126 of 135 people found the following review helpful
WARNING: If you haven't watched Season 5 yet, be VERY CAREFUL - some of your fellow Amazonians have peppered their reviews with spoilers, such as the (otherwise excellent) review by Lawrance M. Bernabo. I will avoid spoilers here.
The 5th and final season of 6FU lets us spend 12 more hours with our friends Nate, David, Ruth, Claire, Brenda, and Keith. Season 5 includes more of the great drama, great acting, and dark, off-beat humor that 6FU fans love so much.
Season 5 begins where Season 4 left off: Nate and Brenda have decided to get married and have a baby. As any 6FU fan could guess, neither of these events will go smoothly, nor will the decision to marry make their relationship suddenly problem-free.
Keith and David want children and are exploring adoption as well as hiring a surrogate. One way or another, they will become successful in this endeavor, but will find that a child does not solve all their problems, but rather poses new challenges to each of them and their relationship with each other (just as in real life).
Toward the end of Season 4, Claire was starting to realize but not really accept that she might never be a great artist, and we saw her go down a spiral into depression and excessive drug use. In Season 5, she starts to get a grip. Having dropped out of art school, she gets a common office job through a temp agency, where she is totally out of her element - her coworkers vote Republican, use Splenda in their Mochaccinos, and hang out at chain restaurants like Chilis and Olive Garden. This storyline results in interesting experiences and personal growth for Claire, and maybe a new relationship with someone she never would have expected to fall in love with.
Ruth's storylines mainly involve George. You'll recall from Seasons 3 & 4, these two lovebirds rushed into marriage after a very brief but intense infatuation. Then Ruth soon found out all kinds of nasty surprises about George - his many ex-wives, his lousy relationship with his children, and most of all, his extreme mental health problems which put a huge strain on his and Ruth's fledgling marriage. In Season 5, Ruth and George go through more changes and eventually resolve the question of whether they will stay together.
Something BIG happens in the 8th or 9th episode, which sets up storylines and conflicts for the last 3 episodes. If you care about these characters, it will affect you.
The final episode resolves each main character's central issue or conflict. There is a final gathering at the dinner table and a memorial of sorts, and then the episode leaves you with a very bittersweet feeling as we say goodbye to each of our friends forever.
I do not believe Season 5 is the best season of this excellent show. I'm not sure that the writing is as consistently excellent as in past seasons. A few of the characters' plot arcs from previous seasons are recycled in Season 5. For example, how many times do we have to watch Billy go off his meds and become annoying and dangerous to the people who love him? Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away here - you'll see it coming a mile away. Other multi-episode story arcs bring old demons back to haunt Nate and David, when we'd thought they had dealt with and resolved these issues in previous seasons.
But these are relatively minor quibbles. Mostly, Season 5 is very, very good, and a fine finish to an outstanding series. After the last episode, you'll feel sad that this show is over, and you'll miss these characters.
Finally, I think the price is way too high for a mere 12 episodes. HBO is very greedy for charging so much. Other networks typically charge 40-50 bucks for a season with almost twice as many episodes. At the high prices HBO charges for shows like 6FU and Sopranos, many viewers will opt to rent from Netflix rather than buy, and greedy HBO ends up being worse off in the end.
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I just watched the finale on DVD last night, and could barely hold back tears during the final 7 minutes starting when Nate whispered into Claire's ear: "You can't take a picture of this. It's already gone.", then Claire was driving away and we see the rest of everyone's lives while Sia's "Breathe Me" plays.
Never thought SFU will have this effect on me since I always felt the characters were a little "drama queen", and the whole thing about "talking to dead people" is kind of freaky. But the ending was something I was NOT ready for. Even if it's just for these last few minutes, you should watch the complete 5th season. Have never seen a more brilliant ending for a TV series. Those 7 minutes made movie/TV history.
There's only 1 flaw with the ending: Who in their righ mind would buy a new car before moving to NYC?
But I am glad that Claire did. If she boarded a plane, the ending would be nowhere near as powerful. Especially during the last moment when the road flattens out and Claire's car heading alone into the desert: the fleeting of happiness and the people we care VS. the inevitable loneliness of our journey through life.
Damn, they should put a warning label on the DVD about the devastating effect of these last minutes.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2006
The final chapter of the critical acclaimed HBO series about life and death. Following the Fisher family's lives as they deal with the constant reminder of death, SFU has changed television in every aspect from production to plot. The season five boxset's featurettes are the best among the five seasons. I recommend a viewing after watching the season. It's a great overview of the whole series and a great closure for fans. The first featurette is in two parts, both lasting 30 min a piece and takes a look at SFU's many elements with interviews with cast and crew members. The second deals with the impact of the show with many interesting interviews with real life funeral home directors. After viewing the featurettes, I felt like watching the whole season again. As always the comentaries were both informative and intriguing. The packaging was also very appealing and matched well with the other boxsets.
New viewers: Watch season one first. If you don't enjoy the pilot, odds are you will not enjoy the series at all. If you enjoyed the feature film American Beauty you will probably love Six Feet Under. The creator Alan Ball also wrote American Beauty and both share similar styles and themes. SFU is a dark comedy with very dramatic elements, and while many have tackled this mix of genres before, no one has ever done it with such profound humanity and beauty. Nothing on television, before or after, has yet to match the intimacy and brilliance of SFU.
Casual Viewers: As far as the overall season, it is probably not the best in comparision to some of the earlier seasons. But more than anything, the fifth season brings an intense and enlightening closure to a series that has impacted the way we look at a television show. The last several episodes are among the best of the long running series as they deal with a very personal and deep tragic event. Even if you didn't enjoy a particular season, the final season is a great way to look at the series as a whole.
Fans of the show: Many fans probably wish that SFU was still alive and running, but none will dispute that the closing of the incredible series was more complete and fulfilling than anyone could have hoped. The execution to the final episodes deserves the greatest admiration to all the people involved. But as in life itself, the show eventually must end. And in closing of the series, it makes SFU that much more important and something that should influence the way we look at our own lives forever.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2006
WOW. I just finished watching the final episode of the final season and, although some people think it was a bit rushed, I thought it ended spectacularly (especially, as most SFU fans already know, the last 10 minutes).
The best episode in this season however is no. 10 - All Alone. After an important event in the previous episode, the glorious attention to detail and meticulous crafting exceeds all expectations. By the end of this episode I was just balling.
It is unlikely that any other show will ever come close to the high level of emotional and intellectual artistry that this series aimed for throughout its 5 season run. It will indeed be sorely missed.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2006
Six Feet Under captivated me since Season 1, and I have religiously collected every season on DVD (due to most irresponsible TV programming - that was the only way I could truly enjoy one of the best TV dramas I have ever seen). But Season 5 captivated, absorbed and affected me more than any other season. Rarely has storytelling been so gripping, so real and so emotional.
It is unnecessary for me to reiterate any part of the show - we are all familiar with the characters, the story; we avid Six Feet Under watchers know the "Six Feet Under" feeling all too well. Yet, I am compelled to express my thoughts. I thought I was going to savour season 5 an episode a day, but when it got to around episode 6 (of a total of 12), I just couldn't stop. As I sit here with Sia's "Breathe Me" playing in the background, I recollect the experience of watching Six Feet Under season 5, and how my life had chanced brushing upon this exceptional masterpiece - the memories are all at once warm and cold, painful but cherished, in one word - bittersweet.
Episodes that I truly enjoyed (that's a bit of a lie, because I actually enjoyed all 12) on this season are episode 6 "The Rainbow of Her Reasons", and the last 3 episodes. Episode 6 for its hilarity; Claire singing her complaints of wearing pantyhose to the tune of "You Light Up My Life" and when one of Ruth's friends (played brilliantly by Patricia Clarkson) calls herself evil for `causing' the death of another friend, and somehow managing to stick "George f**king Bush" into her emotionally-charged rant (that for some reason made me laugh). The last 3 episodes were heart wrenching to say the least. Partly because it was so flawlessly scripted and convincingly acted by the magnificent cast. Partly because you've grown so attached to the characters that you feel their grief. But also partly because it all seemed so real, like this could one day happen to you. It's extremely painful to realize that, but you know what you know and sometimes to know is a double-edged sword. I guess that's why so many relate to Six Feet Under. It deals with real human life themes. Yes, its quirky, occasionally weird and downright depressing - but isn't all that part of life?
At the end of the day, Six Feet Under makes great television. But it's not something that leaves you empty handed. Six Feet Under floors you. It's right in your face. It makes you think things that you would have otherwise taken for advantage of or simply overlooked. And Six Feet Under reminds us that death is inevitable. And that we should all cherish people that we love so deeply, and that we should be who we want to be, and that we ought to do what we want to do (as long as it's legal; the law sits above human desires, you see). I loved every moment watching Six Feet Under. It's a great TV show that has meticulously framed shots that are mesmerizing to look at, great music and a voice that speaks ever so loudly (and most unashamedly) of life and death.
As the tagline goes "Everywhere. Everyone. Everything. Ends". And so Six Feet Under should come to an end. But I'm sure it will continue to haunt me.
5 November 2006
61 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The most brilliant show of television history was Six Feet Under. This season ends the way that such a high-brow should and with dignity. The show only ended because Alan Ball is now wanting to make films and win some more well-deserved Oscars. I will not ruin the ending but the last episode is monumental and life-altering! Buy this season and watch all the others. [...]. Thank you.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2006
While I enjoyed the entire final season, the last episode (especially its last moments) is very possibly the finest moment in television of the last decade. Brilliant, heartbreaking, and so fitting. I had long been a fan of the series and watched the finale rather awkwardly, on Video-on-Demand while eating lunch, and by the end, I found myself bawling, my lunch untouched in front of me. The entire final season is great, but wow . . . I was more moved by the final episode than I have been by any film or show in longer than I can remember. Buy it, buy it now, buy the whole series for that matter, and enjoy one of the finest television series ever produced.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2006
Six Feet Under isn't just a show. It is an experience. I say this with the utmost respect and love to what has become the greatest show ever put on TV. You will have to experience all the seasons to fully appreciate my insufferable praise to what Alan Ball and his team of writers have put on screen. Never in my life have I seen anything so powerful. Never in my life have I experienced characters that breathed so real. Never in my life I cared so much about these fictional beings. Never in my life have I taken the time out of my day to write a review on Amazon.com, but I feel that this series deserves at least that and then some. The finale, from what you heard, is the best hour on TV. It is gut wrenching. It is heart breaking. It is just so darn incredible. I am so thankful for this series and the lessons it taught me. Thank you to all the cast, crew, writers, and directors for making Six Feet Under the wonder that it is. Now, obviously I recommend this set. Buy it!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2006
A show about learning how to live through the reality of loss, SFU is, simply put, among the best television series ever made. The characters are flawed, funny, sad, sometimes painfully right, at others painfully wrong...and always human. No other show has touched upon how our awareness of our mortality and how grieving through loss can ultimately enrich the lives we live now. This is powerful and deeply thoughtful stuff, and the final episode, without getting into particulars, is especially heart wrenching and unforgettable. Anyone with a trace of humanity will be affected by the finale's beauty and deeply felt emotions. It also marks the death of the show itself, and that in itself is especially sad. The finale made me realize how close I felt to the characters, and seeing them go was truly a wrenching experience. I cried and was deep in thought long, long after the credits rolled. This is required viewing for anyone with a heart and a soul.
32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
For me there were two key moments that defined the dynamic of the fifth and final season of "Six Feet Under" for me. The first was in "Singing for Our Lives" when Keith has once again sent Durrell to his room for going on a joy ride and Anthony explains his brother's philosophy of having all the fun you can while you can, because you are going to be sent back to the foster home. The key moment is when Keith suddenly understands what is going on and for him everything changes with those two boys the rest of the way, even if David is slow to notice. The second comes in the following episode, "Ecotone," when Nate ends up in the hospital having emergency brain surgery when he is felled by AVM seizure after sleeping with Maggie. There he is laid up in a hospital bed, his head swathed in bandages, having returned from death's door, and he tells his pregnant wife of nine episodes that their marriage is over. Ten minutes later he ends up back on the other side of that door because at that point he deserved death more than he deserved happiness. Two men make two choices, one is right and one is wrong.
The characters on "Six Feet Under" make a lot of significant choices that final season, although they are not always aware which one is more important. David thinks the decision to adopt Durrell and Anthony is the important one, but it is facing the internal demons that terrify him that is more important. Keith's decision to love Durrell no matter what is important, but it was set up by that moment in the office of the foster home where he did not bat an eye at the fact that Anthony had an older brother. I must admit that I always cared about David and Keith more than I did about Nate and Brenda, so the way things played out did not upset me as much as they might have otherwise. The big surprise with Nate and Brenda turns out to be that he was ultimately more self-destructive than she was, but still the basic irony that was except for their initial encoutner in that closet at the airport, these two were never really on the same page ever again. That is why the nadir of the season for me was not Nate's death, but his final confrontation with Brenda and it was not until Brenda's dream in which Nathaniel introduces himself, noting that they have never met, that the nightmare of his final act finally ends. But then Nate's death and the grief it brings is what allows each of the Fishers to move on.
Clearly people come apart so that they can be put back together in these twelve episodes. It is Frederico's bitter declaration to Vanessa that he knows his affair has cost him everything, that makes it possible for them to go on. As Vanessa tells him, they cannot go back and indeed they do not. He cannot forgive himself for having destroyed his family and she cannot forgive herself for still loving him, and that provides the common ground they need to go on. The reconciliation that I cannot really explain is Ruth and George. Not because George does not deserve to come back into her life given the support he gives Ruth in the wake of Nate's death, but because there is no real rhyme or reason to George's transformation beyond the idea it provides a grace note. At least the stability that Billy shows over the final episodes can be readily attributed to drugs. But Ruth's relationship to George is a minor concern as she copes with the death of her first born and the painful sight of her depositing a shovel of dirt on Nate's body in his grave.
In the end the show comes to Claire, not just because she belts out that infamous ode to panty hose, "You Ride Up My Thigh," but more because she is the one who drives off into the future at the end. Of course it is Claire. She has the most talent, but she also has the most future and there is a sense in which what is ultimately important in the end is not love, but time. Claire might not deserve to live a hundred years when others do not, but it is certainly a sweet deal if you can get it. Besides, I think of her as Ruth's surrogate and that she is heading down that open highway not for herself, but for the rest of her fatally flawed family. "Everyone's Waiting" was a brilliant final episode that redeemed the faults and failures of the final season. Of course Alan Ball had to show us the deaths of the entire cast and fade to white to tell us when they died. I lost count as to how many times I had to listen to Sia Furler's "Breathe Me" before the end sequence of the haunting series finale "Everything Ends" was exorcised from my mind, but it took at least a week. Fortunately I had the CD so that I could at least get away from rewatching the episode's end over and over again. Still, those words become the benediction for "Six Feet Under":
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
I am small
Warm me up
And breathe me