USA's hit show about the charismatic, fake psychic-detective Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his slightly more practical best friend/partner Burton 'Gus' Guster (Dule Hill) began it's fifth season last summer, opening with a reminder of the previous season's dramatic finale. Victimized by the cunning and ruthless serial killer Yin in that final episode, detective Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson) has taken a break from the field. Both Shawn and her partner Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) attempt to draw Juliet away from desk duty by enticing her with tidbits of evidence from the current case they are working on, a kidnapping that could potentially spark a full on gang war in Chinatown. This season features the romantic peak in the relationship between Juliet and Shawn, which has experienced a series of lulls and near-misses throughout the previous seasons. Additionally, Shawn's gruff, former-detective father (Corbin Bernson) gets even more involved this season by taking a job with the police as a consultant liaison. That of course means just one thing: He makes life a lot harder on Shawn.
The extras are pretty straightforward, including the usual deleted scenes, gag reel, and audio and video commentaries. For 15 of the 16 episodes there is a short video commentary by various writers, producers, actor/writer James Roday and even creator/writer/executive producer Steve Franks. Seven of the episodes include an audio commentary option, featuring the voices of Franks, Roday, Hill, Lawson, and Omundson, along with some of the writers and producers. The commentaries provide humorous insight into the making of these episodes, including how initial concepts emerged, the origin of certain references (which are countless in the series), guest stars, experiences on set and much more.
A Featurette that goes along with the commentaries is “No Comment!,” a brief video of an audio commentary recording in progress. During this particular extra the commentators are often shown on the screen along with the episode, and I wondered why DVD manufacturers don’t do this more often? Why not combine the audio and video commentaries, at least for a handful of episodes? I always find it somewhat disconcerting to listen to the disembodied voices of people I’m not familiar with, especially since the audio can get confusing with so much overlapping talking. Video would definitely help lessen the confusion for people like me by linking a face to a voice and by helping to distinguish the speakers from one another. While displaying both videos on the screen simultaneously could cause some competition between the two, most people who listen to the commentary have already seen the episode (probably multiple times) and are already (very) familiar with it.
Overall, while Psych: The complete Fifth Season may not include anything particularly hi-tech or unique as far as box sets go, it will definitely satisfy Psych fans. The commentaries all convey a zest and passion for the show, as well as the trademark humor and use of pop culture references that viewers have grown to love. Ultimately, fans of this show don’t watch it for fancy special effects; they watch it for the wit and quirky characters that continue to deliver season after season. This year the cast and crew created the perfect combination of romance, humor and drama, making season five as good as — if not better than — previous years.