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Parks and Recreation Season Five DVD Review

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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted October 01 2013 - 05:14 PM

Parks and Recreation Season Five DVD Review

Parks and Recreation: Season 5 provides a role call on DVD of the most recent season of the NBC comedy. The 3-disc collection presents all 22 episodes in anamorphic picture and 5.1 sound, along with a decent assortment of extras, mostly consisting of deleted scenes from the episodes, along with a gag reel, some promos, a mock PSA, a video and the unedited 8 ½ minute take of Patton Oswalt’s filibuster from the episode “Article Two”. The series is definitely an acquired taste, but fans of the show should be happy with this collection as they settle in for the sixth season, which just began airing last week.


Cover Art


Studio: Universal

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 480P/MPEG-2

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 8 Hrs. 47 Min.

Package Includes: DVD

Disc Type: DVD-9 (dual layer)

Region: 1

Release Date: 09/03/2013

MSRP: $39.98




The Production Rating: 2/5

Parks and Recreation: Season 5 provides a good look at the current condition of NBC’s comedy, which takes the mockumentary approach of The Office and applies it to a dysfunctional parks and recreation department in fictional Pawnee, Indiana. This means that people frequently address a fictional documentary team as the various scenes unfold, usually with the characters finding themselves in uncomfortable situations that become increasingly awkward along the way. Anchoring the show is Amy Poehler, whose Leslie Knope seems to have an invulnerable air of positivity and optimism, and as of the show’s fifth season she has been elected to the City Council. She’s accompanied by a cast who are certainly eager to play, especially Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman and Rob Lowe. If you’re a fan of this kind of humor, or of The Office, this comedy will likely work very well for you. For myself, the show just seems to be trying too hard and pushing it too far in an effort to find the funny in every scene. Granted, I’m not the target audience of this show. So I submit that there will likely be many readers who do enjoy the series who will want to grab this collection, if they have not already done so.

The DVD set includes all 22 episodes of the 5th season in anamorphic picture and 5.1 sound, along with a decent selection of extras, mostly consisting of deleted scenes culled from each episode.

DISC BY DISC:
As I regularly do with TV series sets, I will describe what can be found on each disc, in order. The deleted scenes are all presented in anamorphic picture and 2.0 sound.

There are chapters to each episode, but they are not in any menu, so you wind up needing to jump through the episode blindly to get back to a specific point.




DISC ONE:

Episodes:

Mrs. Knope Goes to Washington, with deleted scenes (4:06)

Soda Tax, with deleted scenes (3:44)

How a Bill Becomes a Law, with deleted scenes (4:31)

Sex Education, with deleted scenes (5:19)

Halloween Surprise, aired version (running 21:33), with deleted scenes (2:47)

Halloween Surprise, extended cut version (running 26:17)

Ben’s Parents, with deleted scenes (4:09)

Leslie vs. April, with deleted scenes (9:14)



DISC TWO:

Episodes:

Pawnee Commons with deleted scenes (8:01)

Ron and Diane, with deleted scenes (5:20)

Two Parties, with deleted scenes (6:25)

Women in Garbage, with deleted scenes (4:54)

Ann’s Decision, with deleted scenes (3:40)

Emergency Response, aired version (running 21:33)

Emergency Response, extended cut version (running 27:33)

Leslie and Ben, with deleted scenes (3:10)



DISC THREE:

Episodes:

Correspondents’ Lunch, with deleted scenes (5:40)

Bailout, with deleted scenes (3:28)

Partridge, with a deleted scene (1:24)

Animal Control, with deleted scenes (4:37)

Article Two, with deleted scenes (4:07)

Jerry’s Retirement, with a deleted scene (1:33)

Swing Vote, with deleted scenes (2:22)

Are You Better Off? with deleted scenes (10:19).



Video Rating: 3.5/5  3D Rating: NA

Parks and Recreation: Season 5 is presented in an anamorphic 1.78 transfer that shows off a clear picture and accurate flesh tones. This is a perfectly acceptable standard definition presentation of the series, matching or exceeding how viewers without HD reception will have seen the show.



Audio Rating: 3.5/5

Parks and Recreation: Season 5 is presented in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that focuses on the front channels, as one might expect with this kind of dialogue comedy. The mix certainly is clear and the dialogue is easy to understand.



Special Features Rating: 2.5/5

There are deleted scenes included with nearly every episode in the set. These scenes can be accessed via the appropriate episode or via a “Play All” option for all the scenes found on each disc. I have accounted for the timing of the scenes in the main section of the review. In addition to that, special features on each disc are as follows:

DISC 1:

Andy’s DC Webisodes (4:52 Total, Anamorphic) – This is a collection of three webisodes covering the show’s visit to Washington DC and centering on the character of Andy, played by Chris Pratt. The titles of the segments are “National Treasure”, “Special Agent Macklin’s Dream Tour” and “D.C. Tour”. The segments can be viewed individually or via a “Play All” option.

Washington D.C. Promos (0:47 Total, Anamorphic) – Three promos for the fifth season’s opening episode in D.C. are presented here. The promos can be viewed individually or via a “Play All” option.

Ron Bacon PSA (1:16, Anamorphic) – Here we have a mock PSA featuring the character of Ron Swanson, played by Nick Offerman. In this PSA, Nick shows many places around the workplace where he quite literally hides his bacon…

Mouse Rat “Menaceball” Video (2:32, Anamorphic) – This is a mock video for Andy’s band..

Previews – Here is a collection of previews for other television series available on DVD from Universal: House, Parenthood, Suits, Covert Affairs, Smash, Friday Night Lights, Grimm and Royal Pains.


DISC 2:

Promos (4:42 Total, Anamorphic) – Several promos for the show are included here, each tied to other programming and events aired on NBC over the past season. There are three groups of promos – for the “Summer Games” (2012 Olympic Games in London), “Awards Show” (2012 Emmys) and “The Voice”. The promos can be viewed within their group, or in a clump as part of the “Play All” function.


DISC 3:

Gag Reel (21:28, Anamorphic) – Over 20 minutes of blown takes and crack-ups are preserved here from throughout the fifth season..

Patton Oswalt’s Sci-Fi Filibuster (8:39, Anamorphic) – This is a kind of outtake from the episode “Article Two”, in which Garth Blundin (guest actor Patton Oswalt) engages in a filibuster. So what we have here is a complete 8 ½ minute take of Patton Oswalt ad-libbing the scenario for a new Star Wars movie complete with a segue that adds characters from the X-Men into the mix. I’m not sure that this idea holds any water, but Oswalt keeps going as long as he can, until he says he has finally run out…



Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Parks and Recreation: Season Five is a good collection of the latest season of the NBC comedy. The picture and sound quality of the discs is just fine, as are the special features, but I daresay that won’t be the reason fans of the show will pick up this set. Serious fans already have the set. More casual fans may want to pick this up, if they watch the new episodes and like what they’re seeing.


Reviewed By: Kevin EK


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#2 of 5 OFFLINE   CraigF

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Posted October 01 2013 - 05:38 PM

I guess I'm a much bigger fan than you...I had this watched by the day after release day lol. I thought this season was pretty good overall. Lots of the humor comes from the characters doing things that are out of character, and that requires some familiarity. It's still pretty good...usually it's after the 5th season when sitcoms start to peter out IMO/E, so fingers crossed.

 

I was disappointed at first to note they had a longer (IIRC) season than 4 crammed onto fewer discs. Didn't hurt it a lot overall, but did you notice the later episodes on each disc looked noticeably better than the first ones on the disc? Maybe my imagination, and their outdoor eps always look better to my eye. Anyway, I agree with your A/V assessment. Thanks for the review.



#3 of 5 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted October 01 2013 - 06:34 PM

I guess I'm a much bigger fan than you...

Same here. For my money, this is far and away the best comedy on TV in years and now that Breaking Bad is finished, it's arguably the best show on TV (maybe Mad Men is better).



#4 of 5 OFFLINE   KZ Audio

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Posted October 02 2013 - 01:41 AM

Breaking bad is still a winner for me. :D 



#5 of 5 OFFLINE   CraigF

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Posted October 03 2013 - 10:55 AM

Some of the writing for this season was the best I've seen for any sitcom for a long time. They had a bunch of eps in a row where the writing was subtle and brilliant. It almost seemed like they brought some new writers in? I'll pay better attention the next time I watch it. I only watch BD/DVD, no streaming or broadcast, so I am always way behind.

 

Yes, BB is fine too, but hardly in any way comparable to P&R. And I would never substitute watching one for the other as they require completely different moods (for me), which is why I keep a library.







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