DVDs in Review - #32 - Homicide: Life on the Street - The Complete Fifth Series

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Homicide Series 6 came out today but I didn't get a free copy (I guess all that Fremantle Media Enterprises bashing over the packaging doesn't pay) and as it doesn't include the film (Homicide: Life Everlasting) and the cheapest it's available for is £27.89 at sendit I've decided against purchasing it for a while. I really regret not ordering the region 1 versions from Amazon these days mind you. But let's push on and look at series five shall we?

For the previous reviews in the Homicide series check here:
The Complete First Series (Seasons One and Two)
The Complete Second Series (Season Three)
The Complete Third Series (Season Four)
The Complete Fourth Series (Season Five)

Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch
Yaphet Kotto as Lieutenant Al Giardello
Kyle Secor as Detective Tim Bayliss
Clark Johnson as Detective Meldrick Lewis
Andre Braugher as Detective Frank Pembleton
Reed Diamond as Detective Mike Kellerman
Peter Gerety as Detective Stuart Gharty
Jon Seda as Detective Paul Falsone
Callie Thorne as Detective Laura Ballard
Michelle Forbes as Dr Julianna Cox

The Show:

Season Six/Series Five of Homicide is possibly the show at it's finest, from the triple bill opening episodes guest starring James Earl Jones through to an electrifying final episode the show delivers blow after blow of highest quality entertainment.

The cast gets quite an overhaul compared to previous seasons; Brodie (Max Perlich), Kay Howard (Melissa Leo), Megan Russertt (Isabella Hofmann) all depart. Also Paul Falsone (Jon Seda) moves up from guest star to regular member, Laura Ballard joins (Callie Thorne) and Terri Stivers (Toni Lewis) gets additional screen time. But the most surprising return is when the cowardly cop Stuart Gharty (Peter Gerety, The Wire) from season four's episode "Scene of the Crime" and Season Five's two parter "Partners and Other Strangers" and "Strangers and Other Partners" (where he was IAD) has been transfered into Homicide. A theme of unjust promotions that runs through the series (and it's descendant "The Wire").

Kellerman's actions from the end of the previous season hold a huge sweeping presence over several cast members in this season and heavily influence the actions of several members of the unit. There is another cross over episode with Law & Order in "Baby it's you" and things build up to a terrific final episode that really rocks the boat.

This season is every bit as good as previous ones, while the new detectives can be a little hard to adjust to - especially Falsone as he keeps prodding into the events of the previous season - they all give excellent performances and fit in well by the end of the season. Homicide deserves those three Peaboy's it's won as it really is such a fantastic show.

The Other Stuff:

I'm really a bit tired of pointing out the flaws in this range. The main thing it has going for it is it matches up with series four; but this means it doesn't match up with series 1 to 3. Again a simple cardboard dust sleeve would have mostly fixed this problem at minimal cost. Also once again the photos on the back are from the incorrect seasons; this time we have one that's actually from season 6 (series 5) but the other two are from before series 3 as Baldwin and Beatty make an appearance again...

None, as usual.

Run time: 1035 mins approx (23 Episodes)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Audio: 2.0 Stereo
Languages: English
Colour: Colour/PAL
Subtitles: English

Series 5 hasn't been out for too long so it hasn't dropped much in price - I still feel that the standard asking price of £40 per boxed set is ridiculous, sure the show is amazing but the product being put out is not worth anything near that. Right now the cheapest is £28.99 from play.com but I still feel that's over the odds for this considering all the flaws in the Region 2 version. It's a rather pathetic 2.8ppm, but it is worth noting that HMV often drops the price of the Homicide DVDs to £15 and when that happens it does become worth picking up (really I don't see why they just can't keep the price at £25 per season instead of fluctuating it between too expensive and too cheap.)

The Final Word:

Same as yesterday's review on Series 4 this is an amazing show wrapped up in a rather stinky product. Ultimately I'd recommend Homicide to anyone who's enjoyed top notch police drama like The Wire, The Shield and so forth. But I'd also recommend them to avoid the region 2 versions and purchase the region 1 versions instead as Amazon and Play have them. I wish I had done.

The Final Score:



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