Judge David Johnson is quackers!
Our reviews of Duck Dynasty: Season 3 (published August 17th, 2013), Duck Dynasty: Season 4 (published January 18th, 2014), Duck Dynasty: Duck Days of Summer (published May 31st, 2014), Duck Dynasty: I'm Dreaming of a Redneck Christmas (published November 11th, 2013), Duck Dynasty: Season 2, Volume 1 (published March 21st, 2013), and Duck Dynasty: Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray) Collector's Set (published December 3rd, 2013) are also available.
When I think of Duck Dynasty, I think of the Transformers movies. They have nothing in common creatively, obviously, but after seeing the harsh critical response to Transformers: Age of Extinction I think there is some kernel of similarity to mine between the two pop culture phenoms. And that is: at this stage, what do you expect?
It's no secret that the patriarch of Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, got embroiled in some controversy recently, which led to a bizarre suspension and de-suspension song and dance from A&E (following an outpouring of public vitriol). This kerfuffle is of course fame-related, as Duck Dynasty is A&E's biggest show ever and the episode is indicative of the support—and backlash—the series now receives.
I've heard a fair amount of grumbling about the show, how scripted it seems, how flat the humor can be, how milquetoast it all is. On the face of it, I can't disagree with these assessments, but that brings Michael Bay back to mind. These properties are established, have cemented their identities since Day One and they are what they are. Giant fighting space robots, terrible dialogue, bloated runtimes here; redneck hijinks, dinner prayers, forced humor there. Anyone expecting nuance will be disappointed!
Somewhere amid this straw-man that I have set aflame resides a faint point and I think this is it: it doesn't matter if Duck Dynasty is good or bad, really—at this stage it just is.
To add to that waffling, I don't think it's bad and I don't think it's that great. The stories are indeed contrived. It's best not to even think of it as a "reality show" (I've read Willie Robertson describe it as "guided reality," whatever that means), just a semi-authentic look at a redneck family that loves each other and eating duck. The humor is hit-and-miss, with Uncle Si providing most of the laughs and the other guys trying a bit too hard.
But, I am just a sucker for the wholesome family nature of it all. It's just nice to see these characters on TV and they're not train wrecks we tune in to watch downward spiral. They're offbeat, yes, but they appear to be refreshingly clean of meth addictions.
Duck Dynasty: Season 5 follows the same playbook of each season before it. Each episode sees the different factions of the Robertsons go on a variety of misadventures including: assembly a yuppie playhouse, welcoming home an exchange student, repelling Si's flu-like symptoms, dealing with duck-hunting-rookie brothers-in-law, keeping daughters engaged in the crushing tedium of running a duck call manufacturing business and putting on a massive Robertson family reunion. Same Jase/Willie/Phil/Si smartass commentary, same moronic bayou machinations, same rampant duck slaughter.
Which is to say: if you like Duck Dynasty, here's more of it and you should like it too. If you don't…well, you're probably not even reading this review, so why did I just write this sentence?
Good Blu-ray treatment, courtesy of Lionsgate. Episodes look excellent in a fresh 1.78:1/1080p HD transfer, though the DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio leaves something to be desired. Not much for extras: two deleted scenes and nine "featurettes," which are just expansions on episode plotlines.
Not guilty. Sure.
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