Friday, August 22, 2008
NCIS - The Fifth Season (CBS, $55.98) is now on DVD. This season is marked by mysterious secrets among the team, an explosive showdown with an elusive arms dealer, and a shocking final episode that shouldn't be missed. The series starts Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum, Sean Murray, Cote de Pablo, and Lauren Holly. This set contains the 18 episodes of the 2008 Writers' Strike-shortened 5th season.
One thing I hope I'm made absolutely clear over the years is simply that I *love* this show. Judging by the ratings many others do to. What amazes me though is very rarely does a week go by where I don't hear someone throwing it under the bus and trying to group it in with shows like CSI, Law & Order, etc. Yes, there are elements of that to this series. But with NCIS especially there's so much more going on. This series is significantly more character driven, and seems far more willing to use recurring plot themes than many of those other shows. With the other series, you could insert just about any actor into the carefully crafted niches in the series framework, and tell the same stories. But in NCIS' first five series, this largely hasn't been true. Ziva is largely different from Kate, for example, in the show's one main cast replacement. Similarly, replacing any other character would have strong effects on the series. This makes me concerned about the plot twist at the end of this fifth season -- and I really hope they don't screw this up, as honestly anything more than a temporary tweak for story purposes might very well send me packing from the series.
What could be so big that it would even threaten to send me running--the 5th season finale. One cast member (Lauren Holly) made a permanent exit from the show, while three others (Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, Cote de Pablo) all were "reassigned" as part of the ending of the episode. Whether this is a temporary change or a permanent one will be resolved in season six -- I think I've made clear my hope of the outcome (no, I haven't bothered to check for spoilers). Before that, though, you have a great season of episodes, including a great Gibbs-centric episode in "Requiem" that's kicked off when Gibbs is sought for help by the childhood friend of his deceased daughter.
In terms of the technical side of the set, the packaging is as always a box containing slimcases -- three cases holding five discs this season. The discs have taken on the silver standard look of Paramount/CBS releases. Menus are well-designed but static, with no music in the background. In regards to audio and video, a great thing about working with newer series is that the video quality and audio quality are great almost by default. This set is no exception -- the video looks flawless in its presentation. Color balance is nice and even, there are no compression artifacts, there are no problems in the transfer -- nothing. Audio is a crisp and clear 5.1 audio track. The usual CBS/Paramount disclaimer about edits appears on the bottom of the box, but the only missing footage I can find in the one episode I have for comparison, "About Face," is the Stay Tuned for Scenes from the Next NCIS tag at the end. In fact, excluding *it* the DVD version actually appears to have a longer runtime by a few seconds. More than likely, in an era of pre-negotiated DVD rights, that disclaimer is just for legal purposes. I highly doubt anything substantive is cut.
And since NCIS is a popular series currently airing on TV, that means more effort goes into the bonuses on a release. There are SIX special features, including cast and crew commentaries, a revisiting of the aforementioned episode Requiem, a featurette talking about NCIS Season 5 itself, a feature on the costumes and wardrobe for the series, plus a feature on what all goes into transforming Pauley Perrette into the Abby character, including all the wardrobe, makeup, hair, false tattoos, etc. All great stuff to sit through and watch/listen to. The commentaries in particular are a great addition to see. I always love seeing DVD releases with large numbers of special features.
I didn't want to devote too much time to it, but another positive of this DVD release is the lower MSRP. Whether due to an overall business strategy or the fact that this season has a couple fewer episodes, the MSRP is noticeably lower than with past releases. I've been a big opponent of overpricing DVD sets, so I applaud this change wholeheartedly.
For those of you reading this who are trying to decide whether to buy the set or not, I wholeheartedly encourage it. NCIS is a great character driven drama -- with comedic elements -- and would make a welcome addition to your TV on DVD library. And for fans of the series, while the presence of the Disclaimer of Doom is always troubling, I sincerely doubt you have anything to worry about. As such, this set is STRONGLY recommended.
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Navy NCIS TV.com Page
New on DVD/Blu-ray (April)
04/05 - 10 Items or Less - The Complete Series
04/05 - Episodes - The Fourth Season
04/05 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season One
04/12 - Family Matters - The Complete Sixth Season
04/12 - Grace and Frankie - Season One
04/12 - Welcome to Sweden - The Complete Second Season
04/19 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
04/19 - Veep - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
04/26 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official First Season
04/26 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Six
04/26 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series
04/26 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Second Season
04/29 - The Monkees - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Monday, May 2
Mike & Molly - "The Wreck of the Vincent Moranto" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mike is upset and disappointed when Vince bails on finishing a do-it-yourself project they started together.
Mike & Molly - "Baby, Please Don't Go" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Molly brings home a pregnant former student she discovers is homeless.
The Big Bang Theory - "The Mystery Date Observation" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon, Wolowitz and Koothrappali post an online advertisement to find Sheldon a new girlfriend. Also, when Amy is coy with details about a guy she is dating, Penny and Bernadette decide to spy. Stephen Merchant guest stars as the mystery man, Dave, and Analeigh Tipton guest stars as Vanessa.
The Odd Couple - "Oscar's Oveture" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Oscar attempts to impress Charlotte (Teri Hatcher) by purchasing a table for a fundraiser to benefit The New York Philharmonic. At the event, Felix reminds Oscar about the importance of being honest and Teddy introduces his wife, Diane (Sheryl Underwood), to Dani for the first time.
American Dad - "The Nova Centauris-burgh Board of Tourism Presents: American Dad" (TBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Francine joins Steve and his pals for a live-action role-playing game; Stan opens a Seaworld knock-off in the house.
Angie Tribeca - "The B & B" (TBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The kids recover from food poisoning at a bed and breakfast with southern hospitality and Russian vodka.
Monday, May 2
- Louis C.K. (Louie) - Watch Louis on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Carol Kane (Taxi/American Dreamer/Pearl) - Carol drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- John Stamos (Grandfathered/Jake in Progress/Full House) - John visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Tituss is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Riki Lindhome (Another Period/Super Fun Night) - Riki drops by The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
- Rachael Harris (Surviving Jack/Notes from the Underbelly) - Rachael appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Amanda Crew (Silicon Valley) - Amanda stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Dave Coulier (Fuller House/Full House) - Dave is a guest on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
- Tichina Arnold (Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Tichina appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
- Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris discusses Rosewood on the AOL Build Show at 3:45pm.
- Bill Engvall (The Bill Engvall Show) - Bill appears on The Doctors, so check your local listings.
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Sutton Foster (Younger) - Sutton appears on People Now.