Lost: Season One Blu-ray Review with D-BOX

“Guys, where are we?” Lost revolutionized network television in 2004 when its pilot episode premiered and immediately ignited a fandom craze. Captivating, mysterious, engaging, unpredictable, and groundbreaking are only a fraction of the adjectives that apply to describing the show about survivors of a plane crash on an uncharted and unfriendly island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

The first season of Lost introduced so many questions and seemingly supernatural mysteries that it would take another five seasons to answer them all. For every question answered another three would present themselves sending theorists back to the drawing board and casual observers left with a look of bewilderment sketched across their face. Network television had never seen anything like it before and no subsequent show has even approached its complexity.

Series creator J.J. Abrams used the island as a backdrop for telling the stories about 14 of the crash survivors. Throughout the season each character’s personality and motives are slowly revealed in their present-day actions and episodic flashbacks to the past as played perfectly by cast members Matthew Fox, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly, Emilie de Ravin, Dominic Monaghan and others. Through the past coincidental interrelationships or incidental contact between survivors their purpose on the island, or is it fate, is lost in interpretation.

Revisiting the first season of Lost on Blu-ray Disc nearly five years after it originally aired is akin to visiting with an old best friend to reminisce. You recall all the reasons Lost hooked you in and pay special attention to dialogue and interactions knowing what’s to come. A certain “Hero” even makes a cameo before he gained fame from NBC’s superhero series. The friendship grows stronger than it was before making walking away after a brief visit a virtual impossibility. The show must go on and another disc fired up.

Lost: Season One is the third season to arrive on Blu-ray Disc behind seasons three and four which were released day-and-date with DVD. Those sets are knockouts across the board which left little doubt this season, and simultaneously released season two, would be any different.

The 1.78:1 1080p AVC high definition video transfer presents Lost in detail, colors and clarity unlike any previous presentation, including the 720p over-the-air HD broadcast. Colors are especially rich and vibrant in a setting where sandy beaches collide with lush green jungles and bright blue skies. Details from facial close-ups which are a trademark of the show’s direction and sweeping vistas are outstanding. Tinkering via edge enhancement or digital noise reduction is not to be found. There are instances of slight black crush and some excessive grain in dimly lit scenes, a minor complaint for an otherwise outstanding transfer.

Lost opens with a couple big bangs that immediately put the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track to the test. It passes with flying colors offering fidelity and oomph reaching beyond the original broadcast or DVD edition. Once the “action” quiets down and characters take center stage, nature’s orchestra and composer Michael Giacchino’s take over. From the rustling of leaves to the pelting of rain, listening to Lost in lossless audio is like being there on the natural Hawaiian set. Add in Giacchino’s creepy and impacting score that never drowns out the crisp and clear dialogue and you have about as good an audio mix as can be realistically expected from a network television show.

D-BOX Motion Code
Loading D-BOX for a movie is a simplistic and succinct process involving either a single file download or install off of a single Blu-ray Disc housing the film. With Lost: Season One, the first television show with D-BOX I have installed, the process has to repeated for every disc – seven in total. Rather than look at the glass half-empty and begrudge the extra steps, a half-full outlook is recommended with the understanding that each disc’s runtime is practically a movie unto itself.

The D-BOX engineers have followed cues in Giacchino’s score to build up tension when needed, i.e. multiple times per episode. Subtle movements that building intensity with the score or a deep “rattle” timed to the famous Lost “dong” of the opening and closing titles deepen the mood and atmosphere. I was skeptical of D-BOX enhancing the already near perfect Lost: Season One experience but they did so without the benefit of explosions or gunfire.

This is not to say the Lost: Season One D-BOX track does not offer jarring moments. Turbulence experienced during the plane crash sequences is so violent in the chair that I actually grabbed the armrests and was thankful my stomach was not upset. Those with a strong fear of flying will want to think through riding out the crash with D-BOX. A handful of explosions, along with the infamous “Smoke Monster,” also add strong motion when called upon.

Over 8 hours of bonus features and Easter Eggs, not including commentary tracks, have been culled from the exemplary DVD version for Blu-ray and are presented in 480i standard definition video. Though ABC did not produce any new material, they did include the relatively new Season Play mode. This nifty feature that deserves to be on all television Blu-ray sets allows multiple viewers to create individual profiles on their Blu-ray players that track where you left off during an episode. When Lost is restarted, it prompts you to load your profile and will take you directly to where you left off versus where a different profile did – regardless of whether the disc was removed from the player or not. It is a shining example of a useful next-generation feature that makes Blu-ray stand out from DVD.

The remaining bonus features broken out by disc are as follows:

    Disc One

  • Audio Commentary on “Pilot (Part 1)” by Executive Producers J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof & Bryan Burk
  • Audio Commentary on “Pilot (Part 2)” by Executive Producers J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof & Bryan Burk
  • Audio Commentary on “Walkabout” by Executive Producer Jack Bender, Co-Executive Producer David Fury & Co-star Terry O’Quinn
  • Disc Two

  • Audio Commentary on “The Moth” by Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk, and Co-star Dominic Monaghan
  • Disc Four

  • Audio Commentary on “Hearts and Minds” with Executive Producer Carlton Cuse, Supervising Producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, and Co-stars Maggie Grace and Ian Somerhalder
  • Disc Seven

  • Departure (1:45:41) includes the following featurettes:
    • The Genesis of Lost
    • Designing A Disaster
    • Before They Were Lost
    • Welcome to Oahu: The Making of the Pilot
    • The Art of Matthew Fox
    • Lost @ Comicon
  • Tales From the Island (1:02:48) includes the following featurettes:
    • Lost: On Location
    • On Set With Jimmy Kimmel
    • Backstage with Drive Shaft
  • Lost Revealed includes the following featurettes:
    • The Lost Flashbacks
    • 15 Deleted Scenes
    • Bloopers From the Set
    • Live from the Museum of Television & Radio
    • Flashbacks & Mythology

Lost’s genesis episodes are as engrossing and uniquely entertaining as they were in 2004 today and have never looked or sounded better than on Blu-ray Disc. The jump in quality is substantial enough to warrant a double-dip replacement for DVR’d episodes or the DVD set and a clean start from the beginning. If you have never seen Lost then this set is the perfect opportunity to start and become “lost” in one of the best shows to ever grace a television screen.

– Dan Bradley

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