I can't believe there are already five seasons of CW's 'The Vampire Diaries' out on Blu-ray. Time has flown by. If you're unfamiliar with this series, the show is about a group of teenagers who are actually monsters that live in a town called Mystic Falls. Sounds promising, right? Well instead of these vampires, werewolves, witches, and other supernatural beings being the evil and scary monsters they are; in this show, it's more about longing for their long lost love and whining about every thing that comes in their path.
It's basically a lower budget 'Twilight' film spread over 22 episodes. I guess I'm saying I'm ready for an all out true horror show about monsters. HBO's 'True Blood' was fun, but became a joke filled with cheese early on. Showtime's 'Penny Dreadful' and FX's new show 'The Strain' are quite good with it's horror and monsters finally being evil, but they lack a good pace and decent dialogue. Then there is 'The Vampire Diaries', where although characters in the show are killed, it is done in a very PG way and the monsters in this show are about as scary as a Care Bear.
And when we're dealing with undead things, monsters with sharp fangs, and supernatural beings that kill you, I'd like for them to be sinister and threaten me by saying they're going to rip out my intestines and drain my blood and not by crying whining over if someone else has feelings for me. It takes the horror out of the whole series. Season five starts off with Elena (Nina Dobrev) enjoying her summer with Damon (Ian Somerhalder), as she leaves to move into her dorm with her new roommate Caroline (Candice Accola), as she plans on creating a new chapter in her life.
It seems like a decent setup for something new with this series, but the writers and producers continue to lazily rehash the same plots, but in different locations. I don't know how much longer this can go on, but I guess their fan base still enjoys watching the same thing over and over. There are several love triangles to deal with during this season, all of which end in practically the same way and have been done over and over in the previous four seasons. The same twists and turns pop up at every corner, and the near-death experiences happen too often to make you think that anyone of real value with seriously be forever gone.
The show knows it's core audience, but is unwilling to change the game. Instead, the same pop-culture references show up, and the same lame story lines flow from one episode to the next. 'The Vampire Diaries' is basically daytime soap opera, but with monsters, but airs during the primetime hours. These 22 episodes do nothing to change the horror genre, and is the same slop that has been coming out for the past few years. I'm sure fans of the show will enjoy this season, because some of the settings are new, and there are a treasure trove of guest stars, but doing the same thing over and over again, is not the right way to tell a good story, specifically when you're dealing with monsters.
'The Vampire Diaries' Season Five comes with an impressive 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The overall image looks very good, considering the low budget and production value of the show. Detail is very vivid and sharp in this season with crisper edges and textures. Closeups reveal wrinkles, makeup blemishes, scars, and dirt quite nicely on the actor's faces. Textures in the costumes and props looks crisp as well. Background items and set pieces look fairly detailed as well, giving the picture a bit of depth. There are some high levels of grain that pop up from time to time that I noticed, but it shouldn't hinder your viewing experience.
Colors look very good with a lot of darker primary colors. Since this is a show with monsters, it has a very gothic feel, so don't expect the bright colors of the rainbow here constantly. Flesh tones are natural and the black levels are fairly deep and inky. The one big issue with this release is the crush of the image. It's everywhere and affects the shadow delineation quite a bit. But with the great detail and color saturation with this release, it's not something that will prevent you from enjoying and watching this season. There are no other issues to speak of with this release, leaving this video presentation with solid marks.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and it sound great. For being a small budget series on the CW, the sound design here is quite impressive and immersive. The fronts as well as the surround speakers all do a good job conveying each piece of dialogue, sound effect, and ambient noise. Sound effects are robust and lively, specifically during the heavier action beats of the show. Scenes where the score or music is prominent, the entire speaker system brightens up with a fuller sound.
Dialogue is always crisp, clear, and easy to follow with no instances of any pops, cracks or hissing. The ambient noises sound great too and always add another layer of sound to put you into this supernatural world. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is very wide as well. There were a few scenes where I thought the sound favored the front speakers more than the surrounds, but it wasn't a major issue and didn't happen often. Other than that minor complaint, this audio presentation should make fans happy.
2013 Comic-Con Panel (HD, 31 Mins.) - Actors Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and show creator Julie Plec answer fan's questions at the 2013 Comic Con panel for their show. This was before this fifth season had aired on television, but there are some fun questions and good banter between everyone.
To the Other Side and Back (HD, 11 Mins.) - The cast discusses the rules and regulations of the afterlife in the show. So basically, if you want to learn how to be and live like a monster in the show, this extra is for you.
A Day in the Afterlife (HD, 7 Mins.) - Actress Kat Graham takes us behind the scenes through a typical day of what life is like on set of 'The Vampire Diaries'.
I Know What You Did...In the Last 100 Episodes (HD, 10 Mins.) - The cast and crew give us some of their favorite moments and memories from the show's first 100 episodes.
Second Bite: Gag Reel (HD, 5 Mins.) - Here are five minutes of flubbed lines, missed cues, laughter, and missed spots from this season.
Unaired Scenes (HD, 10 mins.) - There are seven episodes that contain the unaired scenes that give more character development to a few of the show's stars, but were ultimately tossed for time.
'The Vampire Diaries' Complete Fifth Season is an overall fun show if you're into the whole CW monster genre or 'Twilight' type of vampires. Fans of the show will definitely want to pick this fifth season up, despite the writers and producers of the show getting a bit lazy with their story lines. The video and audio presentations are both great and the extras are fairly decent. If you're a newcomer to the show, I'd check it out first before purchasing this set, but if you're a veteran lover of 'The Vampire' Diaries', you'll want to pick up this great set.