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Cheers - The Complete Fifth Season



DVD Release Date: May 17, 2005 (Paramount Home Video)
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: Aprrox. 10 hours, 35 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; No Subtitles; Closed captioned
Special Features: None


It's the cozy little Boston bar where everybody knows your name... welcome to Cheers - the Emmy Award-winning smash-hit television series that kept the laughs uncorked for 11 years. In Cheers: The Complete Fifth Season, Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long) make on-again, off-again wedding plans - including a marriage proposal that ends in an assault and battery charge! Not to be outdone, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) move in together; Woody (Woody Harrelson) finds himself abruptly engaged; Carla (Rehad Perlman) falls for a hockey goalie; and Cliff (John Ratzenberger) gets bitten by a dog...and becomes smitten with the dog's owner. Will Norm's (George Wendt) new job pan out? Will Carla get "birdzilla" cooked in time for Thanksgiving dinner? Will wedding bells finally chime for Sam and Diane? You'll find the answers - and unending laughs - in all 26 hilarious episodes of the season that marks the farewell appearance of Shelley Long as Cheers regular "Diane Chambers."

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Cheers finished in 3rd place with a 27.2 rating for the 1986-1987 season, behind only fellow NBC sitcoms The Cosby Show and Family Ties. Kelsey Grammer (Frasier Crane) became a regular cast member, and his name appeared at the start of the show in the opening credits. There were a number of memorable episodes during the 5th season. The 4th season ended with a cliffhanger. We find out that Sam's telephone proposal was to Diane, but Diane feels that Sam is just on the rebound in the 5th season premiere "The Proposal." The gang gathers at Carla's house for a Thanksgiving dinner of frozen turkey and overdone peas in "Thanksgiving Orphans." A very funny episode. In "Chambers vs. Malone," Sam proposes to Diane again and ends up charged with assault and battery when she turns him down again. Sam regrets trying to buy Diane an engagement ring that is a cheap imitation in "Diamond Sam". Dr. Sumner Sloane returns to Cheers on Diane and Sam's wedding day to tell her that a publisher is interested in one of her class manuscripts if she can go to work immediately on rewrites in "I Do and Adieu". It was sad to see Shelley Long leave the show after 5 seasons.

Notable guest stars included Brenda Strong (Desperate Housewives) as Vicki in "The Cape Cad." Frances Sternhagen made her first appearance as Cliff's mother Esther in "Money Dearies." Jay Thomas makes his first appearance as Eddie LeBec in "Never Love A Goalie". John Cleese won an Emmy for his appearance as Dr. Simon Finch-Royce in "Simon Says." Billie Bird appeared as Lillian Miller in "A House Is Not A Home."


The DVD cover art features a cast photo of Sam, Norm, Cliff, Woody, Diane, and Carla. You can see the photo of Geronimo at the bar which was a tribute to Coach (Nicholas Colasanto) in the background. Perhaps, Frasier will be included on the photo for the 6th season along with Rebecca (Kirstie Alley). Episodes are broken down by disc, and there is a montage of photos on the back of the box. There is the standard digipak packaging as they've used on the four previous Cheers releases. The back of the digipak features a nice photo of Diane and Sam about to kiss. When you open up the digipak, there is a photo of Diane and Sam looking at each other at the bar. The foldout where the discs are held has a wood background. There are various photos of the bar when you lift up the discs from the holder. Each disc has the Cheers logo at the top with a photo on the left side, and the episode titles listed vertically on the right. Disc 1 has a photo of Diane and Sam and includes episodes 1-7. Disc 2 pictures Norm and Carla and has episodes 8-14. Disc 3 shows Woody and offers episodes 15-20. Disc 4 has a shot of Cliff and Frasier and contains episodes 21-26.

Menu Design and Navigation:

There is a single, simple menu on each disc. The menus have a different circular photo, along with the Cheers logo on each disc with the episodes titles listed vertically in white on the right. There is a small yellow glass as you select the episodes that changes to green you play one. Disc 1 has the same cast photo that is used as the cover art. Disc 2 pictures Frasier. Disc 3 has a shot of Diane and Sam. Disc 4 has a photo of Carla and Norm. The first disc has 6 minutes of previews for other Paramount DVD releases including Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, MacGyver, Charmed, and The Brady Bunch that play when you start it. There is a Play All button if you would like to view all episodes on each disc at once. There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate menus for scene selections.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality is on par with the previous four Cheers season releaes. There is some occasional grain and dust in the episodes, but they've help up pretty well. I'm sure they were digitally remastered when they went into syndication on Nick at Nite and for these DVD sets. The color is still pretty good, and the picture is sharp. Cheers would debut in stereo in the 4th season, so the audio is very good for this release. The episodes are well spread out with no more than 7 per disc, so there is little or no compression problems. Closed captioning is available. The episodes all appear to be unedited with running times around 23 1/2 to 24 1/2 minutes, and they are in their original broadcast order.

Special Features:

I was disappointed that the 4th season release didn't include any extras. Unfortunately, that trend is continued with this set. The first 3 releases all had some special features. Perhaps, Paramount just wants to make the episodes available for the lowest possible price. It would be nice for them to include some interviews, gag reels, bloopers, and other features for all seasons of the show. There was an alternate ending of "I Do and Adieu" that was taped before the studio audience. It would have been great to see that footage. How about a DVD set of just extras?

Other Information:

This set includes a rebate offer request form. The offer is that when you buy Cheers - Season 5 plus any other complete season dvd box set of The Andy Griffith Show, Frasier, Cheers, or Taxi - you can get $15 US by mail. You just send the original cash register receipts or original packing slips and a proof of purchase coupon. U.S. residents will receive $15 while Canadian residents will receive $20 (CAN) back by mail. Requests must be received by August 31, 2005. You must make the purchases between May 17, 2005 and July 31, 2005 - the offer is not valid on prior purchases.

Final Comments:

Season 5 saw the departure of Diane Chambers as Shelley Long went on to do some movies. It was sad to see her go, but the show would go on with the addition of Rebecca Howe, played by Kirstie Alley. I think Cheers would have been able to survive any cast member's departure with the exception of, maybe, Ted Danson. I was disappointed with the lack of any special features once again, but it is nice to continue to collect the seasons. Five seasons down and six left to complete the series. Season 6 is expected to be released in the summer or fall.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.3/5
Special Features: N/A
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.6/5
Overall: 4.0/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 05/14/05

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