DVD Review: Private Practice (The Complete Fifth Season)

TV spin-offs are like kidney donations. The operation is not a sure thing. There is a risk in removing popular characters from a successful show to put them in an untested premise. The audience can reject the organ. There are moments when the spin-off is a complete bust like The Tortellis. Some times the operation seems like an amazing success only to have the patient go critical after a few weeks like Joey or The Ropers. But then there’s time when the risk pays off royally like The Colbert Report. Viewers weren’t sure what to think when Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) split the big hospital on Grey’s Anatomy for the small Seaside Wellness Centre in Los Angeles. The arrival of Private Practice: The Complete Fifth Season confirms that the spin-off has been a success.

“God Laughs” opens with the resolution of the cliffhanger of Dr. Pete Wilder (Wings‘ Timothy Daly) suffering a heart attack. Luckily his medical buddies are prepared to help him. Addison’s own medical crisis is a desire to have a baby. Turns out her fertility specialist (Benjamin Bratt) is an old flame. Can they keep it professional? Dr. Sheldon Wallace (Dream On‘s Brian Benben) must sober up one of the staff. Benben is married to Revenge‘s Madeleine Stowe. They’re the first couple of ABC dramas. “Deal With It” gets even more into Addison’s baby fever when a woman without a uterus wants to get pregnant. “Remember Me” makes things complicated when a pregnant wife and her husband get into a car wreck. The baby is fine, but the parents have memory issues. They keep forgetting the wife is pregnant. “Step On” gets touchy when Addison goes on hormones without telling her lover Dr. Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs).

“If I Hadn’t Forgotten…” proves Addison isn’t going to trick Sam into being her daddy baby. She’s going to have a sperm donor. “Who We Are” stages an intervention at the Centre. But it’s not for Addison’s baby madness, but a doctor’s drug issues. “True Colors” brings up the subject of anchor babies. “Gone, Baby Gone” ends the season with more tales of newborn insanity.

According to media reports, the upcoming sixth season will be the last for Private Practice. That means this DVD set is the penultimate season. Even with such impending news, it does not diminish the fact that Dr. Addison’s spin-off has achieved success since it now has enough episodes for syndication. Isn’t that what counts in a transplant?

“God Laughs,” “Breaking the Rules,” “Deal With It,” “Remember Me,” “Step One,” “If I Hadn’t Forgotten…,” “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” “Who We Are,” “The Breaking Point,” “Are You My Mother?,” “The Standing Eight Count,” “Losing Battles,” “The Time Has Come,” “Too Much,” “You Break My Heart,” “Andromeda,” “The Letting Go,” “It Was Inevitable,” “And Then There Was One,” “True Colors,” “Drifting Back” and “Gone, Baby, Gone.”

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. There is a SoCal simmer that reflects well on the transfers. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround so you won’t escape the noises of baby madness. The episodes are subtitled in English and Spanish.

The Practice of Parenthood (12:37) lets the creators discuss why the series was all about the babies this season. The cast gets excited when the babies are brought on the set.

Deleted Scenes are 10 moments snipped before broadcast.

Bloopers (3:48) feature a lot of muffed lines and a bad office door.

Private Practice: The Complete Fifth Season is all about babies. Every doctor at the Centre are drawn into tales of infants.

ABC Studios present Private Practice: The Complete Fifth Season. Starring: Kate Walsh, Taye Diggs, Benjamin Bratt and Brian Benben. Boxset Contents: 22 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released: September 11, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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