Unfortunately, you do have to sit through a lot of aforementioned nuisances to get there. Season 3 kicks off with Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), and Sawyer (Josh Holloway) held captive by the Others; Sayid (Naveen Andrews), Sun (Yunjin Kim), and Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) on a mission to rescue them; and Locke, Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) in the aftermath of the electromagnetic pulse that blew up the hatch. Spinning the storylines away from base camp alone wouldn't have felt so disjointed were it not for the new characters simultaneously being introduced. First there's Juliet, a mysterious member of the Others whose loyalty constantly comes into question as the season goes on. Played delicately by Elizabeth Mitchell (Gia, ER, Frequency), Juliet is in one turn a cold-blooded killer, by another turn a sympathetic friend; possibly both at once, possibly neither at all. (She's also a terrific, albeit unwitting, threat to the Kate-Sawyer-Jack love triangle, which plays out more definitively this season.) On the other hand, there's the now-infamous Nikki and Paulo (Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro), a tagalong couple who were cleverly woven into the previous seasons' key moments but came to bear the brunt of fans' ire toward the show (Sawyer humorously echoed the sentiments by remarking, "Who the hell are you?"). By the end of the season, at least two major characters die, another is told he/she will die within months, major new threats are unveiled, and--as mentioned before--the two-part season finale restores your faith in the series.
The extras are as well-stocked as a Dharma Initiative food pantry on this seven-disc set. Commentaries by producer Damon Lindelof, show writers, and numerous cast members reveal a whole lot of juicy trivia; plus, the DVDs even provide a subtitle track for the commentary (rarely seen other than on foreign-language director's commentaries) so you won't miss a thing. "Lost Book Club" goes through the parallels between what characters are reading and the show's storylines (The Wizard of Oz and Stephen King are heavily referenced). "Lost: On Location" gives a lot of insight to some of the biggest episodes, and "Lost in a Day" gives a 24-hour glimpse at the drama's arduous production. If you're a Lost fan who gave up during this season, the bonus features alone might lure you back for the next round. --Ellen A. Kim