyright © 2008 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 98
Audio: 98
Extras: 100
Acting: 98
Story: 98
Judgment: 98

Perp Profile
Studio: Buena Vista
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 604 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Audio Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Lost in 8:15
* The Right to Bear Arms - Guns and Weapons
* The Freighter Folk - Look at the New Cast
* The Island Backlot - How They Transform Hawaii
* Oceanic 6: Conspiracy of Lies Mockumentary
* Discussion of the Flash Forward Structure and Footage
* Offshore Shoot - The Freighter Set
* Soundtrack of Survival - Behind the Music
* Lost on Location - Behind the Scenes
* Bloopers
* Mobisodes

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0411008/combined

* Official Site
http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/index?pn=index

* TV Verdict Interview with Damon and Carlton
http://www.tvverdict.com/2008/12/02/qa-with-lost-head-writers-damon-lindelof-and-carlton-cuse/

* Lostpedia: Essential Guide
http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Main_Page

* Jay and Jack's Lost Podcast
http://www.jayandjack.com/