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DVD Review: The L Word – The Complete Fifth Season

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The Show

Having only been a casual watcher of The L Word, I was interested to see what it would be like to watch a fifth season DVD set. I had a basic understanding of the characters and a few of the storylines, but I didn’t follow it religiously by any means. What I wanted to find out was if a person, such as me, who doesn’t follow this show for every episode would be confused beyond comprehension, or actually be able to dive straight back into the show.

The answer may surprise you.

I found that this heartfelt drama about living the lesbian life in LA was easy enough to follow along for the casual viewer, but still contained enough continuing storylines to make it interesting for the fanatics.

I watched the first few episodes with my wife, who’d never watched the show before. She enjoyed it, and even though she didn’t know any of the characters, she was able to quickly identify what kind of people they had been and what they were likely to do. This type of thing is great for a TV show, because it means that new viewers can join in with minimal loss of understanding. Try and do that with a TV show like Lost or 24… not happening.

All your favorite characters are back in this season. Shane (Katherine Moennig) is still the resident player, breaking hearts everywhere she goes (as you’ll learn from the very first episode, maybe she’s finally gone too far). Jenny (Mia Kirshner) is back and her book is now being made into a movie. She’s become extremely self-centered and eccentric. She acts like a spoiled celebrity; it’s both annoying and funny.

One of the main storylines to begin the season is the movie being made out of Jenny’s book, Lez Girls. It’s an interesting dynamic being thrown into the mix. Is it a movie that will shed new light on the lesbian community? Or is it just a sexy Hollywood picture with plenty of girl-on-girl action? After asking those questions about the movie, it seems that you’re meant to ask those questions of The L Word itself. The movie is a commentary on the actual show, and how different people view the show from their own biased perspectives.

The Quality

The set has four DVDs with each disc containing three episodes a piece, each clocking in at just under an hour. The fourth disc also has all the special features. Each disc contains animated menus accompanied by music from the show.

The picture is presented in a 16:9 widescreen format. The 5.1 surround sound works well by presenting both music and voices clearly. The music never overpowers the dialogue.

The Packaging

Each DVD is packaged in a slim case. There's one DVD per case, which is nice, and on the opposite side of the DVD is a synopsis of each episode contained therein. A lot of sets will try and pack two DVDs in each slim case. While it works, it seems like a tight fit. This packaging gives your discs room so you don’t feel like you’re crunching them every time you close the case.

The four slim cases are packed into a nice black cardboard holder. The box art, with the big “L” shape on the front containing the faces of all the beautiful stars, is elegant, and looks great sitting on a shelf for all to see.

The Special Features

These Showtime DVDs are always loaded with cross-promotional gimmicks, which are the only things that bring the sets down. It was the same with the Dexter set, just a bunch of episodes for different Showtime series that the network is trying to get people to watch. A fan of the show, whatever show it may be, wants to see in-depth “Making of…” documentaries, and interviews from the cast.

But, instead of in-depth special features this set offers two episodes of the second season of The Tudors. On your PC you have the ability to unlock additional content to see season two episodes of Californication, and season three episodes of Dexter.

Ending Thoughts

While I’m not totally convinced that the entire lesbian community is as sexually charged as the women in The L Word, this show offers a lot of insight on what it’s like to be different. It’s an interesting point of view that needs to be heard. It has enough girly talk and situations for the women, and enough steaming hot lesbian kissing and fooling around for the men.

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  • Jeffrey S.

    “…and enough steaming hot lesbian kissing and fooling around for the men.”

    I assume this was said as a joke but it pretty much negates all the intelligent things you said in your review. I’m a straight male and it may be unusual, but I’m hooked on The L Word because of good writing and acting, not because there are women-on-women scenes.

    Otherwise, good review.