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)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Navy NCIS TV.com Page


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

The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five

03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, April 24

The Big Bang Theory - "The Property Division Collision" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon and Leonard try to divvy up their shared belongings, but can’t agree on anything. Also, Koothrappali and Stuart fight to be the most helpful during Bernadette’s final weeks of pregnancy. Christopher Lloyd guest stars as Theodore.

Superior Donuts - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Emmy Award winner Judd Hirsch and comedian Jermaine Fowler star in a new comedy about the relationship between Arthur, the gruff owner of a small donut shop, his enterprising new young employee, Franco, and their loyal patrons in a quickly gentrifying Chicago neighborhood.

Kevin Can Wait - "Kevin vs. the Dutch Elm" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
As Kevin tries to charm his neighbor into giving him permission to cut down one of her trees, he becomes intimidated by her imposing son, Rutger (retired MMA Fighter and UFC Heavyweight Champion Bas Rutten), and invites them over for a non-existent party.

2 Broke Girls - "And the '80s Movie" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
As Max and Caroline, now part owners of the diner, put the finishing touches on their newly converted Dessert Bar, Max deals with the aftermath of her recent breakup with Randy, and Sophie and Oleg prepare for the birth of their baby.

American Dad - "A Nice Night for a Drive" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Klaus gets transferred into the navigation system of Stan's car when Stan refuses to pay for life-saving surgery; Steve and his friends prank Roger, who then terrorizes them for revenge.

Angie Tribeca - "Brockman Turner Overdrive" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
When a beloved badminton star is the suspect of a hit-and-run, everyone turns a blind eye except Tribeca and Geils.

Young & Hungry - "Young & Couchy" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Gabi creates a problem when she sells the ugly, used couch Sofia received from her boss.

Baby Daddy - "The Sonny-moon" (Freeform, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Ben becomes jealous when Bonnie sends Danny on a cruise to celebrate his impending fatherhood.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 24)

Monday, April 24

  • Lena Dunham (Girls) - Watch Lena on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Eric appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Kathryn Hahn (Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Kathryn drops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She also talks about the new series I Love Dick on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Andrea Martin (Great News/Difficult People/Working the Engels) - Andrea stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Briga Heelan (Great News/Ground Floor) - Briga is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Matt Walsh (Veep), Mary Holland (Blunt Talk) and Timothy Simons (Veep) - Matt, Mary and Timothy are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • John Leguizamo (The Brothers Garcia) - John guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie talks about making her Broadway debut in Present Laughter on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Katie Gill (Baby Daddy) - Katie is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa joins Clinton Kelly in the kitchen to make a delicious dessert with an ingredient she’s never had before—Rhubarb on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate talks about 13 Reasons Why on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.