The Dead Zone: The Complete Fifth Season – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Creators

Michael and Shawn Piller

Cast

Anthony Michael Hall Johnny Smith
Chris Bruno Sheriff Walt Bannerman
John L. Adams Bruce Lewis
Nicole de Boer Sarah Bracknell Bannerman
David Ogden Stiers Rev. Gene Purdy
Bill Mondy Deputy Roscoe

DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 492 Minutes on 3 discs

The Show

If you don’t know who Johnny Smith is, let me bring you up to speed. He is a young man who had everything going for him until a horrible automobile accident put him into a coma for six years. When he woke up, he found that everything around him was different and all the things he knew as normal had changed. His fiancée Sarah ended up marrying Walt Bannerman, the town sheriff and they are both raising a son that has no idea Johnny is his father. But the biggest change of all is that Johnny now has a psychic ability he didn’t have before. One touch to a person, object, or anything and he can see visions of what has happened and what is yet to come.

The fifth season of The Dead Zone starts off exactly as the previous three have with the conclusion episode of the cliffhanger from the preceding season. Greg Stillson is a corrupt politician that is gathering more and more power as the days go on and he keeps his campaign going. Stillson goes on to become Johnny’s nemesis so to speak as he will do anything he needs in order to win the presidency and end up in the White House. Stillson is not above operating shady practices, trying to corrupt Johnny’s preacher friend Reverend Purdy, and even murder to get to where he wants to be.

Johnny can never quite seem to go through a single day without having to use his psychic powers; he helps solve crimes and saves lives. Even though he and Sheriff Bannerman are not the best of friends considering the circumstance regarding Sarah, they still work together quite often when it comes to working for justice. Johnny’s best friend is Bruce Lewis and he has always been around, but in this season he even gets thrown for some trouble and danger that Johnny must use his powers in order to save him.

The only storyline that really continues all season is Johnny’s battles against Stillson and trying to keep him out of Washington and becoming the President. Each show has its own self-contained plot and new stories each time with small continuity things such as friendships, Sarah’s pregnancy, etc., but those are normal for any good show on TV. The episodes are strong and all of them are very good especially the first two in the season, but it does seem as if the overall quality has dropped from previous seasons. The Dead Zone has lost the freshness and intensity the fourth season had, but that’s not to say that it isn’t enjoyable, though.

Anthony Michael Hall is what brings the entire show together and after watching him in so many comedic roles when he was younger, it’s a dramatic change that he pulls off nicely. Coming from such early roles as Rusty in National Lampoon’s Vacation, Gary in Weird Science, and the high school bully in Edward Scissorhands, Hall really fits into the role of Johnny Smith as if it was made for him. And even if some of the episodes from this season weren’t the best the series has ever seen, Hall is still the bright spot in every single scene he is in because he truly becomes Johnny Smith with his psychic powers.

Episodes

Disc One:

Forbidden Fruit: In a continuation from the final episode of last season, Johnny is doing all he can to find a way to stop Miranda from marrying the powerful Greg Stillson before she winds up dead. The troubles don’t end there though as Stillson, along with the aide of the strange Janus, is inching closer and closer to his presidency of the United States. A great opening episode to start the season.

Independence Day: The Fourth of July brings along a fun road trip, but the excitement quickly changes to dread as Johnny gets a vision of his good friend Bruce dying in a car accident. This episode is really another good one right off the bat as it truly showcases the friendship of Johnny and Bruce.

Panic: Johnny and JJ get trapped in the Smith house with a local teenage boy who is being chased by a couple killers. The killers know the boy could testify against their boss and send him to jail, so Johnny must use his powers to keep them safe and hidden.

Articles Of Faith: Johnny is involved with a possible racially-motivated murder at a festival. The son of a neo-Nazi is being charged with the crime after his confession, but Johnny believes there is more to the story and the boy is not telling the truth.

Disc Two:

The Inside Man: Johnny finds out that a priceless religious artifact is in danger of being stolen from Faith Heritage and puts himself into the gang of robbers as the inside man. But when he foresees the loss of innocent lives, Johnny realizes he may have to take it a step further and let the thieves escape.

Lotto Fever: In a weird turn of events, Johnny ends up helping a man win the lottery with his psychic powers, but all he really does is let the man know what will happen and it does. But when a lot of troubles come about from his newfound wealth, the man kidnaps Johnny and blames him.

Symmetry: Johnny’s sense of identity is thrown off after being attacked. While healing up, the visions of the attacker, the victim, and the rescuer all cloud Johnny’s mind leaving him in a constant state of confusion. This is another one of the better episodes in the fifth season with the way it showcases all the different frames of mind Johnny is experiencing.

Vortex: When a child is kidnapped by a cult, Johnny is brought in to help. But upon entering the compound, Johnny finds loads of explosives and must work to have a truce between the FBI and the leader before a catastrophe occurs. Johnny’s path also crosses with that of Greg Stillson again after he is brought before a congressional panel led by the political giant.

Disc Three:

Revelations: A dark secret from the past comes to the forefront after Johnny investigates a young woman who arrives in town and claims to be the daughter of Reverend Purdy. Questions about the Reverend’s past are brought up though when a vision Johnny has shows some odd interactions between him and the woman.

Into The Heart Of Darkness: After believing he was dead, the Collector has returned and Johnny is right in the center of his revenge. He kidnaps a newly pregnant Sarah and Johnny must work together with Walt to rescue her before it’s too late.

The Hunting Party: Janus has set up a secret plan to assassinate the Vice President which will bring Greg Stillson even closer to his goal of being in the White House. But Johnny looks to foil his plans and protect not only the Vice President but also the man Janus is setting up for the fall.

The Video

The episodes are shown in 1.33:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and look really good. Each episode looks as if they were remastered a bit and come through the transition flawlessly. Don’t look for many bright colors here, because there aren’t many. But all the blacks look black and everything else is very sharp and crisp.

The Audio

The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and also sound great. The dialogue can be heard perfectly and the music never overpowers it. But when it is time for the music and sound effects to kick in, they do so in style and really make the mood and every scene that much better. One annoyance is a slight buzzing or static sound during the opening of each episode, but considering it is the opening then it doesn’t really matter much.

Special Features

“The Other Side Of The Camera” – A look at John L. Adams (Bruce) and Chris Bruno (Walt) as they work behind the cameras this season to each direct an episode. Chris got to direct the episode “Independence Day,” and had done a little directing in the past so it wasn’t totally new to him. John on the other hand had never done it before getting the chance to in directing the episode “Revelations.” Both share their experiences and fears on how it was to let the creators take the chance of having them direct a $6 or $7 million an episode show.

“A Day With JLA” – A pretty fun and interesting special feature as John L. Adams is followed around with a camera from the moment he walks out of his home all the way through the end of his day. He is shown driving to the set, eating, changing, getting his make-up done, waiting, filming a scene, and so on and so forth. It’s a fun feature and I notice that Adams is really very friendly and quite flamboyant. And you’ll come to notice that really everyone on set is kind of overly flamboyant. Yeah, especially the assistant chef who tapes up his nipples and wraps himself in saran wrap at one point.

Audio Commentaries – There are audio commentaries on a few episodes, and that includes “Revelations” and “The Hunting Party.” Director/actor John L. Adams along with the producers and writers are together to bring a lot more out in episodes already filled with tons of information. The odd thing about the commentaries is that those talking on each track actually discuss the season as a whole – usually a lot more then the episode they are supposed to be discussing. And also in an odd note, they are talking so loud that no dialogue, sound effects, or even music from the actual episodes can be heard.

Alternate/Deleted Scenes – A few episodes spread throughout the season have a couple deleted or alternate scenes. None of them is overly long or really would have had any bearing if they were left in.

The Inside Pulse

I never truly realized that The Dead Zone had such short seasons even though I’ve watched it for probably two years at least. Still, the episodes are enjoyable and the special features combined give at least another few hours of entertainment with the commentaries and featurettes. Season five, while good, is not one of the better collections in the series so unless you’re a true fan of the show, you may just want to go with a rental. Or you could try touching the box and seeing if osmosis works, but I doubt it.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
The Dead Zone: The Complete Fifth Season
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

7
THE VIDEO

9
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

6
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
7.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)