The Lost Room was a Sci-Fi Channel 3 part mini-series. There are actually 6 separate segments on the DVD. We are quickly introduced to a special old style motel key. Yes, before we all got those slide cards. This key is apparently quite valuable, as it is the subject of an underground meet to purchase it. The deal looks like one of those Hollywood drug buys we’re used to seeing, and like those plays, this one goes horribly awry. Enter Detective Joe Miller (Krause), assigned to deal with the aftermath of this meet. …eter Krause is best known for his wonderful portrayal of Nate Fisher in HBO’s quirky Six Feet Under. Here he gets to stretch his acting chops along with our collective imaginations. His investigation leads him into possession of the valuable key. He soon discovers the key has incredible power. Using it on any door can transport you to any other door you can visualize in your own head. Most importantly, the key defaults to a Spartan hotel room from 1961. When his daughter (Fanning) is lost in the room, Miller begins a quest to get her back. With each episode we discover there are nearly 100 objects originally collected from this room, each with extraordinary powers. A watch can hard-boil an egg. A bus ticket transports anyone who touches it to a small town in New Mexico, and a comb can stop time for a few seconds. Along with these objects, there are fanatical collectors. Some see the objects as sacred and form religious orders, while others wish to destroy them. Mostly, however, folks just want the power of possessing them. Miller must contend with these factions in his quest. We soon discover that using these objects does not come without a price, and those folks who do own objects are quite eccentric.
If you are willing to take the nearly 6 hour ride, you’ll be taken on an Alice’s journey through Wonderland. What is most amazing is the ease with which this show unfolds such a complicated mythology. I was drawn in almost instantly. Beyond the complex premise are the various factions and their myriad agendas. There are no clear cut good guys or bad guys here. The series operates in an almost constant shade of gray. Miller must make choices about who he can trust. The twists are as varied as the objects themselves. From the start we are guided with Twilight Zone precision into a world more out than “The Outer Limits”
The cast is exceptional. Julianna Marquilies is Jennifer Bloom, who represents a group called the Legion. She is quite the mysterious character, and Marquilies never gives away what she might do next. Dennis Ruber is, perhaps, the more twisted villain of the piece as Dr. Ruber. When Ruber is introduced to the existence of the Objects, he becomes obsessed with power. Roger Bart is the comedy relief as “the Weasel”. Finally Kevin Pollak is the most interesting character of all. His Kreutzfeld is a long-time collector who has a grand vision that we never quite realize until it’s too late. All in all the show is populated with enough smart characters to keep the lack of physical action from boring us.
Each episode of The Lost Room is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio perfectly formatted for your widescreen television. The image does have a tendency to be a little soft, but I’m not sure this was not intended. The hotel room is awash in soft earth tones likely intended to provide the requisite otherworldly atmosphere. Black levels are above average, if a little light on detail. There were no print defects to distract. Color tones were often a bit tinted for my taste. Lighting is often a little off kilter, but again I suspect these are not flaws, rather, choices of style. There was some compression artifact more evident on the first disc, where more material is placed. I guess the palette takes a little getting used to at first, but eventually I found myself settling into the style enough to not notice it so much.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is pretty much all dialogue. This is a talky show with little ear candy offered. An occasional bit of excitement might stimulate the ambient channels from time to time, but there is almost nothing here for the sub to do. Mixed for a television audience who often don’t have a 5.1 option on their cable, it’s no surprise that it functions more like a 2.0 presentation.
“Inside The Lost Room” This is pretty much your standard 18 minute recap of what the show is about. Most of the principals are involved, and once in a while someone offers some character or plot insight to make this worth the quick view.
I’m a little surprised Sci-Fi didn’t go a little bit further with this concept. It certainly has more potential than a lot of what they’re coming up with these days. The ending is certainly open ended enough to allow for the story to continue, but not likely with this group of characters. I loved the show but was a little disappointed in how it ended. Even if the end is a bit of a letdown, the journey was worth it. The problem I can foresee is that the piece doesn’t pigeonhole neatly into any specific genre. Is it sci-fi, horror, thriller, fantasy? Naw. “It’s just physics gone haywire”.
Special Features List
- “Inside The Lost Room” Feature