Get Smart: Season 5 – DVD Review

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I suppose nothing good can last forever. After five great seasons, the hilarious spy spoof Get Smart ends on a not-so-high note.

That’s not to say that this isn’t a bad season, far from it, but here you can really see that the writers had done pretty much everything they could with the show. I know many point to Season Four (which you can read here) as the beginning of the show’s downward turn, but none of the episodes in that season struck me as being weak, unlike this one.

Some of the episodes suffer from weak concepts, such as “The Apes of Rath,” which seems to be a bizarre take on Poe’s “Murders on the Rue Morgue”; or “Hello Columbus, Goodbye America,” about a descendant of Christopher Columbus who shows up with a document naming him rightful owner of the United States. And other episodes just feel weak in execution, especially the two-part “House of Max” where Max and 99 travel to London to investigate a series of crimes committed by wax dummies.

My only other problem with this season lies in the final episode, “I am Curiously Yellow.” The episode deals with Max being hypnotized by a Chinese Kaos agent (hence the “yellow” in the title). While the episode certainly isn’t as racist in their depiction of the Chinese as previous ones, it certainly is insensitive and completely outdated. I find it sad that a show I in general enjoy so much ends on such a note.

But those are the exceptions to the rule. On the whole the episodes in this season were as funny and puntastic as any other during the show’s run. Like Season Four, Five introduces a potential major change in the show’s dynamic, this time with the birth of Max and 99’s twins; however, like in the previous season, the change is rather cosmetic and does little to affect the show’s overall construction. I know that there are some purists out there who feel that the wedding and the twins were what brought the show down, but I don’t see it making any real difference.

Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing that Get Smart ended here. While I enjoyed this season, it definitely began showing its wear and I would much rather it end with a pretty good season than to drag along for an interminable amount of time like a dying dog as other shows have.

Each episode was presented in fullscreen 4:3 aspect ratio with the audio in Dolby 2.0. There is only an English language track and English subtitles are available for the hearing impaired. The video was fine, but there were a few places where the audio went wonky and the reverb became very high. Thankfully that only happened in a few spots and didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the DVD set.

Episode commentary by Bill Dana on “Ice Station Siegfried” – Bill Dana (famous for his character Jose Jimenez) filled in for Don Adams on this episode and provided a commentary track on the experience. Dana rambled a little bit, but he told some interesting stories and it was obvious that he enjoyed the experience. Also, like James Caan on the previous season, he couldn’t resist doing his impression of Don Adams.

While this season is the weakest of the series, it’s still quite enjoyable. Some may find the lack of extra features a drawback, but as I typically don’t watch extra features except when reviewing DVDs I had no problem with it. I should also mention that just like the previous four seasons, Barbara Feldon offers a brief introduction to each episode if you play them individually. It’s a great little extra that I quite enjoy. Completionists like me will want to own this to fill out their collection, but if you’re not as obsessive as me then you’d do well to rent it. Recommended.

HBO presents Get Smart Season Five. Starring Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, and Edward Platt. Running time: 650 minutes. Rated TV-G. Released on DVD: December 8, 2009. Available at Amazon.

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