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Lost: The Complete First Season (2004)

Directed by:

J.J. Abrams

Jack Bender

Tucker Gates

Rating: 10/10

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Sadly, my miniscule, goldfish-esque attention span has often led me to abandon television shows I enjoyed immensely simply because I’ve missed an episode or they were on hiatus too long. I have no idea how “Alias” ended, I’ve all but given up on “24,” and I didn’t even make it to the finale of “Dawson’s Creek.” One show, though, has held on to me for five seasons and never let go—that show is “Lost.” It can be a daunting show, with overwhelming back story and mythology, not to mention the present time story … and the time travel … but if you get in on the ground level with season one, you’re in for a long-term relationship with one of the best shows on TV.

First off, for all its sci-fi roots and twisty mystery, “Lost” is, at its lushly filmed squishy middle, all about the characters. In season one, there are a bunch of survivors of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. They’ve landed on a seemingly uninhabited island, and we get to know 14 of them, including troubled surgeon-turned-leader Jack (Matthew Fox), former Iraqi Guard Sayid (Naveen Andrews), con man Sawyer (Josh Holloway), enigmatic felon Kate (Evangeline Lilly), musician/heroine addict Charlie (Dominic Monaghan), and survival expert Locke (Terry O’Quinn). It may seem like a lot of names and people to keep track of (and that’s not nearly everybody), but season one, more than any that has followed, gives us character-centric episodes that, while never detracting from the show’s many arcs, show us how and why these 14 people are there and gives clues as to what “the island” has planned for each one.

What makes “Lost” the engrossing viewing experience it is is that it truly does have something for everyone, mystery and weirdness for the sci-fi lovers, amazing locations and characters, romance, humor, and a never-ending supply of surprises. It’s a complex landscape of story, both on the island an in the flashbacks that masterfully reveal interweaving pasts and character motivations, and season one is the place to start. Standout episodes in the season are, first of all, “Pilot,” the first glimpse we get of the Losties—production value alone makes this episode just as good, if not better, than most big screen fare. Then there’s “Walkabout,” the Locke-focused hour that provides some of the best moments of the series. “Numbers,” all about my boy Hurley and how his lottery win brought him nothing but pain. The finale, titled “Exodus,” is also stellar, revealing just how everyone actually got on the plane on that fateful day AND walloping us with a big ‘ol cliffhanger or two. But they’re all good—even the less memorable entries into this season give us SOMETHING, some piece of the puzzle that we’re going to need later on. “Lost”, in its inaugural 24 episode season, showed why it would become the phenomenon it has remained for five years.

It's Got: Classic characters, Mystery and weirdness, Heartbreak. Pretty stuff to look at

It Needs: An audience prepared to pay attention and commit, Patience

DVD Extras Five audio commentaries (featuring Director J.J. Abrams, Terry O’Quinn, Dominic Monaghan, and various other cast and crew); "Lost Scriptscanner" (DVD-ROM feature that lets the viewer see the script for the two Pilot episodes. The featurettes are divided into three sections: DEPARTURE: “Cast Away: The Series, The Genesis of ‘Lost’” (examines the beginnings and premise of the show); “Designing a Disaster” (explores preparation of the set for the plane crash pilot); “Before They Were Lost” (all about the show’s casting); “Audition Tapes”; "Welcome to Oahu: The Making of the Pilot"; “The Art of Matthew Fox” (a collection of photographs taken and narrated by Fox); “LOST@Comic-Con” (short look at the show’s reception at the 2004 Comic-Con). TALES FROM THE ISLAND: "LOST: On Location" (eight short featurettes about aspects of production in specific episodes, such as filming with a boar, working with bees, staging Charlie’s hanging, and choreographing of fight scenes); “On Set With Jimmy Kimmel”; “Backstage With Drive Shaft” (examines Charlie’s band). LOST REVEALED; Deleted Scenes; Bloopers From The Set, “Live From The Museum of Television & Radio”; several secret Easter Eggs DVD Extras Rating: 10/10

Alternatives:

24, Alias, Dead Like Me

Summary

One of the few television shows worth committing to and sticking with for five-plus years, “Lost” is a creepy sci-fi thriller, a grand expanse of drama, a collection of romances, and pretty darn funny all at once—and the first season is just a sample of what’s to come.

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