Las Vegas: Season Five (2007)

Genre(s): Comedy / Crime / Drama
Universal || NR - 874 minutes - $59.98 || July 22, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-08-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Gary Scott Thompson (created by)
Cast: Tom Selleck, Josh Duhamel, Vanessa Marcil, Molly Sims, James Lesure, Mitch Longley, Camille Guaty, Suzanne Whang


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Gag Reel
  • VFX Featurette
  • Hot Stuff
  • NBC.com Webcasts


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Guilty pleasure television, most everyone has one and “Las Vegas” is... err... was, mine. After 5 seasons and 106 episodes on NBC, the network yanked the plug after the series’ ratings took a bit of a tumble, especially after the departure of James Caan (though the biggest reason was due to the writer’s strike and the budget). However, looking at the numbers, it’s no worse than other NBC shows such as “Friday Night Lights” and “Lipstick Jungle”, both of which got renewed. So, it begs the question of why not give the series one final season to wrap things up for the fans? Hell, I’d think most would’ve accepted a 2-hour series finale.

Instead, this fifth season ends like previous seasons... with a cliffhanger (part of the blame lies with creator Gary Scott Thompson for continually doing these season enders this way). So, what was in effect the final “Las Vegas” became such a drag to those of us who tuned in ever since its debut in 2003.

Season five opens with the second part where Mary’s abusive father has been shot, but by whom? The fourth season finale shows Danny, Mary and Ed all with the opportunity to take the shot and here we find out who it was, and in the process two of the show’s main cast members also departed. Taking over is Tom Selleck as Cooper, yet another new owner of the cursed Montecito Casino. Cooper’s approach is far different from his predecessors. He’s a man with little words, a mysterious background and high expectations of those who work for him.

This season had a solid mixture of soap opera drama: Cooper temporarily fires Sam plus the casino, of course, gets robbed a couple more times. How in the world does Danny (Duhamel) and Mike (Lesure) still have a job??? But there are also the fun storylines such as Mike finally finding love in the form of the (debatably) lovely Camille Guaty who plays Piper Nielson, the casino’s new hostess replacing Mary who, after her father’s death, had to go into hiding. I think the Mike/Piper dynamic was probably the only satisfying conclusion to any of the character arcs. Their story is pretty much resolved by season’s end.

The final season also features more from Montecito’s supporting cast like the hilarious Suzanne Whang as Polly (five years and I never realized this was the same gal who hosts “House Hunters”), Mitch Longley as, well, Mitch who also has some very funny scenes -- a fan favorite is when he is found in bed with two gorgeous women and even though James Caan left, Sheryl Ladd has Delinda’s mother makes a couple appearances.

Obviously, a show like “Las Vegas” is not high art and the writers know it. Throughout its entire run, the show always features hot, scantily clad women and dumb storylines, but so help me; I still enjoyed the hell out of it all. Season five still had a couple of clunkers, one being ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’, an episode that aired during NBC/Universal’s green week to promote the benefits of being environmentally conscience. Listen, I recycle and I think everyone should do their part, but forcing it into an episode just didn’t work, at least here.

Oddly, the whole “Uncut” tag has been removed this time around, I guess either none of the episodes have been altered or they just didn’t want to bother.

Here is the EPISODE BREAKDOWN:

01 – A Hero Ain’t Nothing But a Sandwich/Shrink Rap
02 – The Glass is Always Cleaner
03 – Head Games
04 – Run, Cooper, Run
05 – When Life Gives You Lemon Bars
06 – Adventures in the Skin Trade
07 – It’s Not Easy Being Green
08 – My Uncle’s a Gas
09 – The High Price of Gas
10 – A Cannon Carol
11 – I Could Eat a Horse
12 – 3 Babes, 100 Guns and a Fat Chick
13 – Secrets, Lies and Lamaze
14 – Guess Who’s Coming to Breakfast
15 – 2 on 2
16 – Win, Place, Bingo
17 – Three Weddings and a Funeral (Parts 1 and 2)



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

I’ll be completely honest, outside of maybe season one, “Las Vegas” DVD sets haven’t been the most well packed TV on DVD discs in terms of features, but given the series was cancelled, surely NBC/Universal would give the fans something to leave the show with, right??? Well, no...

First there’s a fairly lengthy gag reel (10:08) that is somewhat funny for a couple of minutes before becoming old; a VSX Featurette (3:49) which shows certain scenes and how they were shot and used visual effects later to get it right; Hot Stuff (4:32) which is merely montages from the series’ run; and NBC.com Webcasts (15:28) that aired on the Internet before and during production. This is as close to a ‘making-of’ as we’ll ever get.

While the features are in itself alright, the fact that there was nothing from Gary Scott Thompson or others was disappointing. I don’t think I’m being too demanding, expecting a short interview explaining about the series’ demise or an explanation on what would have been if the show had return for a sixth season. What was the deal with Cooper? Who was in that plane crash? What about Danny and Delinda’s baby?



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

“Las Vegas” is, as always, presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 1.78 OAR. Visually, the show has always been one of the more colorful one’s on network television. Although looking at them closely on my computer screen, the images also tend to be soft, so I can’t say it’s a great transfer.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 here is fairly disappointing. While it doesn’t sound bad at all, it still comes across as a standard track with little depth. Dialogue comes through the center channel with music and other ambient noises make use out of the rest.



.::OVERALL::.

It’s a real shame NBC didn’t give “Las Vegas” one more season to conclude some of these storylines and just advertise it, like they’re doing for “ER” (a show that’s been on the decline for a few years now), as their final season. While I never fully got invested in the character of A.J. Cooper, I still would’ve liked to know more about him and, especially, how the hell he was said to be on the plane but wasn’t... Of course, I guess they could easily say that he changed his mind at the last minute to attend the wedding and the plane manifest was never corrected.