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Lost - The Complete Second Season (2005) Print E-mail
Monday, 22 June 2009
ImageABC’s Lost Season 2 continues the journey of the 40 survivors introduced to us in Season 1 who are stuck on a remote island somewhere in the South Pacific.  The first season establishes that the survivors of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 did not crash on an ordinary island.  Not only are they not alone on the island, but there are other mysterious events always occurring.  They hear strange voices and see an unexplained polar bear on the island, while also being confronted by a mysterious monster that hides in the jungle and attacks the survivors.  While the first season is about introducing the survivors, the second season is about a 1980s scientific Dharma Initiative research station the survivors call the "hatch".

The main theme of Season 2 revolves around the history of a group of researchers who had once inhabited the island – the Dharma Initiative.  They had several stations on the island, each with its own purpose.  The survivors spend most of the season learning about the “hatch” station where there is a computer that must be reset by entering a series of numbers.  If the numbers are not entered, it’s believed that there may be extreme side-effects on the island.  By the end of the season some of the survivors have been killed, or are missing.  We discover that one of the survivors is actually an “Other”.  There is also a conflict between John Locke and Desmond about not resetting the computer.  Jack, Hurley, Kate and Sawyer are captured by the “Others”.

As with the first season, we continue to get flashbacks on each of the survivors.  We watch Jack operate on his eventual wife and also meet Desmond, a man who has lived in the hatch for years.  John Locke struggles with his father issues.  Hurley wins the lottery and quits his job.  Flashbacks also reveal Kate's original crime, the murder of her father.  Sawyer regretfully cons a woman he begins to have feelings for.  We also get a glimpse into the history of other characters, such as Charlie who is addicted to heroin and was part of a past one-hit wonder rock band.  We see Sayid perform his first torturing.  Ana Lucia is a police officer and kills a man in cold blood after he killed her unborn child.  Mr. Eko is a drug warlord in Nigeria, who is deeply religious

The second season brought us another year of thrilling adventure and mystery with excellent writing and acting.  It was nominated for nine Emmy Awards, including nominations for writing, directing and guest acting. There were also several guest stars.  Among the more popular guests was Michael Emerson who is suspected to be one of the “Others”.  Henry Ian Cusick represented Desmond Hume, a man who had been living in the hatch for several years.  John Terry appeared in flashbacks as Jack's father, Christian Shephard.  François Chau appeared in orientation films for the Dharma Initiative.  Of course we still had our favorite stars from the previous year.  Matthew Fox acted as Jack Shephard, considered to be the leader of the survivors.  Evangeline Lilly played fugitive Kate Austen.  Terry O'Quinn acted as "man of faith" John Locke.  Josh Holloway portrayed con man James "Sawyer" Ford. The second season of "Lost" comes to Blu-ray with an MPEG-4 AVC encode and a broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1.  The release of the first season on Blu-ray was a bit less than perfect, which honestly is to be expected of a show's first season.  However, the second season makes up for it.  I would call the video quality darn near perfect.  It is difficult to judge because it is television show and not a film.  In terms of television shows, it is probably about as best as you are going to get.  However, when compared to films, it is still missing that final flourish.  The colors are lush and vibrant.  They are consistent throughout the season.  Contrast is near perfect.  There are a couple instances of blown out whites, but this is understandable given the brightness of the location.  Details are extraordinary.  You can almost count every grain of sand.  Textures are nicely distinguished as well.  Costumes, plant life and props all demonstrate a realism that is unsurpassed by other television shows on the format.  The black levels are just about perfect.  There is no crushing in the depths of the black levels.  While shadow delineation is perfect in most cases, there are some issues with faces and darkness.  Film grain is also persistent, but this is overlooked after the first couple episodes.  There is no evidence of artifacting, noise reduction or vertical banding.  The Blu-ray presentation of the second season far exceeds the high-definition broadcast of the show.  Pixel breakup is atrocious in the HD broadcast, but it nowhere to be found in the Blu-ray edition.

Like most all of Disney's recent Blu-ray releases, this Blu-ray edition comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track.  While the video quality stills comes up a bit short of perfect, the audio quality is definitely perfect.  Dialogue is perfectly balanced among the score and the sound effects.  Soft dialogue is easily heard and understood.  Dynamics can get quite intense, leaving the re-compressed Dolby Digital broadcast to shame.  Frequency response is expansive.  The LFE channel is nicely integrated.  The audio track is tight throughout the season.  Never is there a piece of audio out of place.  The largely ADR'd dialogue blends nicely with the production dialogue.  Atmospheric effects fill the surround channels.  You can hear every little twig snap and leaves rustle.  The audio track is completely enveloping.  This audio track is highly recommended.

Like the first season, the second season comes in bundled in a seven-disc collection.  The Blu-ray contains only the same bonus materials that were present on the original DVD release of the show.  All the content has been left in standard definition.  Because of the lack of additional materials and an upgrade to high definition, the rating gets knocked down from that of the first season's special features' rating, even though the content is basically the same.  I expected a little extra treatment as the seasons of the show progress.  First, there are five audio commentaries.  Each of the commentaries is fantastically produced.  I highly recommend all of the commentaries for fans of the show.  "Fire + Water" is probably the best featurette in the set.  It offers a complete look at the creation of the show.  "'Lost' On Location" takes another look at the production of the show, focusing on the characters.  "Mysteries, Conspiracies and Flashbacks" is a compilation of the interviews with cast members as to what is happening.  This is an interesting retro piece as there have been several more seasons since the creation of this piece.  "Secrets From the Hatch" deals with the purpose of the hatch in the show.  "The World According to Sawyer" is a short look at Sawyer's dialogue.  The seventh disc is also equipped with deleted scenes, bloopers, promos and the Lost Connections feature.  The only Blu-ray exclusive feature in the pack is the presence of Season Play, allowing you to easily resume the show from any point.

Every one of the 24 episodes in the second season was extremely exciting with adventure, mystery and drama.  As with the first season, each episode brought about answers to questions, a deeper level of understanding of our favorite characters through flashbacks, and of course more questions!  By the end of the season we had several questions that remained a mystery leaving the door open to numerous and diverse explanations for the events occurring on the island.

[Portions of this review were contributed by M.E.S]

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