TITLE: GET SMART - SEASON 5 (HBO HOME VIDEO)
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2009 (HBO Video)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 650 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Audio Introductions by Barbara Feldon for all episodes; Commentary on one episode
Everybody still wants to “Get Smart,” and you can too, on DVD anyway, with Season 5 of the series Get Smart! The four disc DVD collection contains the final 26 episodes of the spy spoof series to complete your collection.
The series underwent a few changes in this season, one being that it moved from NBC to CBS this season, along with new opening credits and a new car for Max. But that isn’t the big change. The biggest one is that we now have Max and Agent 99 as a married couple, but that isn’t all. Agent 99 is also going to have a baby. Actually, she is going to have twins. We now get to see life both inside and outside of work for the loving couple. But at work, it is all business as usual with the typical plots that the duo must endure. Will they endure it for one last season? Find out in Season Five of Get Smart!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The series kicks off with “Pheasant Under Glass,” where Agent 99 breaks the news to Max: he’s going to be a daddy! But in the heat of the excitement, Max accidentally blows his cover! Phyllis Diller and Martin Landau play Max in brief cameo appearances. A baby buggy may hold some top secret info that KAOS wants in “Ironhand.” Max marries another woman (but only for his job) in “Widow Often Annie.” In “Smart Fell on Alabama,” Max trains convicts so that they can use their, umm, skills, to help CONTROL.
The big day has come for Max and 99 in the two-part episode “And Baby Makes Four.” Why is everybody getting so old so quick? They’d better find out before they all die of old age in “Age Before Duty.” Vincent Price guest stars in “Is This Trip Necessary?” Max and 99 go live on the radio (which is actually a show that is a KAOS front) in “Moonlighting Becomes You.” In the two-part episode “House of Max,” Jack the Ripper is alive and well, and Max and 99 go to London to find out what it is all about. Max has to guard a KAOS defector in his apartment in “Witness for the Execution,” but how safe is that, really?
In “Only Two Ninety-Nine,” 99 is kidnapped but replaced with a duplicate by KAOS. How will this affect Max? In “Smartacus,” KAOS uses a steam bath with a truth serum to get secret information, but this serum also helps Max and the Chief really get to know each other a little too well! The whole nation is at stake in “Hello, Columbus, Goodbye, America,” when a man has to hand over land rights to the US (which for some reason are legally owned by a man named Gino Columbus) to the president. The series ends with the episode “I Am Curiously Yellow.”
The packaging is pretty much the same as previous sets: a standard white DVD case with a cardboard sleeve. The only thing that changes is the color scheme, and this time, it is a green color scheme. Max is on the cover, but Agent 99 is not with him this time. It is hard to really explain the artwork, but it is certainly very pleasing to the eye. We have inside the case the four discs, with Disc 1 containing episodes 1-7, Disc 2 containing episodes 8-14, Disc 3 containing episodes 15-20, and Disc 4 containing episodes 21-26. There really isn’t any disc artwork (just the show logo). Also, inside the case, we find a sheet that lists all of the episodes (though no descriptions, unfortunately), along with an introduction from Rory Mach, a producer and writer who has nothing to really do with the series (as far as I know), but is very knowledgeable about it.
Menu Design and Navigation:
We’ve had the same menus for four seasons, so there was no reason to change the menus for this set--and the DVD producers did not change the menus. We have the same basic menu that has the theme song playing with video from the episodes, and options of Play All, Episodes, and Commentaries (where applicable). These options are pretty much self-explanatory. The Episodes section takes you to a menu where you select the episode from a menu screen that includes snapshots from each episode. When you select an episode, it plays immediately, with a brief audio introduction from Barbara Feldon. You can skip the introduction, but I wouldn’t recommend it--they are great to listen to! Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio on this set is excellent and looks much better than I would expect for a series as old as this one, BUT it almost seems as if the previous seasons were a little bit better. This could have something to do with the fact that these episodes were originally aired on CBS, whereas the rest were aired on NBC. Mostly, it seems that these episodes, while certainly vivid and clear, have a few more issues with grain than previous sets. But it isn’t a serious problem. The audio is fine, presented in mono, and each episode is closed-captioned. And the episodes are all unedited as far as I can tell. Runtimes are as follows:
1- Pheasant Under Glass (24:18)
2- Ironhand (24:15)
3- Valerie of the Dolls (24:15)
4- Window Often Annie (24:18)
5- The Treasure of C. Errol Madre (24:15)
6- Smart Fell on Alabama (24:15)
7- And Baby Makes Four, Part 1 (24:17)
8- And Baby Makes Four, Part 2 (24:12)
9- Physician Impossible (24:15)
10- The Apes of Rath (24:14)
11- Age Before Duty (24:15)
12- Is This Trip Necessary (24:16)
13- Ice Station Siegfried (24:15)
14- Moonlighting Becomes You (24:15)
15- House of Max, Part 1 (24:15)
16- House of Max, Part 2 (24:15)
17- Rebecca of Funny-Folk Farm (24:16)
18- The Mess of Adrian Listenger (24:15)
19- Witness for the Execution (24:15)
20- How Green Was My Valet (24:16)
21- And Only Two Ninety-Nine (24:10)
22- Smartacus (24:15)
23- What's It All About, Algie? (24:16)
24- Hello Columbus, Goodbye America (24:16)
25- Do I Hear a Vaults (23:15)
26- I Am Curiously Yellow (24:16)
There aren’t many special features on this set, but that is perfectly fine. That is what was intended. If you want special features, there is a Complete Series set that has been out at retail outlets for over a year now for that. But we do have audio introductions for every episode from Barbara Feldon. They are very informative and last approximately 20 to 30 seconds. Also, there is an audio commentary from Bill Dana on the episode “Ice Station Sigfried.” Neither of these items are mentioned anywhere on the packaging, but just believe me, they are there. If you want more, there is an entire DISC worth of special features for this season on the Complete Series DVD set.
I can’t say much more than what I’ve said in the past. This version is perfect for casual fans or those who just want to see the series, and it is being sold at the right price for just that. If you are a serious fan of the show, though, then you’ll want to bypass this set and go straight for the Complete Series collection, as it is loaded with five discs worth of special features that fans are certain to enjoy. I think that this is a good business model for special features, to put out a low cost set for the general public and a more expensive one for those willing to pay more for special features. Of course, the funny thing is that this set alone has some nice special features anyway, just not the bonus disc.
The series has been fun to watch on DVD, and the DVDs have really been my first experience with the show. I am just disappointed that there aren’t more sets to come. It really is a hilarious sitcom that fans of that kind of humor will love, even if stories of spies don’t intrigue you (and they don’t intrigue me). This set is worth picking up, for sure, but if you are new to the series, I’d strongly suggest starting at the first season so that you too can “Get Smart.”
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 12/11/09
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