Published on SoCal.com
For six seasons, fans of the television phenomenon that was “Lost” were treated each week to so much more than an hour’s worth of entertainment. The show provided viewers with a story as impossibly tangled as the vines wrapping the crashed Oceanic 815’s cockpit, and as compelling as the need to type 4 8 15 16 23 42 every 108 minutes. Who were these people? What was the island? Where were they going to end up?
In its final season, the series’ creators did their best to answer most of those burning questions. Fans finally learned why the castaways were all drawn to the island, what the smoke monster was and who Richard Alpert, Jacob and The Man in Black really were. There was also a twist—viewers got to see what might have happened if the plane had actually made it to Los Angeles. By most accounts, the end of the series was satisfying, even if there were some plotlines left dangling.
With the arrival of “Lost: The Complete Sixth Season” (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, DVD: $59.99; Blu-ray: $79.99), longtime fans of the show might just find some of the closure they seek, as well as the last few tears not wrung out by the series’ finale in May.
While re-watching the 15 episodes leading up to the series finale, viewers can enjoy audio commentary on four key episodes (“LA X,” “Dr. Linus,” “Ab Aeterno” and “Across the Sea”) by series creator Damon Lindelof and writer/executive producer Carlton Cuse. These finally offer insight into the creative process behind “Lost” and why certain choices were made in telling the story. Amid the lighthearted banter and easy rapport between the two are the reasoning behind the flash sideways, the timing of the two mythology-based episodes and why viewers never really learned “the rules” of the island. It’s interesting to note that there is no commentary on the finale, however. If ever an episode demanded commentary, that’s the one. It’s a pretty glaring omission.
After the final episode, fans can finally find the answers to some of the series’ lesser mysteries (and at least one forgotten character) in the 12-minute epilogue, “The New Man in Charge.” This brand-new footage is shot with actors Michael Emerson, Jorge Garcia and (SPOILER ALERT!) Malcolm David Kelley, a.k.a. the long-lost Walt. While interesting as a stand-alone piece, this minisode seems more like an afterthought than (as some critics claim) a ploy to get fans to purchase the DVD or Blu-ray in order to find the closure they seek. It’s a nice bit of story that illustrates where things might be headed for the folks on the island (and answers a few more insignificant questions), but it doesn’t delve into some of the more popular mysteries (Who built that four-toed statue? Why do pregnant women die on the island? What’s with that temple?). Watch it to be entertained and to feel a little nostalgia for the series, but don’t expect much resolution.
For a more satisfying bonus feature, watch “The End: Crafting a Final Season.” This featurette is a visual scrapbook of the filming of the last season, from the Hawaiian blessing on day one to the final “cut.” In the words of one crew member, it’s like senior year, except that as a senior you’re excited to be finished with school, whereas the mood on “Lost” was much more bittersweet. In this short, viewers get to experience the emotions of “Lost’s” cast and crew as they count down to the finale, as well as commentary from Hollywood insiders (such as Stephen J. Cannell) who are also fans. One of the most poignant scenes occurs when viewers get to witness the impact on Jorge Garcia (Hurley) as he first reads the final scene of the last episode. As he discovers his ultimate role on the island, a single tear trickles down his face. He then shuts the script and pronounces, “it’s good.” It’s drama just as affecting as anything on the show.
Another attempt to clarify concepts from the final season is “See You in Another Life, Brotha,” which delves deeper into the flash sideways concept with cast interviews and insights from Lindelof and Cuse. Viewers learn each character’s take on their alternate-reality egos and what they think of the device.
“A Hero’s Journey” visits the question “What makes a hero?,” as well as explores the heroic actions of many of the survivors of Oceanic 815. In a show such as this, with more than one hero, it is interesting to follow some of their journeys juxtaposed with the writings of American mythologist Joseph Campbell. Why was Jack (Matthew Fox) heroic, even though he spent much of the season running away? Why was Sayid (Naveen Andrews) heroic, even though he was a torturer and murderer? What made Kate (Evangeline Lilly) a hero, even though she was a criminal on the run? The answers are intriguing.
“Lost on Location” takes viewers behind the scenes of some of the season’s most spectacular stunts, intricate sets and filming challenges. We get to see some of the hurdles involved in filming Sun and Jin’s final scene (hint: where are the restrooms when the cast and crew is underwater all day?) and also how the scene with Charlie and Desmond underwater after their car crashes in the bay was captured for the cameras. One of the most interesting vignettes is the construction of the jungle temple. The stone walls, covered with hieroglyphics designed with a wink and a nod by the crew (and shown off by an affable Garcia), were actually Styrofoam, and the dense jungle was only about two-feet-wide before ending in the studio parking lot.
Of course, no DVD or Blu-ray release would be complete without a blooper reel or deleted scenes, and “Lost: The Complete Sixth Season” contains both, although they’re the least compelling pieces of this particular puzzle. For hardcore “Lost” fans, the “Lost University Master’s Program” is easily the most compelling bonus feature, a Blu-ray exclusive that allows viewers the chance to “delve even deeper into the themes and mysteries” of “Lost” thanks to BD-Live. Dharma Initiative geeks, rejoice!
Finally, for those who have been curious about the show but are reluctant to watch the previous five seasons to catch up, there’s something for you as well. “Lost in 8:15—A Crash Course” takes viewers through a rapid-fire (but very concise) capsule of the first five seasons, so you can jump right in at the deep end of the pool, so to speak.
So does the release of “Lost: The Complete Sixth Season” answer every burning question or tie up every storyline with a neat bow? No. Even the simultaneous release of “Lost: The Complete Collection” (DVD: $229.99; Blu-ray: $279.99) doesn’t accomplish that feat, although it does come with more than 30 hours of bonus materials, a special edition collectible “Senet” game, a collectible Ankh, a custom Lost island replica, an exclusive episode guide, a black light penlight and more, all packaged in what appears to be an ancient stone relic. What “Lost: The Complete Sixth Season” does offer fans, though, is an often touching, sometimes maddening, ever-intriguing capsule of one of the most compelling shows to ever air on television.
”Lost: The Complete Sixth Season” and “Lost: The Complete Collection” are now available on DVD and Blu-ray.