Case Number 19667

SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (BLU-RAY)

Warner Bros. // 2009 // 915 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 13th, 2010

The Charge

Sympathy for the Devil?

Opening Statement

A major chapter in the Supernatural mythology closes this season, as demon-stabbing brothers Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) bring the fight to Lucifer himself. It's a heavy-duty arc, brimming with interesting ideas and the potential for an epic wrap-up; alas, the crew can't quite stick the landing.

Facts of the Case

Season Four ended with some big events: Lucifer busting his way out of his Hell-prison, Sam and Dean cowering in fear, and a dramatic fade-to-white. As Season Five opens, Sam and Dean have been magically transported away from Satanic Ground Zero and reunited with their fallen angel pal Castiel (Misha Collins).

Unfortunately for them, Lucifer's arrival means the Apocalypse is about to swing into full gear, and Heaven and Hell are primed to battle it out; even if that means nuking all of humanity.

Four discs, twenty-two episodes, and limitless use of the word "douchebag."

The Evidence

I've long been one of this show's biggest boosters. For an hourlong show from the then-upstart CW Network about two brothers with great hair embarking on a sort-of knock-off X-Files monster-of-the-week journey, Supernatural developed into an absorbing, arc-driven television theory; often one of the few shows I was truly excited to tune into. And no season bolstered my expectations more than Season Five.

Lucifer! God! Archangels! Apocalypse! Demon Hordes!

So much to get excited for, all of which pointed towards a legendary conclusion; especially when you consider this season was creator Eric Kripke's last hurrah as showrunner and he was prepped to wrap up a narrative he had his eyes on from the very beginning.

It pains me to confess this, but the Winchester boys just don't deliver the fireworks I was hoping for. I won't get into spoilerific specifics, because it's still a decent season and I encourage anyone who's got a passing interest in TV horror to give Supernatural a whirl. But the main thrust of this season (and last season) was the impending face-off between Lucifer and the Winchesters and the accompanying Apocalypse. Well, it didn't feel very "Apocalypse-y" and the Lucifer action was severely limited. My disappointment likely would have evaporated, had the finale knocked my socks off. But it didn't. The ultimate showdown was brief, milquetoast, and...worst of all, bailed out by a plot convention. An obligatory cliffhanger/twist reared its head the end, which frankly it didn't get me jazzed for Season Six.

The writers dropped the ball. Season Four was filled with satisfying mythology, but things unraveled here. I'm not expecting theology that would earn an A at a Wheaton seminar class, but some of the stuff Kripke and company came up with was just plain weak. Heaven is merely a series of earthly joys (not terribly original), Lucifer is a whiny stiff, and what about God? The season had been building up to His ultimate reveal and...no, I refuse to acknowledge that you-know-who turns out to be the Almighty.

Satan running amok with angels on his tail should have been so much more entertaining.

Warner Bros. continues its sterling Blu-ray presentation of CW shows. Supernatural looks fantastic, sporting a high quality 1.78:1 1080p high-definition transfer that beautifully exhibits much of the craziness that transpires this season. The blood is thick and red, the Japanese game show is vibrant and surreal (you have to watch to see what I'm talking about), and the brothers' hip American Eagle wardrobe is breathtakingly earthy. Seriously, this is a gorgeous visual presentation and the only way to watch the show. The 5.1 Dolby mix may not blow the skirts up of audiophiles used to Master Audio tracks, but it's more than adequate; clean and aggressive. Extras: commentary on Episode 4 from the producers, a gag reel, one deleted scene, the "Ghostfacers" Web series, and a cumbersome interactive guide to the Apocalypse.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

I feel the need to end on a positive note. The series has gained a reputation for a few off-the-wall funny episodes per season (typically scripted by Ben Edlund) and the ones that show up here, particularly "Changing Channels," are memorable.

Closing Statement

Supernatural: Season Five is good, but basically a missed opportunity. The Blu-ray is a technical champ.

The Verdict

Ah Hell...Not Guilty.

Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 100
Audio: 85
Extras: 75
Acting: 85
Story: 80
Judgment: 82

Perp Profile
Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 915 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary
* Deleted Scene
* Featurette
* Gag Reel

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0460681/combined