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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Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, September 27

The Simpsons - "Undercover Blues" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mr. Burns goes under cover as "Fred" at the nuclear power plant and becomes friends with Homer and the gang; Burns implements all sorts of amenities to improve his employees' lives, but a jealous Smithers plots to bring the old, bitter Burns back.

Bless the Harts - "Violet's Secret" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jenny and Betty secretly follow Violet after becoming paranoid that she's making the same bad decisions they did as teenagers; Wayne gets sued by Bobbie Nell.

Bob's Burgers - "Dream a Little Bob of Bob" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bob goes on an epic quest to find a misplaced lockbox key; Tina attempts to learn a hand-slapping song that everyone can do -- but her.

Family Guy - "Stewie's First World" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Stewie finally says his first word, and it's a swearword; when Lois is shunned by the other moms, she tries to figure out where Stewie could have possibly learned it.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 21)

Friday, September 25

  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Watch Drew on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Rob Corddry (The Unicorn/Ballers) - Rob appears on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kiersey Clemons (Angie Tribeca/Transparent) - Kiersey will be on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • John David Washington (Ballers) - John talks about his new film Tenet, secretly shooting a movie with Zendaya during quarantine and what's next on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Double Rush/Parenthood) - David talks about the Scream reboot, two recent projects — You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Kiss The Ground — and more on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl talks about Fox's I Can See Your Voice on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Tituss talks about Netflix's Sing On on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Tia Mowry (Family Reunion/Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia opens up about her frightening health misdiagnosis on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Queen Latifah) - Queen Latifah is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) - Sabrina appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Eugene Cordero (Tacoma FD/Other Space) - Eugene will be on Couch Surfing at 8am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August/September)

Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season

06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)

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