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Five seasons down.  One to go.  Less than two months away from the premiere of the sixth and final year, the fifth season arrives on Blu-Ray early enough for anyone out of the loop to catch up on one of the greatest television shows of all time.  This is the epitome of water-cooler television.  Featuring one of the most compelling ensembles in recent memory, Lost consistently evolves its fantastical story while always remaining intriguing.  And it does so while providing a steady stream of action, comedy, drama, romance, and basically everything that makes good television.  Revisiting the fifth season only reinforces just how consistently strong this show has been.

As any Lost fan knows, every season has had a specific thematic component that drove the story.  Whether it’s the Hatch, the Others, the Flash-Forwards, etc., there is always a central component to the story.  Season 5’s theme was time travel.  While watching Season 1, I would never have guessed that that is where the show was going.   Yet somehow, it felt completely natural when it got there. 

As a concept, time travel can be very tricky.  Many movies, shows, books, etc. have had great success with it, and many have crashed and burned.  The Lost writers have thoroughly thought out the concepts, and while the story does feel convoluted on occasion, this is only because they are seriously mapping out the ramifications of every move through time.  It can be confusing, but it makes sense. 

In introducing time travel, the writers brilliantly devised a way to bring our cast of characters into the situations often discussed but never seen. It turned out that events previously alluded to ended up playing a much more direct and pivotal role in the character’s stories.  Locations and characters were presented that brought the whole story into focus.

One of the many extras on the Blu-Ray is a feature demonstrating the cast and crew’s attempts at keeping track of all the time travel in the story.  While the core writers obviously had a grasp on everything, not everyone involved in the production understood exactly what they were filming.  It’s a fun feature, but like most of the extras, not incredibly substantial.  With a show like Lost, it would be nice to have extras that explored the more story-based aspects of the show. 

Unfortunately, most of the extras are of the standard making-of variety.  That’s not entirely a bad thing.  It’s always interesting to see a film or show in production.  Particular highlights are seven features in a section called “Lost on Location.”  These run 5 to 7 minutes each, and show a specific sequence being filmed from 7 different episodes.  There’s some great stunt work and some fascinating set pieces in the show, and it’s a lot of fun to see the work that goes into creating these individual moments. 

There’s also a feature where Michael Emerson, who plays Ben Linus, tours the offices of the writing staff as well as the post-production team.  While there is absolutely no insight into the show itself, it’s pretty neat to see the Lost staff in their work enviornments.  Other extras include deleted scenes, a lame gag reel (almost exactly the same as every other gag reel), and a faux 70’s documentary called “Mysteries of the Universe” that focuses on the Dharma Initiative. 

If you’ve never seen the show, you’re coming up on your last chance to watch the story as it unfolds on a week-by-week basis.  The Blu-Ray looks and sounds incredible, and is a fantastic way to catch up before the show returns.  While the extras could have been better, the set is worth getting just for the episodes.  I go into the last season with a mixture of excitement and sadness, but if this last year is anything like what came before, then we’re in for an amazing season.