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Desperate Housewives on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5

"Desperate Housewives": The Complete Fifth Season:
The Red Hot Edition DVD Review - Page 1

Buy Desperate Housewives: The Complete Fifth Season (The Red Hot Edition) from Amazon.com Desperate Housewives: Season Five (2008-09)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Directors: Larry Shaw, David Grossman, David Warren, Bethany Rooney

Regular Cast: Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer), Felicity Huffman (Lynette Scavo), Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp), Eva Longoria Parker (Gabrielle Solis), Nicollette Sheridan (Edie Britt), Ricardo Antonio Chavira (Carlos Solis), Doug Savant (Tom Scavo), Kyle MacLachlan (Orson Hodge), Dana Delany (Katherine Mayfair), Neal McDonough (Dave Williams), Shawn Pyfrom (Andrew Van De Kamp), Brenda Strong (Mary Alice Young), James Denton (Mike Delfino)

Recurring Characters: Charles Carver (Preston Scavo), Max Carver (Porter Scavo), Joy Lauren (Danielle Katz), Kathryn Joosten (Karen McCluskey), Gale Harold (Jackson Braddock), Kevin Rahm (Lee McDermott), Tuc Watkins (Bob Hunter), Stephen Spinella (Dr. Heller), Madison De La Garza (Juanita Solis), Mason Vale Cotton (M.J. Delfino), Daniella Baltodano (Celia Solis), Marie Caldare (Lila Dash), Richard Burgi (Karl Mayer), Lily Tomlin (Roberta), Frances Conroy (Virginia Hildebrand), Gail O'Grady (Anne Schilling), Peter Onorati (Warren Schilling), Polly Bergen (Stella Wingfield), David Starzyk (Bradley Scott), Ion Overman (Maria Scott), Lesley Boone (Lucy Blackburn), John Rubinstein (Principal Hobson), Sawyer Church (Evan Mayer), Gloria LeRoy (Rose Kemper), David Fabrizio (Detective Collins), Billy Mayo (Detective Lyons), William Schallert (Ken)

Notable Guest Stars: Brent Kinsman (young Preston Scavo), Shane Kinsman (young Porter Scavo), Andrew Leeds (Leo Katz), Charlie Babcock (Stu), Andrea Bowen (Julie Mayer), Steven Weber (Lloyd), Joanna Cassidy (Melina Cominis), Christine Estabrook (Martha Huber), Lucille Soong (Yao Lin), Beau Bridges (Eli Scruggs), Steven Culp (Rex Van de Kamp), Christopher Rich (Bruce), Swoosie Kurtz (Jessie), Stephen Lunsford (Travers McLain), Wendy Makkena (Fran), Jeff Doucette (Father Crowley), Maiara Walsh (Ana Solis), Liz Torres (Connie Solis)

Running Time: 1032 Minutes (24 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: September 1, 2009
Season 5 Airdates: September 28, 2008 - May 17, 2009
Seven single-sided discs (6 DVD-9s & 1 DVD-5); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Ten-sided fold-out Digipak with embossed, holographic cardboard slipcover

Buy from Amazon.com Buy The Complete Seasons 1-5

By Aaron Wallace

Each season of "Desperate Housewives" has introduced a new character and, along with them, a new mystery. What did Mary Alice do? Who does Betty have in her basement? Did Orson kill his first wife? Is the family Katherine brought back to the neighborhood the same one she had when she left? These are the questions that drove each of the series' first four years.
While the show has remained strong from one story to the next, none of the latter hooks have been as compelling as the first season's. That said, the intrigue in The Complete Fifth Season comes the closest yet.

This time around, the new character is Dave Williams (Neal McDonough). Recently married to Edie (Nicollette Sheridan), he's a model neighbor but too cheery and polite to be true. The premiere finds Dave moving Edie back to the neighborhood, bribing a resident to make an immediate sale of their home and move out in the dark of night. Why is Dave so eager to move onto Wisteria Lane? That's the pressing question of Season Five.

As the story proceeds, it becomes apparent that Dave has an axe to grind with one of the street's perennial neighbors, though with whom and for what come to light less rapidly. Proving themselves storytelling savants for a fifth time, the "Desperate" writers build a narrative that advances steadily, revealing slivers of truth and red herrings that keep suspense alive while largely heading off the frustration that an ungratified audience can feel when questions abound but answers elude. The creative team boasts an apparently intuitive appreciation for imbalances between what characters know and what viewers know. Obviously comfortable tipping and teasing that scale, the writers clearly understand that changing the balance can produce many kinds of suspense.

Bree (Marcia Cross) poses for the cover of her cookbook, the success of which takes her to a new station in life in Season Five. Dave Williams (Neal McDonough) makes a forceful late night entry to Wisteria Lane, sparking the central mystery in "Desperate Housewives"' fifth season.

Of course, the show's cliffhangers don't come in a vacuum. They thrive off a cast of characters that are among the best-written and most wholly defined in television history. They also happen to be some of the most dubious. Like many of the greatest works of fiction, "Desperate Housewives" can never be trusted. Even the most loyal and attentive viewers can never take for granted that any character or scenario is what it seems. Like most real people, the inhabitants of Wisteria Lane are each motivated by their own agenda. Like "Seinfeld"'s unforgettable leads, the "Housewives" and their significant others are unfailingly selfish -- and all the more relatable for it. This being a drama (no matter what the Emmy nominators say), the characters frequently rise above themselves to demonstrate love and compassion, but they're at their most entertaining when they look out for number one. Set against smartly twisting storylines, that makes for an environment that keeps viewers on their toes.

Dave's introduction isn't the only thing new in Season Five. Perhaps even more notable is the leap in time first established in the Season Four finale, which advanced the series five years into the future. The CW's "One Tree Hill" tried the same thing in 2007, earning considerably higher ratings but an eventual outcry from critics and longtime fans. "Housewives"' time travel has had the opposite effect: ratings have dipped (though the drama remains ABC's most-watched, even surpassing pop culture behemoth "Lost") but the show's consistent quality has stood the test of artificial time.

The temporal shake-up allows the show to ditch elements that were quickly running into the ground. Mike (James Denton) and Susan's (Teri Hatcher) on-and-off relationship, for example, ran its course a few times over before finally arriving at an inevitable marriage and no ongoing drama to sustain it. In the future, the two are divorced and have each moved on to something new. For Susan, that's Jackson (Gale Harold) and for Mike, it's last year's big mystery character: Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany), who is now as much an official housewife as any other on the show. The new dynamics that emerge from these pairings at long last give Mike and Susan new life, the couple having grown increasingly irrelevant during the last several years.

Accomplished actress Lily Tomlin assumes a recurring role playing Roberta Simmons, Mrs. McCluskey's (Kathryn Joosten) sleuthing sister. The housewives stop by to congratulate Bree on the publication of her cookbook.

The five year jump also allows the writers to tidily dispose of inconveniences that would have otherwise taken a full season to cast away organically. Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) went blind halfway through Season Four -- a dramatic moment, to be sure, but one that left the creative team with an impaired leading character.
The shift in time not only allows Carlos' condition to be believably healed, it also creates some interesting sights for his newly opened eyes. His wife, Gabrielle (Eva Longoria Parker), still had her supermodel figure when he lost his vision -- that was before she gave birth to two overweight children and spent five years tending to their every need and a disabled husband. A little thicker, older, and generally worse for the wear than before, both she and Carlos have to adjust to new realities. Among those altered conditions is a change in socioeconomic status. With her husband unable to carry out the same work he had before, the family readjusts their lavish lifestyle to reflect a tighter income. The real world parallels are self-evident.

Bree (Marcia Cross) sees a reversal in her fortunes as well, though for her family, it's an upgrade. With the publication and smash success of her "traditional family values cookbook", Bree enjoys newfound celebrity, success that she eagerly shares with her son, Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom) but secrets away from her jealous husband, Orson (Kyle MacLachlan). It turns out that jealousy does very nasty things to a man like Orson Hodge.

Of course, most things inside "Desperate Housewives" never change. That's exactly why the fast forward hasn't been awkward or jarring in the way that many feared when first it was announced. While relationships come and go -- and characters, too, including some favorites in the stable of supporting stars who were excused after Season Four -- the dynamics never do. Wisteria Lane is still the most screwed-up street in America. Deception, conspiracy, and scandal are still the order of the day. Household harmony, and disharmony, still abound. There's no better example of this than Lynette (Felicity Huffman) and Tom (Doug Savant), the fifth and most stable of the central couples. Though their children are older now, introducing a whole line of more serious family dramas, the tension between home life and career that has defined their relationship during the course of the show continues to fuel it now.

As with Season Four, the fifth season ends with a cliffhanger that foreshadows a potential jumping of the proverbial shark. We'll know more when Season Six begins later this month. If you haven't caught up with the show yet, you have a few weeks to do that before things get going again. The Complete Fifth Season is on DVD and available now, providing a quick and easy way to eat up this delectable blend of humor and suspense.

Each episode is summarized below. A star () appears beside my ten favorites.

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Edie (Nicollette Sheridan) announces her return to Wisteria Lane as only Edie could: a very visible, soaking wet car wash in a leopard print bathing suit. Dave puts the pressure on a vulnerable Karen McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten) with a threat to her cat.

DISC 1

1. You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (43:04) (Originally aired September 28, 2008)
The Season Five premiere establishes all the changes Wisteria Lane has endured during the five year jump, utilizing plenty of flashbacks, and introduces us to Dave.

2. We're So Happy You're So Happy (43:03) (Originally aired October 5, 2008)
Susan grows uncomfortable when Jackson and Mike become friends,
Lynette poses as a teenager online in order to learn more about her son, Orson turns bitter over Bree's cookbook success, and Karen McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten) gets a bad vibe from a curiously hostile Dave.

3. Kids Ain't Like Everybody Else (42:53) (Originally aired October 12, 2008)
Dave suggests that Mike and the guys form a neighborhood band, an idea that Lynette doesn't like at all. Bree's daughter, Danielle (Joy Lauren), comes home with son and husband in tow, and Bree takes issue with Danielle's mothering.

4. Back in Business (42:50) (Originally aired October 19, 2008)
Lynette again finds herself lamenting motherhood when she finds that a young former co-worker has risen to a higher station in life than her own. Gaby and Carlos's daughter, Juanita (Madison De La Garza) accidentally walks in on her parents' bedroom experimentation. Mike doesn't like that Jackson spends more time with his and Susan's son, M.J. (Mason Vale Cotton), and sets out to change that.

Gaby and Carlos have an unwelcome bed buddy when Carlos' massage client gets too close for comfort. Tom (Doug Savant), Mike (James Denton), and Orson (Kyle MacLachlan) start up a band with Dave (not pictured because he's up to no good elsewhere).

DISC 2

5. Mirror, Mirror (43:19) (Originally aired October 26, 2008)
This episode shows viewers more of what has transpired over the last few years, including Susan and Jackson's courtship and Gaby's pregnancies. Mrs. McCluskey turns 70 years old, but it's a surprise party of a very different kind for her.

6. There's Always a Woman (43:13) (Originally aired November 2, 2008)
While Dave's post-birthday crusade against Mrs. McCluskey continues, she launches one of her own with the help of her sister, Roberta (Lily Tomlin). Meanwhile, Porter's secret affair with a married woman is revealed and Carlos realizes that one of his spa clients is coming to him for more than just a massage.

7. What More Do I Need? (41:59) (Originally aired November 9, 2008)
Susan and Jackson rekindle their relationship, but with Susan imposing some rules of delayed gratification. Lynette and Tom learns Porter's secret. Andrew tells Bree and Orson that they are being blackmailed with a sex tape from their kitchen. Gaby becomes uncomfortable with Carlos' smitten massage client.

8. City on Fire (42:59) (Originally aired November 16, 2008)
The guys' neighborhood band competes in a battle of the bands at a local club, but all hell breaks loose. Julie (Andrea Bowen) shows back up with a much older boyfriend. Bree gives an interview to a sensationalist journalist (Rachael Harris) eager to find dirt.

Susan (Teri Hatcher) has an unexpectedly flirtatious evening with her gay neighbor, Lee (Kevin Rahm). With Carlos putting in long hours at work, Gaby (Eva Longoria Parker) employs some innovative child discipline at home.

DISC 3

9. Me and My Town (42:16) (Originally aired November 30, 2008)
Susan learns of Mike's relationship with Katherine, Carlos learns that there's hope for a cure for his blindness, Lynette and Tom fear that Parker might have done something terrible at the battle of the bands, and Orson accidentally drugs Bree before an important presentation.

10. A Vision's Just a Vision (43:00) (Originally aired December 7, 2008)
Living up to the episode's title, Dave starts to see visions. Meanwhile, Andrew brings his new boyfriend -- who also happens to be Orson's doctor -- home for dinner
Fifth Season DVD Bonus Feature Clip ("Beau Bridges"):
and Bob (Tuc Watkins) and Lee (Kevin Rahm) realize they know him from an unsavory somewhere else. Carlos' sight returns and Lynette makes a sacrifice to secure legal representation for Porter.

11. Home is the Place (42:58) (Originally aired January 4, 2009)
An incredible job opportunity presents itself to Carlos, who isn't sure he wants to take it, despite Gaby's exuberance for the deal. Susan fears that she may have converted her gay neighbor, Lee. Bree competes with Andrew's boyfriends' mother for their sons' time and attention.

12. Connect! Connect! (43:43) (Originally aired January 11, 2009)
Susan and Edie find themselves sparring once again, this time locked together in a basement. Gaby struggles to discipline her daughters while Carlos is away at work all the time and Lynette crosses paths with her mother once again.

A five year leap into the future reveals that Susan (Teri Hatcher) is no longer married to Mike, romancing a painter named Jackson (Gale Harold) instead. Two pregnancies and a reduction in income have not been kind to Gaby (Eva Longoria Parker), the former supermodel whose looks have grown relatively less glamorous during the last five years.

Buy Desperate Housewives: Season 5 from Amazon.com / Buy Seasons 1-5

Continue to Page 2 >>

Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-3
Page 2: Discs 4-7, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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Desperate Housewives on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5

Reviewed September 11, 2009.

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