Lost: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Steve Wrigley & Noor Razzak (30th June 2009).
The Show

Charles Dickens was a famous for being an author. His works not only included books but also serial dramas. He was also slightly famous for occasionally being accused of having no idea where these serial story plots were heading, of making it up as he went along. Dickens' books appeared all over the world, including on the bookshelves and hands of the characters on the serial drama "Lost".

One season down, and season two begins. I loved the beginning of this season. The flashback style storytelling gets flipped on us, as what we think the opening flashback of the show turns out to be the exact opposite. It's somebody in that cursed hatch! The moment and style in which this is revealed is indicative of how "Lost" understands its viewers and knows how to take their formed assumptions about the show or TV in general and flip it on its head.

Season two then gets off to a roaring start. More questions about the mysterious island are raised, a small few are answered (don't get your hopes up). We find out what's in the hatch and discover what will be one of the focal set pieces of season two - 'the button!'. If not pushed every 108 minutes, something bad will happen. Is it all just a psychological experiment to see if people will push it? Will something bad happen if you don't? Will John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) believe that this, in some way, is his test from god? What I can tell you is that the question of 'the button' begins in season two, and ends in season two.

It's the mystery that drives "Lost" along, not just on the island but its characters are also a mystery unto themselves. Season two keeps the structure of each episode focused on a specific character through what they do on the island and a series of flashbacks. And with the cast getting a half dozen new characters added, there is plenty more of the old 'are they a goodie of baddie?' element that drove season one.

Among these new additions is Michelle Rodriguez. Yet one more film actor who has gone TV. She brings in the character of Anna Lucia. Like all "Lost" characters, is a multi-dimensioned and well thought out and acted addition. She has led a group of plane survivors from the other end of the plane, the tail section, across the island to the main camp. Tough, and maybe a little crazy, her group's arrival, having just been brutally hounded and some of their party murdered by the mysterious 'others', causes some serious drama for all our survivors.

I do have to say however, as much as I love this show, the season finale I was forced to call a 'Charles Dickens'. Do you all know what your doing? On the official "Lost" podcast Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the shows co-creators and producers, said that the finale was written and shot in a week and a half, and how amazing it is. I beg to differ. I think that it shows terribly. The plot in this final episode seems to have trouble finding its focus and the whole episode does seem rushed, even with the disc extras. It also edges up to answering big questions but then, almost like a kid touching a flame it recoils in fear of getting too close. Maybe too close to revealing that this show is being made up as it goes along? Maybe too close for the network execs who want the fans to come back next season? Or, and I hope that after investing over fifty hours in getting to this point, maybe it's all part of the master plan and soon we will know all.

In any case, if you watched season one, you'll be watching this anyway, you'll have to, you're a Lost-a-holic. If you haven't watched season one, DON'T WATCH SEASON TWO TILL YOU HAVE! It'll make no sense.

This Season Two Blu-ray release of "Lost" includes all 24 episodes from that season, the episodes featured are:

Episode 1: "Man of Science, Man of Faith"
Episode 2: "Adrift"
Episode 3: "Orientation"
Episode 4: "Everybody Hates Hugo"
Episode 5: "...And Found"
Episode 6: "Abandoned"
Episode 7: "The Other 48 Days"
Episode 8: "Collision"
Episode 9: "What Kate Did"
Episode 10: "The 23rd Psalm"
Episode 11: "The Hunting Party"
Episode 12: "Fire + Water"
Episode 13: "The Long Con"
Episode 14: "One of Them"
Episode 15: "Maternity Leave"
Episode 16: "The Whole Truth"
Episode 17: "Lockdown"
Episode 18: "Dave"
Episode 19: "S.O.S."
Episode 20: "Two for the Road"
Episode 21: "?"
Episode 22: "Three Minutes"
Episode 23: "Live Together, Die Alone Part 1"
Episode 24: "Live Together, Die Alone Part 2"

Video

Presented in the show's broadcast ratio of 1.78:1 this high-definition transfer is 1080p 24/fps and has been mastered using AVC MPEG-4 compression and is a fantastic effort as expected. It's a significant upgrade from the standard definition DVD release (which was also fanstastic in its own right). Buena Vista continues to impressed with deep and rich colors, a vibrant and vivid palate that shows off the production well. I was pleased that skin tones appear natural, textures and fine detail hold up well, and while there's grain in darker scenes overall it's a pristine image. The image displays a respectable level of depth which beautifully captures the series filmed on 35mm film (a rarity these days as most television shows seem to be making the leap to digital HD camera, the film adds a weight and texture to the production that looks great). It's an incredible image that looks beautiful on my HD display.

Audio

Six audio tracks are present here in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mixed at 48kHz/16-bit as well as English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 surround with English, Portuguese and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround tracks as well. Much like the previous season (reviewed here) on Blu-ray this season dropped the excellent uncompressed PCM tracks for DTS-HD, and while this does come as a minor disappointment, the DTS-HD audio delivers in spades. The dialogue is clear and distortion free as expected, while the surround speakers are active and put to use for the majority of the time. Key action elements and scenes blast into a complex and rich surround mix and also does a great job of presenting the environmental and subtle ambient sounds that all lend to the overall immersive quality of the audio. Finally the film's score uses the surrounds well and contributed an additional layer to the active mix.
Subtitles are includes English, English for the hearing impaired, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Korean.

Extras

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has included a vast amount of extras in this set for fans, all of which were ported over from the DVD release. Included in this box set are episodic audio commentaries, a documentary, several featurettes, additional flashbacks, deleted scenes, bloopers, a UK promo and an interactive sequence. Below is a closer look at these extras broken down per disc.

Before getting into the meat of these discs, it's worth noting that each disc features some Blu-ray exclusive features, primarily they include D-Box motion code for each episode as well as "Season Play" function this feature allows you to jump straight into each episode after the next without missing your place between discs.

DISC ONE:

A single audio commentary is included on this disc for the episode "Man Of Science, Man Of Faith" with executive producers Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Bryan Burk and Jack Bender. In this track the participants discuss the fundamental decisions made for this season premiere episode. They comment on the major challenges faced in starting the second season as well as talk about the design of the hatch's interior, how the show was edited and the special effects utilized for this episode. They touch on thematic elements as well as the score and what it does for the show. Some of the best parts of this track has to do with how they decided to structure the episode and deliver what the fans wanted but also building story points around new undiscovered aspects such as 'the others'. This is an excellent track that provides some fun information for fans and is a great start to these supplements.

DISC TWO:

There are no extras on this disc.

DISC THREE:

This disc includes 2 audio commentaries, the first is on "What Kate Did" and is by director Paul Edwards, director of photography Michael Bonvillain and cast member Evangeline Lilly. They talk about the co-stars of the series and also comment on ADRing (automatic dialogue replacement) lines as well as reveal some production secrets and let us in on their experiences working on location. Lilly talks of the specific challenges related to doing a show that is focused on your character's back story. Bonvillain comments on the photography and lighting os scenes while the director talks of directing his first episode on the series and the continuing themes present.

The second audio commentary is on "The 23rd Psalm" and includes executive producers Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and Bryan Burk. They let us in on some clues for better understanding some elements of the show such as the title of this episode and it's meaning in relation to the events featured in it. They comment on the mystery surrounding Mr. Eko and constructing the story. Lindelof talks about how they convincingly turned a location in Hawaii to look like Nigeria. They also provide some character insights, the casting of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje among other things.

DISC FOUR:

The fourth disc includes an audio commentary on the episode "The Whole Truth" by cast members Daniel Dae Kim, Yoon-Jin Kim and writers Elizabeth Sarnoff and Christina M. Kim. The writers comment on how the actors brought their scripts to life and it turned out better than they had imagined. Daniel and Yoon-Jin comment on the complexities of their scenes and the extreme emotional shifts exhibited in this episode. The writers also comment on the impact of the flashbacks scenes, character insight is given and story elements are also covered among other topics that are spurred on by what is happening on-screen.

DISC FIVE:

The final audio commentary is found on this disc and is on the episode entitled "Dave" by director Jack Bender and cast members Jorge Garcia and Cynthia Watros. Bender talks about the early scenes setting up the episode and what he wanted to achieve visually with it. They comment on Hurley and Libby's relationship, as well as guest star Evan Handler and his performance and what he brought to the character of Dave. They is some interesting tidbits revealed in this track but overall it's not as compelling as the other tracks featured in this box set. This is certainly the weakest commentary.

DISC SIX:

There are no extras on this disc.

DISC SEVEN:

This is where the video extras are housed and they are split into three sections, "Phase 1", "Phase 2" and "Phase 3".

Phase 1

First up in this sub-section is a documentary entitled "Fire + Water: Anatomy Of An Episode" which runs for 31 minutes 44 seconds. This is an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the making of an entire episode, episode 12 "Fire + Water" to be exact from coming up with the story arc and writing process of the script to final delivery. We get a rare glimpse inside the writer's room as they develop the episode, once the script is complete it is delivered to the production heads who have 8 days of pre-production before that script is ready to go in front of cameras. The cast talk about their process, locations are locked down for the episode and crew are taken through the locations for prep. The art department has the job of turning a location into a set, this include dressing it. In this episode they need to make a Hawaiian street and building into Manchester, England in the 1980's, this includes making street signs and other elements to cheat the location. The costume department has little time to pick the wardrobe for the cast, and then filming begins. We get a look at the shooting of several key scenes and see the director do his thing as well as other members of the crew. Once the episode is in the can, the film gets shipped to Los Angeles for its post-production process which takes about two weeks, this includes the development of the film and its transfer to digital tape (this process is called 'telecine') the editors have 4 days to cut the episode and once a director's cut version is locked down final tweaks are made. ADR is recorded, music is added and finally after a total of 24 days the episode is delivered to the ABC network and the process begins again. This feature provides an excellent inside look at what is takes to pull off a show such as "Lost" and gives fans something of real interest to check out on this disc.

Next up are a series of 10 "Lost: On Location" featurettes. You can view these with a 'play all' function or individually. These clips cover the filming of 10 episodes from the series and feature interviews with cast and crew. Below is a look at each of these:

- "Adrift" runs for 3 minutes 17 seconds and takes a look at the making of the prop tiger shark and shooting the raft sequences at night with Michael and Sawyer. The director comments on attaining a degree of reality by actually shooting in the ocean rather than in a water tank set.

- "Everybody Hates Hugo" runs for 3 minutes 45 seconds and looks at the shooting of Hurley's flashback scenes as well as Sawyer, Michael and Jin's capture in the tiger trap and shooting those scenes in a location that posed several challenges. Finally we get a look at the introduction of the Ana Lucia and Libby characters.

- "Abandoned" runs for 4 minutes 36 seconds. This looks at Sayid and Shannon's relationship as well as a closer look at Swayer's character and his relationships with the women on the island. We get to see the filming of scenes in the Hawaiian jungle and finally explore Shannon's death and the cast reaction to that.

- "Collision" runs for 3 minutes 17 seconds. This takes a look at Ana Lucia's back story that explains her anger and the reveal of her mother and that interaction which opened a new side to the character.

- "The 23rd Psalm" runs for 4 minutes 21 seconds and this looks at creating Nigeria in Hawaii and a closer look at the character Mr. Eko's transformation from drug dealer to priest and the different faiths in which some characters follow, namely Eko (man of religion), Jack (man of science) and Locke (man of philosophy).

- "The Whole Truth" runs for 5 minutes 15 seconds and takes a look at Jin and Sun's character arcs, explores their back stories and moving their relationship forward on the island. The cast comment on the acting challenges that are faced, plus we get a look at Henry Gale's make-up process and the actor playing that character brought to second season as well as Ana Lucia's interrogation of that character.

- "Dave" runs for 5 minutes 42 seconds. This clip looks at the Hurley and Sawyer fight, Dave fall from the cliff as well as the kissing scene on that cliff with Libby.

- "S.O.S." runs for 4 minutes 47 seconds and focuses on Bernard and Rose's relationship and his need to build the giant S.O.S sign on the beach but ends up alienating himself from the rest of the castaways. Plus we learn how close their storyline is to actress L. Scott Caldwell.

- "Two For The Road" runs for 4 minutes 37 seconds. This is a look at the shooting of an Ana Lucia scene in Australia which involved some special effects as well as an exterior scene that had to be reversed to cheat an Australian exterior. There is also a look at a hatch scene with Ana Lucia and Michael.

- "Live Together, Die Together" runs for 5 minutes 8 seconds and focuses on the season finale. The co-ordination of the different units, Cynthia Watros' last day on the set, the shooting of a night time storm sequence involving Desmond's boat as well as the final scene that wraps the second season.

Following all those is another short featurette entitled "The World According To Sawyer" which runs for 4 minutes 30 seconds. This takes a look at the character's unique way of speech as the cast and crew comment on his lines. This is an amusing clip that caps of the "Phase 1" part of the disc and probably won't see much repeated viewing as the other clips we've seen so far.

Phase 2

Included in this sub-section are 3 "Lost Flashbacks" sequences. They include:

- Two sequences from the episode "Abandoned" the first is entitled "The Wake" which runs for 1 minute 28 seconds. This scene is between Shannon and her step-mother at her father's wake as they share a moment about what they have in common. The second sequence from this episode is entitled "The New Au Pair" and runs for 1 minute 8 seconds, here Shannon meets a French family as they welcome her into their home.

- The final Flashback sequence is from the episode "Lockdown" and is entitled "Locke's Father" this runs for 48 seconds. Locke and Helen (Katey Segal) are asked questions by the Priest who is holding the service for Locke's father.

Next up are a series of 14 deleted scenes. These can be viewed individually or with a 'play all' option. The scenes included are:

- "Seeing Walt" runs for 1 minute 17 seconds. Sun talks to Shannon about what she thinks she saw.
- "A Little You Time" runs for 1 minute 34 seconds, Charlie is frustrated that all Locke wants to do is sleep, Claire is convinced by Charlie to have some 'you' time and puts the baby in his care.
- "Sawyer's Visitor" runs for 1 minute 14 seconds, Libby visits Sawyer and gives him some water while he's in the tiger hole.
- "Dinner Time" runs for 1 minute 19 seconds, Ana Lucia serves up some scraps for dinner. - "Special Delivery" runs for 35 seconds, the tail section castaways find a box in the ocean, when opened it's just a shipment of boomerangs.
- "Ana Lucia's Prisoner" runs for 1 minute 20 seconds, Libby talks to a tied up Sayid and thinks that he might kill Ana Lucia if he's set free.
- "Libby and Claire" runs for 1 minute 8 seconds, Libby introduces herself to Claire.
- "Connected" runs for 1 minute 14 seconds, Michael asks Locke about whether the hatch has any connection to the other stations found.
- "I Need To Know" runs for 1 minute 11 seconds, Claire talks to Sayid about whether Charlie knew there were drugs in the Virgin Mary statues.
- "The Doctor's Solution" runs for 1 minute 25 seconds, Ana Lucia tells Mr. Eko about Jack's plan to go after 'the others'.
- "What's Your Story?" runs for 2 minutes 37 seconds, Hurley gets to know Libby while they're doing laundry in the hatch.
- "Weakness" runs for 36 seconds, Sayid tells Jack that is plan is foolish.
- "Are You Alright?" runs for 2 minutes 2 seconds, Jin and Rose talk about Bernard and they try to comfort each other.
- "I Miss..." runs for 44 seconds, Hurley and Libby jog on the beach and play a game were they talk about the things they miss from home.

It's easy to see why these scenes were cut out, some aren't that well acted while others may have been too long or unnecessary. While it's nice to have these scenes included on this release I am disappointed that there is no introduction or commentary by the key cast about why they were ultimately dropped.

Following those scenes is a blooper reel that runs for 4 minutes 6 seconds and is entitled "Lost Bloopers". This includes footage of the cast having fun, acting silly, flubbing lines, missing cues and just plain laughing about their mistakes. There's some funny stuff here but nothing that warrants repeat viewing.

A Channel 4 UK promo is also included directed by David LaChappelle, this clip runs for 1 minute 5 seconds and is a arty burlesque type ad featuring the cast on the beach narrated by they character motivations.

Phase 3

First up in this sub-section is an interactive feature entitled "Lost Connections" this is a 6 degrees of seperation game that allows you to connect the castaways to each other. This is fun for the first few seconds but gets boring quickly.

Next is 'Mysteries, Theories and Conspiracoes" featurette that runs for 10 minutes 16 seconds and is a fun and interesting look at the fan community surrounding the show and the various theaories they have developed about where the show is heading. The crew shed light on the popular ones and explore their probability.

Finally the last video extra on this disc is "Secrets From The Hatch" a featurette that runs for 15 minutes 46 seconds and takes a look at the hatch set, the central focal set piece from season two. It look at the design and construction of it, how the interior was introduced and who was inside it as well as a tour of the set. The creators comment on the effect it has on certain characters in this ultimatley interesting piece.

Packaging

This 7-disc set is packaged in a deluxe Blu-ray case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Show: B Video: A+ Audio: A Extras: A+ Overall: A

 


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