The Blacklist: The Complete Fifth Season - Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Apr 4, 2017
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    The Blacklist: The Complete Fifth Season

    Movie: :4stars:
    Video: :4.5stars:
    Audio: :4.5stars:
    Extras: :2.5stars:
    Final Score: :4stars:

    [​IMG] Movie

    There’s a MYRIAD of police procedurals out there, all with their own gimmick, but there are few that are so infectiously fun as The Blacklist. In large part this is due to the sheer charisma of James Spader playing the main character of Raymond Reddington. Spader has always been a very fun actor to watch, but he changed and tweaked his acting style through years of different roles and settled into a very expressive and witty person that he pretty much perfected in his years of being a lawyer in Boston Legal. Now he takes it to a new level as the lovable, hateable, charming master of criminal enterprises.

    I actually watched the first and second seasons in a matter of about two weeks (I had some time off from work, don’t worry. I didn’t call out sick…….that many times) and became immediately hooked by the mixture of police procedural, mystery and James Spader being James Spader. As the years went on though, the series had a hard time keeping up with all of the deep dark mysterious that the first 2 years had set up. It’s a known flaw in many shows that start out this well. First you set up the teasing hook, and you make the answers just barely out of reach, so that when it’s finally revealed things just never lived up to the mental hype you had about them (that, and many shows only know the questions and not the answers, being content to make up answers for questions from previous seasons on the fly without having a solid framework for multiple seasons in advance). Season 4 was where I started seeing cracks in the armor of the show, and the series started feeling a little bit stale, as we got bored with the question of “Is Elizabeth Raymond’s daughter or not?”. Season 5 completely renewed my faith in the series, as it took the big bombshell that we all knew was coming, and then just had fun with changing Elizabeth to be Raymond’s protege, instead of the other way around that it’s been the last few years.
    I hate to spoil it for those who haven’t seen the series yet, or at least last season, but it’s almost impossible not to spoil how last season ended (so skip ahead two paragraphs if you’re really worried about this one). Yup, Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) is FBI agent Elizabeth Keen’s (Meghan Boone) father. I know we all guessed it a LONG time ago, but the series finally let us in on that little tidbit during the finale. But that’s not the only big twist. Raymond’s entire criminal empire has been utterly demolished and his use to the FBI is dwindling. The new director of the FBI has just been sworn in and that means a reckoning for all off the books projects is going to be called in. Meaning that Raymond will no longer be of value to the FBI without his criminal networking. Since Red still has a ton of baddies in the little blacklist of his, Cooper (Harry Lennix) decides to agree to a request from the out of luck criminal. Help him build back up his criminal empire, and Raymond will use his influence and information to bring in the worst of the worst to justice like he has done the last several years.

    Yeah, there’s some definite suspension of belief right here. It’s kind of hard to believe that the FBI would ON THE BOOKS help a criminal build up a worldwide empire despite the movies telling us that every law enforcement division runs their own Operation Contra’s on a daily basis. Still, I wouldn’t expect any less from The Blacklist as it has always defied belief at times. This change up actually is the catalyst for the show rising back up to grace though, as it shakes things up a bit and changes stuff around. Raymond is no longer the beleaguered man from seasons 3 and 4, and goes back to being the overly cheerful guy that he always has been, just with that darkly criminal twist. The dynamic between father and daughter is less antagonist as well, with Elizabeth having her own crisis of faith, so to speak. Her fall from grace from the FBI to protect her child shook up her more “by the books” personal traits, and with Raymond actually being her dad she gets to explore some of the more vigilante style feelings that a normal person has. It’s just now she can actually act on them. As such, the contrast between her obvious law enforcement training and the temptation of Raymond’s world creates a new Elizabeth Keen, one who is much more in line with her husband Tom (Ryan Eggold) than with her old work compatriots.


    Rated TV-14

    Video: :4.5stars:
    It's one of those "broken record" moments again. I know I've said it before, but many of these long running TV shows that have been put out consistently on Blu-ray will look VERY similar to each other. Thus also my review will be very similar to ones I've done in the past for the series. Like the previous 4 seasons, The Blacklist's 5th season looks exceptional on Blu-ray. Shot digitally the show looks clear, clean, and sparkling with all sorts of details. You can see everything from James Spader's dumpy looking "old man" look, to the crisp lines on the side of a matte colored Glock slide. There's not a whole lot of major color grading going on, and the series tends to look more neutral than anything. Still, there's s a few darker scenes that have a bluish tinge to them, and the black levels themselves always seem to be a bit desaturated. Shadow details in said darkness are impressive, and I can't see much more than some occasional black crush to mar them either (something which has been noticeable in every single release of the series, as well as the broadcast episodes that I've seen as well). Skin tones are well defined and balanced, and the contrast within normal viewing specs. Simply put, The Blacklist: The Complete Fifth Season is another stellar release from Sony on the video front.

    Audio: :4.5stars:
    [​IMG] '
    Yup, yup, the record and all that. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix for The Blacklist has always been stellar, and Sony hasn't dropped the ball in this release either. The show is a good mixture of action and contemplation, leaving us with a good amount of bombastic action shots, and more than enough front heavy detective work where the track leans heavily on the dialog. It's big, it's loud, and it's a FUN track. The FBI war room is awash with the beeps and sweeps of computers, or the mumbling of agents in the background, while the big city location that Raymond and Elizabeth delve into bring the proverbial "pain" with all sorts of gunfire, fisticuffs and car chases (with the occasional explosion). Dialog is crisp and clear at all times, and the dynamic range is evenly balanced, yet impressively wide when needed. LFE adds the weight and punch to the fight scenes, but then softly enhances the quieter moments with simple sounds (doors slamming, someone falling through a ceiling etc). The Blacklist is one of my favorite action shows on TV right now, and Sony's treatment of the audio mix is always a pleasure.

    Extras: :2.5stars:

    • Gag Reel
    • Deleted Scenes
    • "Celebrating 100 Episodes!" Featurette
    • Showrunner-led Audio Commentaries
    • "Like Father/Like Daughter" Featurette (Blu-ray exclusive)

    Final Score: :4stars:

    After last season's emotionally draining (and rather rocky) run I had thought that we were in for a sluggish 5th season. The big reveal about Elizabeth's parentage came as NO surprise to anyone who has watched the series from the beginning, and it seemed that Raymond was pretty much tapped out as the criminal mastermind that he was. However, the show kind of "rebranding" itself came as a refreshing treat. James Spader is still the single best part about the show, and with him going back to his roots the show once again feels exciting and fun. There's some definite suspension of belief with the FBI helping Raymond rebuild his criminal empire, but this show has never exactly been a "down to earth" show, so it all plays out well if you can deal with that. Just be warned, the season ends with a stunning twist for the finale that literally will be the most shocking thing you've seen in the show so far. The technical specs are excellent as always, with the same standard "near perfect" audio and video that Sony's releases are known for. The extras are on the skimpy side, but still meaty enough considering today's lack of extras being the norm for many TV shows. Definitely recommended.

    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff
    Created by: Jon Bokenkamp
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
    Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Subtitles: English SDH, English, French
    Studio: Sony
    Rated: TV-14
    Runtime: 944 Minutes
    Blu-ray Release Date: August 14th, 2018

    Recommendation: Good Watch

    tripplej likes this.
  2. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

    Jul 13, 2017
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    Thanks for the review. Will check it out.

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