Gossip Girl: The Complete Fifth Season is the latest full season collection of the CW teen soap opera set and shot in New York City. This year, things get started with a trip to Hollywood and then quickly settle into the usual routine of hookups, scandals and, well, gossip. Fans of the series will be able to use this season set to do what I’ve now witnessed multiple times firsthand – hold an all-day marathon, punctuated by that familiar voice intoning “xo xo, gossip girl”… I have to admit the series is noticeably getting a bit tired at this point, but it still has enough life to continue into a brief sixth season.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Original Airing: 2011-2012
Length: 24 Episodes (1008 minutes)
Genre: Teen Soap Opera
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (@384 kbps)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: Unrated (Sexuality, Suggestive Language)
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Starring: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick, and Kaylee DeFer with Kelly Rutherford and Matthew Settle, with a few appearances by Elizabeth Hurley
Executive Producers: Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage
Based Upon the Books by Cecily von Ziegesar
Directed by: Various
Rating: 2 ½
Gossip Girl: The Complete Fifth Season is a 5-disc DVD set encompassing the fifth year of the CW network’s adaptation of Cecily von Ziegesar’s bestselling series of teen soap novels about the romantic ins and outs of upper class young women in New York. I’m admittedly not a fan of the series, but I must again disclose that my roommate has in the past been completely hooked on it. In the past year or so, the bloom has clearly gone off the rose as she no longer follows the show very closely. Of course, the moment she saw me going through the discs, she started showing interest again… The series continues to be handsomely produced and recorded on HD media, with appropriately ritzy New York locations and fashions getting a great showcase, not to mention the opening trip to Hollywood. The series continues to be a complete soap opera, with many of the same situations repeated to the same effect throughout the season. As before most of the situations involve attractive young women and their adventures in love, lust and everywhere in between. And the young men tend to be there to be appropriately dashing and/or dastardly, with the usual mugging going on to convey that idea. With this season, a primary story arc has the character of Blair planning to wed Prince Louis, and the 100th episode of the series centers on that event. Along the way, the usual backstabbing, plotting and other fun continue apace. I should note that the original creators of the series – writers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, and director Mark Piznarski – have remained onboard throughout, which has helped the show maintain a certain level of continuity going back all the way to episode 1.
The DVD set includes all 24 episodes in anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 sound, with some deleted scenes included along the way, along with a pair of featurettes and a gag reel. Fans of the series likely already have this set and have already been poring over it in preparation for the now-airing final season. (The first episode aired two weeks ago.) The final episode, due to air on December 10, will wrap up the series and is being handled by that same team of Savage and Piznarski.
VIDEO QUALITY 3/5
Gossip Girl: The Complete FifthSeason is presented in a 1.78:1 Anamorphic transfer that nicely displays the series’ HD photography, just as the earlier seasons did.
AUDIO QUALITY 3/5
Gossip Girl: The Complete Fifth Season is presented in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that lives in the front channels and provides music in the rear channels. This is a perfectly acceptable audio presentation for a running television series.
DISC BY DISC:
As I regularly do with television series sets, I’ll account for what can be found on each disc, in order. To save time, I’ll note here that all episodes and the deleted scenes are presented in anamorphic widescreen, and while the episodes themselves have the 5.1 sound mix, the deleted scenes are presented in 2.0, and are accessed from the episode selection menu.
yes, then zero – Season Premiere, with Serena working in Hollywood. Deleted scenes running 1:22 are included in the menu.
beauty and the feast – Includes deleted scenes (1:49).
the jewel of denial
memoirs of an invisible dan – Includes a deleted scene (0:40).
the fasting and the furious
i am number nine – Includes deleted scenes (2:17)
the big sleep no more – Includes deleted scenes (1:07)
all the pretty sources – Includes a deleted scene (0:49).
rhodes to perdition – Includes deleted scenes (1:10)
riding in town cars with boys – Includes deleted scenes (1:07).
the end of the affair? – Includes a deleted scene (0:44)
father and the bride
g.g. – The series 100th episode. Includes a deleted moment (0:15).
the backup dan
This disc also includes:
Gossip Girl Turns 100! (15:55, Anamorphic) – This featurette offers a fluffy look at the show at 100 episodes, with soundbites from the creative team and the cast.
5 Years of Iconic Style (16:24, Anamorphic) – This featurette covers a primary element of the series – the wardrobe. Appropriate to that the, the show’s costumer, creative staff and cast are presented with various soundbites intercut with clips of favorite wardrobe moments over the show’s five seasons.
LOL: Gag Reel (3:50, Windowboxed) – As with the prior season sets, a few minutes of blown takes and giggle attacks are included here. For this season, less than half the material seen in prior years is presented, and it’s only shown in windowboxed format, rather than completely anamorphic. (I note that all the deleted scenes are presented the same way.)
crazy, cupid, love
cross rhodes – Includes deleted scenes (1:51)
the princess dowry
con heir – Includes a deleted scene (0:54) – This episode may get the Most Inventive Title award for this year.
it girl, interrupted – On the other hand, perhaps THIS episode will get the Title award…
salon of the dead
despicable b – Includes deleted scenes (1:01)
raiders of the lost art
the return of the ring – Everything goes up in the air with the annual cliffhanger.
Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, and French for the episodes and the special features. Standard chapter menus are included for quick reference.
IN THE END...
Gossip Girl: The Complete Fifth Season is a good way to catch up on the last season of the series if you missed episodes, want to prepare for the new season, or just want to do a day-long marathon and hog the television set in the living room… (I must admit that I’ve taken steps to make sure this can’t happen to me again. I think…)
October 18, 2012.