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The Complete Fifth Season
Rating: TV 14
Running Time: 530 minutes
Starring: Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke, Judy Reyes, John C. McGinley, Neil Flynn, Ken Jenkins
Retail Price: $39.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Actor Neil Flynn and Producer Randall Winston on "My Big Bird," Audio Commentary with Actor John C. McGinley and Director John Michel on "My Lunch," Audio Commentary with Actor/Director Zach Braff on "My Way Home," Extended Cut Of "My Way Home," My 117 Episodes: Five Seasons Of Scrubs, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Lines
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Stereo, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scenes (5 per episode), Three-Disc Set
Released: May 22nd, 2007
Once again, "Scrubs" is presented in 1.33:1 full screen, and yet again the transfers for these episodes are almost flawless. The series looks as sharp as ever, and the only thing I can nitpick about is some noise on the episodes. Other than that, Sacred Heart's interiors and exteriors look fully detailed, colors are well saturated and fleshtones are on target. Very pleasing, all around.
Also again, "Scrubs" is given the 5.1 Dolby Digital treatment. The tracks aren't always so discrete, but it's nice that the sound elements have room to breathe. Surround effects happen for sure, and some are more subtle (or powerful) than others. Given the show's extensive use of humor involving characters hurting themselves, be it J.D.'s scooter or the Janitor's knife-wrench, the sound effects can lead to some enveloping moments. The show's use of fantastic music also makes good use of all the speakers, with the songs mixed nicely in. And all that hilarious, rapid-fire dialogue sounds clear and very easy to hear through the channels. No sound element overpowers another. Again, very good mixes for a TV show.
Also included are French Stereo tracks, English closed captions, plus subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
On disc 1, there is an Audio Commentary with Actor Neil Flynn and Producer Randall Winston for the episode "My Big Bird." Flynn, a noted improviser, proves to be just as funny as he is on the show. Flynn makes a lot of fun of actors and the proceedings, but Winston plays it more straight with some anecdotes about shooting the episode (such as in an opening gag, the crew went through five scooters). Despite Flynn saying they'll try not to have dead spots, there are a few in the commentary. Overall, it's a pretty decent commentary, and definitely worth a listen for Flynn's enjoyable comments. (I must also note that Disney has nicely made English subtitles available for all their commentaries, something studios should do more often.)
Disc 3 houses the rest of the bonus materials. There are two Audio Commentaries, this first with Actor John C. McGinley and Director John Michel for the episode "My Lunch." The two discuss the dynamics of the episode, and a few fun quips aside, it's a very informative commentary that gives you a feel of the show's production as well as how McGinley approaches playing Dr. Cox. McGinely and Michel have a good rapport going back and forth, discussing Michel's directing style, location shooting and quite a few tidbits (better hit the freeze frame in the opening scene to see Zach Braff's line scribbled on a box). McGinley also scored one of his actor friends from NYU a guest role in the episode. This is a very strong commentary, and fans of the show who will listen to it will probably love it.
The other Audio Commentary is with Director/Actor Zach Braff for the show's 100th episode, "My Way Home." Braff plays it pretty serious here, and as in other commentaries he's done for the DVD, you get a good feel for his directing style. Braff also discusses some production anecdotes for the episode, as well as technical details in how he achieved certain shots. A tiny bit dry, but still well done. Like the McGinley/Michel commentary, it's a must listen for fans of the series.
Speaking of "My Way Home," the episode's original TV cut is on the first disc, but the third disc houses an extended cut running about 7 minutes longer (why the extended cut doesn't have chapter stops is beyond me). If you listen to the commentary, Braff points out which scenes were cut. The additions are mainly just extensions of existing scenes and are a bit superfluous as far as the context of the episode, but still quite fun.
My 117 Episodes: Five Seasons Of Scrubs is a 17 minute featurette that looks back at the show's evolution. Beginning with little interviews from the show's 100th episode party with the cast, it then segues into more formal interviews with creator Bill Lawrence, supervising producer Jane Bakken, producer Randal Winston and co-executive producer Mike Schwartz. Highlighted with clips from the first five seasons, the show's creative forces discuss their unique choices in making the series stand out, real life influences, the show balancing comedy and drama and how they pushed the boundaries. Neil Flynn, Sarah Chalke, John C. McGinley, Donald Faison, Judy Reyes and Ken Jenkins also reflect on the show's creative process, how their characters have changed and some of their favorite moments from the series. This is a fantastic watch - too bad it's not longer.
Rounding out the set are seven Deleted Scenes that run a few minutes, and a variety of Alternate Lines from several episodes. Like this feature on some of the show's previous sets, there's a lot of great work from the whole cast, but if you ask me, I always found this feature as great way to highlight the brilliance of Neil Flynn.
As season five proves, "Scrubs" is still one of the best and most original sitcoms on television - and hasn't lost any steam since debuting nearly six years ago. As far as a DVD package, it's a good value and on par with past seasons: nice transfer, good 5.1 mixes and a strong selection of extras. If you're a fan of the show, then you know you'll be adding this to your collection.