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I got more out of the Lost Complete Fourth Season DVDs than any of the previous three sets. As I’d given up on the show after a couple of the fourth-season broadcasts, the remainder came to me as new material. So getting to see all episodes was good news. The bad news is that I hadn’t missed anything. Watching the fourth season is was a lot like watching Niagara Falls... you can’t deny the unique thundering power, but at the end of the show, nothing has really changed.

Yet I was not as disappointed with Season 4 as I was with Season 3 because by now I know that there is no story. If we’ve learned anything, it is that the Island is like Gertrud Stein’s Oakland: there is no “there” there. Season 4 was cut short by the writers’ strike, but did it make any difference?

Still, it is interesting to check in and see what the state of the muddle is.

As with the previous season sets, the real reason you’d get the Complete Fourth Season is for the extras. In this case two of the six disks in the set are bonus features. Here they are:

Lost in 8:15

There's no there there, but there are more guns!
There’s no there there, but there are more guns!

This is Season 4’s condensed recap. When seen at this distance, it is plain that there is no overlying arc of storyline, just events related by their order of occurrence. Worse, large chunks of the show and characters are dropped from the now streamlined plot. Is this an attempt at a do-over?... clean the slate and try again? What happened to the tail section survivors? Where are Ana Lucia and Mr. Eko? Compare the Lost compressed version with the 7 minute, six season, “refresher” for the The Sopranos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz_Ees_-kE4. Of course with the Sopranos, there was more to work with.

The Right To Bear Arms

At last! The Guns of Lost! And no, I’m not making this up. At first the show’s handlers tried to keep track of who had what gun and when, but by the time the gun locker was opened at The Hatch, all bets were off. Now there are more firearms on the set than at a Kabul flea market. Season 4 debuts the appearance of a rocket propelled grenade... a long way from that suitcase of hand guns we started out with.

The Freighter Folk

You see, there’s this mysterious ship off shore and it’s got some mysterious people on it who aren’t telling the truth... confusion and gunfire follows. And as Carlton Cuse (Executive producer ) says “The truth is, a show like ours needs (an) infusion and injection of new characters for storytelling.” The problem here is that they are all more interesting than the regulars, and therefore they must die. The truth is not a pretty thing.

The Island Back-lot: Lost In Hawaii

The production values of Lost remain first rate. How do they do it? You know you’ve got a problem when how a thing was made is more interesting than the thing itself. Who could have guessed you could make Hawaii into snowy Berlin, tweedy Oxford or dusty Tunisia?

The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies

This is the best thing in the whole boxed set. It is a fake expose of the Oceanic Six done in the manner of a 9/11 conspiracy film. It’s not a brilliant parody, but it does have something the rest of the show lacks: sincerity. By that I mean it is what it is... unlike Lost proper where nothing is what it seems. That mendacity has always been there at all levels: the Island isn’t really an Island (we’re not sure what it is now), the good guys aren’t really that good and the bad guys aren’t really that bad, Locke isn’t really a cripple, and on and on. In the end we saw that there really wasn’t a story there either. So when they make a fake expose about a lie embedded in a non-story, we get closer to the truth than was intended.

Offshore Shoot

Like the above “Island Back Lot,” this is more interesting than the main story line. And consistent with all the other production values on Lost, it’s the best. As Jeff Fahey (the freighter’s helicopter pilot Frank Lapidus) says “It had the feeling we were on a big budget film.” More than a feeling, Jeff. Can we have just a show about these guys and their ship?

Soundtrack of Survival

“Experience the first ever live performance of the score by the Honolulu Symphony Pops,” advises the DVD. Composer Michael Giacchino holds up his end of the bargain. The cool thing about the HSP is that they all wear Hawaiian shirts. (Come on, it’s Honolulu.) The uncool thing is that there’s a commentary by the composer, producer and others over the music. The concert is bizarre with torchlight processions, ukulele chorus and a reading by Terry O’Quinn. I’d like to see the concert as a stand-alone piece... maybe a documentary? To quote Giacchino “You just don’t know where these things go or what they grow into.” Amen.

Course of the Future

All of the Flash Forwards are brought together in one place and (here’s the good part) they are in chronological order! Now that is a special bonus feature!

Lost Bloopers

Is the production of Lost so rote that these are all the mistakes they made? Or (are you thinking the same thing I am) were there no mistakes and these are all fake bloopers? Now that would be funny.

Deleted Scenes

Yup, those were scenes that were deleted and here they are. Why were they left out and the other stuff left in? Maybe The Island knows.

Lost: Missing Pieces

Just in case you missed them on your iPhone, or you’d like to see them on a bigger screen, here are the promo mobisodes. Supposedly these scenes fill in blanks the narrative. As the dead are wont to say on Lost, “You have work to do.” Good luck.

Audio Commentaries

I counted 4 of them, and I sense contractual obligations. Still, it’ll be great stuff for the hard core fan.