As an American, I have proudly watched hours upon hours of television my entire life. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was at least listening to television while still in the womb. From The Wonder Years to Darkwing Duck, from Happy Days to Mork and Mindy, from Law and Order to Matlock, I have seen some great shows over the years. In fact, when I look back on all the shows I have seen over the years (taking into consideration the ones I have completely forgotten about), I’m actually not sure how I was able to have a social life growing up gien all the hours I put into the tube.
The 21st century has brought a slew of great new shows, some which have been embraced by audiences, others that have not been. The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Carnivale, The Shield and many others are already classics in my opinion, but do you notice something about that trend? (hint: they all are on Cable TV) It’s true: Generally, cable channels are developing better television shows than the networks are, for a variety of reasons: expectations for audiences are less and, more importantly, there are less regulations as specified by the evil FCC.
But that doesn’t mean that network television is completely devoid of quality, serial television, though it’s awfully rare when you come across a show that defies expectations. There are some good shows on network television, but few, if any, come close to the epic sensation that is Lost. It’s had its ups and downs, like any show, but few shows keep you guessing like this one; few make you hate that week-long break between each episode; few shows, including the cable network shows, are as good as Lost.
The show faltered a bit in the first half of the third season, as the writers lingered a bit too long on Jack, Kate and Sawyer’s captivity, essentially altering the pace of the show and the focus on its characters. A two-month gap before the second half of the season didn’t help, leading to lost viewers (hahaha) and a studio decision on its hand: give Lost the finale it deserves, or drag it on like The X-Files. Thankfully, the studio gave a confirmation: the show would go for three more seasons and then end.
And Lost: Season 4 shows this transformation from a series that had to keep extending its storylines to one that just has to get to the end. In others words, Lost: Season 4 is a fast-paced, action-oriented, thrill-ride toward the ultimate climax. While I miss some of the answer-less episodes of Season 1 and Season 2, Lost: Season 4 is a superb season with lots of excitement, some answers finally revealed (of course, not without new questions being raised) and so on and so forth. Those who found Lost: Season 3 too fragmented and drawn out should have none of the same complaints about this season.
Lost: Season 4 comes packaged with the entire writer’s strike season as well as two bonus discs, stuffed with behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes and more. Lost has always been good at giving a behind-the-scenes look at the production, and its bonus features are top notch:
- The Right to Bear Arms
This featurette looks at the various guns used in the show, and the revelation that most of the actors aren’t sure if their own characters are packing heat. OK, more comical than anything else.
- The Freighter Folk
This one includes interviews with the new cast members, primarily added from the freighter. Many are doomed to die, but there are several new additions, and they are pretty entertaining when out of character.
- The Island Backlot: Lost in Hawaii
The best feature in the sets, this one explores how the crew transform various parts of Hawaii into the scenes in Lost, including exotic locations like Africa, Korea and so on and so forth. It’s pretty impressive, and neat to see.
- The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies
This faux documentary is a conspiracy tale of the cover-up of the crash of Oceanic 815.
- Offshore Shoot
This behind-the-scenes look explores filming on the freighter. This one’s pretty good.
- Soundtrack of Survival
This featurette looks at the composition of Lost‘s score. I’m not a huge fan of musical featurettes, as they all tend to be about the same, but it’s good for what it was.
- Lost On Location
Interviews with the cast and crew while filming. This one is pretty entertaining, as it shows how weather and other issues can lead to some pretty dull days at time.
- The Definitive Flash-Forwards
This one is nothing all-too-valuable, unless you want to watch a sequence of various flash-forwards from the season that are apparently more important than others.
- Bloopers, Deleted Scenes and Audio Commentaries
If you’re a Lost fan and you don’t own the DVD sets, what the hell is wrong with you? Re-watching the show is almost essential, and you get so much more out of it – not to mention the fact that watching the show episode-after-episode with no commercial breaks (including no fast-forwarding over commercials) is a sight to behold