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Lost: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Disc Review

LOST: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (2009, Blu-ray released December 8, 2009 - MSRP $79.99)

Lost: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray DiscLost just about lost me. J.J. Abrams‘ castaway drama had one of the strongest openings of any TV show I’ve ever seen but squandered that beginning over the ensuing couple of seasons with meandering, plotless episodes that led us further from the mystery at the heart of the show. Thankfully, things have tightened up in the last couple of years. And I’m happy to say, this fifth season of the series is the strongest ever!

How do I even begin to talk about this show? I mean, I can’t really go anywhere near the plot without spoiling elements of the story for any prospective viewers out there. I can’t talk much about the characters beyond providing quick descriptions of the main players. But that’s almost pointless. They’re so far beyond their cardboard-cutout starting points. Jack is no longer just the surgeon of the group. Kate is more than a fugitive from justice. And John Locke? Well…if I say ANYTHING about Locke, it’s way too much at this point.

I’ll just tell you this - the fifth season of Lost was a game-changer in almost every way. It altered all the rules, then broke them and fashioned new ones to suit its needs. It introduced new characters, killed off old favourites and revealed names, faces and personalities of characters we had only glimpsed in seasons past. It played with science and mysticism, time and space, and most important of all, began to draw back the curtain, providing the audience with some much needed answers to questions long held. This is the bright, fresh intelligent series promised us by the pilot episode. Lost can now hold its head up high, crowned king of the new HD airwaves. The best US network television has to offer.

As befits a king, Lost: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Disc set is crowned with sparkling, bejeweled transfers, the likes of which any program created for TV would be proud to possess. These episodes look incredible. You’ve never really experienced Lost until you’ve had a chance to see it on Blu-ray. The super-compressed HD versions broadcast over the airwaves and on cable just don’t measure up to the pristine high-video bandwidth transfers on the discs. This is how Lost should be experienced. Simply breathtaking! (Oh, and the DTS-HD Master Audio track is no slouch either!)

If you’re a rabid fan of the series as I am, you’re no doubt most curious about the special features offered in the set more than anything else. These extras generally provide more than just a chance to see behind the scenes but also supply additional clues to the mystery at the core of the series. And god knows, anyone following Lost can always use a few extra hints to keep up with the twists and turns of the story!

There’s a lot to love here - in depth audio commentaries, deleted scenes and a metric-ton of featurettes covering everything from the cast’s reflections on the first 100 episodes of the show to a look insides the writer’s room, where all the real magic happens. My favourites had to be “Making Up For Lost Time” where we get a chance to see how all involved with the production dealt with the elements of time travel now littering the plot of the show and “An Epic Day With Richard Alpert“, following actor Nestor Carbonell through 24hrs of shooting. I also really enjoyed the blooper reel, which you can see a preview of above.

The greatest disappointment of the Lost: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray set for me is not an element of the actual discs themselves but the set-up of the BD-Live presence. Before the discs release, much had been made of the Lost University feature - a series of online classes available through the discs (learn more at www.lostuniversity.org) I’ve got to say, I was really looking forward to these “classes”. They seem really cool! Watch a sample below:

But here’s the problem: apparently I’m not allowed to access this feature of the discs because I live in Canada. Now maybe it’s because I’m reviewing discs sent from the USA and Canadian discs would work perfectly well for me. Or maybe I’m just falling prey to a problem many users outside the US are experiencing, being unable to login due to overwhelming server demand. I can’t say for sure. All I know is that this looks like an amazing feature and it sucks that I can’t review it for you.

Despite this apparent glitch in the system, keeping me from experiencing everything the discs have to offer, I can unequivocally recommend the Lost: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray set. This is television at its best, looking and sounding better than ever before.

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