on 18 April 2006
While series 5 of the Spotranos suffers slightly by comparison with some of its illustrious predecessors, the series builds to a great climax in the last 3 episodes. I agree with one or two of the criticisms by other reviewers, and the first three or four episodes are slower and apparently less consequential than many earlier episiodes, but the final four episodes of the series (especially the penultimate installment) make compelling viewing.
The problem that series 4 and 5 of the Sopranos have had is how to keep things fresh- after all, this is a series that has churned out 60-odd episodes of about 45 minutes each, all with Hollywood-standard production values. The biggest flaw is a felling of 'here we go again' when older characters (Vito, Little Paulie and Bobby for example) are promoted or given more prominence and new characters (Phil Leotardo, Tony Blundetto) are introduced. For the first half of the series, Tony Blundetto appears to be filling the shoes left by Ralph and Richie Aprile before that, but Steve Buscemi's excellent, understated acting gives the character added depth and significance.
The last part of the series effectively drums home the message that the Sopranos has been reiterating for years - no matter how cosy and cuddly these characters may appear, they are ruthless murderers and no matter how much they talk about family and honour, they are as motivated by greed and self interest as any petty thieves, points perhaps obscured in even the greatest Mafia movies.
My big hope is that the fact that the show now has a very limited shelf-life (20-odd more episodes) might give season 6 and the following specials a natural dramatic impetus.
Biggest disappointment in season 5 - not enough Junior!
on 1 April 2008
Season 5 is outstanding. It would have made a great ending to the entire series if it ended with the season 5 final scene - all we had was a long shot of Tony Soprano running through a snowy field avoiding the Feds after they arrested his colleague.
Anyhoo, in this season it is without question Gandolfini's finest hour. He gives a performance which portrays not only the ruthlessness and thuggery of Tony Soprano but also the maturity, thoughtfulness, humour and depth of a caring husband/ father.
Tony manages to bed quite a few women. Anyone remember his attempt with Dr Melfi "Thinking of you, Your Prince of Tide". Tony manages to flirt endlessly with Carmella, Adrianna, Adrianna's FBI friend, and a countless number of others.
Steve Buscemi (Tony Blundera) is a revelation. Christopher manages to lose the plot again, but then pulls his socks up. AJ gets his face super-glued to carpet (Insert Wood) and Meadow is studying the Law.
Season 5 will receive no humanitarian awards, though, this is brutal gangsterism and intimidation of innocents, after all. 10/10.
I didn't bother watching the Sopranos when it was first on TV, but someone gave me the first series as a gift, and I've been working my way through them since.
Series 5 is actually one of my favourites. I was quite baffled to come on here and find several one star reviews, complaining about various things like the lack of sense of humour.
The show is definitely dark, but there is plenty of amusing parts. For example, Janice (not one of my favourite characters) turning over a new leaf after going to anger management classes, and Tony's subsequent baiting of her.
There is some great drama, and some very unexpected moments. Can't wait to get Series 6!
In summary - top quality TV, and a must buy.
on 17 October 2012
We finished watching series 5 last night. The image of Tony in the snow running across the fields to escape the Feds is one that will stay with me. The mystery is why do I care about this man? He is a menace to society, to women, even to his kith and kin. My loyalty to him and my deep interest in him must be because he is so well-written and acted. He is a Shakesperian character, multi-layered, complex. I hate violence normally, but if you go to a Shakespeare play, it is to enjoy the characters not to see the bodies pile up (and old Shakespeare likes to pile them up!)
The whole of series 5 is top class, but the final two episodes of the series were especially enjoyable.
on 2 February 2012
Not to the fresh and consistent standard of the perfect second series but still very compelling, and in all honesty better than nearly everything else anyway, even if at risk of becoming a soap-opera.
Each series seems to have one episode really stand out, and here it is "The Test Dream". It is approximately 20 minutes of surrealism which makes for excellent and refreshing viewing.
Some new characters are introduced that you really cannot stand and hope to be bumped off. This season seems to focus on Tony Soprano more and more, which whilst not a bad thing as he is the best one in it and one of the best characters of all time, it is a shame when Silvio, Paulie and even Junior get less air-time and even none in some episodes.
I would say that I enjoyed it more than the third and fourth but not the second series, but whether the standards had slipped a tiny bit I am not sure as I spotted a continuity mistake (not that I look for them) with Adriana's injury make-up (it's there, then she's fine, then it's there again), but this is a small thing.
Mobster Tony's problems continue to mount, Prozac and therapist increasingly in demand. Carmela is determined not only on divorce but a fair share of his overall income. America's post 9/11 security measures are badly affecting Mafia business. Friction grows between the Families, exacerbated by the release from jail of two long serving gangsters (Robert Loggia and Steve Buscemi excellent). Uncle Junior shows signs of dementia (for real this time). All the while the FBI steadily builds up evidence against Tony and his associates, Christopher's girlfriend an unwilling informant.
Like its predecessors, Season 5 does not pull its punches - the violence truly shocking, especially when out of the blue (in the first episode all that old waiter did was question the size of his tip!).
13 episodes, 5 with commentaries. Awesomely it fascinates to see everything so steadily disintegrate. No matter how often the men kiss, hug, slap backs, declare their love, there is no genuine friendship. All is suspicion, potential treachery.
Humour is less evident this time round, emphasis more on decay and inevitable forthcoming retribution. The prolonged dream sequence in Ep.11 may not appeal to all, but yet again THE SOPRANOS excels with writing, acting, and production values of the highest order.
on 2 July 2013
This review covers only a technical issue concerning this boxset (although I'd give any Sopranos season a five-star review on the content). First a bit of background info: in common with most films and high budget US TV shows, Sopranos was shot on 35mm film at 24 fps. The UK DVD releases were transferred by the usual method of speeding up the film slightly to run at 25 fps, in order to match the UK PAL standard. This gives a high-quality picture and smooth motion, at the expense of slightly reduced running time and raised pitch of the soundtrack (the so-called 'PAL speedup' effect, noticeable on the title music). However, Season 5 appears to have been subject to NTSC to PAL conversion from a NTSC video master. This involves interpolating 30fps to 25 fps. The end result is that compared to other seasons, the DVDs in this set have a noticeably fuzzier picture and juddery motion (noticeable during camera pans). If these things tend to annoy you or you want a consistent picture across the whole show, consider purchasing the US R1 version of the boxset, which is presented in NTSC format and doesn't suffer from these conversion problems.
on 16 April 2009
Like a Wagner opera the Sopranos is complex and intriguing. Brilliantly written and acted and beautifully photographed. This is the best thing ever to appear on television. Series 5 feels like it is building to the denoument in Series 6.
Sopranos,for me was interrupted after season 4,by 24,a friend lent me season one of that and i had to see everything,so now that has finished,i have bought season 5 of sopranos and i am delighted to say that this season is again gold,pure gold.
Season 5 is in many ways the most comfortable of series',very much at ease with itself,its almost as if everyone knows what they are about now and the show could literally write itself.This series is too be fair a wordy series,plenty of dialouge and less action than before but no less great for it though,when the blood flows,it flows violently but there is alot to be learnt by the scenes which stretch into vast conversation and can be deemed insightful and bring the story crashing down.
That being said,of course,this means that many found this series dull and numb,but i implore you to be patient with this,new characters come and go here in style,and steve buscemi is great as Tonys cousin who wants to go straight after his release from jail.
There are gentle twists and turns and once again,the show doesnt fall into the cliffhanger episode mode,further proof of the shows confidence in itself.
VItal,yes,stunning,yes,am i looking forward to series 6 now,you better believe it!
on 26 August 2013
After Tony and Carmella's breakup, things are surprisingly un-hostile between the two of them. They seem to be getting along better since that fateful day in Whitecaps, the season four finale. Adriana's not faring well though, as the pressure of being an FBI informant is almost too much for her.
This season of the Sopranos is more consistantly great than the last one, as well has having a higher number of truly great episodes. Although Tony and Carmella's sudden freindliness towards each other seems unlikly the emotionall savagery of Whitecaps, it is clear Carmella is still not willing to forgive Tony. There is some great acting from Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva in her depression at having to lie to Christopher, and the FBI themselves are cruel in ways that Tony and his crew could never be, and they truly make Adriana's life hell. Also, Tony's cousion Tony makes an appearence, but is reformed and wants to become a civillain.
Although it does not reach the heights of season 2 and 3, this season is a great season of one of the best TV shows of all time, the Sopranos.
Best Episodes: "Irregulaur Around the Margins" "Sentimental Education" " Unidentified Black Males" "All Due Respect"
Again, sorry about the spelling. I am too lazy to spell check this review.