The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season DVD [no box]
Sixteen seasons (and counting) of pop culture-rocking brilliance, the first four of which have already been gloriously archived on DVD. But in the words of Krusty the Clown: What has The Simpsons done for me lately? Well, how about all 22 episodes of season 5, each accompanied by commentary, deleted scenes, and other encyclopedic extras that hopelessly devoted Simpsons fans crave, no, demand? Season 5 is perhaps not as classics-packed as the third and fourth seasons, but no self-respecting Simpsons fan should be without the episodes "Homer's Barbershop Quartet," featuring George Harrison, "Cape Feare," one of Sideshow Bob's (and guest voice Kelsey Grammer's) finest half-hours, "Rosebud," "Springfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)," and "Bart Gets Famous," with the Springfield-sweeping catchphrase "I didn't do it." Plus, the star power this season is impressive: Michelle Pfeiffer as Homer's comely, donut-loving co-worker in "The Last Temptation of Homer," Albert Brooks as a self-help guru who unleashes "Bart's Inner Child," Kathleen Turner as the creator of Malibu Stacy in "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy," and, as themselves, the Ramones ("Rosebud"), James Woods ("Homer and Apu"), Buzz Aldren ("Deep Space Homer"), and even Robert Goulet ("Springfield").
But it is the writers and the core ensemble cast who exhibit, to quote "Deep Space Homer," "the right... What's that stuff?" Series milestones include the first appearance of yokel Cletus in "Bart Gets an Elephant," and Maggie's infant nemesis, The Baby with One Eyebrow in "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Badasssss Song," which also happens to be The Simpsons' 100th episode. Add in a very good "Treehouse of Horror" episode, (which outs Ned Flanders as the Devil and Marge as the head vampire), and one Emmy-nominated musical extravaganza ("Who Needs the Quick-E-Mart" from "Homer and Apu"), and you have a Simpsons season that's not just great, it's DVD-box-set great. --Donald Liebenson