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DVD Review

DVD cover

Malcolm in the Middle
The Complete Fifth Season


Starring: Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Masterson and Justin Berfield
Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 12
Available 29 April 2013

A new year and a new baby in the house, as Jamie joins Malcolm’s family, where Reese and Dewy continue their on/off rivalry, above all this Lois tries to keep the madness at bay, without the help of her man-child husband Hal...

Malcolm in the Middle: Season Five comes to DVD in a three disc set, containing all twenty-two episodes. Nice enough, but the lack of any extras does mean that this is, very much, a vanilla release.

November 2003 saw the start of the fifth season, although the show still had a hard core of followers its audience had shrunk by nearly two thirds and it had dropped in the rankings from the first seasons impressive 18 to 71. The writing would seem to be on the wall and yet it continued to be nominated and win awards. It would seem that whilst the audience was falling out of love with the show, the industry still recognised a quality product.

This season opened with the usual mayhem with Hal deciding he is having prophetic visions of winning big on a slot machine, not the sort of thing that is reassuring before a trip to Vegas where Reese and Dewy are showing their enormously obese rabbit; meanwhile Francis is down the well with Otto.

Over the course of the season we see Francis bring his girlfriend home before deciding to join the army. Reese and Dewy continue their double act as do Lois and Hal; in fact the only people not paired up are Malcolm and Jamie.

The season had many good stories, but the runaway winner, and the one which won an award, was Ida's Boyfriend, with Malcolm’s grandmother plotting to drug an unsuspecting Chinese man with plans to marry him. On top of this Malcolm engages in an act of rebellion by having his tongue pierced and trying to hide it from his mother. Perhaps the funniest gag is Dewy trying to convince Reece that he does not exist.

Individually the stories remain strong; if the show was guilty of anything it was creating such a strong format, that even with the inclusion of new characters it could never really breakout of the format. Eventually audience started to fall away as situations started to feel repetitious.


Charles Packer

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