Overall, this second season really works because it wasn't afraid to try things with the characters.
Sometimes I wonder how this show will resolve itself?
Lost: The Complete Second Season - The Extended Experience completely lives up to it's title. With seven discs giving viewers 1056 minutes of episodic content, this show is both exhilarating and confusing at the same time. Quite simply, this show is examining society but more to the point it is looking at society from in the midst of an extreme situation. The people stranded on the island trying to figure out why they are there, all the while contending with the knowledge that there is a monster-like being among them.
Allegorically speaking, this show seems to be examining our diverse world. Showing all different kinds of people, and the many skeletons in their (our) closets, Lost seems to be saying that we're all going to have to work together in order to survive on this planet (island). That we have to use our differences as a means of strength to rise above what is on the surface. Now, I think this might be a somewhat simplistic way of looking at this show, afterall, part of it's popularity is the fact that the audience doesn't know what's going on.
Given that we get to see these characters lives before they have come to the Island, that only raises the stakes. Also, it doesn't matter if we are seeing Dr. Jack (Matthew Fox) or Hugo (Jorge Garcia), the point is how we are seeing these characters in their "lives," is oftentimes at odds with how we are seeing them on the island. The depth and dichotomy this creates is astounding, because as viewers, can't let go of our preconceptions. This show goes out of it's way to mess with the idea of appearance and action. By doing this, we are unable and forced to get past our thinking models.
It took me some time to wrap my head around this show and I wouldn't say that I have got it all figured out. Honestly, I don't think I am very close at all. It is enjoying this gray area, this not knowing that makes Lost: The Complete Second Season - The Extended Experience such a treasure.
Three commentary tracks have been given to us in this set. They are for the episodes Man of Science, Man of Faith (on this is Executive producers Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Bryan Burk and Jack Bender), What Kate Did (on this is director Paul Edwards, director of photography Michael Bonvillain and actress Evangeline Lilly) and The Whole Truth (on this is Actors Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim, writers Elizabeth Sarnoff and Christina M. Kim). I did something interesting with these, I decided to skip around at various points in the show for all three of the tracks. I don't know if that was such a good idea but it was an interesting experiment. I got to hear the actors discuss their roles and how the creators of this show really take into account who they are writing for. The producers of course touched on the logistics and the reasons why for certain aspects of the episode they were talking about looked how they do. Lastly, I liked hearing from DP Michael Bonvillain because I think the look of this show is very unique. Unfortunately, he didn't get as technical as I would have liked.
It will be hard to talk about about this section without giving a lot away, so I am going to speak in generalities. There are a decent load of flashbacks for our characters. Some, I thought opened up more possibilities in the directions in which this show could go, while I think others were sprinkled on here to sort of confuse the issue a bit. Also, there is other information offered (I don't want to use the word revealed because I don't know that this show ever reveals anything!), both about the characters, the islands and places that surround this show.
The Official Lost drive you nuts if you let it. Due to time constraints, I wasn't able to rifle through it like I would have liked. Basically, it offers up connections between the characters and other elements on this show. The thing is, I wasn't sure how much I should buy into this as the show's and DVD's creators could have put this all together to mess with the viewers. If you have the time and you're a huge fan of this show (chances are you are if you bought this), I would suggest setting aside a few hours and going through this.
Secrets From the Hatch
We are taken inside this mysterious location and while everything isn't spelled out for us, we get a very good idea of how this relates to the show and how it could relate to future episodes. It is somewhat hard to discuss this thing and the viewers eventual discovery of the "The Swan" without giving too much away. I want to make this review something that the fans can glean something from, but also touch on the uninitiated's curiosity.
Mysteries, Theories and Conspiracies
I was very surprised that they put this featurette on here. I say this because I think it's a dicey proposition to actually explain things. While I said nothing about this set is ever given to the viewers on a plate, this is about as close as it gets. We get to find out more information about things like Alvar Hanso, the statues of the Virgin Mary, snow globes, etc.. Again, it's hard to know what is truth and what is part of the lore and mystique of this show. These images and things all have a tangible place in the world of the show, but I think if viewers already have preconceived notions, it will be hard to change them.
Lost On Location
A behind the scenes look at life on the set of this show. We see shooting locations, cast moments, creators input and almost everything you might expect from a piece showing us the nuts and bolts of this show. I would say that fans of the show might want to skip this and move on to the "harder" stuff. I feel this way because if you watch this show with any regularity, and you keep up on it on the internet and in other media, some of this material might seem redundant.
Fire + Water
I loved this! As a screenwriter, my favorite aspects of any bonus features are where we get to see something made from the ground up. Also, the subject matter of this show (Charlie thinking Claire's child is in trouble, Charlie's possible relapse into drugs and Hurley's attraction to Libby) makes for a very interesting behind the scenes look. We are shown how the story is worked and reworked until it finally becomes something that is a living breathing entity of it's own.
Deleted Scenes and Bloopers
They have put a nice assortment of Deleted Scenes and Bloopers in this set. Honestly, I wish that the excised scenes weren't on here. It's not that they're not good, it's just that the last thing this show needs is another way of looking at it. This isn't to say that I am mad that these scenes are here, I just didn't pay as much attention to them as I do the deleted scenes on other DVDs. Lastly, the Bloopers are bloopers but considering this cast, the subject matter of the show, and the rabid fan base... these things are all relative and take on a heightened meaning of sorts.
Enhanced Widescreen for 16x9 TVs. This show as usual looks really good. The way they get all the colors to stand out is truly something to marvel at. The blacks are really black, but the greens and blues look terrific on DVD. I don't know what they did in the process of compression, but it seems like everything is more heightened than when this show airs on TV. Who knows, maybe that has some special meaning from the creators?
Dolby Digital 5.1 - The audio on this show was fine. I have a hard time judging things because it's very hot where I was screening these DVDs. So, I had to turn up my set really loud because I constantly have a fan running. However, I was still able to "get" everything that the characters were saying. My usual gripe is that characters on one hour shows talk in whispers, but I didn't find that to be as much of a problem here. Sadly, I just think I should have watched this on something other than my one speaker TV.
Looking like the packaging for a season of Survivor, this front cover features the entire cast with some information that alludes to hidden aspects of this show. In fact, I must admit that the numbers are nice effect. The back has some images from the show, a description of what Lost: The Complete Second Season - The Extended Experience contains, a Special Features listing and technical specs. All of the 7 discs are nicely housed inside this set, with artwork all around it that makes this release seem like some hidden book that might give buyers all the answers.
I think the most interesting thing about the effect of this show, something that people don't really talk about is how audiences have taken to it. There is this idea (I'll call it a misguided belief) in Hollywood, that you never want to confuse the audience. You've got to spoon-feed them all throughout a movie or TV show because we don't want to have them "lost." The thing is, it is precisely because this show is so convoluted that people seem to have flocked to it. Sure, it has created other shows that deal with science fiction and supernatural elements, that's the way the business is, it's one of vagaries of the marketplace.
However, this show is currently going into it's third season and audiences seem more rabid than ever. I think it is almost reaching a point where it doesn't even matter where these characters are. Yes, it might be nice to know, and I am sure it would ease a lot of minds if they knew exactly how they got there and other secrets of the island, but I honestly enjoy this show a lot because I don't think we'll ever know. And creators J.J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof have already created a situation that they can't pay off.
In fact, if I had one real gripe I think that that would be it. I wonder if this show shouldn't have been one season long? I say this because I know once everything resolves itself, the lines are going to be drawn on how well Lost wrapped everything up. And think about this, with each season the hole they have dug is going to get bigger and bigger... imagine what we'll be talking about by the fourth one?
Lost: The Complete Second Season - The Extended Experience is a must own for fans of the show and newbies who want to try and get a handle on this phenomenon.