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Featured TV on DVD Review: Criminal Minds: Season Six

September 4th, 2011

Criminal Minds: Season Six - Buy from Amazon

I recently reviewed the second season of NCIS:LA and mentioned that I couldn't remember most of the supporting characters and didn't remember any of the details of the main characters. I bring this up because while getting ready to watch Criminal Minds, I realized that I couldn't remember who replaced Mandy Patinkin, without resorting to Wikipedia. And when I did look it up, I was surprised to learn that Joe Mantegna had replaced him at the beginning of season three. I thought it was much more recently. Like I said before, this is a really bad sign, as it shows the seasons are just blending together. Will season six stand out? And if so, will it do so for the right reasons?

The Show

The season starts with the conclusion of last season's cliffhanger about the Prince of Darkness and begins with one of the most vile things you can experience: Leonard Cohen singing. (He's a great songwriter, but he should leave the singing to others.) The first episode deals with a serial killer from Detective Matt Spicer's past, and that really sets the tone for the season. Practically every main character gets one story where they are dealing with something from their past. David Rossi has to deal with the possible return of The Butcher in Remembrance of Things Past, although everyone else thinks it's just a copycat. In 25 to Life, Derek Morgan helps a serial killer get parole, only to have him arrested for another murder just days after he gets out. Emily Prentiss has the biggest revelations about her past in a mult-episode storyarc, which is arguably the highlight of the seasons.

The other main theme of the season is change. After three seasons of no real changes in the cast, there were three major changes this season. Very early on J.J. is forcibly reassigned to the Pentagon, after twice refusing the promotion and her loss hits the team pretty badly. Rachel Nichols joins the cast for a while as FBI cadet Ashley Seaver. Her introduction actually touches on the first theme, as her father was a serial killer and the environment she was brought in provides her with a very unique perspective. And there's one more change, which I won't get into, because it's a rather big spoiler with a nice twist.

Overall, the season still suffers from the same problems as last season. Namely, while the show is very well done and there's a lot of talent on both sides of the camera, there's very little here that sets it apart from the rest of the police procedural field.

The Extras

Extras are spread throughout the six-disc set starting with deleted scenes on Remembrance of Things Past and a three-minute photo-montage on disc one. Disc two has a four-minute featurette on the crime scene for Devil's Night. Disc four has two featurettes on crime scenes and two episodes have deleted scenes. Disc five has a 17-minute making of featurette for Valhalla / Lauren two-parter. There are also deleted scenes for those two episodes. The final disc has another crime scene featurette and another episode with deleted scenes. There are also a couple minutes of outtakes and finally a 16-minute season overview.

Overall, it's not a bad selection of extras, but I would prefer an audio commentary or two. Or six. I don't think asking for one audio commentary track per disc for an hour-long show like this is unreasonable.

The Verdict

It's hard to judge a show like Criminal Minds. There's nothing overtly wrong with the show; in fact, it's high quality in nearly every aspect. However, there's so much direct competition that even if you are a fan of the genre, there's no way you could watch every single one of them. Picking and choosing which ones to follow and which ones to skip is up to personal preferences. I look for a little more humor, which is why I prefer shows like NCIS. On the other hand, if you are a fan of Criminal Minds and own the previous seasons on DVD, then Season Six is absolutely worth picking up.

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