Friday, August 22, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: NCIS - The Fifth Season (Aug. 26)

Welcome to a special edition of mini-DVD reviews! Today we we take a look at CBS DVD's Fifth Season of Navy NCIS. See Seth Thrasher's mini-DVD review of NCIS - The Fifth Season and:

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
(4.5/5 stars)

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SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Navy NCIS TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, May 24

The Big Bang Theory - "The Gates Excitation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Penny gets the opportunity to host Bill Gates at work when his company wants to partner with her pharmaceutical company. Also, Leonard, Koothrappali and Wolowitz do everything in their power to meet him, while Sheldon thinks he is the victim of an April Fools prank.

Young Sheldon - "A Computer, A Plastic Pony, And A Case of Beer" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon asks for a computer and unknowingly sparks a heated argument between Mary and George Sr. over the family’s finances.

Mom - "Fancy Crackers and Giant Women" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bonnie suffers withdrawal after giving up cable TV to help Christy pay for her law school applications, and the women rally around Jill after she has a breakdown in her favorite department store.

Life in Pieces - "Settlement Pacifier Attic Unsyncing" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When the entire Hughes family moves into John and Joan’s home after their kitchen is destroyed, their presence creates chaos for Joan. Also, Matt and Colleen are set to receive a huge monetary settlement from Colleen’s fall off the motel balcony on their wedding night; John tries to get Sophia back on track when she starts misbehaving; Tyler and Clementine make a surprise announcement to the family; and Jen and Greg attempt to persuade Lark to get rid of her pacifier.

Nobodies - "Alone Star State" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Mark-Paul and Rachel attend the Independent Spirit Awards together; an unassuming Hugh joins Larry in Austin, Texas, to teach unauthorized Groundlings-style seminars to a group of Texas businesspeople.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 21)

Thursday, May 24

  • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Catch Mindy on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ted Danson (The Good Place/Becker/Cheers) - Ted is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig visits Conan at 11pm on TBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne/The McCarthys/The Big Bang Theory) - Laurie stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier/Cheers) - Kelsey chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Amy and Nick are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jussie Smollett (On Our Own) - Jussie appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane talks about Red Nose Day and Hollywood Game Night on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Daphne Maxwell Reid (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Eve/Let's Stay Together) - Daphne makes her mother Rosalee's waffles on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement) - Oliver is a guest on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings/Step by Step) - Christine is part of the panel on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

Atlanta - The Complete First Season Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season

03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
05/08 - Dear White People - Season 1
05/08 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season
05/29 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 1
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