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maryann johanson | watching movies at home

Lost: The Complete First Season (review)

The opening moments of the first episode of Lost are some of the most intense commercial television has ever seen: images of a catastrophic failure of technology that leaves its victims dazed, bewildered, and at the mercy of elements both natural and manmade. And as these 24 episodes unfold, hints that the hand of man may have been involved in the plane crash that landed 40-some-odd survivors on an uncharted, seemingly paradisiacal island begin to reveal the grand — and mostly fulfilled — ambitions of genius showrunner J.J. Abrams (Alias): This is an extended contemplation on life in the age of random terrorism, when death, and horrors worse than death, can strike at any moment, changing us forever into people more calculating and more paranoid but paradoxically more appreciative of the ordinary and the mundane. The influence of long-form episodic cable series — such as The Sopranos and Six Feet Under — is clear in Lost‘s gritty determination not to acquiesce to clichés of network TV: main characters die, the lines between hero and villain, good and evil, are blurry, and no amount of wild speculation about the twists and turns each episode can take can prepare the viewer for what actually transpires. Numerous in-depth extras — from deleted scenes to commentary tracks — only serve to tantalize further. TV-on-DVD might as well have been invented for shows like Lost, which demand multiple viewings, and richly reward the time devoted to them.

MPAA: rated TV-14

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