The groundbreaking and award-winning cop series returns with more riveting drama and gritty New York City action at the 15th precinct.
Season five finds Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) and Simone (Jimmy Smits) dealing with the aftermath of the Joey Salvo homicide, setting up a rape sting, following the trail of a stripper killer and investigating a murderous home invasion. Meanwhile Medavoy (Gordon Clapp), Martinez (Nicholas Turturro) and Russell (Kim Delaney) uncover a body-snatching ring, investigate the murder of a rock-and-roll manager and look for a man suspected of robbing taxis.
Created by Emmy® award-winning showrunner Steven Bochco (L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues), NYPD Blue tackles cases ripped from the headlines, capturing the tumultuous and unpredictable nature of New York City crime.
I almost teared up when I heard the opening theme of NYPD Blue for the first time in over 7 years on this DVD set. Fox Home Video delivered two seasons in 2003, then took a break before delivering another 2 in 2006. Sales of the sets weren't what they expected, so they put it on the shelf. Now Shout! Factory, the white knight, has come to deliver season 5 onto store shelves. Not only is this great news for fans of the show, but it signifies a giant step in Fox's handling of their dead shows; they're actually out there licensing properties to third parties, and I couldn't be happier.
This 6-disc set includes all 22 episodes from the fifth season, including two long episodes which originally ran 90 minutes when they premiered (and are just over an hour without commercials):
Disc 1 (2:58:24)
This Bud's For You (44:35)
All's Wells that Ends Well (44:41)
Three Girls and a Baby (45:12)
The Truth i out There (43:56)
Disc 2 (2:13:33)
It Takes a Village (44:06)
Dead Man Talking (44:42)
Sheedy Dealings (44:45)
Disc 3 (3:21:06)
Lost Israel - Part 1 (45:14)
Lost Israel - Part 2 (1:06:57)
Remembrance of Humps Past (45:17)
You're Under a Rasta (43:38)
Disc 4 (3:00:08)
A Box of Wendy (45:15)
Twin Petes (45:06)
Weaver of Hate (45:14)
Don't Kill the Messenger (44:33)
Disc 5 (2:14:57)
The One that Got Away (45:17)
Speak for Yourself, Bruce Clayton (44:24)
I Don't Wanna Dye (45:16)
Disc 6 (3:21:20)
Prostrate Before the Law (45:11)
Hammer Time (45:16)
Seminal Thinking (44:43)
Honeymoon at Viagra Falls (1:06:10)
Very little changed in the quality of the show moving to Shout! Factory; the video quality looks the same as the previous sets from 7 years ago. There are still little specks of dust in each episode, but they're rare and only noticeable if you're looking for it. The colors are muted, accurately representing the look of the show, and Shout! Factory has placed a chapter after the "previously on," and opening credits of the episode. They've also added a "play all" option to each disc, which Fox hadn't included in their sets.
Fox had released the first season of NYPD Blue with a Dolby Digital 4.0 track, but then scaled it back to a Dolby Surround track for the next 3 releases. Shout! Factory stuck with that Dolby Surround track for season 5, and while it doesn't sound as good as season 1, it's still sounds nice. Where they've cut corners on are the subtitles; this set doesn't contain any (Fox's season 4 contained English and Spanish), but the episodes are captioned for the hearing impaired.
While this is a bare-bones release from Shout! Factory, lacking in both the bonus material, and fancy menus (there's a single menu page per disc), I'm really thankful that this was even released. NYPD Blue has been one of my favorite cop shows for years, and it pained me that the show was stalled on DVD. It also appeared Fox was doing very little to license it out to a third party that could continue it. That's all in the past now, and I hope fans flock to this release and show Shout! Factory that they made a good decision to pick it up, ensuring they continue releasing it on DVD. If this fails to sell, there's no reason to think we have a hope of someone else swooping in to get the rights.
Now, I feel the need to point out a big packaging boo-boo that was made with this set. Though they matched the artwork style of the previous Fox sets nicely, they really messed up the spine of the set. Fox's releases included the season number at the top of the spine, but that's right where Shout! Factory put the disc count, so it looks as though season 5 is missing, because there's a giant "6" on the spine. Check out this photo Dave took of his sets in a row, and you can see why it's an issue. I've already considered scanning in the artwork and fixing it in Photoshop so it matches the spines of the previous sets.
Look at the list of guest stars in season 5; John Finn (Cold Case), Mos Def (Dexter), Jude Ciccolella (24), Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), Michelle Bonilla (ER), Dann Florek (Law & Order), Silas Weir Mitchell (Grimm), Mathew St. Patrick (Six Feet Under), Aldis Hodge (Leverage), Julien Cesario (Sunset Beach), Karim Prince (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), Karina Arroyave (24), Titus Welliver (The Good Wife, Sons of Anarchy, Lost), Michael Cudlitz (Southland), Willie Garson (Sex and the City), Terrence Howard (Sparks, tons of movies), Paris Barclay (director/producer on TONS of TV shows), and Walton Goggins (The Shield, Justified).
I'm thrilled this show is continuing on DVD, but remember: if this doesn't sell, we won't see more sets released, so buy, buy, buy!