Weeds: Season Five – DVD Review

Season five is a measuring stick that production studios try to aspire to achieve. Because with five seasons in the can, syndication earnings are to be anticipated. If you can make it to five seasons, it means the writers have done their jobs. Although its the weekly participation by the TV viewing audience that ensures their jobs remain intact. If the ratings start to dip significantly, well, be worrisome of envelopes containing paper the color of pink. Showtime’s Weeds was the first big success for the cable network as original series entertainment goes, and it has gained a large following thanks to DVD sales and rentals. It’s critical acclaim is another token of the show’s success. But there are some who believe that Weeds is just another show that’s coasting because of its success early on. Could its fifth season prove otherwise and right the ship that many people thought was sinking after season four?

Weeds started off as a series that took place in the fictional affluent Los Angeles suburb of Agrestic. It was home to Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) whose husband Judah (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) suddenly, died. As a result, Nancy began dealing marijuana to locals in her suburban town in order to support her household while maintaining an upper-middle-class lifestyle. She tried to keep her new profession a secret from her two boys, Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould). Andy Botwin (Justin Kirk), brother of Nancy’s late husband, also soon moved into the Botwin household to help Nancy, which really meant him doing whatever he wanted.

But at the end of season three everything changed. Agrestic has been burned to the ground, and the Botwin family has had to move closer to the border of Mexico. Nancy’s secret profession is known to everyone by this point. Once she decides to set up her new pot-selling business in a new town, she and her business quickly catches the eye of a powerful politician and ruthless Mexican drug lord Esteban Reyes (Demian Bichir). We learn at the end of season four that she is pregnant with his child, which is a good enough reason to let her live once Esteban decided he didn’t need her nor her business anymore.

This season of Weeds is an unusual one. First, more times than not the writers rely too much on standard soap opera theatrics and storylines. This includes the SIX MONTHS LATER season storyline that speeds through Nancy’s pregnancy. It seems to almost tell viewers that the writers can’t think of anything else to do, while Nancy is pregnant, so let’s skip to the end. Also, there is really only one surprise during this season, and it comes at the end of the season in the cliffhanger. That should be good enough, but previous seasons of Weeds would have many different mini episodic cliff-hangers that were shocking.

At the same time, though, all the characters are changing in some interesting ways. While some might not like these sudden changes, it plays into the contrived and sometimes absurd storylines these characters are forced to deal with. Much credit should be given to the excellent cast. From top to bottom everyone still shines and make this show worth watching. There are still plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but as much as seasons past.

Season five basically pushes the reset button on the characters of the show, after season four pushed the reset button on the storylines of the show. As a result, you now have some intriguing, changing characters that are left stuck with cliched soap opera storylines. The first two seasons of Weeds will always be the best seasons of this series. By now, if you are still watching Weeds, you just need to accept that and hang on for the crazy ride with the Botwin family and everyone they come in contact with. It’s still one of the darkest (albeit hilarious) comedies on television today, but It’s just not as good as it once was, which will surely disappoint many fans of the earlier seasons.


Disc One:

Episode 1 – Wonderful Wonderful
Following the events of her bombshell announcement, the fifth season begins as Nancy digs deeper into the drug world and finds comfort in an unlikely family member.

Episode 2 – Machetes Up Top
Nancy pays the imprisoned Guillermo a secret visit and Shane leaves to live with Nancy’s sister. In the meantime, Silas and Doug have difficulties growing pot in a national forest.

Episode 3 – Su-Su-Sucio
Jill pays Nancy a surprise visit. Meanwhile, Celia gets sent back to the U.S., Nancy’s bodyguard is missing and Silas and Doug look for law enforcement authorization.

Episode 4 – Super Lucky Happy
Nancy is visited by DEA agent Roy Till who has gone rogue and homecomer Celia moves into Nancy’s garage. Meanwhile, Andy tries to access his brother’s old bank account.

Episode 5 – Van Nuys
Nancy talks with her obstetrician about ending the pregnancy. After his teacher took his pot, Shane needs some help to get it back. Andy is still trying to get access to his late brother’s bank account. Meanwhile, Silas and Doug need to see “The Wizard” to make their pot selling dreams come true.

Disc Two:

Episode 6 – A Modest Proposal
A discovery makes a heavily pregnant Nancy rethink her choice to marry Esteban. Silas and Doug are successfully managing their dispensary, while Celia is unhappy with her mall job.

Episode 7 – Where The Sidewalk Ends
After her discovery, Nancy breaks away from Esteban and takes charge of her life again. A deputy is causing some troubles for Doug and Silas. Meanwhile, Celia’s way to richness is harder than she thought.

Episode 8 – A Distinctive Horn
Esteban’s other woman threatens Nancy and Esteban’s relationship and Nancy reaches out for Andy’s help. In the meantime, Dean assists Silas and Doug to set their dispensary back going, but Celia interferes.

Episode 9 – Suck ‘n’ Spit
Nancy and Andy grow closer together while they try to be good parents. In the meantime, Celia and Dean work together to exploit their product surplus.

Disc Three:

Episode 10 – Perro Insano
With the arrival of new enemies, Shane and Silas needs Nancy’s protection. Meanwhile, Andy plans his future with Audra, while Doug and Dean make a plan to put an end to Celia’s marijuana business.

Episode 11 – Ducks and Tigers
A visit from Esteban’s daughter comes with new problems for Nancy. In the meantime, Isabelle joins Doug and Dean’s scheme of revenge against Celia.

Episode 12 – Glue
Nancy, Andy and Cesar team up to look for Esteban when he goes missing. In the meantime, Dean and Doug start their scheme of revenge against Celia, while Silas and Shane develope a need to protect their new stepsister.

Episode 13 – All About My Mom
Nancy discovers what happened to Esteban and has to take measures to protect herself. Meanwhile, Andy changes his life drastically while Dean, Doug and Celia reconcile their differences.

The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is great with colors generally looking bright and vivid details everywhere. No major problems here, and pretty much a slight improvement over the quality you saw on TV.

The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround sound or English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. No major problems here either.

Audio Commentaries
There are 7 audio commentaries for 7 different episodes from this season. Jenji Kohan (creator) comments on the “Wonderful, Wonderful” episode. Roberto Benabib (writer) and Matthew Salsberg (producer) comment on the “Su-Su-Sucio” episode. Hunter Parrish (actor) and Kevin Nealon (actor) comment on the “Van Nuys” episode. Roberto Benabib (writer), Kevin Nelon (actor), and Matthew Salsberg (producer) comment on the “Where The Sidewalk Ends” episode. Justin Kirk (actor) and Alanis Morissette (actress) comment on the “Ducks and Tigers” episode. Elizabeth Perkins (actress), Allie Grant (actress), and Andy Milder (actor) comment on the “Glue” episode. Jenji Kohan (creator) comment on the “All About My Mom” episode. It’s a nice mix of information and entertainment here. The ones with the cast, though, are a lot more interesting to listen to.

This runs 11 minutes and it’s the usual gags and mistakes from making this season. Mostly unfunny as you just watch the actors laugh at themselves for messing up.

“Really Backstage with Kevin Nealon” Featurette
This runs 11 minutes and Kevin Nealon giving us a tour of the set and rehearses a scene with Elizabeth Perkins along the way.

“Yes We Cannabis” Parody
This is a 1 minute parody of an Obama-like political speech. Kevin Nealon gives you a lot of pot clichés strung together. Not that funny.

“University of Andy” Featurette
This consists of 12 segments with each one running around 2 or 3 minutes. Justin Kirk, in character as Andy, gives us life advice on topics as diverse as protecting yourself from bears and internet dating. Somewhat amusing.

“Little Titles by Jenji Kohan” Featurette
This runs 3 minutes and it’s a collection of all the unique title cards from Season 5. Creator, Jenji Kohan provides commentary for all of them.

“History of Weed” Featurette
This is a 2-minute animation taking us through the “History of Weed”. It is what it is.

“Crazy Love: A Guide to the Dysfunctional Relationships of Weeds” Featurette
This runs 12 minutes and it has the cast talking about how their characters all fit together.

Weeds: Season Five is worthy of renting, but it you lost interest in the series after the second season you’re probably doing yourself a favor by skipping this one.

Lionsgate Home Entertainment presents Weeds: Season 5. Created by Jenji Kohan. Starring Mary-Louis Parker, Kevin Nealon, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Perkins, Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould, Allie Grant, and Andy Milder. Running time: 360 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: January 19, 2010. Available at Amazon.com

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