'Supernatural: The Complete Fifth Season'
(Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Twenty-six years ago, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force. Subsequently, their father raised them to be soldiers. He taught them about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America ... and he taught them how to kill it. This haunting series follows the Winchester brothers as they crisscross the lonely and mysterious back roads of the country in their '67 Chevy Impala, hunting down every evil supernatural force they encounter along the way.
DVD Verdict: 'Supernatural' is (and always has been) a very fun and entertaining show, but viewers who wanted a solid follow up to the exciting apocalyptic storyline in season four will be sadly disappointed. Instead, prepare for sub-par character development and truly terrible pacing.
The season wasted several "light" comedy episodes in the middle of its running that offer little to no development (this viewer holds that 5x05, 5x06, 5x07, and definitely 5x09 could have been trimmed without any problems for the audience) whereas the final plot is introduced and rushed through within the final three and a half episodes. For what is meant to be the zenith moment of a five year arc, the finale is plodding and poorly constructed, with one of the most anti-climatic resolutions to an apocalypse that can be imagined. New characters Michael and Lucifer were decided let downs, both of whom offer little to the series aside from yet another pair of whiny schmucks with daddy issues.
Sam and Dean's characterization waver depending on the episode and which one of them is meant to learn a Very Important Lesson. If you're a fan of Castiel, then you've my pity for he was almost painfully underused. If you expected that Sam would grow as a character and not revert back to bad habits, prepare to be disappointed as he randomly begins to drink demon blood again in the finale (albeit this time supported by Dean, Castiel, and Bobby in an equally disappointing turn of characterization for them).
Likewise, if you had liked the idea that Dean would play any role of importance in the mytharc, please let go of those hopes now. The pre-season spoilers about Dean being a leader and the foreshadowing about his role in the mytharc given last year have been solidly renounced. If you like Dean being beaten up, angsty, and worried about Sam, you should be happy. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting frustrated as the season progresses.
All complaints aside, the season does have some highlights. 5x04's The End is a fantastic episode (albeit one that would have been improved if Sam been able to tag along) and it was a definite pleasure to see such favorites as Jo, Ellen, Anna, Uriel, Meg, Zachariah, John, and Mary again. Sadly, in most of these cases, their appearances were one-offs. The acting remains solid, as always.
The season could have been vastly improved by some consistency between episodes and generally better pacing. I sincerely hope that the writers tone down the fratboy humor and return to a more subtle approach in season six. Distancing themselves from the meta-humor would also be highly appreciated, as would a hesitation in killing off yet more female characters. This season saw the deaths of three women - the only three women still living who had appeared in more than one episode prior to season five outside of Meg, who herself is almost criminally underused at a mere two appearances.
All in all, it was a definite let down after the truly amazing season four. Still, fans who love Sam and Dean above all else (and certainly above a plot with any sort of logical development or continuity) and who aren't as inclined to look at the little details will probably walk away satisfied. [SG] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Supernatural: Apocalypse Survival Guides: Bobby's Exclusive Video Collection
Ghostfacers: The Web series
Producer/writer commentary on episode 4, The End
Unaired scene from episode 9, The Real Ghostbusters