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For anyone not yet familiar with the basic premise of CHARMED, the series is concerned with the Halliwell sisters, better known as The Charmed Ones, the three most powerful witches the world has ever known. On a weekly basis, the Halliwell sisters use their powers to protect the innocent and fight against the forces of darkness. CHARMED stars Alyssa Milano as Phoebe Halliwell, who has the gift of second sight, Holly Marie Combs is her older sister Piper Halliwell, who can freeze time, and finally, Rose McGowan is half sister Paige Matthews, whose half witch/half white lighter abilities brings a new dimension to the fight against evil.

Season five marked some changes in the evolving magical storylines in the series CHARMED. Sister Piper was pregnant with the child of her Whitelighter husband Leo (Brian Krause), and the unborn child is already demonstrating extraordinary powers from the womb. As for Phoebe, she thought that she vanquished her husband Cole (Julian McMahon), but the love struck demon clawed his way back from the hellish wastelands, with the intent of winning his wife back- so much for the quickie divorce Phoebe was hoping for. Not to give away anymore than the packaging for season five of CHARMED, but it should be noted that this season would be the last that Julian McMahon appeared on a regular basis. Well, on the upshot, McMahon did move onto the highly enjoyable, if more risque pastures of NIP/TUCK. The season five cast of CHARMED also features Dorian Gregory as Police Inspector Darryl Morris.

CHARMED: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON ($50) comes to DVD in a six-disc set, which features all twenty-one episodes (including a double length season premiere and finales) that were aired during year five. The episodes are as follows: A Witch's Tail, Happily Ever After, Siren Song, Witches In Tights, The Eyes Have It, Sympathy For The Demon, A Witch In Time, Sam I Am, Y Tu Mummy Tambien, The Importance Of Being Phoebe, Centennial Charmed, House Call, Sand Francisco Dreamin', The Day The Magic Died, Baby's First Demon, Lucky Charmed, Cat House, Nymphs Just Wanna Have Fun, Sense And Sense Ability, Necromancing The Stone and Oh My Goddess.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-one episodes from CHARMED: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. This collection is similar in quality to the preceding four sets, offering appealing looking presentations, which are certainly better than your typical syndicated rebroadcast. The image is on par with similar television productions, appearing reasonably sharp and well defined, although certainly not at theatrical levels. Sure, there is some mild softness here and there, but its never distracting. Considering that CHARMED is a television production, its doubtful that casual viewers will even notice said mild softness. Colors have a nice level of saturation and attractive flesh tones. Blacks are accurate, whites are crisp and contrast is rendered without too much of the expected television flatness. The film elements from which the episodes have been transferred are pretty clean; appearing generally free from debris or other flaws. Even with four episodes on a dual layer disc, digital compression artifacts are not particularly noticeable.

All the episodes that are featured on CHARMED: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. As I stated repeatedly, 5.1 channel encoding would have offered sonic benefits, especially since this show makes use of a lot of music. However, for the most part, the 2.0 remains satisfactory, as much of each episode is dialogue driven. Not surprisingly, CHARMED is mixed like a typical television show, so the sound design is very much forward loaded. The surround channels add a bit of ambience, along with minor sound effects and musical fill. Channel separations are fairly mild across the front. Fidelity is very good for a television production, but the DVDs will never replace a soundtrack CD. Dialogue is crisply rendered and easy to understand. No other language tracks are provided, nor have subtitles been included. While the basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection features. Like the preceding sets, no supplemental content has been provided.

As a longtime fan of CHARMED, I am glad the series continues to magically appear on DVD every few months. Paramountís DVD collection looks and sounds just fine, plus the discs offer that special brand of hocus pocus to vanquish all those evil commercials. If you are a fan, CHARMED: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON is another DVD youíll want to conjure for your personal library. Recommended.



Charmed - The Complete Fifth Season



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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