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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete Fifth Season
Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete Fifth Season
Warner Bros. // Unrated // December 13, 2005
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted December 22, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

The producers of the ultra popular The Dukes Of Hazzard had a bit of a problem on their hands when it came time to start work on the fifth season. The two main stars of the series, Tom Wopat and John Schneider, didn't renew their contracts. In an effort to keep a good thing going, replacements were brought in, in the form of Bo and Luke's cousins, Coy (played by Byron Cherry) and Vance (Christopher Meyer) Duke. The writers were able to work it into the scripts reasonably well and once they'd established who these guys were, it was more or less business as usual in Hazzard County, with Boss Hogg and Rosco stirring up trouble and the guys in the General Lee driving over ponds to stop it. Daisy ran around showing off her legs and Uncle Jesse still gave sage advice.

But a lot of the charm was gone…

It's not that Coy and Vance were bad characters, in fact, they were more or less the same characters as those played by Wopat and Schneider, but they just weren't Bo and Luke Duke, no matter how close they came. Audiences clued into this pretty early on in the season, and by the time it was starting to wind down, successful negotiations were made for the two stars to come back to the roles that they made their own in the first place. Fans were happy, and the series lasted another three years before getting cancelled in 1985.

The complete fifth season, which ran from September of 1982 through March of 1983, is comprised of the following episodes in the following order, as they were broadcast:

The New Dukes
Dukes Strike It Rich
The Lawman Of The Year
Coy Meets Girl
The Hazzardgate Tape
Big Daddy
Vance's Lady
Hazzard Hustle
Enos In Trouble
The Great Insurance Fraud
A Little Game Of Pool
The Treasure Of Soggy Marsh
The Revenge Of Hughie Hogg
The Return Of The Mean Green Machine
Ding, Dong, The Boss Is Dead
Coy Vs. Vance
Comrade Duke
Witness: Jesse Duke
Welcome Back Bo 'n' Luke
Big Brothers, Duke
Farewell, Hazzard
Daisy's Shotgun Wedding

Look at the episode titles, it's not really hard to figure out just what happened in each particular show – after all, the tried and true formula didn't change, even if the guys driving the big orange car looked a little different than the guys who were doing it the year before. There are definitely a few highlights in the season, however, such as…

The New Dukes - Coy and Vance are introduced here for the first time and we find out that Bo and Luke have ditched Hazzard County in order to go off and live the lives of the Nascar drivers that they always hoped they'd become. With Bo and Luke gone, Boss Hogg reveals his Mean Green Machine which he hopes to use to rob a bank in a neighboring town. Looks like Boss is going to get away with it until Coy and Vance Duke show up and stop him. Seems they're back in town to help out ol' Uncle Jesse on the farm and they prove to be just as apt at stopping Hog's high-jinks as Bo and Luke ever were.

In Coy Meets Girl the new Dukes end up getting themselves high-jacked while trying to deliver a carload of antiques to a few buddies. It seems that the usual suspects are behind it and what no one seems to realize is that there's a young orphan girl hiding out in the back of the truck. Coy and Vance take her back to the farm where she soon falls for Coy and helps them get the stolen goods back to their rightful owners.

Mel Tillis plays himself, showing up for a gig at the Boar's Nest in The Hazzardgate Tape. In this episode, Boss screws over a few other powerful men in the area and they set out to get him back. The Dukes, in a moment of dumb generosity, put Boss up at the family farm until Vance can expose the bad guys with the help of his trusty tape recorder.

Oddly enough, in the episode Enos In Trouble we find out that Enos is in fact actually in trouble. He's had his old footlocker shipped to him from way out west in California, but what he doesn't realize is that it's somehow managed to become full of emeralds and that some bad guys know this and plan to take it from him no matter what the cost. Good thing Coy and Vance are on the job, huh?

In The Treasure Of Soggy Marsh, Boss frames the Duke boys and their sexy cousin Daisy and has the Sheriff of Chicksaw County put them under arrest. Once they're safely out of the way, they set into motion their plan to uncover five million dollars worth of stolen bonds that have managed to find their way to the bottom of the nearby swamp.

It's Duke against Duke in Coy Vs. Vance when Coy is dumb enough to fall for the charm of a lovely lady who claims to be a motorcycle stunt rider but is in fact part of a gang of crooks. It doesn't take Vance long to figure out her game but Coy doesn't want to hear it and a feud erupts between the two of them.

In Welcome Back, Bo And Luke! the original Duke boys return from their stint on the Nascar circuit. It seems they've done all there was to do out there and won what they needed to win, so they're back in Hazzard. Coy and Vance are perfectly okay with this, because it seems they're needed elsewhere to take care of some distant relative who has fallen ill. Bo and Luke's first job now that they're back? Help Cooter before Boss Hogg forecloses on his garage.

The season comes to a close with Daisy's Shotgun Wedding. Daisy decides to get out from under the thumb of her cousins and she moves out of the farm house. Unfortunately for Daisy, the crazed son of a local moonshiner has eyes for her and he kidnaps her with the intention of forcing her to marry him. Richard Moll of Night Court shows up here as Milo Beaudry.

The DVD

Video:

The show was shot and composed for TV as we all know, so it shouldn't surprise anyone to see it presented here in its original fullframe aspect ratio. As far as the transfers go, it is a mixed bag. Some episodes fair better than others, but a few have got quite a bit of minor print damage present throughout. While this is to be expected on a show that's over two decades old, the real problem is once again with the mild to moderate edge enhancement and the aliasing that is noticeable throughout, giving quite a few scenes a shimmering effect that is mildly distracting. It's not all bad though – print detail is high and colors look good, while black levels remain pretty stable. So while it's not perfect, it is at least watchable and realistically looks as good as anyone probably figured it would.

Sound:

The episodes are presented here as they were originally broadcast, which is in Dolby Digital Mono. There's the odd snap crackle and pop on the soundtrack but overall it is pretty clean sounding. Levels are well balanced and there's a bit of lower front-end action in a few scenes that I hadn't expected but was pleasantly surprised by. Not much to complain about here, really. It's a good mono soundtrack with clear dialogue and well balanced levels. There are optional subtitles available in English, French and Spanish, and an English closed captioning option.

Extras:

Lighter on extras than the previous releases that the series has received on DVD so far, there are only two brief featurettes on this set. The first is Hazzard County Stunt Team: Reunited and In Your Face! which is essentially the stunt drivers and stunt technicians who worked on the series getting together and paying tribute to the stunt coordinators who organized and planned everything so well. There are some interesting stories and interesting anecdotes in here, but it doesn't go as in depth as needed to in order to really give us a feel for what these people were out there doing all those years.

The second featurette is called Cooter's Place: Keeping the Dream Alive and it's a video tour of the shrine that Ben Jones has built in his home that is dedicated to The Dukes Of Hazzard He's got a pretty interesting collection of mementos and memorabilia on display and fans of the show should get a kick out of this. It's a shame, however, that there aren't any commentaries or any 'Coy and Vance' specific extras on this release that detail why the replacements were brought in and how things happened while they were the leads for a short period of time. The lesser amount of supplements on this release almost makes you wonder if it were maybe a bit rushed to coincide with the release of the Hollywood remake, or if they simply didn't care to put much effort into the season of the show that is so often maligned by fans.

Final Thoughts:

While The Dukes Of Hazzard – The Complete Fifth Season doesn't have much of Bo and Luke in it, Coy and Vance do have a few enjoyable adventures and some of the guest stars make these episodes interesting enough. Die hard fans of the show will want to own this to complete their collection, but those who are new to the series would be better off starting with one of the first two seasons, arguably the strongest that the series has had. Rent it.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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