Lost Season Three - BRD
Created by J. J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber & Damon Lindelof
Originally aired on ABC, October 4, 2006 to May 23, 2007
Production: ABC Studios
Video: Buena Vista Home Entertainment (USA)
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Region 1: NTSC
Supplements: 1080p & 1080i / English 5.1
English 5.1 Uncompressed (48 kHz/16-bit)
Feature: English SDH, Spanish & French
Extras: English SDH & French
• Audio Commentaries on Selected Episodes,
• The World of the Others
• Lost Flashbacks
• Lost On Location
• The Lost Book Club
• Lost in a Day
• Deleted Scenes
• Lost Bloopers
BRD Exclusive Extras
• Access: Granted (An interactive control panel that deciphers truth from fiction.)
• Blu-Prints (A guided tour of the island)
8 chapters per episode
approx 43 minutes per episode
5 episodes per disc
16.5 hours, total + extra features
1 box set, complete on 6 discs
Large plastic jewel case in slipcase
50 GB dual-layer
Release Date: December 11, 2007
Lost 3 ~ Comment
Lost was ABC's very successful answer to Fox's 24 which had already completed its third season by the time the pilot episode for Lost was launched in September of 2004. Lost's third season closed its hatch in May of this year, with simultaneous release in SD, HD and Blu-ray DVD just this week – even in advance of the start of Season 4 which, somehow, seems to have gotten . . . lost.
What sets Lost apart from its other action/adventure/thriller primetime competition is the sci-fi nature of the material. As preposterous as the situations that confront 24's Jack Bauer, they are intended to be taken as realistic; and though Lost uses live actors and precious little CGI, we are invited to question that very premise. As the seasons progress, reality, fantasy, and sci-fi elements co-mingle in ways that either draw us in or put us off, depending on our needs for grounding or consistency.
Unlike the frantic pace necessarily generated by 24's peculiar format, Lost takes all the time it wants and needs to sort itself out through the use of flashback, which is its main resource for fleshing out characters and to reveal how the island changes their lives for good and ill. For those not in the loop already, you might think of Lost as Survivor with paid actors on a very inhospitable Fantasy Island. Back at the beginning of Season One, Oceanic Flight 815 bound for Los Angeles from Sydney breaks apart in mid-air under mysterious circumstances and deposits its remains over what seems at first to be your basic deserted, but ample, remote South Sea island. Forty-eight souls, all with some pretty serious baggage, revealed bit by bit in flashbacks, survive. Convinced that their chances for being found are slim, they begin to develop a small society to meet its clear and present challenges. What they don't know – yet – is that they are not alone.
In addition to some expected and unexpected hostile fauna, the survivors discover the "Others," whose main reason for being there appears to be to frighten the bejeebies out of the newcomers to the island. Then there's the Hatch and what it opens up, which is a good deal of what Season Two is about, leading to the Button and whether or not to push it. The various survivors form new alliances while old ones are threatened or torn apart.
The Score Card
The Series (Season Three) : 7.5
Season Two brought the survivors and the "Others" into closer and progressively more dangerous proximity. That season ended with Jack and Sayid devising a plan to confront the Others, as Locke makes what could be a cataclysmic decision about the Button. Season Three opens with Jack, Katie and Sawyer prisoners of the Others, and much of the season is involved with a sadistic and life threatening game of capture and rescue musical chairs between the survivors and the Others. Things get increasingly more bizarre and creepier throughout the season. But when all is said and done: They're still lost.
Image : 9 (8-9.5/11)
The score of 9 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what we could expect from the good broadcast quality in HD.
According to the promotional prologue that starts off disc one, this Blu-ray edition is the best looking presentation Lost, Season 3 has ever seen, "even if you seen the show on a high definition display" when originally aired. The graphics suggest that such an HD broadcast was shown in 4:3 aspect ratio. Was it? I don't recall for certain. But I do believe it was in 720p. So, one way or another, this BRD is going to look better if they didn't screw the pooch. And it certainly looks like they didn't.
Compared to a Sopranos, a 24 or a Prison Break, Lost certainly has the best locations – and they are taken full advantage of in a wide screen high definition format. As you are no doubt aware, the show is shot on Oahu - at least for now - and you may never have seen the island looking more beautiful than on these discs. It's like Planet Earth with humans instead of critters (though there are those) and with a sharper image. Due to its many action filled outdoor locations, the image isn't quite as sharp as often as Prison Break on BRD, but it certainly is more pleasing to the eye, to say nothing of a handsomer cast (if that's your thing.)
Audio & Music : 9/7
Again, comparing the presentation with Prison Break, there is more subtlety in both image and sound possible, and in both case, Lost, Season 3 scores. We get your surf breakers, your forest sounds, your various city noises in the flashback sequences, the dialogue, and the many steely bits and explosions to jar and frighten. It's all there and most successfully. Sometimes it's hard to keep in perspective that this is "just a TV show" as we bathe in the production values that went into it.
Operations : 4
The first and last discs are really slow-loading, like over 3 minutes in my Sony S-300, the world's slowest player. Once the menu comes up from any point, the functions are sluggish, but not snailish. Curiously, but no big loss, there are no chapter stops, only episode stops. From my player, with some episodes, the first word or two of "Previously on Lost… is lost (is this a joke?), and a couple of other episode beginnings sputtered instead of started smoothly. One unexpected feature I liked: the main menu had a different look foe each disc, against a different Lost scene. The functions, however, were kept in the same order, so it didn't require a complete rethink.
A word about the packaging: A 2-cm thick jewel box houses the six discs, four of which attach to pairs of loosely fitting flip-pages. This box, in turn, slides out of a case that first needs to be opened like a book, sort of. My personal preference is: the fewer moves necessary to access the discs, the better. I'm not sure what the intention is with cases within cases. It certainly doesn't help to avoid dust or scratching. [In this regard I prefer the design for the SD editions of Rome to Deadwood.] These sorts of (inner) Blu-ray cases seem cheaply made and give me the feeling that the whole thing is about to fall apart at any moment, unlike their SD DVD counterparts. This is not a fault with Buena Vista or ABC, particularly as these cases are standard fare for other multi-disc sets, such as Planet Earth and Prison Break. The industry seems to have settled on mediocre packaging for their high definition product, as if they have learned nothing useful from over ten years of DVD case design experiments.
Extras : 8
The Extra Features from the SD edition are all ported over. They are in 1080p, but often generally don't look it, unless they are footage blended in from the show itself. I particularly liked Lost On Location, a 58 minute featurette where a different cast member walks us through one of the episodes, and fleshes out the situation, the set or their character. The 1080p image (for non-episode footage) looks best here, as well.
The Blu-ray edition contains two HD exclusives: Lost Blu-prints, a 16 minute segment that takes us around to the various sets that, along with large diagrams (that look like the real thing - which is why god gave us the Pause button: to study such things to our full) and footage from the show, shows us how each set functions. The BD-Java program titled Access: Granted is something you are cautioned not to watch until you've watched the whole season, nor share with others (like the ads for Psycho urging us not to reveal the ending.) Co-creator Damon Lindelof and co-producer, Carton Cuse, address a dozen or so burning topics, promising not to equivocate. But these guys, especially Lindelof, are having way too much fun to be taken seriously, and my chain feels jerked even when they promise they are telling the truth. As the liner notes say, this is an interactive control panel that "deciphers truth from fiction" in regards any number of your most mind-boggling questions, such as: Was Locke really paralyzed before he came to the Island, and what would happen to him if he left; What about those polar bears, and are there any left; or What would happen if the Button weren't pushed? This feature's controls require some deciphering in order to move from one part of it to another. Or, you can just read the instructions, which are clear enough, though the results are less so. The part that sucks here is the size of the image on the TV screen that, while part of a very familiar looking control panel, is only about a quarter of the entire frame, as you can see in the screen captures. Worse still, the indicator lights are ever so small. All the Java and all the HD can't make these images any bigger, however.
It's hard for me to imagine why a Lost fan would trouble themselves with the SD version regardless of the cost difference, given the choice. More than any TV show and many a movie, this is the format that high definition was created for. The colors are vivid (even if more so than natural), and the photography does them proud.
Unlike Fox's Prison Break - Season One, ABC is starting off with their first TV series on Blu-ray with a third, rather than a first season. It is being released simultaneously with the SD version, so there is that marketing advantage. I just wonder what the studio's intentions are about Seasons 1 and 2, and what first SD adopters are thinking about re that question?
December 15th, 2007
Enter the Dragon