Homeland The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews season five of this compelling Showtime TV Drama that is loosely based on the Israeli television series Prisoners of War.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

87

Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2015
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 630 minutes
Genre: TV Thriller/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, F. Murray Abraham, Miranda Otto, Sebastian Koch
Directed by: Various
Music by: Sean Callery
Written by: Various
Region Code: A

Release Date: January 10, 2017

“The Only Way Out, is Back in”

My Take:

Now working at a private security firm in Berlin, Carrie is trying to start a new life, but she soon discovers she can’t escape her past. Blindsided by stunning betrayals, and without Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Quinn (Rupert Friend) to rely on, Carrie must uncover a deadly conspiracy that puts thousands of lives at risk, including her own.

The season opens with Carrie, now living in Germany, working as head of security for Otto Düring, a German billionaire, philanthropist and chairman of Düring Foundation, while raising her daughter with current boyfriend, Jonas Hollander. Two anti-jihadist computer hackers accidentally get access to the CIA servers and download top secret documents detailing collaboration between the CIA and BND, Germany’s intelligence agency. Peter Quinn gets back from a secret assignment in Syria. Saul Berenson arrives in Berlin to look into the possible leak of classified documents. Carrie arranges security for Otto in visiting a refugee camp in Lebanon by reaching out to Al Amin, a Hezbollah commander. Saul gives Quinn a new assignment to eliminate suspected terrorists in Berlin. These events lay the primary foundation for the season’s continuing storyline, which includes several key subplots involving members within the CIA’s Berlin Office, and a new terrorist threat that unhinges everything.

Homeland is loosely based on the Israeli television series Prisoners of War, created by Gideon Raff, and is developed for American television by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. The series is set to a post 9/11 narrative that is scripted with taut pacing, personal themes and character driven elements where conflict abounds and nothing is a given. Season five continues in that vein as the storyline builds over the course of its 12 episodes and features a variety of enriching subplots that interconnect the main plot points. The subject matter is relevant, the characters are well developed, and the air of mystery, and morally suspect nature of their connection, enriches the proceedings. There are viable plot twists some of which you might see coming, and some you might not that go hand in hand with the melodrama, romance and thrills.

I really enjoyed the first 8 episodes of season five, but felt that things went a bit off of the rails after that. All in all, the show’s writing continues to compliment the performances of the core cast members headed by Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Miranda Otto. They are aptly supported by an excellent ensemble that compliments the show.

Homeland makes for an entertaining, and engaging TV series, that will hopefully regain its edge going into its sixth season, which premieres on Showtime this month. We’ll be watching…

Season five’s 12 episodes are spread over three BD-50 Blu-ray Discs that come housed in a standard amaray style case with slipcover, that contains flip type inserts to hold the discs.

Parental Guide:

The show contains thematic material, sexual content, partial nudity, violence and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Home land The Complete Fifth Season comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.

This is an excellent high definition video rendering that features well resolved images, defining sharpness and two-dimensional depth. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation, tonal warmth and vibrant textures. Fleshtones appear descriptive with discernible complexional variety that brings out the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. Blacks are a solid shade of deep black with excellent dynamic range and discernible highlights. Contrast is well balanced which enriches both light and dark onscreen elements. I saw no signs of video related anomalies or artifacts.

The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features crystal clear dialog, gratifying dynamic range and a subtle, yet enriching surround sound mix. I was pleased with its use of spacial dimension and directional cues to create a realistic and occasionally immersive sound field. This worked hand in hand with show’s music, and active sequences to build tension and drive its thematic elements. I thought it sounded quite good.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) The Evolution of Carrie Mathison – Take a look back at the key events in Carrie’s journey throughout the past five seasons, her relationships and the often time tragic moments she’s experienced have changed her, hardened her and helped her grow – 11 minutes
  • (HD) “Homeland” In Berlin: Beyond the Wall – “Homeland” Season Five tackles controversial topics. Get an inside look at why the writers took on these themes, what stance the characters are taking, and the role of the City of Berlin – 9 minutes

Final Thoughts:

Homeland is an engaging, character driven TV drama that features solid writing that revolves around a post 9/11 narrative that takes audiences on a tautly paced and provocative trip down the rabbit hole. Season Five doesn’t end quite as strong as it began, but proves that the show hasn’t lost its ability to be compelling. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring rewarding high definition video quality, crystal clear lossless sound and a subpar supplemental package. If you’re a fan or are looking for a worthwhile TV series to binge watch on Blu-ray Homeland deserves a look.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package