Lost Season 4: The Extended Experience

Lost Season 4: The Extended Experience
Television's most confusion, convoluted and - for those sucked into its mysteries - compelling TV show has had some low points in its second and third seasons but the fourth is very strong, with fascinating mysteries revealed while others deepen. It's challenging to discuss this show without at least minor spoilers: fresh blood gets injected into both the day-to-day cast and big picture mysteries by the arrival of the "freighter folk" (who occupy an offshore ship full of scientists who may or may not be rescuers) and by the third-season revelation that at least some castaways get off the island -referred to as "the Oceanic Six." It shakes up the whole conception of the show in brilliant ways: flashbacks suddenly become "flash forwards," allowing the narrative to explore the past, present and future, which is appropriate given the increasing "nature of time" mysteries central to the show, and it upends the assumption that the series' final scene (coming at the end of its sixth year) will be a castaway rescue. Its deep mythology makes repeat viewing almost a requirement for serious fans but these sets have become invaluable for much more than just episodes. With a slightly truncated season due to the writer's strike (though only by a couple of episodes), two full discs of extra content are included and they're universally terrific. How Hawaii has been transformed into a global pantheon of locations, a look at the "freighter folk cast" (whose back stories got short shrift from the cutback season), bloopers and deleted scenes, as well as Lost "mobisodes" are all informative and well-produced. But perhaps most entertaining is a faux conspiracy documentary - sent "anonymously" to producers - that examines the official story of the "Oceanic Six" and why it points to a global cover-up. It's a brilliant way to acknowledge the outside world's lack of information about the island goings-on, and is appropriately paranoid in the way it clings to details both minor (hair cuts) and major (the extent of damage that would have been done to the plane upon impact). For years, Lost has been a rabbit hole down which you could go as far as you wanted - extensive literary and scientific references, online RPGs, conspiracy theories - and the DVDs continue to provide great signposts. Even people who dismissed the show in early seasons for displaying an X-Files-esque lack of focus have to acknowledge that there's some serious storytelling mastery on display now. Plus: audio commentaries, more. (Buena Vista)