With the new fall television season about to start, now is the perfect time for a refresher course in what's been happening on "Lost", or, if you're new to the series a good time to catch up on back episodes so you can jump in with the rest of us. Knowing this, ABC is shipping "Lost – The Complete Second Season" onto DVD a few weeks before new episodes air to start Season 3. Whether or not you buy this disc will probably be determined by your interest in the show, so maybe ABC didn't have to put much effort into their DVD release, but they've upped the ante anyway.
To recap for anyone who's been living on a desert island somewhere (possibly competing on "Survivor), "Lost" is a show about plane crash survivors trapped on a jungle island. You're probably all thinking "Gilligan's Island", but the similarities begin and end with the fact that they're surrounded by water. This is not a normal island, and the show is more about uncovering the mysteries of their watery prison and the crash's survivors pasts than it is about finding a way to get off.
Before we talk about the DVD set, let's talk about Season 2 of "Lost" itself. We're all "Lost" fans (or future "Lost" fans) here, so let's talk honestly with each other. Face it, Season 2 was a little bit of a step down for the show. It wasn't the outright disaster "Desperate Housewives" second season was, nor was it even really a disappointment, it just wasn't quite as good as Season One.
Season 2 of "Lost" isn't without great episodes. There are more hits than misses. The introduction of tail section survivors was brilliantly handled, and Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) quickly became one of the show's most popular figures. Anna Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez) added a little more fire into the series, and though Michelle Rodriguez was dead before the season ended, she leaves a big mark on the remaining cast. Rose's (L. Scott Caldwell) reunion with Bernard (Sam Anderson) was a real surprise, and their backstory is impossible to watch without a few tears.
Unfortunately, more new characters also meant some of the old ones were marginalized. Locke (Terry O'Quinn) in particular suffered. Mr. Eko seemed to take over as the show's man of faith, leaving Locke as the crazy bald dude who hangs out in the hatch. Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) didn't exactly come out smelling like roses either, as he morphed from a lovable loser into a creepy stalker who we all might be better off without.
Yet the things that "Lost" Season Two gets right outnumber the missteps. Abrams' avoided one of the big pitfalls that shows like this sometimes fall into, by actually answering most of the big questions from Season One. We found out what was in the Hatch, what happened to Claire and her baby, got a good look at The Others, even got a pretty solid idea of exactly what caused their plane to crash. At the same time, the show raised plenty of new questions about other Hatches, what's really going on with those creepy Others, whose baby is in Sun's belly, and what the heck is Michael thinking?
Season Two wasn't quite as brilliant as Season One, but for the most part "Lost" avoids that second year slump so many new shows fall into and continued to deliver some of the best stories on television. The series remains staunchly character driven, and the internet is as glutted with "Lost" fan speculation as ever. The stage is set for another brilliant season of groundbreaking, almost cinematic television from J.J. Abrams and the cast and crew of "Lost" in Season 3.
Buena Vista put together a fantastic package when they released "Lost – The Complete First Season" around this same time last year, but for "Season Two" they've actually outdone themselves. What they're delivering for "Season Two", believe it or not, is even better.
First let's talk about the package. Now maybe when you're buying a movie on DVD, the case doesn't really matter. But a television set has to hold a lot of discs, and there's nothing worse than a botched TV set package. For example, a few weeks ago I picked up the second season of "Babylon 5". Great show, but the packaging is a mess. Every time you open it all the discs fall out, they aren't properly set inside it. Or take another of my favorite sets, "Farscape". "Farscape's" packaging manages to hold the DVDs in place, but it's incredibly difficult to figure out what order they're supposed to be in.
"Lost – The Complete Second Season" on the other hand does everything exactly right. The DVD's are properly mounted inside its sturdy package. A guide detailing what's on each disc is included, just to make sure you're watching the right discs at the right time. The box itself is extremely attractive, with a nice slipcover over it, a slipcover that for a change serves a purpose. On a movie, slipcovers are just another accoutrement, on the "Lost" set it helps hold the DVD flipbook together, and it looks great too with a little window that shows pieces of what's inside of it. Unlike a lot of TV on DVD manufacturers, BV was smart enough to make their slipcover out of plastic, so that it'll stand the wear and tear DVD's being slid in and out for years to come.
Alright, so it works well and looks great too. But what happens when you hit play? It's magic time baby. The set includes seven discs, six to contain the actual show, and a seventh bonus disc filled to the brim with hours worth of insightful, interesting, and in some cases mysterious, extra features.
You've got a pretty good idea of what's on those first six discs I'm sure. The show, commentary, and a few cool little Easter eggs. So let's focus on Disc 7, the straight up bonus materials. The great news is that there's not a single wasted minute on this disc. Most sets have at least some sort of filler feature. A photo gallery, a text version of a script. Not here. Presented in the format of a Dharma Initiative training video, scrolling through the disc's three phases will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about making "Lost". It's detailed, devious, and absolutely delicious. Features range from "Fire + Water", which takes you through the making of a single episode from beginning to end, to "Secrets from the Hatch", a detailed step by step guide to how they came up with Locke's obsession, to "Lost Flashbacks" – a look at scenes from character's pasts that you didn't see on the show.
Disc 7 is stuffed with video, video, and more video. It'll take you hours to get through just this one disc, and once you do you'll probably want to watch it again. In true "Lost" fashion they've included a few Easter Eggs as well, find them and you'll receive an official Dharma commendation.
Simply put, this is a phenomenal television set. One of the best I've ever been privileged to review. So often with TV on DVD, I end up having to be satisfied simply to have a favorite show available to watch. "Lost – The Complete Second Season" is so much more than that. It continues the mystery and tradition of "Lost" and boxes it up in a handy little package that fans are going to go absolutely crazy for. This is a must own for any "Lost" fan.