DirectorTrey Parker, Matt Stone
Release Date(s)2001 (December 5, 2017)
Studio(s)Comedy Central/South Park Studios (Paramount)
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: B-
The Complete Fifth Season of South Park is one of the show’s early best. Almost every episode is either a favorite or at least memorable. It Hits the Fan sets a record for the most uses of the word ‘shit’ in 22 minutes. There’s Cripple Fight and Super Best Friends (which is amazing because the latter episode is still not available for streaming viewing on the South Park Studios website… and yes, Muhammad is still depicted). Then there’s Cartmanland and the classic Scott Tenorman Must Die. And that’s just the first half of the season. You also get Towelie, Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants (the first episode of the series to air after 9/11, with Trey Parker and Matt Stone reacting to real life events in typically defiant fashion), and the season finale, Butters’ Very Own Episode. Ah… Bennigan’s.
When the fifth season was originally produced, the episodes were animated by computer but rendered and finished in SD and 1.33:1. That’s how they were first seen on Comedy Central and how they appeared on DVD as well. So over the past several years, the production team at South Park Studios has gone back and re-animated them in full HD. New details have been added here and there, and minor errors in the original animation have been corrected as well. The result is finally being released on Blu-ray thanks to Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment.
The Complete Fifth Season includes all 14 episodes on 2 Blu-rays. Each episode is presented here in 1080p at the new 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The video quality is outstanding, with good detail, bold coloring, and dark blacks. The simulated construction paper texturing has even been carefully preserved. Obviously, the very nature of the way South Park is animated means that this isn’t exactly HD eye candy. But these episodes have never looked better and the video grade reflects this.
Audio-wise, all of these episodes include the original English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mixes from the 2005 DVD release, as well as new 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mixes. The surround staging is more atmospheric than aggressive, but it’s lossless so the clarity is excellent. Note that these episodes have uncensored audio. Optional English subtitles are available for those who need them.
As for bonus features, the new Blu-ray release carries over all of the original Creator Commentaries for each episode, featuring Parker and Stone, that were found on the 2005 DVD release. That’s it, but then there were no other extras were created for this season on disc.
It’s great to finally have these early seasons of South Park on Blu-ray. Though they’re probably for diehard fans only, these sets are definitely worth having. They currently sell for about $30 each on Amazon and will likely be discounted further in time. South Park shows no signs of ending anytime soon, though, so if you’re waiting for a Complete Series release, you’ll have a very long wait. As always, our advice is to buy these individual season sets as you’re able to, but look for great sale price.
- Bill Hunt