DVD Review: “LOST, The Complete Fourth Season: The Extended Experience”


By now you’ve probably seen the promos on ABC for the return of the fifth season of “LOST” airing January 21st. Season 4 was cut short by the writer’s strike, and it has been eight months since the show last aired. If you want to refresh your memory before jumping into the new season, check out the season 4 DVD set.

The amount of material on this set is a bit less overwhelming than with prior seasons as there were only 12 episodes (13 if you count the two part season ender). But the stories are complex and hold up well on repeat viewings, so they are worthwhile. Also, you may find details you missed when the episodes originally aired.
Season 4 picks up with the stunning revelation that at least two characters actually do make it off the island sometime in the future. With each episode, you are shown some of what will happen to those who end up rescued (in a plot device now known as a “flash forward”) as well as more background in the form of flashbacks on those who are left behind. And when a freighter sends four of its crew to the island via helicopter, we find that they have their own reasons for going there that have little to do with helping the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815.
As with all the previous seasons, there are plenty of plot twists, mysteries that lead to more mysteries and the impossible made possible or at least plausible. The island itself is a character having properties of great interest to scientists and wealthy men who would like to profit from its secrets. The obsession with the island by some is so great that someone went to a great deal of trouble to put fake airplane wreckage at the bottom of the ocean to fool the world into believing no one survived the crash so all searches would be called off.
One of the great delights of the DVD sets of “LOST” is the plethora of extra material that comes with each one. Despite the shortened season, this set contains six discs and has a total running time of over 600 minutes! The first four discs contain the original episodes, some with commentaries (which I highly recommend because they are frequently amusing and always illuminating), and the last two discs are all bonus goodies.
The feature that has become a constant of the DVD sets is called “LOST On Location”. In it, you get to see behind the scenes goings on of several episodes. Usually these highlight the creation of a particular scene or stunt, like when actor Josh Holloway demonstrates how his character Sawyer is supposed to rescue someone while under a hail of gunfire, pointing out which actions in the scene will be done by him and which will be done by a stunt double.
Because the story line of “LOST” is so complex, I really appreciated the features that brought things into perspective. One is an amusing attempt to explain the past four seasons in eight minutes. The other, which is extremely helpful, takes all the flash forwards and puts them into chronological order, showing each in its entirety.
The most fascinating feature amongst the goodies is called “The Island Backlot”. In it, they show how they are able to get Oahu, Hawaii, to look like various parts of the world such as Korea, Tunisia, Australia, Iraq, London and Los Angeles. Their attention to detail is amazing, such as when they cover a city street in melting ice to resemble a winter scene in Berlin.
Because there are four new major characters on the show, there is a segment all about them and the actors that portray them. Also, since a freighter was part of several episodes, we get to see how that was done, which parts were filmed on a real freighter and which ones on a set. There is also an amusing segment on keeping track of all the weaponry used on the show.
A feature I really enjoyed is a fake documentary about the six individuals who made it off the island and how they appear to be hiding something. Part of the appeal of “LOST” is all the lies, half-truths and out-and-out conspiracies that take place both on and off the island. So an “expose” of the survivors’ tall tales fits right in with the regular episode material.
Finally, the bonus features contain bloopers and deleted scenes that one might expect. There are also a few surprises, such as short “webisodes”. And in each boxed set, there is an absolutely hilarious brochure supposedly outlining Oceanic Airlines’ safety procedures.
I have always thought that the “LOST” DVD sets have had the most bang for your buck in terms of sheer quantity and quality of material. Season 4 did not disappoint. It’s a great way to get revved up for Season 5.

Submitted by: Karen Brauer, Butyoudontlooksick.com, © 2009

  • Hannah

    I am a Lost-aholic! I am SO stoked for the new season. Seriously, when you’re sick this show is the best. You see something new EVERY time you watch them, and if you can’t afford to buy them they’re available off Netflix and I’m sure other movie-renting sites as well.
    Great stuff, only a few more DAYS till the new season! The 21st, I think…