TITLE: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR - THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON
Release Date: May 11, 2010 (Warner Home Video)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 575 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English stereo
Subtitles and Captioning: English and French Subtitles
Special Features: None
Yo yo yo! The Fresh Prince is back after being away for a little while on DVD! The Complete Fifth Season brings all 25 episodes of the next to last season of the hit NBC series to DVD.
Virtually everybody knows the story being The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Will Smith plays Will Smith (yes, his character name was the same as his real name), an older teenager who was having trouble back home in Philadelphia when his mom sent him away to live with his aunt and uncle... who just so happen to live in a mansion in Bel-Air. The fifth season sets the stage for a big change that is coming to Will’s life: he has not only found a girlfriend with Lisa, but he is also engaged to be married to her. Will Lisa become the Fresh Princess of Bel-Air this season? Check out the DVD set to find out!
Will is determined to make it big in the record business in the episodes “The Client” and “What’s Will Got To Do With It?,” and he thinks he has found his first client to manage: Ashley. Norman Fell (Three’s Company) plays a landlord in the second part. The girl that Will likes may be on the verge of being snatched by Carlton in “Grumpy Young Men.” Brad Garrett makes a pre-Raymond appearance in “Fresh Prince: The Movie.” Kareem Abdul-Jabar guest stars in “Will’s Misery,” where Will gets to have a date with Lisa, at a cabin, but not all goes quite as planned. Antonio Fargas guest stars in “Soul Train,” where Phillip and Vivian are invited to appear on a Soul Train reunion special. Pat Morita guest stars in “Love Hurts,” where Lisa provides some self-defense for Will when he is incapable.
In “Will’s Up a Dirt Road,” Will is sued by Jay Leno (playing himself) for $10 million... I guess Will should have been with Coco. Will is about to meet Lisa’s father (played by John Amos) in “Same Game, Next Season,” and is determined to make a good impression on him. Will and Lisa both tell each other lie (and end up catching each other) in “It’s a Wonderful Lie.” Will and Carlton are robbed at gunpoint at an ATM in “Bullets Over Bel-Air,” and they don’t come away unharmed. In “Will is From Mars...,” Will and Lisa aren’t even married yet but they are going to marriage counseling already. And so are George and Louise Jefferson (played by Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford, of course!).
Will and Lisa decide to run off to Vegas to elope in “The Wedding Show (Psyche!),” but as the title suggests, it doesn’t exactly happen. Isaac Hayes plays the minister. Will lands a soap opera role in “As the Will Turns,” but is less than thrilled when he realizes that the character he is playing is gay. In “To Thine Own Self Be Blue... and Gold,” Carlton decides to try internet dating, as does Hilary, and both of them find their perfect matches--and are horrified to learn they have found each other. Will is about to have his bachelor party in “Love in an Elevator,” but all doesn’t go as planned when he gets stuck in an elevator with Carlton. The season ends with “For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll,” where Will is about to marry Lisa... or is he? Tempestt Bledsoe and Kim Fields guest star.
The episodes are, as far as I can tell, unedited. However, I can’t exactly say that for certain, but I didn’t notice anything that appeared to be missing. It seems that most of the original music is intact as well, which was what was holding up the series in the past. Runtimes for each episode are as follows:
1. "The Client" (22:23)
2. "What's Will Got to Do With It?" (22:34)
3. "Reality Bites" (22:35)
4. "Grumpy Young Men" (22:35)
5. "Fresh Prince, the Movie" (22:35)
6. "Will's Misery" (22:35)
7. "Father Knows Best" (22:35)
8. "Soul Train" (22:29)
9. "Love Hurts" (22:36)
10. "Will's Up a Dirt Road" (22:34)
11. "Will Steps Out" (22:34)
12. "Same Game, Next Season" (22:20)
13. "Three's a Crowd" (22:27)
14. "It's a Wonderful Life" (22:36)
15. "Bullets over Bel-Air" (21:59)
16. "A Decent Proposal" (22:29)
17. "Will is From Mars..." (22:37)
18. "The Wedding Show (Psyche!)" (22:34)
19. "Slum Like It... Not!" (22:06)
20. "As the Will Turns" (22:32)
21. "Save the Last Trance for Me" (22:27)
22. "To Thine Own Self Be Blue... and Gold" (22:29)
23. "Cold Feet, Hot Body" (22:25)
24. "Love in an Elevator" (22:36)
25. "For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll" (22:02)
The artwork of the set is very similar to the previous sets, with a mostly green background (with spray paint effects on it) and a large photo of Will on the front, and a photo of Will, Ashley, and Carlton on the back. Like almost all of the recent Warner Home Video releases, inside the outer slipcase, there is a standard Viva pack inside, which has the same artwork as the slipcase on the front and a photo of the entire cast on the back. Inside, there are three discs with the same photo of Will as on the cover. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-9, Disc 2 contains episodes 8-17, and Disc 3 contains episodes 18-25. There is also an insert that has descriptions and original airdates for each episode.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are pretty basic, and similar to the previous releases. The main menu has a cast photo on it, with options of Play, Episodes, and Languages. The theme song plays in the background. When you select Episodes, you get a list of episodes, which is all text (no images). Upon selecting an episode, it plays right away. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
For the most part, the video and audio quality is fine, but there is something about the video quality that seemed a bit problematic. There aren’t any actual glitches or specific problems to point out, but the picture quality doesn’t quite look that great on a large screen TV. Perhaps the episodes are just compressed a bit too much (the prior releases were all on four discs and contained less episodes, whereas this one only has three discs). Other than that, I didn’t find any major issues. The audio sounds fine, nothing impressive, but a more than adequate Dolby Digital stereo track. Each episode contains English and French subtitles.
There are no special features at all. It would be nice to see some sort of retrospective from some of the cast members on this set, particularly from Will Smith. In a sense, he has kind of moved on from this series, but the reality is that his career was dead; he was broke, and stood no chance for revival until this series made him the mega star that he is now.
I’m glad that they are finally getting back to getting this series on DVD, and hope that the sixth (and final) season will come very soon. This season is a lot different from the original premise of the series, but is a lot of fun to watch with the many interesting plots and guest stars that they had this season. I kind of like how they allowed Will to actually grow older in the series (as opposed to keeping him as an eternal high school student), even if that did somewhat cause the series to lose viewers. The lack of bonus features is the only true disappointment of this set, but otherwise, this set can be best described with one word: fresh.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall Score: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 05/03/10
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