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Lost: The Complete Fifth Season (2009)

ABC Studios
Blu-ray Disc Released: 12/8/2009

All Ratings out of
Show: 1/2
Video: 1/2
Audio: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/8/2009

The slogan for Snickers candy bars used to be, "Packed with peanuts, Snickers really satisfies." (I don't know what it is these days. The last one that I heard was, "Hungry? Grab a Snickers"  Well, that doesn't beat around the bush, now does it?) That kind of slogan summarizes exactly what Americans like -- we want a product which is overflowing with substance so that we won't want anything else. (Of course, this doesn't work, as we are always wanting.) Given that slant, it's no surprise that the television show Lost is a hit. Say what you will about the show (and we will), there is no other show on TV which contains as many twists, turns, characters, and storylines as Lost. Just like those peanuts in the Snickers, Lost is packed with stuff. The question is, is there too much stuff?

(Spoiler Warning: I can't discuss Season 5 of Lost without divulging secrets from the previous seasons, so please read with caution. But, let's be honest, if you haven't been watching the show, you wouldn't understand any of what follows anyway.) As Lost is a cliffhanger drama, Season 5 opens just where Season 4 ended. The island had been raided by a group of soldiers sent by Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) to kill Ben Linus (Michael Emerson), and this had thrown everything into chaos. Just as Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lily), Sun (Yunjin Kim), Sayid (Naveen Andrews), and Hurley (Jorge Garcia) were escaping from the island in a helicopter, Ben moved an ancient wheel, which caused the island to disappear. This splits the show's story into two parts. Those on the helicopter make it back to civilization and must concoct a story about what happened -- and they must live with the guilt of that decision. Meanwhile, Ben's actions have caused the island to start moving through time. Those left behind -- Sawyer (Josh Holloway), Locke (Terry O'Quinn), Juliette (Elizabeth Mitchell) and newcomers Daniel (Jeremy Davies), Miles (Ken Leung), and Charlotte (Rebecca Mader) -- find themselves jumping from one point in time to the next. In an attempt to stop this, Locke decides to fix the wheel that Ben moved. This causes him to vanish, but it also makes the island stop moving, trapping those left behind in 1974. So, the time travelers must try and make the best of living on the island in the past, while those who escaped become involved in a plan to return to the island and set everything straight.

There are several things about Lost which set it apart from other shows. One of these elements is the fact that the series constantly introduces new ideas into the story. Lost has taken the relatively simply premise of a group of survivors from a plane crash trying to make it upon an island, and built an incredibly elaborate mythos around. Yes, this discourages newcomers from jumping into the show, but long-time fans are constantly getting new surprises.

Season 5 was no exception, as it introduce the concept of time travel into the show. This had been flirted with before in a storyline concerning Daniel and Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), but the fifth season became all about time travel. And like any show or movie which deals with time travel, things got confusing. And yet, the people behind Lost seem to understand this, as Miles and Hurley have a debate about time travels and paradoxes, where both admit that they have no idea what is going on. This new storyline allowed the show to do several things. First, we got a better look at the day-to-day workings of the Dharma Initiative. Also, the show was able to add another level to its trademark flashbacks -- now we were not only seeing the characters' pasts, we were jumping back and forth between 1977 and 2007. The writers did a good job of drawing parallels between the two timelines and keeping several balls in the air at once.

The ultimate testament to the quality of Lost may be this; the show can be confusing and frustrating, but it always gives you just enough to keep you coming back for more. Watching Season 5 for a second time, I came away with more questions than answers. This is the kind of show that when closely examined, reveals chinks in the armor. Yes, the writers manage to tell many stories at once, but some get left behind, ignored, or simply mistakenly stepped over. All can be forgiven when one reaches the finale of Season 5. In case you haven't seen it, I'm not going to give anything away, but this is one of the only cliffhangers of which I can think where I have no idea what will happen next. We knew that someone shot J.R. and we knew that Ross would choose either Rachel or Bonnie, but this Lost cliffhanger could go in several directions. Needless to say, I'll be there front and center when Season 6 debuts. If you don't watch Lost, this is the perfect show for home video, as you can see all of the episodes back-to-back and watch this intricate story unfold.

Lost: The Complete Fifth Season gets a nosebleed on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of ABC Studios (a division of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment). This five-disc boxed set contains all 16 episodes (including the two-hour finale) from Season 5. The show has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Discs contain an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 22 Mbps. The image is incredibly sharp and clear, showing no defects from the source material. There is a shot here or there which shows grain, but otherwise the image looks great. As with past Lost Blu-rays, the daytime shots on the beach look gorgeous. The colors look fantastic and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image has very nice detail, and one look at the landscape shots reveals the picture's depth. The Discs offer a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 22 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are very good, as the mix does a fine job of presenting the various island sounds. Likewise, there is a nice use of surround sound, especially with the flashback sound effect. The subwoofer effects are nicely done, and any scene with a low rumble really pays off. Overall, a nice presentation.

The Lost: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Disc set contains several extras. "Lost 100" (19 minutes), which gives an overview of the production of the series' 100th episodes. We get behind-the-scenes footage and comments from various cast and crew members. "Mysteries of the Universe" (26 minutes) is a fake episode of a TV show from the 1980s which probes the secrets of a group known of the Dharma Initiative. "Making Up For Lost Time" (14 minutes) is a discussion of how time-travel figured into Season 5. The cast and crew talk about the challenge of changing things for the time travel and the challenge of keeping everything straight. "An Epic Day with Richard Alpert" (12 minutes) follows actor Nestor Carbonell through a day and night of shooting the show. In "Building 23 & Beyond" (12 minutes), actor Michael Emerson tours the Lost offices in Burbank to see what kind of work goes on there. "Lost on Location" (37 minutes) takes a closer look at seven episodes from Season 5, specifically the various locations which are used to create specific areas on the show. The Disc contains eight DELETED SCENES from various episodes which run about 14 minutes. Most of these are fairly short and play more like extended moments from scenes in the show. "Lost Bloopers" is a 4-minute gag reel. Disc 1 offers an AUDIO COMMENTARY on the episode "Because You Left" from Co-Creator/Executive Producer Damon Lindelof and Executive Producer Carlton Cuse. Disc 3 has an AUDIO COMMENTARY on the episode "He's Our You" with Executive Producer/Writer Edwards Kitsis and Executive Producer/Writer Adam Horowitz.

Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long