Actors: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham
Producers: Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec, Leslie Morgenstein, Caroline Dries
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Box set, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 9
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Digital Copy Expiration Date: September 9, 2017
Run Time: 968 minutes
The Twilight franchise was comprised of five films for four books, because that is simply how desperate they were to bleed the fan base dry. At least that franchise managed to find a way to cease the endlessly obnoxious love triangle at the center of the narrative by the fourth film. “The Vampire Diaries” is based on its own transparently familiar book series by L.J. Smith, and the format of television allows for even more opportunities to drag out the story than the Twilight franchise. The fifth season is now available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, available for fans to see even more of the back-and-forth teen vampire melodrama before season six airs on television.
In the first three seasons we were already given plenty of opportunities to see that the show’s producers and/or Smith could simply make up new supernatural rules to change the outcome of previous episodes. Characters dying rarely ever means death; instead they just shift forms. Humans become vampires, werewolves, ghosts, hunters, and any number of other things that can be made up on a moment’s notice to save them from leaving the cast completely. There may be a lot of mourning at the beginning of this season, but important characters are never really dead.
Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) is a vampire who fell in love with Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a human high school girl who we later discover first met Stefan’s brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Damon is also in love with Elena, who after three full seasons was finally able to choose Stefan before dying and becoming a vampire in the season finale. In season five, Elena has already been a vampire for a full year. Her biggest obstacle at the beginning of this season seems to be college life. The weak part, which takes over it like a poison, is the silly way that Elena’s vampirism drags the love triangle out in an infuriating way that makes clear the show’s writers don’t intend anyone other than naïve fourteen-year-old girls to enjoy their program.
Elena is with Damon at the beginning of season five, but this may change when Stefan is suddenly in trouble. His doppelganger arrives with his own backstory and villainous distractions that allow us to focus on storylines other than the love triangle. Mostly, this season seems aimless and uncertain how to drag out the same narratives any longer.
There are plenty of special features directed at the juvenile target audience, including four new featurettes, a gag reel, and unaired scenes. Anyone over sixteen is likely to hear nails on a chalkboard listening to the seriousness with which this material is discussed. The package is also oddly bulky, in order to account for both Blu-ray and DVD discs to be included together. It is also equipped with a code for the Ultraviolet copies.
Entertainment Value: 5.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 1/10