By Chaz Lipp
Timed to coincide with the June 2 premiere of its sixth season, the six-disc Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Fifth Season DVD set was issued via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Loaded with bonus features, the set is a no-brainer for fans of the suspense-driven melodrama. Pretty Little Liars has been a mainstay of ABC Family since its maiden voyage in 2010. Unfortunately, the recent season premiere was the lowest rated among the show’s six seasons. While this may be a harbinger of popularity decline, it should be remembered that Liars – though steady – has never been a ratings powerhouse. Fans can rest easy, as the show’s seventh season has already been confirmed (though it will be its last). Nor does a drop in ratings detract from the consistent quality of the fifth season’s twisting, turning narrative. All 25 episodes are collected on Warner’s new DVD set.
As longtime, hardcore fans know, Pretty Little Liars finds its roots in the series of novels by author Sara Shepard. The show’s convoluted and intertwining storylines don’t lend themselves to easy summary, nor to jumping in midstream. Non-regular (and especially brand new) viewers will need to do a little reading up if they’re looking to watch without the benefit of detailed knowledge of seasons one through four. One downside of Pretty Little Liars is that it’s so intent of moving forward, keeping viewers constantly guessing, that it honestly becomes a bit confusing and occasionally hard to follow. The chemistry amongst the primary cast members remains one of the series’ strongest assets. Lucy Hale stands out in particular as Aria Montgomery, arguably the most likable and sympathetic of the main group of friends (completely objective, of course).
But the Liars fan base remains strong and devoted, with the show winning the 2015 People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Cable Drama. And the season five DVD set doesn’t disappoint in terms of bonus features. There are four featurettes: “Bad Lies: The Stronger PLLs” is focused on each of the main characters and their paths over the course of the show, “Pretty Little Liars: The Guys are Back!” is kind of self-explanatory (spotlight on the sometimes overlooked male characters), “Celebrating a Pretty 100th” recognizing the 100 episode milestone reached during season five, and “Christmas in Rosewood: Designing the Ice Ball” takes a look at this season’s holiday episode. Furthermore there is “We Love You to DeAth,” a fan appreciation episode (actresses answering fan questions). Lots of deleted scenes accompany the episodes (12 episodes have at least one deleted scene) as well.
Tech specs are solid for a standard DVD release, with solid transfers and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes for each episode. Rather than dreaded cardboard sleeves, the double-width plastic case houses all of the six discs, each on its own hub. Thoughtfully, Warner Bros. has included a leaflet with an episode guide.
Pretty Little Liars The Complete Fifth Season Images: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment