One of the better dramatic series of the ‘90s, “PARTY OF FIVE” has had its
entire first season released on dvd by COLUMBIA TRISTAR.  We’re introduced to
the Salinger family, after their parents have been killed in a car accident.
There are some great things taking place on this show. The writing is
exceptional, often moving, but seldom syrupy.  The cast is phenomenal! It’s easy
to see that Scott Wolf, Neve Campbell and Lacy Chabert, and Matthew Fox, could
easily move onto bigger careers.  Unfortunately, Fox appears to have not really
succeeded past the series, thus far. While there are some very heavy moments,
the series has its share of humor, interspersed with life lessons, that never
seem too blatant or cliché.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has preserved the show’s original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.  Filmed
with an intentionally “soft” look for atmosphere, the image can be problematic.
At times, it’s either too soft, or too grainy. Contrast is adequate, but darker
scenes never exhibit the fine detail of COLUMBIA TRISTAR’s superior releases.
Fleshtones appear natural.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has presented a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that’s more aggressive
than most tv drama series of its day.  There are many surround effects, and the
show’s score is well complimented throughout.  Dialogue is always intelligible
and free from distortion.
COLUBMIA TRISTAR has provided some extras for this release.  “THE PILOT,”
“THANKSGIVING,” and “IDES OF MARCH” all feature commentary spread out over two
tracks. One is with Chabert, Fox and Wolf. The 2nd is with creators Amy Lippman
and Christopher Keyser.  The actors’ commentary is more entertaining, and
Chabert has obviously and gracefully grown into a mature, intelligent,
reflective actress.  
“PARTY OF FIVE: A LOOK BACK” is a 60 minute documentary, entertaining, but
fluffy. It has enough to make it recommended viewing for any fan of the show.