TITLE: DAWSON'S CREEK - THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON
Released: May 3, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 986 Minutes
Languages: English Audio
Subtitles: Spanish, Portuguese
Special Features: None
Dawson, Joey, and the gang go off to college - The fifth season of Dawson’s Creek is now on DVD!
Season Five of Dawson’s Creek really is one of those “love it” or “hate it” seasons among fans – traditionalist fans of
the series prefer the series earlier seasons, set in Capeside, while other fans were relieved to see a fresh bit of life blood
poured into the series with the move to college. On the one hand, the series, by season four, was beginning to constantly
rehash storylines from earlier seasons – they’d simply run out of things to do with high school students in Capeside. On the
other hand, the entire series had been based around them growing up in the town, so to suddenly move the entire show to a
new location was more than some fans could handle. Joining the usual gang of Dawson (James Van Der Beek), Jen
(Michelle Williams), Pacey (Joshua Jackson), Joey (Katie Holmes), and Jack (Kerr Smith) is a new regular, Audrey
(Busy Phillips, “Freaks and Geeks”).
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
No real guest stars to report this season, however, the episodes really didn’t need them…there are some good episodes this
season. The season premiere is good, as you have the introduction of new character Audrey, plus the debut of the recurring
character of Professor Wilder (played by Ken Marino, “Men Behaving Badly”). In the episode, Dawson starts his
internship in California…and is fired within the same episode. The rest of the gang adapts to college life, and aspects of
college life like rewriting essays, overcritical professors…well, and frat parties, but who really cares about THOSE, eh?
At the tail-end of the third episode of the season, Capeside Revisited, Mitch is driving home from the grocery store. He bends
over to pick the ice cream up, and crashes into the back of a truck. This leads into the next episode, one of the best of
season five, The Long Goodbye. With Mitch dead due to the car accident, it’s up to a barely-together Dawson to handle
the funeral arrangements. There are other good episodes this season, but I’ll leave those of you watching the season to
discover them for yourself. Don’t want to ruin the surprise.
As with the previous sets, Sony has stuck with the four-disc Digipak. Unlike the last season’s release, which featured
the episode listing and promotional material flying out at a moment’s notice, season five’s material seems to hold in it’s sleeve
slightly better, though it still can fall out rather easily compared to other sets. The front cover has Dawson, Jen, and Joey
in front of the college, with all six primary regulars from season five at the bottom. Back cover had the gang, sans Audrey, in
front of the college sitting down. Each of the interior panels of the disc holder has a shot of various cast members.
Each disc has a different main cast member on it in front of a different external shot of part of the college. Dawson can be
found on the cover of the first disc, which contains episodes 1-6. Episodes seven through twelve can be found on disc two,
which has Jen on the cover. The third disc has the lovely Joey on the cover, and features the thirteenth through seventeenth
episodes, while episodes 18-23 are on the fourth and final disc, with Pacey on the cover. The main menu for each disc is a
larger shot of the disc cover art. The Episode Selection, Subtitle Selection, and Preview Selection menus are the same on
each disc, and can be seen below:
Video and Audio Quality:
The video is…well…poor. There are noticeable compression leftovers, and the video tends to glitch in more than a few
places. In many scenes, it genuinely looks as though the scene was shot in an 8mm camcorder. There’s just no excuse for
this in a profession DVD release – I could make a DVD set from episodes recorded off TV and the video wouldn’t look like
that. An example screenshot is below: Image is straight from a video capture.
Episodes run around 42 to 43 minutes per episode. Chapter stops are incredibly well-placed, at the end of each scene.
Audio’s a Dolby 2.0 Surround setup. I would have expected a little more from the audio from a 2001/2002 show, but, ah
well. Audio’s good and clear overall – there’s no real hiss on the audio track. I’m kind of disappointed they couldn’t have
come up with a couple of foreign language tracks, but at least there are subtitles available in Spanish and Portuguese
(no French?). I only have one issue with the audio, and anyone familiar with the last few sets knows exactly what it is: The
folks at Sony, rather than lease I don’t Want to Wait for DVD, have one again replaced the theme with the far inferior run
like mad, the briefly-used-on-some-1st-season-international-airings theme. Sony: It’s ONE song. It’s not as if you’re
asking to lease the collected works of the 20th century – it’s just one song. Some companies will go to painstaking effort
to make sure all the original music is there – why can’t you do the same. Plus, the episode devoted to the funeral of Mitch
used a special slow Piano version of the theme – but on the DVD set, the somber effect is ruined by the same “Run Like
During the fourth season set’s DVD review, I mentioned that the special features to be found were sparse. In retrospect, the
features on it were quite generous compared to season five. THERE’S NOTHING. The only “special feature” to be found
on any of the four discs are previews for other Sony releases. For the longest time, Dawson’s Creek was somewhat unique
among the Sony sets, in that you could always count on, at the LEAST, a few commentary tracks and a couple of other
little features. Now, it’s just another run-of-the-mill, episode only, Sony product. Good work on that, guys.
Well, this only leaves one season left of Dawson’s Creek remaining, and if the quality of the sixth season’s release
follows the same trend as the last couple sets, the discs will be made out of cardboard. I’m sorry, but this release is just
shoddy, plain and simple. No special features, the video looks horrible in places, and they continue to replace music. The
audio quality is fine, which is about the one thing that’s RIGHT with the set. Please, Sony, before you release the final
season’s set, sit some people down for commentary tracks, work out other features, and go over the video to make
sure it’s decent. Fans of the show deserve a big release for the show’s final season – make the set feel special.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):
Video Quality: 2.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: N/A
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/06/05
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