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''Lost'' Weekend (and Beyond)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 29, 2005

The increasing frequency of TV shows on DVD has affected the way I review them. I can't get through every episode of every set, as well as extras, in the time available. So I try to get through all the key extras, some of the available commentary, and a sampling of the episodes.

But I spent a big chunk of the weekend going through each episode in a coming DVD set. That's ''Lost,'' due in stores on Sept. 6. (The new season begins on Sept. 21.) As of this morning I had made my way through nine of the set's 24 installments, so you can pretty well figure out how I will spend any free time in the days ahead.

Why go through this one when I haven't done so with others? For one thing, ''Lost'' -- as I said in a recent column -- has proven the most influential series of the past season. A bunch of new shows have made it on the air because of the success of ''Lost,'' among them ''Prison Break,'' which premieres tonight on Fox. That importance merits a closer look.

Beyond that, given how serialized ''Lost'' is, I needed to watch a lot of it to get a feel for how those serialized stories play out, commercial-free, in a DVD set.

One early impression: The show may not work as well without commercials as some shows do. ''Lost'' was very aware of the placement of commercials, and often put a big dramatic moment right before the ad to make sure that channel-flippers came back. But when you take out the ad, you go from DRAMATIC HIGH immediately into a post-commercial scene, creating a jarring narrative flow.

No doubt I'll have more to say by the time I write my DVD column for Friday's Beacon Journal. But for now, I am trying to figure out how I'll fit in this week's other viewing, when ''Lost'' is going to demand a lot of attention -- and I haven't even gotten to the extras yet.

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