It's a new year, and Emerald City's got a brand-new look. The walls are cleaner, the cafeteria is bigger, and everything is fresher...everything on the outside, that is. Inside the hearts and minds of the prisoners, Oz is ... more »just as dark and raw as ever. The renovations may be complete, but the mayhem is starting all over again. DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Audio Commentary: Episode 8 "Impotence" with Tom Fontana and Dean Winters
Another trip down the blood soaked yellow brick road
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 05/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What is it that makes HBO's ultra volitale men in prison drama Oz such compulsively addictive viewing? Perhaps it's the layers of storylines being told over one another, perhaps it's the fact that this is one of the finest ensemble casts ever assembled, or, possibly, because one is so shocked at what is seen on screen that they anxiously, or dreadfully, await to see just who gets shanked next or what else develops. Whatever the case, Oz remains one of the best shows to ever grace HBO, and one of the most underrated. The fifth season of Oz begins with the aftermath of the kitchen fire, followed by the power control triangle between Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen), white supremiscist leader Vern Schillinger (J.K. Simmons), and Kareem Said (Eamon Walker). In the meantime, the mother of Ryan and Cyril O'Reilly (Dean and Scott William Winters) comes to the prison to teach the prisoners of performance arts, while a few inmates train some dogs to be guides for the blind. Of course not all of this ends well at all, but what else would you expect while taking a trip down this blood soaked yellow brick road? Standout performances from Tergesen, Simmons, Walker, the Winters brothers, Kirk Acevedo, B.D. Wong, Ernie Hudson, Terry Kinney, and the rest of the usual suspects are highlights here, but it's Law & Order: SVU's Christopher Meloni who steals the show as Beecher's psychotic lover Keller, who has coming agendas of his own. By the time season five comes to a close, it is apparent that the end is soon near, and by the time it reaches it's climax, you'll be begging to see how it all comes to an end."
Oz - Fifth Season
Ryan Anonymus | Olympia, WA | 04/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oz, that's the name on the street for the Oswald Correctional Facility - Level Four.
Season Four ended with a gas fire in the kitchen. We start out the fifth season, some months later, with the first visitation from the inmates' family and friends since the fire.
In the fifth season, Em City plays host to a 'seeing-eye-dog' program, where three inmates attempt to train some dogs for the blind.
A lady named Eleanor joins the staff at Oz as a liasion to the governor.
Ryan O'Reilly's mother, Suzanne, comes to Oz to teach the inmates some performance arts (as an act of community service) - in this season she teaches singing lessons. Something which the ever-so-annoying Omar White takes part in.
Peter Schibetta, who was sent to the psych ward at the end of season two, returns with revenge on his mind - hoping to take care of some Italian business.
As for the Tobias Beecher-Vern Schillinger storylines, last season ended with Schillinger and Robson attempting to kill Beecher and Keller - but Kareem Said shanks Schillinger and Robson from behind (saying afterwards, "Adebisi lives!"). This season starts with Beecher, Schillinger, and Said in Sister Pete's interaction sessions.
An old friend of Beecher's family gets sent to Oz - Adam Guenzel (along with his friend Franklin Winthrop) for raping a woman. Adam seems pretty happy to have an old friend like Beecher as his sponser, until he finds out about Beecher's first few months in Oz.
Not one of my favorite seasons, but not a bad one. Check out the beginning of this set for an inmate played by rock band Kiss's Peter Criss. And later, an embarrasing experience for Aryan member Robson at the dentist. My least favortie group in Oz (probably most people's) "
Where's the Sixth Season?
Steven C. Cronig | Miami, Florida USA | 03/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"HBO's website shows that there were six seasons of OZ, (episodes 49-56) but only five have been made available. Any reason why the last season is not available several years after the show went off the air (er, off the cable)?"
Brimming with intensity, intrigue, and emotion.
Desiree Troy | St. Ann, MO USA | 11/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warning: This review may contain slight episode spoilers. My summary of the first episode (the following paragraph) and the final paragraph are safe to read if you have not yet seen Oz season five.
The first episode, "Visitation", focuses mainly on the return of normalcy to Oz after the gas explosion in the season four finale. Whilst the prisoners are reassigned pods, Father Ray Mukada (B. D. Wong) travels with the first group of people to visit inmates at Oz after reopening its doors and converses with several of the passengers. Due to complications with the air vents in the solitary unit, Miguel Alvarez (Kirk Acevedo), Omar White (Michael Wright), and their fellow prisoners are returned to Oz for the time that it will take to repair the ventilation system in their unit. Sister Peter Marie Reimondo (Rita Moreno) talks to Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen) about having him take part in a group counselling session between him, Kareem Said (Eamonn Walker), and Vern Schillinger (J. K. Simmons), which does not start off well as one can imagine due to past conflicts, religious differences, and flaring tempers. Zahir Arif (Granville Adams), unable to keep his guilt to himself any longer from seeing Ryan O'Reily (Dean Winters) kill Patrick Keenan (Dylan Chalfy), unknowingly starts a chain of events that leads to an investigation of Keenan's murder.
Episode two, "Laws of Gravity", focuses a great deal on newness. One example is that Alvarez, who knows if he stays out of trouble has one last chance to stay in Oz instead of going back to solitary, adopts a new way of handling his issues with Carmen "Chico" Guerra (Otto Sanchez). A second example is of Ryan's mother, Suzanne Fitzgerald (Betty Lynn Buckley) arriving at Em City to complete her community service. She begins to have music lessons with the prisoners, the highlights of which are Omar and Cyril O'Reily (Scott William Winters), who due to these lessons forms a bond with Suzanne. A third example is The Governor of the mystery state Oz exists in (Utah has been ruled out as a suspect) appears to form a liaison between the prison and the government and of course she happens to have some history with a certain womaniser who will remain blatantly obvious. This is also the first episode in the season that Bob Rebadow (George Morfogen) begins to take a larger step toward centre stage due to his grandson's fight with leukemia. The investigation into Keenan's death continues as Ryan continues to thwart any attempt made to prove him the guilty party. Meanwhile, Tim McManus (Terry Kinney) comes up with a plan to not only to help Omar, who he does not want to give up on despite all that Omar has done to him, but Said as well whose barely suppressed rage worsens with each passing episode until he reaches his breaking point later on in the season.
Episode three, "Dream a Little Dream of Me", includes a questionable truce between Alvarez and Enrique Morales (David Zayas) and an alliance between Burr Redding (Anthony Chisholm) and Morales that is unbelievable to say the least. Just as Ryan is returning to his smug attitude, difficulties arise when Jia Kenmin (Michael Delmare) returns to Oz and Sister Peter Marie arranges for a victim/offender counselling session between Kenmin, Ryan and Cyril. Chris Keller (Christopher Meloni) returns to Oz only to be sent to protective custody within moments of entering the building. Whilst all of this is happening, Rebadow continues searching for a way to save his grandson, and despite its rocky start, Said continues to try and save Omar from himself through the sponsorship, which is not an easy task.
Season four, "Next Stop: Valhalla" introduces a programme that gives three inmates the ability to take care of three dogs whilst training them as guide dogs. Katherine McClain (Sandra Purpuro) agrees to be Chris's lawyer, but due to her feelings for Tobias and her personal belief system it is evident that this will, thankfully, be a short-lived arrangement. Tobias is temporarily distracted from the knowledge that he is being kept from seeing Chris when an old family friend is brought into Oz and needs his protection from the Aryans. Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau Jr.) reverts to his old habits and Omar finds release in music.
Episode five, "Wheel of Fortune", was possibly one of the least interesting in the season, in my opinion, although the O'Reily brothers' storyline definitely hits new levels of intense emotions. Said loses his patience with Omar. Schillinger attempts to get Tobias to trade the chance to see Chris for the man Tobias is trying to protect from the Aryans. Rebadow discovers that his idea of getting money for his grandson's cure was successful, but complications arise. Augustus ends up in the infirmary and Redding searches for the one responsible.
Episode six, "Variety", contains segments of some of the stars of the show singing, including a very interesting solo by Wong and a truly frightening duet with Tergesen and Schillinger, instead of the usual narrative by Harold Perrineau Jr. due to the fact that he was needed on the set of The Matrix Reloaded. Omar and Said become closer although Omar chooses to secretly betray McManus and Said when he needs to come up with the courage to stand up in front of his fellow inmates to sing. McClain, fed up with Chris's lies and Tobias's feelings for Chris, leaves Oz and drops Chris's case. Tobias, growing more anxious by the day to see Chris decides to take Schillinger up on his offer but circumstances beyond his control proves the entire thing to be a huge mistake and Tobias is confronted (literally) with the consequences of his actions.
Episode seven, "Good Intentions", is another rather slow episode in this season, again, in my opinion. A few highlights though from the episode includes McManus trying to help Rebadow find some help for his grandson whose condition is getting worse and worse with each passing day. James Robson (R. E. Rodgers) is dismissed from the Aryan brotherhood upon his return to Unit B after dental surgery leaves him forever changed in their eyes. Tobias has a conversation with Said about his guilt over accepting Schillinger's offer and arrives at a fair but displeasing conclusion.
Episode eight, "Impotence", brings the entire season to a head, and I did not at all mean for that to seem like a bad pun but you may take it as one if you wish. Robson makes up his mind that he will get the brotherhood to accept him once again despite however they feel about it. Omar tries to protect Said against a prisoner in Unit B who is looking to join the Aryan brotherhood. Busmalis finally receives a visit from the woman who left him at the altar but it does not go as he would have preferred. Thanks to Tobias who has proven once again that he is a good man despite his many flaws, justice finally prevails. The Latinos and Sicilians form an alliance that proves deadly after Augustus returns to Oz after recuperating.
The greatest aspect of Oz is the relentless intensity of human emotion ranging from grief to love to fury. The actors and actresses that make up the cast are all incredibly talented men and women. This season through all the emerging and unfolding storylines, there were a few actors who particularly caught my attention with their talents. For instance, Kirk Acevedo, Michael Wright, Eamonn Walker, and Dean Winters all had very challenging scenes in nearly every episode that with the wrong actor, just could not have caused the viewing audience to care so much for their individual predicaments. What continually attracts me to this show is not the drama, violence, or full frontal nudity shots, but the characters' relationships with one another and their personal developments. There are a lot of good shows either currently on air or on DVD but there are very few truly great shows. This just happens to be one of those "truly great shows" that more people should watch for the refreshing, fast-moving episodes that are brimming with intensity, intrigue, and emotion."
It's Not For Everyone....
Stuart Hardy | 06/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being a long time Oz fan, the release of the series on DVD is a God send and true to memory it doesnt disappoint! The 5th series offers the usual mix of high drama, ultra violence , plot twists and the occasional moments of comedy to 'lighten' the mood, as much as can be expected from Oz anyway...
The fifth season opens with a brand new cafeteria and a redecorated Em City due to the fire from the climax of season 4, but while its a different look, everyone else is most definitely the same.. as usual each episode is divided into several different story arcs that generally tie into the theme of that particular show, still narrated by the excellent Hill (Harold Perrineau).
The mood of season 5 is a lot more reflective and introverted than previous seasons, as all the major characters actions from seasons past begin to catch up with them all to a degree and each person begins to come to terms with their doings and the consequences of those actions, leading to some quite emotional scenes between our heroes/villains...
As usual, the main players take centre stage, everyones favorite, Beecher (Lee Tergesen) struggles with his sense of morality especially over the returning Keller (Chris Meloni), and later on in the season in a complete turnabout sacrifices a young inmate to Schillinger (the fantastic J.K. Simmons)and the brotherhood just so he can see Keller, this however leads to an even bigger crisis of conflict which culminates in Schillinger being locked up indefinitely... Said (Eamonn Walker)also continues his struggle with his demons and in attempt to redeem his soul is given White (Played brilliantly by Michael Wright) to rehabilitate by McManus (Terry Kinney) which climaxes in White making a decision in good faith which ends him back in solitary...the other major character is of course the insufferable Ryan O'Reilly (Dean Winters), i have a real dislike of Ryan and im not sure whether its the character or the actor that im not keen on however it just doesnt work for me as i cant believe in 6 years he lasted without getting at least stabbed!! Anyway, the main story is his mentally challenged brother Cyril (Scott Winters) trial for murder, the big focus of course is he's brain damaged and not culpable for his actions, the season follows the attempts of Ryan, alongside his mother Suzanne (Betty Lynn Buckley), Sister Pete (Rita Moreno) and later on new inmate Father Meehan (Malahy McCourt) to quash the conviction or at least the death penalty sentence handed down to him...
Other notable occurances during the 5th season, the miraculous survival from season 4 of Rev. Cloutier (Luke Perry) who then in a really daft sequence 'appears' as a vision to those who entombed him and encourages them to avenge him, and then completely disappears from hospital with no explanation or investigation at all ( I'm sorry to blow what happens before anyone sees it but it REALLY annoyed me )... Alvarez (Kirk Acevedo) manages to stay on the straight and narrow and even aids the officer he blinded back in season 2 culminating in an attempt at parole...Rebadow (George Morfogen) searches desperately for a cure for his dying grandson and is dealt a crippling blow when it appears he may have a chance,not once but twice... Hill (Harold Perrineau) begins a downward spiral after a family tragedy that may see him slide irreperably...
These are, of course just some of the happenings in season 5, as per usual it has so many twists and turns involving characters i could be here all day! The feeling i had when viewing season 5 was that the end was close, as the major characters all began to reflect and become or at least attempt to (This is Oz remember!) become better people, and the writers were already preparing to tie things up.. As a result the body count is i believe the lowest out of all 6 seasons and violence whilst still prevalent is also used sparingly which to a degree is a refreshing change of pace compared to the previous seasons... Standout episode for me was episode 6 'Variety' purely because we get to see Beecher and Schillinger sing and dance (sort of)!! Seriously though, its another quality season , and the thing that always amazes me about the writing and acting, is that even though these guys have done just about every sadistic and evil thing you can imagine, you still empathise and sympathise with them, Alvarez is a prime example of that, yet you still think 'hey he's not such a bad guy'! Now THAT'S great writing and acting...
All in all, another great season however you do feel the end was nigh to a degree which makes me sad hence 4 stars!! Word of note though if you havent watched Oz before this season, go back and buy the previous seasons , purely because you need to know the characters history to truly understand their actions and attitudes in this season... Hope this was useful to somebody, definitely purchase it, cant wait til season 6... "