`Lost' set offers great view of the island

Behind-the-scenes features, outtakes are worth the price

DVD Review

September 06, 2005|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

It doesn't always work out that the better the TV show, the better the DVD boxed set. But with ABC's Lost, whose first season comes to DVD today, the news, like the packaging and contents, is all good.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Lost: The Complete First Season (seven discs, $59.99) is worth the wait. It's a great TV show, complemented by lots of great extras, from preproduction stories and original audition tapes to mind-boggling behind-the-scenes features.

First, the show itself. Six of the seven discs are filled by the 24 first-season episodes of Lost - a show about dozens of mysterious strangers stranded, after a plane crash, on an even more mysterious island.

Lost is the sort of show that is perfect for DVDs. You can watch it as intently as you want, freezing frames and backing up to dissect clues and hidden meanings, or burn through the episodes in a nonstop, no-commercials marathon of TV bliss.

The passion that co-creators Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams have put into each frame of Lost extends to the DVD, too.

There aren't a lot of alternate-audio commentary tracks, but the ones provided are astoundingly captivating.

They're also technically ingenious. Sometimes, when Abrams is making a point about the difficulty of filming a particular scene, he'll ask that the episode stop at that point. It does stop, and we hop instantly to some behind-the-scenes footage to illustrate his point about how this explosion was filmed, or that bit of action was faked.

After you've watched the episodes, the seventh disc offers a trove of additional material. Among the worth-the-purchase-price material:

The original audition tapes for the entire cast, in which Evangeline Lilly as Kate and Jorge Garcia as Hurley do extraordinary yet casual-looking work under the rawest of circumstances.

Backstage stories, like the admission by Maggie Grace (Shannon) that, just before the last take of her incestuous kissing scene with Iam Somerhalder (Boone), she pranked him by loading her mouth with onions and garlic.

How the show's directors and cast had to work with cooperative bees and very uncooperatives boars.

There are separate documentaries, features on various aspects of the different stages of production, elements of each individual episode and segments on everything from the wreckage effects in the pilot to the floating raft in the finale.

There's a blooper reel, and there are complete scenes cut from various episodes, including two flashback scenes from the final episode. The only thing missing is a major dissection of the show's mystery string of numbers - but something, I guess, had to be held back for season two.

This Lost set succeeds in making you eager to return to the island, and to the show's story. We'll be able to do that when ABC airs the second-season premiere Sept. 21. With this DVD set, though, the waiting is a lot easier.

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