After leaving rehab early, Jackie finds sobriety and relative happiness -- but that is the calm before the storm. With her marriage coming to an end, a careless accident sends Jackie (Falco) to her own All Saints Hospital for emergency care. While recovering, she meets NYC policeman Frank Verelli (Ferrera), whose flirtatious advances may lead Jackie into uncharted territory: dating. Stepping out of her usual comfort zone, challenged by new colleagues, Jackie faces her one-year sobriety anniversary.
As much as I dug 'Nurse Jackie' when it first started airing on Showtime, I never really expected it to continue on for more than a couple seasons. So color me surprised that the Showtime comedy, about a dysfunctional ER, and a drug-addicted nurse is now entering its sixth season. If this show was on any other main network, it would have been axed due to low ratings. Fortunately, finding a home on premium cable has allowed it to flourish, find its niche, and settle down.
Jackie (Edie Falco) has been careening down a collision course ever since the show started. A rabid drug-addict who chomps and snorts all manner of pain killers, has figured out ingenious ways of gaming the system throughout her time at All Saints Hospital. The real kicker is that Jackie, whether addled with drugs or not, is the hospital's most competent nurse. Sure, she's a bitch most of the time, but she usually never makes mistakes.
Falco, as always, provides an engrossing performance. Though she's not the only character in All Saints that is worth watching for. The strength of the series has always rested on the shoulders of the varied cast of colorful supporting characters. Falco carries the series with her manic dedication to her work, family, and beloved illegal prescriptions. However, she wouldn't be anything without the help of her co-workers providing some much needed, and always clever, comedic distractions. Jackie's life is so full of seemingly insurmountable drama that it's always fun to catch up on the adventures of All Saints' most naïve, lovable surgeon Dr. Fitch "Coop" Cooper (Peter Facinelli). One of my favorite characters on any television show, frankly.
So, season four saw a lot of upheaval as far as All Saints Hospital was concerned, with Jackie's life being tossed around in the process. We saw Jackie spend some time in rehab, and seemingly get her life back under control without the necessary opiates coursing through her veins. We also got to see her deal with divorce, and a difficult teenage daughter. Topping it off All Saints was taken over by a new face. The beginning of season four saw the introduction of Dr. Cruz (Bobby Cannavale). Dr. Cruz was sent in by a corporation called Quantum Bay, which was taking over the day-to-day operations of All Saints. Of course Dr. Cruz and Jackie butt heads. Following authority really isn't one of her strong suits.
Continuing on with the drama of season four, season five sees Jackie continuing with her sobriety, but encountering new problems. Problems that she'd love to solve by taking a few pills and forgetting them. Moving on from the divorce, her and Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) continue to battle eachother for custody of the kids. On the work front Jackie is dealing with Coop's sexual involvement with a new doctor, and a newly developing problem with Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith). Akalitus, another strong enduring character in the show's solid stable of supporting characters, is dealing with a mysterious memory loss situation.
As always, there are a variety of subplots happening simultaneously. Season five shows no signs of slowing down or deviating from what makes it a consistently strong show. Jackie is the erratic emotional core. Orbiting around her are a bunch of loveable misfits that infuse the show with an intoxicating dark humor that is pretty rare in TV nowadays. Blending the darkly dramatic with the upbeat humor is a 'Nurse Jackie' trademark and season five is no exception.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This season comes with two 50GB Blu-rays, packaged in a standard keepcase. Inside is an episode list insert, an ad for season six, and a shameless promotion flyer for Lionsgate BeFit on YouTube. The case indicates that this is a Region A only release.
As with past seasons of the show, season five features a non-descript sterile looking presentation. Much of the show is spent within the confines of a drab ER lit by fluorescent lighting, so there isn't much pizazz to the visuals overall. Though, what's there is always clear and free of the distracting noise that plagued the first season.
The 1080p AVC-encoded image provides strong contrast, a high-level of detail, and clarity which matches most of the previous season releases. Season five rarely has any visually stunning moments. Instead it carries on from scene to scene with solid, unwavering visuals. Artifcating is kept at bay. Aliasing and banding, while present infrequently, are kept to a bare minimum. If you've enjoyed how 'Nurse Jackie' has looked on Blu-ray over the past few years, then season five will fit in well with you collection.
Lionsgate is still releasing 'Nurse Jackie' with 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mixes. Yeah, it's a little strange seeing that 90-percent of the show's sound is focused front and center. By its nature it's a dialogue-heavy show. Though you have to commend Lionsgate for sticking with the 7.1 mix even though this is a show that could sound just as good with a 5.1 mix.
Up front voices are nearly pristine. There's rarely a time where dialogue is lost, even in the busy ER. The side speakers do pick up some ambient noise in the ER as people are hustling about, but that's really all they're used for. Same with the rear speakers, which are used occasionally as scene indicators. The ER and city streets the rear speakers are lively with light atmospheric sounds. Whenever the show shifts to more intimate settings, like inside someone's home, the rear and side speakers are all but silent. The sub-woofer really only gets any work during the show's theme song and soundtrack. There are a few LFE-worthy moments in the series, but not any real standouts that warrant mentioning. It's a strong mix, though it's nothing to get overly excited about.
'Nurse Jackie' has always been one of the more reliable, unsung shows on television. I would never have thought it would make it as far as it has. Its fans are loyal though. There aren't too many shows out there that tackle so much drama, while packing in so much comedy all at the same time, and in half-hour segments. Season five is every bit as watchable as past seasons. The arcs and characters are progressing. To what, well we don't yet know. I for one will be tuning into season six to find out.