DVD Review: Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season
Release Date: September 15, 2009
· Ellen Pompeo
· Patrick Dempsey
· Katherine Heigl
· Sandra Oh
· CHandra Wilson
by Alex Keen
Published: September 21, 2009
Just in time for the airing of the sixth season of the series, Grey's Anatomy is now on its way to DVD for the fifth time. A super-huge box set is ready for your consumption and compared to previous seasons, the fifth season is definitely worth checking out. Sure, there's plenty of soap opera and melodrama to spare, but it wouldn't be Grey's Anatomy without it. So, grab a box of tissues and prepare your iPod for a brand new set of hip tunes to play. It's time for more Grey's.
Like previous seasons of Grey's Anatomy, the fifth season thrives off of a mixture of comedy, sexual tension, and medical drama. Characters are thrown together, split apart, pushed to the limit, and sexed up more than a roomful of middle school boys. The characters with the best story arcs are Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Derek Shepherd, and Mark Sloan. Characters that either struggle or suffer through the season are Izzie Stevens, George O'Malley, Callie Torres, and Erica Hahn. Everybody else either coasts through the 24 episodes or has multiple ups and downs.
Thankfully, the main storyline between Derek and Meredith stays pretty low key for much of the season. After four seasons of "will they or won't they?" ridiculousness, this season tempers things and makes life a bit more believable for the lucky couple. Although, there are some unrealistic medical debates that they spar over (like, what to do with a dying serial killer's life-saving organs), for the most part their issues are about working and living with one another. There is an interestingly complex conclusion to the season for these characters and the trademark relationship drama makes its return. Overall, it was a wonderful surprise to finally see these two characters functioning like ordinary people instead of being stereotypical television roller-coaster.
Unfortunately, not all of the characters are as lucky as Derek and Meredith. In the case of Izzie and George, while Izzie is given an abundance of screen time, it's seemingly squandered on a silly ghost storyline featuring Denny. Denny has overstayed his welcome and is better off rotting away in a cemetery... or is he? Meanwhile, George has been practically written out of the show. Originally one of the core cast members, actor T. R. Knight is now stuck playing the intermittent comic relief. One of the interns has more screen time that he does and the character of George O'Malley has it worse than the Scott Scanlon in the original Beverly Hills, 90210. It is really a shame what happened to this character and its no surprise that Knight will not be returning for the sixth season of the show.
While George was clearly losing influence in the story, the slack was definitely picked up by intern (and previous paramour), Lexie Grey. Despite her sexpot name, Lexie is the innocent young intern that best reflects the original vision of the series. Her presence and confidence have increased quite a bit since last season, and actress, Chyler Leigh, does a fantastic job of making this progression feel seamless. Since the series has defused the tension between Little Grey and Big Grey (aka Meredith), Lexie has clear sailing through the season and steals the show as one of the best current characters on the series.
Stuck in the middle, Callie Torres gets royally screwed not because of a bad performance by Sara Ramirez, but by a stilted lesbian storyline. The start of season five wastes so much time on this storyline that it could have sunk the show completely. My problem with the romance between Callie Torres and Erica Hahn was not because it was a same-sex relationship. It was because the relationship would have never happened. These two performers had zero chemistry and limped through all of their scenes together. Thankfully, the storyline dies a quick death and rest of the show survives this early threat.
Overall, this season of Grey's Anatomy is successfully entertaining, funny, and dramatic. While not every line, scene, or storyline is perfection, it is far better than the previous season and proves that the series can survive despite stumbling. If you were a fan of the early seasons of this show and left because of some of the silliness, you should give this season a chance.
There's quite a bit of extra content in the set and fans of the series should be happy with the package. There is a featurette about the making of the 100the episode that is the highlight of extra features. It is a mix of interviews and making-of content. It gives a nice glimpse of how the show is made and isn't too run-of-the-mill. Other special features include a huge set of deleted scenes and a gag reel. Finally, there is a featurette about the development and casting of the character of Denny Duquette. This featurette is the perfect length and a great addition for fans of the series and of Denny.