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Psych: The Complete Fifth Season

Universal // Unrated // May 31, 2011
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted June 1, 2011 | E-mail the Author
"Hi, I'm Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Control Alt Delete."  - Shawn Spencer
Still as irreverent, silly, and amusing as ever, Psych Season 5 is just as good as the previous ones.  Usually by the time a show hits its fifth season, the creative staff starts to run out of juice and the show starts to decline a bit.  Though this season did stumble a bit at the beginning, it managed to quickly pick itself back up.  It was quickly up to speed and the show's trademark fast-paced banter filled with semi-obscure pop references were just as clever as ever and the mysteries were still fun.

Shawn: Gus, don't be the second drummer from 38 Special.
Shawn Spencer (James Roday) is a psychic who works for the police force.  At least, that's what the cops think.  He really doesn't have any supernatural abilities, he's just very observant.  Trained from a young age by his police officer father Henry (Corbin Bernsen), Shawn notices things that the rest of us don't and is able to piece together seemingly disparate clues in ways that make it seem like he has psychic powers.  Together with his best friend Gus (Dulé Hill, West Wing) Shawn has started a psychic detective agency, Psych.  Yes, it's a pun on the now dated slang word that meant "fooled you" something that Shawn finds amusing and Gus finds surprising that no one has called them on it yet.
Shawn: [Talking about Easter when he was young] You buried my Easter eggs five feet underground.
Henry: And, I left loose dirt to indicate a fresh dig.
Shawn: Yeah, under a camouflage tarp covered with bricks and broken glass.
Henry: That was the giveaway!

In season five, Shawn and Gus are still constantly trying to find work with the Santa Barbara Police Department along side officers Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) aka "Lassie" and his partner Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson).  The twist this year is that Shawn's father has come out of retirement and works part time at the SBPD.  He's in charge of hiring consultants like Psych, and he knows that his son isn't psychic at all, which leads to a bit of tension between father and son.
Carlton: This is one damn fine cup of cider.
In this season there are a few so-so episodes, mainly at the beginning, but they are more than made up for by the rest of the season that fires on all cylinders.  One of the standout episodes is Dual Spires, a Twin Peaks parody/homage that managed to poke fun at the ground-breaking show without being mean or insulting.  Featuring guest stars (and leads in Twin Peaks) Sherilyn Fenn and Sheryl Lee the episode, where Shawn and Gus stumble upon a murder of Paula Merral (an anagram of Laura Palmer)  in an out of the way town, was a lot of fun for an old Twin Peaks fan like myself.  Spotting all of the references and in-jokes was great, but the episode captured the odd feeling of the original quite well.

Shawn: Dude, do you know they make silent window shades? Some woman in Washington invented them back in the early '90s.
Gus: Since when is the sound of opening and closing shades so disruptive that it needs to be alleviated?
Shawn: Why do you have to hate on other people's crimes of innovation?
Other highlights include the Fast and Furious take off, Shawn and Gus in Drag (Racing), and One, Maybe Two, Ways Out where Shawn and Gus have to help a sexy spy on the run (Franka Potente, The Bourne Identity).  Another great episode is Shawn 2.0 where a suave psychological profiler Declan Rand (Nestor Carbonell, Lost) who is just as observant as Shawn manages to beat him to the punch a number of times, and is pursuing Juliette.
Shawn:  I was way, way off on the whole bomb thing. It turns out Juan here was just counting down the minutes to tonight's season premiere of True Blood.
Gus: Sookie.

Moving Henry to the SBPD was a logical move, and one that made the scripts flow a little better, but it didn't totally work.  It's easy to see why they did it, Shawn no longer has to say "Hey, let's go borrow my father's power tools" in order to work Henry (a great supporting actor) into the show.  Unfortunately the situation feels a bit contrived (though not as much as the earlier ways they'd work him in) and he often doesn't approve Shawn for jobs that he ends up solving.  I just thought that even Henry would be a bit more supportive of Shawn's business.
The DVD:

The 16 episodes that comprise season five come on 4 DVD.  The case matches the cases for the previous seasons, which is nice.  (I hate when they change styles half way through.)
The program comes with a DD 5.1 surround audio track that fits the show well.  There are a couple of loud and impressive audio scenes through the show, but mainly it's dialog based and that comes through loud and clear.
The anamorphic 1.78:1 image looks pretty good overall.  The colors are bright and the lines are tight.  The level of detail is fine.  There is a bit of mosquito noise through the show, especially in areas where one color is predominant.  While it was evident, it never became distracting.

Like the previous seasons, this set has a good amount of bonus material.  There are deleted scenes to just about every episode and audio, video, and podcast commentary tracks to many as well.  In addition there's a gag reel that's pretty amusing and some funny montages. 
Final Thoughts:
Most series, even good ones, start to decline in quality by the fifth season.  That's not the case with Psych.  Though this season does start out with a couple of average episodes, as a whole it is just as fun and entertaining as ever.  Highly Recommended.
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Highly Recommended

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