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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 2

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

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

A star () denotes my ten favorite episodes from the season.

Beau Bridges appears as handyman Eli Scruggs in "The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened", the excellent 100th episode of "Desperate Housewives." Gabrielle (Eva Longoria Parker) finally takes off her pregnancy weight after joining an especially intense boot camp exercise program.


13. The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened (43:08) (Originally aired January 18, 2009)
The series' 100th episode also happens to be one of its best. When local handyman Eli Scruggs (Beau Bridges) dies, the residents of Wisteria Lane reflect on the small but important ways that he touched their lives.
Employing a previously unseen character as a window into these characters' pasts creates touching and memorable moments that remind viewers why they've stuck with the show for five years.

14. Mama Spent Money When She Had None (43:00) (Originally aired February 8, 2009)
Susan is shocked that a financially burdened Mike has bought pearls for Katherine, Gaby and Edie get in better shape by joining an intense boot camp, and Lee advises Tom that Dave might not the friend he thinks he is.

15. In a World Where the Kings are Employers (42:59) (Originally aired February 15, 2009)
Gaby discovers that Carlos' boss is having an affair -- and uses it to her advantage. Meanwhile, Susan takes a job at M.J.'s school and Orson is perturbed when he suspects that Andrew is making more money in Susan's company than he is.

16. Crime Doesn't Pay (43:04) (Originally aired March 8, 2009)
Edie grows suspicious of her husband and starts to investigate while Lynette and Bree set up an informal job interview for a depressed Tom.

Susan tries to impress her teaching evaluator Jessie (Swoosie Kurtz) while simultaneously fending off her sexual advances. The housewives take a road trip in the wake of a tragedy.


17. The Story of Lucy and Jessie (43:01) (Originally aired March 15, 2009)
Carlos takes a major step up the career ladder, something Gaby would welcome if not for it reintroducing Lucy (Lesley Boone), a larger woman who used to room (and sleep) with Carlos. Meanwhile, Susan has to suck up to the teacher conducting her performance evaluation. The only problem is that this teacher, Jessie (Swoosie Kurtz), is a lesbian with a thing for Susan. Bree and Orson seek counseling.

18. A Spark. To Pierce the Dark. (43:03) (Originally aired March 22, 2009)
Gaby tries to seduce an overworked and always tired Carlos, Orson pressures Bree to sell her business, and Dave takes Mike and Katherine on a camping trip, followed by a terrible encounter between Dave and Edie.

19. Look Into Their Eyes And You See What They Know (42:59) (Originally aired April 19, 2009)
The housewives have a hard talk with Travers (Stephen Lunsford) and look back on their past in Wisteria Lane.

20. Rose's Turn (43:04) (Originally aired April 26, 2009)
Orson's ongoing kleptomania reaches a breaking point. While Susan consoles Dave and prevents what she thinks is his plan for suicide, Dave has a stunning revelation.

Juanita Solis (Madison De La Garza) experiments with her mother's makeup, much to her own detriment (and her family's chagrin). Carlo's niece Ana (Maiara Walsh) moves in with the Solis family in the season finale, promising an important role in Season Six.


21. Bargaining (43:03) (Originally aired May 3, 2009)
Jackson is back with an interesting proposition for Susan. Tom and Lynette come to an agreement about the regularity of their love life, Bree takes on Karl (Richard Burgi) as an attorney, and Gaby tries to instill confidence in Juanita after the latter starts wearing makeup.

22. Marry Me a Little (42:35) (Originally aired May 10, 2009)
Lynette tries to talk Tom out of plastic surgery while Bree stages a plan to save her business from divorce.
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Gaby is troubled to find an old friend (Sister Act's Wendy Makkena) homeless.

23. Everybody Says Don't (43:03) (Originally aired May 17, 2009)
Lynette is annoyed by Tom's plans to go back to school and study Chinese, Orson blackmails Bree, and Carlos' aunt asks a big favor of him. "Everybody Says Don't" aired as the first of two hours in the Season Five finale on May 17, 2009.

24. If It's Only in Your Head (43:00) (Originally aired May 17, 2009)
In the season finale, Carlo's niece Ana (Maiara Walsh) moves into the Solis home on Wisteria Lane -- a story arc that is sure to feature prominently in Season Six. Meanwhile, Dave takes Susan and M.J. on a road trip while Mike makes an alarming discovery in the airport with Katherine. As always, the season ends with a major cliffhanger and a whole lot of loose ends to be tied up this fall.

Tom and Lynette's twins Preston and Porter (Charles and Max Carver) are all grown up and enjoying the splendors of youth. Everyone's favorite husband and wife, Tom (Doug Savant) and Lynette (Felicity Huffman), continue to steadily endure the trials and tribulations of matrimony and parenthood.


The episodes are presented in their original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and enhanced for 16x9 displays. Picture quality is excellent throughout. The same is true for the sound, which comes by way of a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track. "Desperate Housewives" typically offers a more active and channel-specific surround sound presentation than most television series and the same is true here. Dialogue, score, and effects are of crisp and utterly satisfactory quality, creating an enveloping atmosphere.


The Complete Fifth Season offers audio commentaries on two episodes. The first is "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow", with commentary provided by director/executive producer Larry Shaw and actors Doug Savant, Kyle MacLachlan, and James Denton. The second and superior track accompanies "The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened", featuring creator Marc Cherry and actress Brenda Strong. The husbands don't have much to say on the premiere episode, one that definitely deserves a commentary, but perhaps not one from these particular participants. Cherry and Strong's track, on the other hand, is a very enjoyable listen. After the second and third season sets omitted audio commentary tracks altogether, the Fourth Season served up a total of seven. That Season 5 scales its offerings back to two is disappointing, but it's better than nothing.

The cast and crew of "Desperate Housewives" gather for a table read, an unusual feat for an hour-long series. Neal McDonough and Kyle MacLachlan shake hands on the set of the 100th episode of "Desperate Housewives." Teri Hatcher reflects on her character, Susan Mayer, in the featurette "So Very Teri."

The rest of the bonus features are found on Disc Seven, reserved exclusively for supplementary material. The disc begins with "'What More Do I Need?"' A Very Good Read" (11:15), a behind-the-scenes look at a table read. Creator Marc Cherry explains how his experience working on "The Golden Girls" inspired him to have full cast table reads, a practice unusual for an hour-long show.
This piece isn't just talking heads, though; we also get to see several minutes of actual table read footage. This glimpse at the creative process in motion is exciting, and for fans of the show, it's great to witness cast members like the rarely-seen Brenda Strong (voice of narrator Mary Alice Young) acting side-by-side with her co-stars. A suggestion for the Season Six DVD: a complete filming of a table read.

"I Know Things Now: 'Desperate Housewives' Celebrates 100" (20:48) is more a celebration of the first 99 episodes than the 100th. Cast and crew reflect on their favorite moments from the show and the various ways its success has impacted their lives. Along the way, we get to see some of the on-set celebrations for this increasingly rare milestone.

"So Very Teri" (8:03) is a typical praise piece. I think Teri Hatcher is funny, talented, and beautiful too, but those opinions aren't any more informed now that I've seen this.

A staple of these DVD releases, "Cherry-Picked: Creator Marc Cherry's Favorite Scenes" assembles some of the "Housewives" mastermind's chosen scenes together with his optional audio commentary. There are seven scenes in total, all from Season Five. I'm not sure how much value there would be in watching these sans commentary, but hearing Cherry's thoughts is always worthwhile. Together, the scenes add up to just over fourteen minutes.

Richard Burgi, who plays Susan's ex-husband Karl, breaks character for a hearty laugh in the bloopers reel. In this alternate episode opener, Tom (Doug Savant) confronts his son with a startling discovery. The 16x9 menus on The Complete Fifth Season of "Desperate Housewives" are less fancy than those found on past season sets.

That's followed by a standard reel of "Bloopers" (6:23) and a Deleted Scenes gallery. The latter offers eight scenes, one which is an alternative opening for the episode "What More Do I Need?". The scenes are pretty unpolished in appearance and unfortunately don't come with contextual commentaries or introductions. Any additional time in the world of Wisteria Lane is welcome but none of these scenes stand out as especially memorable or important. In total, there are just under eight minutes of deleted scenes.


The Complete Fifth Season marks a notable change in packaging for "Desperate Housewives" on DVD. The first four seasons featured a memorable slipcover made of transparent plastic with a design that, when removed, revealed some change in clothing or scenery on the digipak underneath. This time, the digipak is still around but the slipcover is a more conventional cardboard sleeve,
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embossed and mildly holographic but not transparent. There's still a cool trick, though: the starring housewives (well, five of them) face you on the slipcover, but when it's removed, you see each holding a weapon behind her back.

Living up to its lame moniker (The Red Hot Edition), the packaging employs a satiny red throughout, including on the discs, which each feature a different housewife. The seventh disc's artwork repeats that of the slipcover -- allowing Mrs. McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten, who has become a de facto regular housewife) to feature would have been a better move. Inside the case are some ads, a Blu-ray flyer, and a coupon offering $10 off various ABC home video sets. The interior panel lists the episodes, broken down by disc, and the bonus features on Disc Seven as well.

The 16x9 main menu screens are underwhelming, especially after the very cool designs that Disney rolled out for the previous DVD release. Lightly animated and accompanied by score, the menus depict the housewives standing in a stylized neighborhood setting.

Disc One automatically plays a few sneak peeks: an ABC on DVD and Blu-ray promo, "Brothers and Sisters": The Complete Third Season, "Grey's Anatomy": The Complete Fifth Season, The Proposal, and a Buena Vista Blu-ray promo. Disc Seven also includes some sneak peeks (accessible from the main menu, these do not play automatically): Extract, "Life on Mars", "Brothers and Sisters", Cheri, "Castle": The Complete First Season, "Old Dogs", and "Ugly Betty": The Complete Third Season.

Katherine's (Dane Delany) relationship with Mike puts a strain on her friendship with Susan in Season Five of "Desperate Housewives." Gabrielle and Carlos' home life changes dramatically in its focus after the birth of their children, Celia (Daniella Baltodano) and Juanita (Madison De La Garza).


Though ratings slid slightly, the fifth season of "Desperate Housewives" presents one of the better story arcs the series has seen. The smart-savvy writing and top-notch acting that have defined this suspensefully sardonic dramedy continue in each of these juicy episodes. While the supplementary contents on this set are neither the fullest nor sparsest the show has seen on home video, several of the featurettes are worth taking a look at. If you haven't encountered "Desperate Housewives" yet, you'd do well to start at Season One and give it a try. If you're just needing to catch before for this fall's premiere, you have just enough time to do that with this highly recommended DVD.

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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

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Reviewed September 11, 2009.

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