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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Dead Zone - The Complete Fifth Season
The Dead Zone - The Complete Fifth Season
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // Unrated // June 5, 2007
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted June 17, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Fifth Season

The Dead Zone is a science-fiction television series that airs on the USA Network. The series is based upon a novel of the same name by horror novelist Stephen King, although it is primarily based on characters. The lead character is Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall). Smith was in a tragic car accident that left him in a coma for six years. After awakening, he found he had psychic abilities -- with a single touch of an individual or an item he can see into their future and past events associated with the individual -- and life was completely different -- his fiance Sarah had his son J.J. and married to the county sheriff Walt. Smith's life was in complete upheaval. As Smith gets used to his new life, he uses his psychic abilities to solve crimes, prevent bad things from happening, and try to bring good to the world. Joining him is best friend and physical therapist Bruce. For more details about this show, refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, and season four.

The fifth season of The Dead Zone is another strong season that offers mystical episodic storylines and advancements to the series story arc about Stillson. However, while the season is strong and has several good episodes, I was disappointed with the lack of attention to the big picture. Earlier into the show's history (season one), a multi-season story arc was introduced and it, in my opinion, is one of the show's strength. In season five, additional advancements are made, but only a few episodes are dedicated to driving this massive storyline. Still, as previously mentioned, season five stands strong and offers some compelling television programming.

Season five begins with the episode "Forbidden Fruit" and it is one of the stronger episodes of the season. It addresses the series story arc about Stillson. In it, Stillson's serious girlfriend Miranda is lost at sea. Stillson does the unthinkable and teams up with Johnny to find her. The story takes a twist which is fueled Janus' plan to put Stillson in the White House. Johnny must race against time to prevent them from succeeding and learns what a true evil Janus is to mankind. After this compelling episode about the big picture, the season resumes with episodic storylines. It is a shame, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing.

One of the stronger episodic storylines is "Independence Day". In this episode, Johnny foresees Bruce's death in an awful car accident. Naturally, Johnny wants to do everything he can to prevent Bruce dying, but despite his best efforts the future doesn't seem to change. "Revelations" is another strong episode, partly because it is about one of the show's somewhat mysterious characters, Rev. Purdy. Johnny questions Purdy's life choices when he has a vision about a woman, who claims to be his daughter, killing him for revenge. Johnny and Bruce look into Purdy's past and learn his biggest secret.

Another great episode is "Into The Heart Of Darkness". It revisits an old face from the season four episode "The Collector". Linda (Dedee Pfeiffer) returns with a vengeance. In "The Collector", she was a victim of a brutal kidnapping and she took Stockholm syndrome to heart. After the death of her captor, she took on his former role to exact revenge on Johnny and Walt. "The Hunting Party" is the season finale and it addresses the series story arc. Johnny develops a strong lead about an assassination attempt on the Vice President of the United States. Johnny starts on a path that leads him to uncovering the truths about Stillson's most trusted and mysterious advisor, Janus. This episode is one of the most compelling of the season and great example of why the series story arc is so intense.

Overall, The Dead Zone's fifth season is solid collection of episodes. The episodes dealing with the series story arc (very few) offer great insights to the direction the series can take in the near future. On that note, it is disappointing because so few episodes address the intense story arc. Still, the season's self-contained episodes offer strong stories with interesting developments about the entire cast. In addition, the show's strong acting performances and excellent writing continue to help keep the series fresh and exciting. In the end, The Dead Zone's fifth season is an intense and fun experience; don't miss out on it.

Episode Guide

1. Forbidden Fruit: Johnny races to find a way to stop the wedding of Miranda Ellis and Greg Stillson, while a political crisis develops that brings Stillson one step closer to the White House.
2. Independence Day: A lighthearted Fourth of July road trip turns into a nightmare after Johnny is hit with a vision of Bruce dying in a car crash.
3. Panic: When Johnny, J.J. and a neighborhood teen are trapped inside the Smith home by two ruthless killers, Johnny's visions of the past help them evade capture.
4. Articles Of Faith: When a possible hate crime rocks Cleaves Mills, Johnny must help solve it before the violence spreads.
5. The Inside Man: When Johnny foresees the theft of a prized religious artifact on display at Faith Heritage, he infiltrates the and of masked robbers in order to save innocent lives.
6. Lotto Fever: Johnny is kidnapped by a "loser" convinced that the psychic ruined his life by helping him win the Lotto.
7. Symmetry: Johnny has trouble keeping track of his identity when visions from an attacker, a victim and a rescuer confuse the psychic's sense of reality.
8. Vortex: Johnny is brought before a congressional panel, led by Greg Stillson, after infiltrating a cult to prevent Waco-like catastrophe.
9. Revelations: The arrival of a mysterious young woman from Rev. Purdy's past raises new questions for Johnny about the minister's character.
10. Into The Heart Of Darkness: Johnny and Walt must rescue a newly pregnant Sarah from the kidnapper known as the Collector, who has returned seeking revenge.
11. The Hunting Party: In the season finale, Johnny is witness to Janus' secret plot to assassinate the Vice President in order to move Stillson one step closer to the White House.

The DVD

Video:
The video in this release is given in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are some occasional moments when the picture suffers compression artifacts. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen.

Audio:
The audio in this release is given in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. Overall, the sound quality is very good, providing an audible and clean audio track. The majority of activity is in the forward channels, but there is decent use of the surround sound capability. Music and sound effects sound very rich and vibrant.

There is no support for subtitles, but the release has closed captioning.

Extras:
The Dead Zone: The Complete Fifth Season comes with several extras, which include deleted & alternative scenes, four audio commentaries, and two featurettes.

  • Deleted and alternative scenes: are included for episodes "Articles Of Faith" (3 scenes), "Lotto Fever" (1 scene), "Revelations" (3 scenes), and "The Hunting Party" (1 scene).
  • Audio Commentaries: are included for episodes "Independence Day" with Chris Bruno, Dylan Bruno, and Shawn Piller, "Faith" with Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Chynoweth, and Michael Taylor, "Revelations" with John L. Adams, James Morris, and Shintaro Shimosawa, and "The Hunting Party" with Tommy Thompson, Lloyd Segan, and Adam Targum.
  • A Day With JLA (14:09): is a featurette with John L. Adams. It follows John's daily routine from his doorstep to The Dead Zone set. He talks abut his daily routines, people he works with, hair & makeup, filming, eating, and more. It is a pretty uneventful featurette, and unless you are a big fan of John L. Adams, it probably won't be too exciting. I like the guy, but he really doesn't present anything of interest.
  • The Other Side Of The Camera (15:14): is a featurette about Chris Bruno and John L. Adams, who both had their directorial debut of The Dead Zone this season. Lloyd Segan, Shawn Piller, Chris Bruno, and John L Adams talk about the experiences integrating the new directors into the directing process, how they learned, the challenges they faced, the excitement of directing, responsibility of casting, editing, and so on.

Final Thoughts:
The Dead Zone's fifth season continues to offer well-written storylines. The content mostly is made up of self-contained episodic stories. These types of episodes are generally strong and offer good developments for the characters and provide mysterious excitement to keep you entertained. At the same time, the season's episodes that focus on the big picture (Stillson series story arc) are very intense, but sparse. Notably the fifth season's premiere and finale episodes are the strongest contenders. In the end, The Dead Zone's fifth season is an experience viewers should not miss out on. It comes highly recommended.

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