Lost: The Complete First Season

Television has entered a new age with the rise of TV on DVD, and complex, serialised shows like Lost are the result. But the quality of this offering as it turns out — as revealed through a fairly extensive disc of DVD extras — seems to be more the result of quick decision making and a lack of corporate interference than an ABC-driven plan to hatch smart, complex viewing. The second biggest breakout hit of the last TV season was surprisingly one of the last shows put on the schedule: it was sold to the network on an outline written by J.J. Abrams and co-creator Damon Lindelof even before a pilot script was written; it was cast by finding actors the producers liked, who then helped writers construct characters around them; and shooting began before they confirmed that the role of Kate would be filled by Canadian newcomer Evangeline Lilly (her work visa was pushed through at the last minute of the rushed production). But this speed resulted not in a mess but an unaltered piece of truly compelling television drama. The action involves the survivors of a plane crash lost somewhere in the South Pacific (filmed in Hawaii); as stories unfold, it becomes clear that weird, spooky shit is going on with the island, which is home to polar bears, unseen monsters, mysterious unopened hatches, crazy French women and a larger mystery involving unborn children and evil numbers. It might seem redundant to release a DVD while the first season hasn't even completed its spin on reruns, but Lost is a show that demands your attention. If even a single episode was missed, it's essential to come back to this DVD and do your makeup work. Fans looking for extra clues and hints about the nature of the island and the fate of its inhabitants won't find many answers on this seven-disc set, but what they will find deepens the understanding of the show's creation and the depth of its characterisation. A series of mini-featurettes looks at different complications of various episodes (untrained Hawaiian boars, actor Daniel Dae Kim acting in Korean for the first time in his career, etc.), while casting and creation featurettes showcase almost every male actor reading for Josh Holloway's role as Sawyer (including Hurley, aka Jorge Garcia). Some of them are fluffy bits of promo (backstage with Driveshaft, for example) but most are better than average. For its intricate storylines, as well as the depth explored by the DVD, Lost is the first essential DVD of the 2004-2005 television season. Plus: Commentaries, deleted scenes, bloopers, On Set with Jimmy Kimmel, more. (Touchstone/Buena Vista)