Grey’s Anatomy follows the life and tribulations of a group of interns at Seattle Grace Hospital. There’s certainly nothing original about the premise, except that the story is told by one of the more unlikely characters, Dr. Meredith Grey (Pompeo). As a lead she’s really not all that remarkable, but the show doesn’t put everything on her narrow shoulders. The series is populated by a solid supporting cast, giving it all a far more ensemble feel despite the title. James Pickens, Jr. is perhaps the most extraordinary actor in the show. He’s underused, but steals every scene he’s in. His Dr. Webber is a powerfully serious voice in an otherwise often frivolous world. Chandra Wilson as the intern teacher Dr. Baily is another standout performance, offering tremendous range. Her character, often referred to as a Nazi by her interns, is capable of outstanding empathy just when it’s required. Too many of the characters serve as eye candy, but I can’t say that any of them don’t have some good acting chops.
With all of that said, season 5 is not the way to have your first Grey’s Anatomy experience. I strongly recommend you begin at the start if you are not sure about this show. While I was able to gain some appreciation for the show, I had to work harder for it by starting so late. If you already like the show, nothing I could say would keep you from continuing your collection here. For those of you up on what’s going on, here’s the kind of stories you can expect in season 5: The biggest impact story thread has to be Izzie’s brain tumor. It also leads to a return by Supernatural’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Denny character. Yeah, I know he died, but he learned a thing or two from his stint on Supernatural. Actually it’s Izzie’s tumor that allows us this return visit. Not really a spoiler here, as the show did a huge amount of promo spots talking about Denny’s return and Izzie’s illness. Another huge milestone is the addition of Rome’s phenomenal actor Kevin McKidd as new Dr. Owen Hunt. It’s a great character, possibly one of the best in the series. He’s a military doctor, so adds quite a bit of a new dynamic to the series. He’s going to be challenging the methods and techniques of the hospital. Controversy reaches Grace when a death row inmate wishes to donate his organs. The problem is that the execution will render his organs unusable. He’ll have to be killed at the hospital by someone on the staff. Mark tries to perform a face transplant. Unfortunately, it is still the romantic entanglements that drive this series.
Each episode of Grey’s Anatomy is presented in a sweet 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Again, I can’t compare to broadcast versions of the series, but these DVD transfers are quite nice. The sharpness is excellent. Black levels are well above average for television, even in the HD age. Colors aren’t necessarily bright at all, but remain constant and solid throughout. Flesh tones are dead on reference.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is more aggressive than I expected going in. There are not a lot of dynamic opportunities for an audio track to particularly shine here, but it does a wonderful job of immersing the viewer in the show. The plentiful musical numbers are well placed, usually not interfering with the action. Dialog is always easy to hear, and placement is spot on. Not much for the subs here, but who cares?
Audio Commentaries: There are a few episodes sporting engaging tracks with cast and crew members.
New Docs On The Block: The three new cast members are the subject of this 8 minute feature. Cast and crew gush about the additions, and the actors themselves offer some tidbits about their new roles.
On Set With Patrick And Eric: The “guys” on the show appear to spend a lot of time together having a blast on the set of the show. This 5 minute piece is mostly a lot of cutting up and fun.
In Stitches – Season Four Outtakes: The typical goofs and goofing around is what you get out of this 4 minute piece.
One Quick Cut: This is an interesting 4 minute recap of the first 4 seasons of the show. This is certainly helpful if you ignore my advice and start with this set.
Good Medicine: The cast relive their favorite moments.
Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy: Unaired Scenes: You guessed it. There are a few deleted scenes for your continued enjoyment.
I have a niece who just graduated from high school who has announced she wants to be a doctor. When asked what inspired her decision she cited Grey’s Anatomy as her big influence. This is one of those good news/bad news kinds of things. It’s pretty cool when a television series can effect real life decisions and drive people into such worthy professions. The unfortunate part is that part of my niece, as I’m sure many like her, wants to have the McDreamy experiences that the doctors here seem to have way too much time to engage in. It doesn’t really sink in that she’s lucky if she’ll get time to sleep, let alone have all of these exciting romantic romps around the OR. It remains to be seen what happens with my niece, but I wonder how many just like her are out there and how many are wanting to get into medicine saying, “I want blood and guts, and managled bones. I want a guy so smashed up that it takes all day to fix him. I-I wanna rock a surgery.”?