There are many guilty pleasures on television, perhaps none more so than Scandal. The series created by Shonda Rhimes has captured the cultural zeitgeist and made its mark on the television landscape. The saga of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is full of more twists and turns than anyone can count. It’s one of the things that makes Scandal so compelling and fun.
Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season is out August 23 on DVD and I’m happy to report that this season… It’s a game changer. Olivia’s crisis management film, Olivia Pope & Associates is going and everything looks good at the start of the season. We all know that can’t last. At least at first, it seems Olivia is going to have to make a choice, whether or not to be with Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and possibly live in his shadow or be her own woman. It’s an interesting allegory and even someone who is a force in and of herself like Olivia can be pushed to the background of another more rich and powerful.
Quinn (Katie Lowes) is holding the torch at Olivia Pope & Associates with Huck (Guillermo Díaz) making a permeant home on Olivia’s couch after the bus incident from last season. Fitz has served Mellie (Bellamy Young) with divorce papers and is quite proud of himself for doing so. He never actually checked in with Olivia and when she does see everything start to play out she persuades Fitz to keep their relationship in the state of… ahem… grey that it’s been in.
Then all hell breaks loose. Pictures surface that show Olivia and Fitz together at the White House. There of course have been rumblings about their relationship in the past, but now there’s picture proof and there’s really no denying it. It’s a great mystery as to who actually set them up, got the photos and released them on the public and why?
After five seasons, it’s hard to keep up a one hour drama that has soap opera roots. I know a lot of people have leveled that criticism at the series. How many twists and turns can one persons life really take? Clearly, if it was real life, every episode would have Olivia come home, eat dinner and watch Stranger Things on Netflix, but that’s not why we watch TV, we watch for the drama, the intrigue and yes, the Scandal of it all. So while it may all seem over the top, that’s why we tune in.
The one thing I will say, is that Scandal does suffer from Shonda-ism. I think it’s interesting that the dialogue on the series isn’t really written for each character. No one seems to have their own voice. Each line can be interchanged with the next character and I don’t think anyone would bat an eye. Personally, this is one of the things that emotionally removes me from Shona Rimes series. I like characters who have their own rhythm, it doesn’t matter how good an actor is, if they aren’t able to flesh out a character it’s hard for anyone to resonate. I think that’s tended to bog Scandal and a lot of her series down.
Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season has been released on DVD in a good transfer thanks to Disney and ABC Studios. The picture quality isn’t as exemplary on DVD as it would have been on Blu-ray (I was provided a DVD copy to review). However, it is still a better picture than the regular broadcast version. The colors are rich, with a slight grain on the darker sequences. Fine details are present but do get muted in some parts. Overall, it’s a well done transfer that’s a step up from what you would see on regular television.
Special Features on this release are shockingly sparse in comparison to a lot of other TV on DVD releases I’ve seen. Included are:
Extended Episode of “I See You” – Episode 83 of the series adds a few more minutes of new footage.
Outtakes – There are about three minutes of deleted scenes.
Overall, if you’ve been following the story and saga of Olivia and Fitz, you are going to want this set in your collection. If you’re starting to wade into the Scandal ridden waters, it’s going to be best to start of the beginning clearly, however season five, even with it’s flaws is worth a spin.
Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season is out August 23 on DVD