Lost - The Complete Fourth Season

Actors: Evangeline Lilly, Dominic Monaghan, Matthew Fox
Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio:
Number of discs:
Buena Vista
DVD Release Date:
December 9, 2008
Run Time:
604 minutes



Viewership figures have tumbled precipitously after the first few episodes of its second season when it was revealed what exactly it was down that hatch.

Persistent fans of this show, about a group of airline crash survivors stuck on a deserted tropical island possessed of unexplained and almost magical properties, will however know that there has been no drop whatsoever in the quality of writing, acting and production values in what made Lost such a ?water cooler? TV show in the first place.

Lost's science fiction leanings have become more pronounced in its fourth season as storylines involving time travel amongst other genre staples are introduced. Sly in-jokes aimed at genre fans abound: one character reads Philip K. Dick?s last and most personal (and difficult) novel, Valis.

Another character is named Charlotte Staples Lewis (C.S. Lewis - geddit?). Also new to the show are flash forwards, a sure indication that much of the back story is now largely finished, even though flashbacks have not have been discarded altogether, and that the narrative is definitely moving forward. Many viewers abandoned the show out of the fear that the writers are simply making it all up as they go along, but Season Four proves that there is indeed a grand scheme of things and that plot issues will most likely get resolved within the next two planned seasons.

Keeping things interesting some new characters are introduced while others are killed off. At times the narrative becomes too involved and complex, especially when viewers are asked to recall this or that obscure character or event from the myriad of characters and their back stories from the previous seasons, but this is a minor complaint.

THE DISCS: Courtesy of the recent Hollywood writers strike, Lost (like many other recent shows such as The Sarah Connor Chronicles) only had a limited run on its fourth season.

All 14 - as opposed to the normal 23 episodes ? are spread over four discs. As if to make up for the shortfall in actual episodes, the bonus features now span over two extra discs as opposed to the normal single disc of extras found in previous Lost box sets.

Most of the bonus features are well worth checking out and doesn't feel like unnecessary let's fill this disc up with unwatchable crap padding, with the possible exception of Course of the Future: The Definitive Flash Forwards, which somewhat redundantly re-edits all the essential flash forward scenes into their ?correct? chronological order, a bit like when they broadcast The Godfather I and II on television way back then.

(It goes without saying that it is best to check out the special features - including the various audio commentaries - only after you've watched all the episodes in the box set as they do contain spoilers.)

What the various making-of features again make abundantly clear is the sheer scale and effort that goes into making a show as wildly ambitious as Lost, and also how inventive the producers are when it comes to cutting costs. This is, after all, still a TV show even it often aims for the scale usually found in what they used to call major motion pictures.

Especially of interest is the fact that most of the show's many "overseas" locations (Scotland army barracks, Harvard, Iraq, etc.) are actually shot mostly right in Hawaii. We have always maintained that the best special effects are the ones that don't call attention to themselves and The Island Backlot: Lost in Hawaii shows how cleverly digital and other effects are used to realistically recreate exotic locales such as a freezing Berlin strasse right in Honolulu's sweltering midtown. It is often the patently obvious effects that disappoint, like that of a freighter blowing up or a helicopter crash-landing in the ocean.

Even the various deleted scenes and short mobisodes are fun. Also of interest is a short mockumentary titled The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies which pokes fun at your typical breathless, overdramatic UFOs are real! documentaries usually shown on television.

The irony here of course is that the documentary is ?correct.? It points out that an airliner crashing into the ocean might as well crash into the ground as the plane practically disintegrates upon impact and doesn't neatly sink to the bottom of the ocean as is shown in this season of Lost. Your chances of survival are also nil. A nice thought to have in the back of your mind as you book your next intercontinental flight . . .

The features are:

Bonus features (disc five)

  • Lost on Location
  • The Island Backlot: Lost in Hawaii
  • The Right to Bear Arms
  • Soundtrack of Survival: Composing for Character, Conflict and the Crash
  • Lost bloopers
  • Deleted scenes

Bonus features (disc six):

  • Course of the Future: The Definitive Flash Forwards
  • The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies
  • The Freighter Folk
  • Offshore shoot
  • Lost: Missing Pieces (mobisodes)

Other bonus features include:

  • The Beginning of the End - with commentary by actor Evangeline Lilly and actor Jorge Garcia
  • The Constant - with commentary by Editor Mark Goldman, Co-creator / Exec. Producer Damon Lindelof and Exec. Producer Carlton Cuse
  • Ji Yeon - with commentary by Director Stephen Semel, actor Daniel Dae Kim and actor Yunjin Kim
  • There?s No Place Like Home (Part 2) - with commentary by Co-creator / Executive Producer Damon Lindelof and Executive Producer Carlton Cuse

WORTH IT? Definitely. Lost is still gripping stuff and one keeps on watching one episode after another in this season waiting for events in the "present" to finally intersect with the flash forwards. In that sense Lost is better suited to viewing on DVD rather than TV as one is left scratching one's head about what happened in the episode from two or three weeks ago.

RECOMMENDATION: If you had given up on Lost, then you are losing out (groan) on what is surely one of the best genre TV shows out there right now (along with Battlestar Galactica and the new Doctor Who). Besides, any show which has Brian K. Vaughn ? writer of one of the best comics of the past decade or so (Y: The Last Man, being made into a movie right now) - aboard as one of its regular writers can't be all bad, now can it? Try picking up the strands from where you left off last or start afresh. Season four isn't the place for newbies to start watching. If you're already a fan then you're probably impatiently already waiting for your pre-order to arrive any day now . . .



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