Smallville-The Complete Fifth Season (2006)

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Released 2-Apr-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Thirst & Splinter
Deleted Scenes
Featurette
Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 925:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up ?
Region Coding 4 Directed By James Marshall
Greg Beeman
Terrence O'Hara
Jeannot Szwarc
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI ? Music Mark Snow
Jeffrey Cain
Cedric Lemoyne


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
Dutch
Portuguese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    There have been a number of Superman related DVD releases over the past year, and the Season 5 release of Smallville marks the latest DVD in the lore of the last son of Krypton. A modern retelling with a twist on the traditional Superman mythology, Smallville has been controversial. Creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar have mixed it up enough to infuriate traditionalists but have also created a classic that has drawn in new fans. To see an anguished, teenage Clark Kent who is unsure of his genealogy, his abilities and how to use them is not something that comic book fans are used to. Despite it's shortcomings, it has recently ended it's sixth season in the US and a seventh season has been ordered. It's become the longest running Superman TV show, surpassing the length of the classic George Reeve's show.

    If you are new to Smallville, this site has excellent reviews for some of the previous seasons. Click on the season for the relevant review; Season 1, Season 2 and Season 4. DVD is undoubtedly the best way to watch Smallville.

    It's hard to talk too much about this season without revealing a devastating spoiler that changes the dynamics of the entire show.Let's just say that Smallville will never be the same.

    I wasn't sure how Smallville would work post high school, but it succeeds reasonably well. Instead of trying to limit Clark to a new university environment and staying on campus the storyline moves around quite a bit. Sure, a new character introduction is Professor Milton Fine, but he's not your typical academic and has ulterior motives. Clark spends more time in Metropolis and the small town feel of the show is broadened as considerable action takes place across different story arcs in remote locales. The show takes a few steps towards maturity; Lex's character is developed further and the slippery slope towards his inevitable decline becomes more obvious, Chloe's position at the Daily Planet is another link to Clark's future and Lana and Clark's relationship reaches breaking point.

   Like previous seasons there are varying degrees of episode quality, it seems like the best episodes keep getting better and the bad ones get worse. It wouldn't surprise me if they have two writing teams; the team that know Superman, Clark and Kal-El and write truly thrilling episodes and the clunker team that write filler to pad out the 22 episode seasons. On a positive note though, the freak of the week episodes took a much smaller role in this season than in previous years.

    Overall, Season 5 is another must have to add to your DVD library. The show is definitely in the last year or two of its run and it's exciting to see where it is all going.

Disc 1

501 Arrival (40:42): Clark is transported to the Fortress of Solitude where he is faced with a difficult decision. Lana sees two Kryptonians emerge from the black space ship. The are looking for someone called Kal-El.

502 Mortal (40:04): Punished by Jor-El, Clark loses his powers and must save the day without his abilities.

503 Hidden (40:43): A nuclear threat on Smallville and Clark is still powerless. A fantastic episode (one of the best ever.)

504 Aqua (39:31): Aquaman guest stars when something goes fishy in the nearby lake.

Disc 2

505 Thirst (39:25): Vampires in a sorority? One of the lamest storylines in the show so far. Guest stars Carrie Fischer though.

506 Exposed (39:57): Lois goes undercover...... as a stripper.

507 Splinter (41:20): Silver kryptonite causes Clark to become delusional and only Professor Fine can save him.

508 Solitude (39:44): Martha becomes ill and Fine tries to manipulate Clark.

Disc 3

509 Lexmas (41:10): Lex is visited by the ghost of what Christmas could be like if stopped following in his father's footsteps. Sounds cheesy, but actually an excellent 'what if' episode.

510 Fanatic (39:58): Dramas as Johanthon's campaign faces multiple threats. Can Clark save the day?

511 Lockdown (39:51): A deranged cop hold Lex and Lana captive.

512 Reckoning (41:33): The 100th episode. The episode's name says it all, Jor-El calls in Kal-El's debt and the show is changed forever.

Disc 4

513 Vengeance (40:03): Clark is struggling and teams up with a vigilante who has an unknown agenda.

514 Tomb (38:58):  Chloe gets possessed by a dead girl's spirit.

515  Cyborg (39:26): Clark befriends Victor Stone, a half machine, half man who has escaped from Luthor Corp.

Disc 5

516 Hypnotic (40:22): Clark gets hypnotised, while Lex tracks down Professor Fine.

517 Void (39:25): One of the writers rented Flatliners before scripting this clunker.

518 Fragile (40:44): A girl who Clark seeks to help has an ability to shatter glass, meanwhile Chloe suspects something is up with Lana and Lex.

519 Mercy (41:42): Lionel is held hostage and Martha gets caught in the middle.

Disc 6

520 Fade (40:37): An invisible hitman causes problems for Lex.

521 Oracle (41:13): Are Martha and Clark being visited by someone from beyond the grave?

522 Vessel (41:41): Fine has a virus that will kill millions. How can Clark stop him in time?

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The show is shot in High Definition and this transfer is very good. Like previous seasons there can be a touch of softness which can haze out the background a little. The picture is, however, quite detailed, and shadow detail is above average.

    Colours are rich and vivid. The reds and blues used to remind you of Superman's costume really come alive. Skin tones are natural.

    There are no MPEG artefacts, but there is some noticeable grain in places.

    All episodes have subtitles available in English, Dutch, Portugese and English for the Hearing Impaired.

    Overall, the transfer is probably a little better than previous seasons.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The main audio is a competent English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) track. It's a good audio track for a TV show.

    The dialogue is always clear and there are no audio sync or defect issues.

    The music is always great on this show, a combination of modern rock , love ballads and a Superman inspired score. The music comes through well and adds a lot to the show.

    The surrounds don't get much of a workout but there is a decent amount of panning across the front speakers and in moments where it's needed there is a reasonably spatial feel to the mix. There is no discrete subwoofer track - a 5.1 track would have been ideal for this show.

    There are also English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) tracks on selected episodes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation 

Audio Commentary

    Thirst: Features Executive Producers Al Gough, Miles Millar, Ken Horton and Steve DeKnight. Why they chose this episode to comment on is beyond me.

    Splinter: Features Co-Executive Producer Steve DeKnight, Director James Marshall and Actor James Marsters. Has interesting moments but can be a little tedious.

Additional Footage-Hidden, Aqua, Thirst, Fanatic, Reckoning, Tomb, Cyborg, Hypnotic, Fragile, Mercy, Fade, Vessel

    Most of the footage needed to be dropped, however you get the odd scene that was quite good and you wonder about the decision to cut it. The scene from Reckoning was heart wrenchingly sad. It must be hard to edit into a set network timeframe.

Featurettes

Smallville's 100th Episode: The Making of a Milestone (29:52)

It's a shame that it has taken 5 DVD releases for any substantial featurette like this one. At almost 30 minutes it's the most informative and in-depth look at the show's production in Smallville's DVD history. From the writer's room to post production all facets of the production get a brief, but interesting look in.

Vengeance Chronicles

A series of 3 or so minute webisodes based around the female vigilante, Andrea from episode 13. Quite cheesy and nothing of interest.

Look Up In The Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman (6:27)

A brief look at the new documentary about Supes that came out last year when Superman Returns was released.

Trailer - A Super Hero Like No Other

A trailer on all the different Superman DVDs available. Very cool footage with the classic John Williams' theme.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 and R4 releases are identical.

Summary

    Overall, this is probably the strongest season of the show yet.

    The video is very good.

    The audio is good, although a 5.1 track would really suit this show.

    The special features are better than before but why only two commentaries when previous seasons have had three?

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
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