More than anything, the fifth season seems to be about falling into bad relationships. Jen dates a cute but sleazy musician (Chad Michael Murray, One Tree Hill), Pacey gets a job in a restaurant where he pursues a woman (Lourdes Benedicto) already having an affair with a married man, then fends off a vampish new boss (Sherilyn Fenn, Twin Peaks). Joey is drawn to her handsome English professor (Ken Marino). And Jack joins a frat, becomes a jerk, and starts a devoted relationship with his beer bottle. Dawson meets an eccentric young filmmaker (Jordan Bridges) which in turn leads to a meeting with his favorite Boston film critic (Meredith Salenger). And Joey's new roommate, the annoyance-with-a-heart-of-gold Audrey (Busy Phillipps), becomes the newest major addition to the cast. The irritation factor is high this season, a couple of "Joey is threatened" interludes don't have the punch that they could have, and in the season finale, the inevitable resolution of the show's central relationship doesn't really resolve anything at all. But viewers who have followed the Capeside crew for four seasons will still want to see what happens in the fifth.
The fifth season is the first to have no DVD extras at all, and it continues the music-replacement strategy (which, since the second season has replaced much of the music, and since the third season has replaced Paula Cole's theme song, all due to licensing expenses). In addition to the usual background-music switches, some scenes have been edited (for example, the episode "Highway to Hell" has cut two of the performances on-stage at the Drunk & Dead). Also, the opening credits of "The Long Goodbye" and "Downtown Crossing" had originally used instrumental versions of "I Don't Want to Wait," which had underscored the emotion of those episodes. In the DVD set, those have been replaced by the standard version and an instrumental version, respectively, of "Run Like Mad." --David Horiuchi