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Grey's Anatomy on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5

"Grey's Anatomy": Complete Fifth Season - More Moments DVD Review - Page 2

Buy Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season DVD from Amazon.com Grey's Anatomy: Season Five (2008-09)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Shonda Rhimes / Repeat Writers: Shonda Rhimes, Debora Cahn, Jenna Bans, Krista Vernoff, Mark Wilding, William Harper, Stacy McKee, Tony Phelan, Joan Rater, Peter Nowalk / Repeat Directors: Rob Corn, Eric Stoltz, Randy Zisk, Tom Verica

Regular Cast: Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey), Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang), Katherine Heigl (Isobel "Izzie" Stevens), Justin Chambers (Alex Karev), T.R. Knight (George O'Malley), Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey), James Pickens, Jr. (Richard Webber), Sara Ramirez (Callie Torres), Eric Dane (Mark Sloan), Chyler Leigh (Lexie Grey), Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt), Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd)

Recurring Characters: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny Duquette), Jessica Capshaw (Arizona Robbins), Brooke Smith (Erica Hahn), Melissa George (Sadie Harris), Eric Stoltz (William Dunn), Mary McDonnell (Virginia Dixon), Kate Walsh (Addison Montgomery), Amy Madigan (Dr. Wyatt), Jennifer Westfeldt (Jen Harmon), Steven W. Bailey (Joe)

Notable Guest Stars: Bernadette Peters (Sarabeth Breyers), Mariette Hartley (Betty Kenner), Kathy Baker (Anna Loomis), Tyne Daly (Carolyn Shepherd), Audra McDonald (Naomi Bennett), Taye Diggs (Sam Bennett), Grant Show (Archer Montgomery), Sam Anderson (Michael Whitman), Faye Dunaway (Margaret Campbell), Loretta Devine (Adele Webber), Hector Elizondo (Mr. Torres), Jeff Perry (Thatcher Grey), Sharon Lawrence (Robbie Stevens), Kellie Martin (Julie Zelman), Zach Gilford (Charlie Lowell), Debra Mooney (Mrs. Hunt)

Running Time: 1039 Minutes (24 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: September 11, 2007
Season 5 Airdates: September 25, 2006 May 14, 2007
Seven single-sided, dual-layered discs (6 DVD-9s & 1 DVD-5); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with Cardboard Slipcover

Buy Grey's Anatomy from Amazon.com: Season 5 DVD Seasons 1-5 DVD Pre-order Season 5 Blu-ray

Dr. Dixon (Mary McDonnell) becomes the center of an awkward group hug with Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Bailey (Chandra Wilson) in "Beat Your Heart Out." Returning from her "Private Practice", kneeling Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) is thought to be deep in prayer, but she definitely hears the chatter from the back of the chapel.

Disc 4

13. Stairway to Heaven (49:26) (Originally aired January 22, 2009)
William has surgery despite his pending execution while Bailey is desperate to save the life of her dying patient. Lexie puts Mark in a compromising position; Cristina avoids Owen after the events of the previous evening;
and Izzie finally realizes the significance of Denny's presence. This is the sole extended episode on DVD, and the broadcast cut of it is not included.

14. Beat Your Heart Out (43:00) (Originally aired February 5, 2009)
Derek tries to find the right way to propose to Meredith; Lexie gives Mark an ultimatum; Izzie tries to teach by letting her interns diagnose her; and Bailey considers specializing in pediatrics. This episode was promoted as a crossover with spin-off "Private Practice", but the two casts do not interact on-screen until the following episode.

15. Before and After (43:00) (Originally aired February 12, 2009)
The "Private Practice" crossover begins in earnest as Addison (Kate Walsh) returns to Seattle with her ailing brother Archer (Grant Show) and co-workers Naomi (Audra McDonald) and Sam (Taye Diggs) who went to medical school with Derek. There, she consults on one of Derek's patients (Jennifer Westfeldt). Also, Owen's ex-girlfriend comes to the hospital.

16. An Honest Mistake (43:02) (Originally aired February 19, 2009)
Addison and Derek disagree over the course of treatment for their dying patient in the conclusion of the "Private Practice" crossover, causing him a confidence crisis. Meanwhile, Mark chooses the wrong moment to tell Derek about Lexie; Faye Dunaway guest stars as a surgeon with whom Cristina takes issue, and a rift develops between Webber and Bailey over her recent decision.

Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) has let himself go, as evidenced by his beard and country setting. Two doctors, one healthy (Sandra Oh), one sickly (Katherine Heigl) look and comment upon Meredith's potential wedding dresses

Disc 5

17. I Will Follow You Into the Dark (43:01) (Originally aired March 12, 2009)
Derek decides to quit in the wake of losing too many patients, and the interns finally diagnose Izzie correctly, though they only know it applies to a "Patient X." Guest star Loretta Devine, fresh off the cancellation of her own ABC dramedy "Eli Stone", returns as Webber's wife, Adele.

18. Stand By Me (42:59) (Originally aired March 19, 2009)
At Bailey's request, the other surgeons trek into the woods to snap Derek out of his funk while Mark performs a rare facial transplant. Meanwhile, Cristina finally gets her own solo surgery, but is more concerned about Izzie's illness.

19. Elevator Love Letter (43:03) (Originally aired March 26, 2009)
"Grey's" gets its groove back with the best episode since Season Two. Derek returns to work following his breakdown to operate on cancer-stricken Izzie while worrying about how to propose to Meredith, who has already said no twice. Also, Owen's personal trauma complicates his growing relationship with Cristina.

20. Sweet Surrender (43:04) (Originally aired April 23, 2009)
Izzie plans Meredith and Derek's wedding on her sickbed as she begins chemotherapy; Owen, who seeks help from Dr. Wyatt (returning guest Amy Madigan) for his PTSD, notices George's talent for treating trauma. Also, Hector Elizondo returns as Callie's father and he's less than pleased about her new sexual orientation.

The 100th episode of "Grey's Anatomy" supplies a wedding, but not the one you might have expected. Is Izzie (Katherine Heigl) bound for death and haunting humans? Season finale "Now or Never" doesn't answer that.

Disc 6

21. No Good at Saying Sorry (One More Chance) (43:01) (Originally aired April 30, 2009)
Izzie's ditzy mother (Sharon Lawrence) comes to visit, as does Meredith and Lexie's newly-sober father (Jeff Perry). Lexie, in turn, pressures Mark to meet him. In addition, a young girl shoots her father, causing Meredith to fight with Webber.

22. What a Difference a Day Makes (43:01) (Originally aired May 7, 2009)
In the landmark 100th episode, Meredith and Derek's wedding day arrives, but all does not go as originally planned, especially when Denny reappears.
College students involved in an accident attend the ER instead of their graduation ceremony, and Alex is particularly affected by their valedictorian.

23. Here's to Future Days (43:00) (Originally aired May 14, 2009)
Izzie must decide whether or not to undergo a risky surgery, and everyone has a different opinion on whether she should go through with it. Meanwhile, Mark wants progress in his relationship with Lexie. Also, a patient (Zach Gilford of NBC's wonderful "Friday Night Lights") who wants desperately to serve his country has a profound impact on both Owen and George.

24. Now or Never (43:01) (Originally aired May 14, 2009)
In the season finale, Izzie's memory may have been impacted by her surgery; Bailey doesn't seem happy that she's accepted by the pediatrics program; and the surgeons focus on saving a man who threw himself in front of a bus in order to save a stranger. Although this originally aired in a two-hour block with the previous episode, they were presented as separate episodes during that broadcast (unlike the continuous season premiere). Therefore, the DVD's presentation of them separately is in this case correct.

"Here Comes the Flood", Seattle Grace Hospital. Or what would the second half of "Titanic" look like if it took place in a hospital? Alex (Justin Chambers) looks at the face he is to transplant in "Stand By Me."

VIDEO and AUDIO

Whatever you may think of the show itself from week to week, its DVDs are presented in fine quality. As always, all episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the aspect ratio of their original high-definition broadcasts. As to be expected from a new television program coming to DVD, the quality is basically perfect and there are no issues to be reported with either the video or audio (which is in Dolby Digital 5.1). Those who own the previous seasons should know exactly what to expect here, as the set delivers more of the same in terms of transfer quality. This season was to be released simultaneously on Disney's favorite format, Blu-ray, but that release has been delayed indefinitely. Since "Grey's" does not deliver the same kind of lush eye candy as, say, ABC schedule mate "Lost", the value of the high-definition version may not be as significant and comes down to your personal preferences. I personally love Blu-ray, but feel no need to have "Grey's" in that format.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

With the exception of the extended episode "Stairway to Heaven" on Disc Four, all bonus features are reserved for Disc 7.

The cast and crew of "Grey's Anatomy" gather to celebrate 100 episodes of hospital drama! One day Jeffrey Dean Morgan won't be most easily identified as "The guy who looks like the bad guy in "No Country for Old Men." Alas, today is not that day. As he is known to, Dr. McSteamy (Eric Dane) goes shirtless in this deleted scene.

"100th Episode: Tales From the O.R." (18:31) is the most insightful feature, using the milestone as a springboard for a making-of featurette that could apply to any episode. We see footage of the initial table read and the 100th episode party, and hear from the directors, editor and cast about their various parts of the show. Also present in interviews are creator Shonda Rhimes and executive producer Betsy Beers. There is, of course, some self-congratulation here
but also interesting insight into the show's creative process, so fans will appreciate its inclusion.

That's not so much the case for "Heaven Sent" (9:29), a featurette on Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Denny that seems only to exist for the self-congratulation. Writers talk about his arcs in both Seasons Two and Five and emphasize that they had a plan for his reappearance, but do not acknowledge that the plan was fundamentally flawed. Worse, featured clips from Season Two only serve to demonstrate how much better the show was then, back when you still cared about what happened to this character.

There is also a healthy collection of deleted scenes (17:28) from various episodes which were not restored and the outtakes reel (4:04), both of which are worth watching but not in any way revolutionary. The deletions include commentary with Rhimes and Beers, who did not record any commentaries on full episodes this year.

Five years down the line, pretty much everything on this DVD seems rather routine because each season set is modeled similarly. Things that were innovative and unique on the first season or two seem a little like a rerun now; even if they are not necessarily bad quality, there is a feeling that we've seen most of this before. Still, because the writers remain unwilling to acknowledge and examine the mistakes they made this year, this is probably the best set of extras that could have been produced.

Ellen Pompeo gets a laugh from this engagement ring in the blooper reel "In Stitches: Season Five Outtakes." In addition to new and lapsed viewers, the ABC Starter Kit serves those awaking from really long comas: "The elevator is a mechanism people ride because it is faster and easier than taking the stairs." Callie's (Sara Ramirez) one chance to get her picture in this review and she closes her eyes on Disc 5's main menu montage. Oh, Callie!

Also of note: playing automatically with Disc 1's Play All option (the only apparent way to access it) is an "ABC Starter Kit" (4:44) intended to bring viewers up to speed on the show. It's a nice inclusion in theory, but the chances of someone buying the fifth season and not knowing everything discussed here are pretty slim. Also, since this was produced to catch people up for Season Six, it covers certain plot developments from Season Five. So it's probably best to skip if you haven't already seen the season in full; the one they produced prior to Season 5's start would have been a better inclusion here.

What is not included on this set is more troubling. The episodes of "Private Practice" involved in the February crossover contain scenes vital to the overlapping storyline's progression. Without them, the set is kind of incomplete. While this technically supplies every 2008-09 episode of "Grey's Anatomy", the point of a season set is to allow the viewer to watch the season's stories unfold in their entirety, and there are significant holes with those episodes absent.
It is likely that audience overlap between the two shows is very large, but it's still fundamentally wrong for Disney to withhold those episodes from this collection, forcing fans of one to buy both the other's set (and even then, having to constantly switch discs back and forth in order to view the complete arc in sequence). There are only two episodes at issue here, so there was space to include them without compromising video quality or raising the disc count.

Like the previous three seasons, "Grey's" comes in a Digipak that folds out to contain several panels; one lists the episodes and holds promotional inserts (there aren't any pertaining to this set). The others house the discs overlappingly. The promotional inserts do their best to sell you on other ABC TV box sets on DVD (including a $10 off coupon for other new releases of last season's programming) and on the advantages of upgrading to Blu-ray. There is not, however, an offer to receive money back if you upgrade this set to its concurrent Blu-ray release, as there was for Season Four box set. Disc 1 opens with several trailers, including one for the concurrent "Private Practice" release. Additional ads can be found on Disc Seven.

Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) are the hot new doctor couple at Seattle Grace Hospital. Alex (Justin Chambers) and Chief Webber (James Pickens, Jr.) try to stay professional while being shown the sexual position that introduced a foreign body into a patient's butt.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Overall, the fifth season of "Grey's Anatomy" can be characterized as its most woeful to date.
Bonus feature clip: "Grey's" Celebrates 100:
A strong start and late-season resurgence provide compelling reasons to watch but cannot compensate for the many poor choices the writers made on the middle episodes.

In promos, ABC is billing the imminently-debuting Season Six as "the season that changes everything." While that is probably just fancy marketing, it's hard not to notice that change (hopefully back to its more focused former self) may actually benefit the show, since its status quo is so hit-and-miss.

Because of the show's mixed quality this year, this is a hard DVD to recommend, but the episodes are presented in fine transfers and, though, unexceptional, most of the bonus features merit a look. Hardcore "Grey's" fans will want it in their collection anyway and can take heart in their ability to fast-forward through the junk to get to the good stuff.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com / Buy Seasons 1-5 on DVD / Pre-order on Blu-ray

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Reviewed September 23, 2009.

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