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Featured TV on DVD Review: Army Wives: Season Five

September 26th, 2011

Army Wives: Season Five - Buy from Amazon

I've reviewed the previous seasons of Army Wives and after a better than expected season one and a disappointingly soap opera-like season two, the show has been on the rebound for season three and four. Will Season Five complete the comeback, or will it slip backwards in quality?

The Show

At the beginning of the season, the five families are in more or less better shape than they were at the beginning of season four. Granted, Pamela and Chase's marriage went from being in trouble to being over, but at least they are adapting to their new situation and she might get a new job in Atlanta. Roxy's oldest son. T.J., is turning into a typical teenager, only he's doing it a year early. Joan has recovered from her traumatic brain injuries, but is now contemplating retirement, much to the relief of Roland. Claudia Joy is dealing with her oldest daughter going off to college, finishing her law degree, etc. She also gets news that her husband, Michael, is up for a major promotion, but that would take her away from her friends. Denise and Frank are celebrating a new baby, and their son Jeremy's upcoming wedding.

It doesn't take long before plans change. For instance, Joan gets a promotion instead of retiring. There are pros and cons here for both Joan and Roland. It is a desk job, which means no more deployments, something both of them feared. But it is also a lot more responsibility, leaving less time for the two of them. Roxy gets a surprise when Whit shows up, Whit being Finn's father. His presence makes T.J. act out even more. The meeting between Denise and Tanya, soon to be mother-in-law and daughter-in-law goes poorly. Tanya says the wrong thing and embarrasses herself, while Denise is worried Tanya and Jeremy are rushing things. Claudia Joy starts a new job working with her former professor, but while he was a tough teacher, he's a boss from hell. Pamela wavering about going to Atlanta or not, or getting back with her ex or not leads her partner, Clayton Boone, into thinking there's something more than a professional relationship there, and he's not entirely wrong.

And then at the end of the third episode / beginning of the fourth episode, something really major happens that is impossible to talk about without getting into major, major spoiler territory. I will say it is handled very well. Episode four, On Behalf of a Grateful Nation, is one of the best of the show's run and it has a huge emotional impact. There were a lot of great episodes and all of the characters had compelling storyarcs this year. There are stories involving military life, professional life, marriages growing stronger or falling apart, etc. I didn't get that soapy feeling that appeared in the second season, while the cast and crew have become strong as the years have gone by. Overall, season five is arguably the best season in the show's run so far.

The Extras

Extras on the three-disc set include 18 deleted scenes spread over the three discs. On the third disc there is a 30-minute featurette called Hanging at the Hump, which has the cast talking about the five years they've been friends over dinner. These people clearly have a great time together and it's a fun featurette to watch. Finally, there are five minutes of outtakes. The extras are weak this time around, but the quality of the episodes makes up for that.

The Verdict

Army Wives is one of Lifetime's biggest hits, and given the quality shown in Season Five, it deserves this success. The season is a little shorter than the previous three and the extras are on the light side, but the DVD is still worth picking up.

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