Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 6, 2016 by  


Captivating, addictive and in my opinion, one of the best drama series currently on television, “Once Upon a Time” is a unique, well-produced, well-acted, well-written drama series that will win you over instantly. It’s that good! “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 ABC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season


DURATION: Episodes 89-111 (989 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 2.0 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: abc studios


Release Date: August 16, 2016

Directed by Dean White, Ralph Hemecker, Ron Underwood, Romeo Tirone, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Eagle Egilsson, Billy Gierhart, Alrick Riley, Steve Pearlman, Jon Amiel

Written by Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Jane Espenson, David H. Goodman, Andrew Chambliss, Ian B. Goldberg, Robert Hull, Kalinda Vazquez

Produced by Brian Wankum, Samantha Thomas, Kathy Gilroy, Christine Boyland, Robert Hull, Kalinda Vazquez

Co-Producer: Brian Wankum, Andrew Chambliss, Ian B. Goldberg, Daniel T. Thomsen, Felix hernandez, Jerome Schwartz

Executive Producer: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Steve Pearlman, Andrew Chambliss, David H. Goodman, Helga Ungurait

Co-Executive Producer: David H. Goodman, Liz Tigelaar, Jane Espenson, Kalinda Vazquez, Scott Nimerfro

Associate Producer: Stephen Judge

Supervising Producer: Lauren Gussis

Music by Mark Isham

Cinematography by Stephen Jackson

Edited by Geofrey Hildrew, Mark Goldman, Scot J. Kelly, Richad Glazerman, Joe Talbot Hall, Paul M. Mendoza, Kathryn Panian

Casting by Veronica Collins Rooney, Christina Conover

Production Design by Michael Joy, Steven Wolff

Art Direction by Cheryl Marion, Greg Venturi

Set Decoration by Mark Lane, Mike Warren

Costume Design by Eduardo Castro


Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret Blanchard

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan

Lana Parrilla as Regina Mills

Josh Dallas as David Nolan

Jared Gilmore as Henry Mills

Raphael Sbarge as Archie Hopper

Emilie de Ravin as Belle

Lee Arenberg as Grumpy

Robert Carlyle as Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltski

Meghan Ory as Ruby

Eion Bailey as August W. Booth

Beverly Elliott as Granny/Widow Lucas

Giancarlo Esposito as Sidney Glass

Anastasia Griffith as Kathryn Nolan

Keegan Connor Tracy as Blue Fairy

Colin O’Donoghue as Hook

Sean Maguire as Robin Hood

Lee Arenberg as Leroy

Rebecca Mader as Zelena

David-Paul Grove as Doc

Mike Coleman as Happy

Jeffrey Kaiser as Dopey

Barbara Hershey as Cora

Gabe Kouth as Sneezy

Michael Raymond-James as Neal Cassady

Jamie Chung as Mulan

Sarah Bolger as Princes Aurora

Greg Mendell as Ethan Embry

Liam Garrigan as King Arthur

Greg Germann as Hades

Amy Manson as Merida

Barbara Hershey as Cora

Olivia Steele Falconer as Violet

Darkness and Light. One conceals, the other reveals, but each is infinitely seductive. Prepare for the ultimate battle between these epic opposing forces in ABC’s ONCE UPON A TIME: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON. When the Savior becomes the “Dark Swan,” the lines between good and evil blur as Emma begins to relish the intoxicating taste of absolute power. Terrified she’ll succumb, Emma and Hook visit Camelot to find the one person who may be able to aid them: Merlin. Unfortunately, King Arthur proves treacherous, and when he joins forces with a vengeful Zelena, Emma and Hook’s hopes are shattered. Now Emma and her entire Storybrooke family must embark on a chilling descent to the Underworld of Hades, where they’ll try to rescue Hook from a fate worse than death… with “help” from Rumplestiltskin. But will any of them survive the journey? Treat yourself to all 23 riveting episodes of Season 5. Plus, indulge your senses with never-before-seen bonus features as you share the romance, relive the magic and unlock the secrets of ONCE UPON A TIME.

As Emma used her light magic to expel the darkness in order to protect the people she loves, including Regina, Emma sacrificed herself to tether her soul to the darkness, leaving a dagger which says “Emma Swan” behind.

In the fifth season of “Once Upon a Time”, Emma has been taken by the Darkness and her friends need to save her.  Meanwhile, Emma is slowly being consumed by the darkness, courtesy of a dark apparition of Rumplestiltskin.

But as Emma’s family and friends try to save her, they realize that they need one with true evil to save her and that is going to Zelena to make it happen.

Meanwhile, in Camelot, Arthur is determined to look for the other piece of Excalibur but how far will Arthur go to get it?

Meanwhile, more antagonists appear in season five as Cruella De Vil, Hades and Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde make their appearance, leading friends and former enemies to team up to take on the new threat.

All this and more in “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season”!

What is “Once Upon a Time” about?

From the creators of “Lost” and “Tron: Legacy” writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz comes a new fantasy-drama television series known as “Once Upon a Time”.

Originally conceived before Kitsis and Horowitz were involved with “Lost”, both men wanted to write a fairtytale and the exploration of other worlds. But with their work on “Lost”, the writers had the opportunity to learn from the process, and while having some allusions to “Lost”, the series also has allusions to well-known Disney films. But the goal for both writers was to take these characters that people are familiar with and to explore the character and get to learn more about them. But most importantly, not retelling the exact same story as what people may be familiar with from the original fairy tale.

With the 22-episode series debuting in October 2011 and a season finale in May of 2012, “Once Upon a Time” was the highest-rated TV drama for Adults 18-49 and was ABC’s biggest debut in five years. As well as being the highest rated non-sports program to air on Sunday nights.

The series has since become one of ABC’s strongest prime time drama series and with a sixth season set to air on ABC later this fall, “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season” will be released on Blu-ray in August 2016.

The Original First Season….

“Once Upon a Time” is a series that takes place in the past via the fairy tale timeline and the present timeline.

In the present timeline, we are introduced to Emma Swan (portrayed by Jennifer Morrison, “House M.D., “Star Trek”), a tough woman who works in bail bonds and is often busy that she lives alone. Her life changes when a young boy named Henry (portrayed by Jared Gilmore, “Mad Men”, “The Back-Up Plan”) arrives at her home and tells him that he is her son, that she put up for adoption ten years ago.

Emma is shocked because the adoption was supposed to be private and the boy would not be able to find her location, but Emma goes to bring Henry back home in a town known as Storybrooke.

Meanwhile, in the fairy tale time line, Prince Charming arrives to find Snow White dead. When he goes to kiss her on the lips, she is revived and the two are now engaged to be married.

During the day of their wedding, a pregnant Snow White (portrayed by Ginnifer Goodwin, “Walk the Line”, “A Single Man”) and Prince Charming (portrayed by Josh Dallas, “Thor”, “The Descent, Part 2”) celebrate the wonderful occasion with their friends. But to put a damper on the wedding, Snow White’s evil stepmother, the Wicked Queen (portrayed by Lana Parrilla, “Spiders”, “Boomtown”) wants to make sure that her daughter never has a happy ending and warns everyone that she has placed a curse on everyone and their lives will change forever as there will never be a happy ending.

Worried about their impending doom, there is one man who knows about magic that can give them information to defeat the curse… the imprisoned and vile man, Rumplestiltskin (portrayed by Robert Carlyle, “Trainspotting”, “The Full Monty”).

A man who can grant anything through magic, but to use his magic, the person must pay the price of something they cherish the most. Rumplestiltskin tells Snow White and Prince Charming that the person who can break the curse is their child.

As the curse that the Wicked Queen has cast, has now come to hit the kingdom, with magic, a portal was created for one person to escape and hopefully destroy the curse. Snow White gives birth to a baby named Emma and Prince Charming manages to take the baby to the portal before he is killed by the Evil Queen’s dark army.

In the present time, Henry tells Emma that everyone in Storybrooke is an actual character of the fairy tale and the fairy tale are true stories. Of course, Emma doesn’t believe any of it but tries to play along with what she thinks is Henry’ active imagination. But Henry insists that she has the power to eliminate the curse and the people of Storybrooke will finally remember their true identity.

She wonders why none of these people can leave town but is told that anyone who tries to leave is met with an accident.

When Emma returns Henry back to his home, we learn that his adoptive mother is the mayor of Storybrooke, Regina Mills, who happens to be The Evil Queen.

And Regina does all she can to keep Emma away from her son, but each time Emma wants to leave, Henry escapes from his home to be with Emma. And requests for her to stay at least for one week in Storybrooke and she will see how she can make things change.

In Season Five, so much has changed in Storyville.

Emma Swan is now in a romantic relationship with Captain Killin “Hook” Jones and together they try to take on the challenges that come their way.  Especially now that the two must deal with the threat of the Darkness.

Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin is causing more troubles for everyone, while his love Belle French is not sure she can stay with a man like him.

Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White) and husband David Nolan (Prince Charming) continue to assist their daughter Emma through her troubles but also keep a close eye on their grandson Henry.

Henry is a teenager, in love but also wondering about the concept of magic, especially his own powers.

As for the former antagonist, Regina Mills, she has found love with Robin Hood and with her love for her son and new flame, she has now become good and the evil queen in her is no more.  But her sister, the Wicked Witch of Oz, Zelena is still causing trouble.

But this time around, Emma Swan becomes the “Black Swan” and the threat of Emma being consumed by darkness has become a reality.  Can the group help her return back to normal?  And what events caused her to become evil?

Meanwhile, the evil Hades, the God of Death wants to be closer with Zelena, while Cruella De Vil and Dr. Jeckyll try to find ways to go in the world where the others are living.


“Once Upon a Time” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). The picture quality for this series is fantastic. With its high production value, one expects a lot for this series and for an ABC drama series, one of the few that has been given a Blu-ray release.

Closeups are very good, showing excellent detail from skin pores to the grime on people’s faces. The location shots are breathtaking, especially during the fairytale sequences and costume design also showcase excellent detail. Skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep and I didn’t see any problems with banding, especially during the scenes which featured a lot of orange or red.

Overall, picture quality for “Once Upon a Time” is fantastic!


“Once Upon a Time” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 2.0 Dolby Digital. The series is crystal clear when it comes to dialogue and music. While the series is center and front-channel driven, I did like how surround channels were used at times during the action sequences but primarily you hear the musical score through the surround channels. I wished it was bit more immersive when it comes to its lossless soundtrack but the dialogue and music is crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.


“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season” comes with the following special features:


  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “The Black Swan” with co-creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and actress Jennifer Morrison.


  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Birth” by executive producer/writer David H. Goodman, producer/writer Jerome Schwartz and actor Colin O’Donoghue.


  • Tales from the Underworld: A Knight with Cruella – (4:19)  A short story featuring Cruell Deville.
  • Merida in Storybrooke – (8:00) Actress Amy Manson discusses playing the character of Merida.
  • The Fairest Bloopers of Them All – (5:55) Outtakes from the fifth season of “Once Upon a Time”.
  • Deleted Scenes – (23:53) Featuring a total of 18 deleted scenes.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Only You” with executive producers/writers David H. Goodman and Andrew Chambliss.
  • Once Celebrates One Hundred – (1:45) The crew celebrates their 100th episode.


“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season” comes with a slipcover and a special postcard.

Unique, captivating and wonderful… ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” continues to be a groundbreaking drama series on primetime television.

High production value, featuring talented writers that come from hit shows such as “LOST” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and utilizing fairy tale characters, the potential is pretty much unlimited of how far the writers can go.

And what adds to the efficacy of season two of “Once Upon a Time” is its talented ensemble cast, cinematography, set and costume design and overall direction.

With so many fairytale stories that have been created, the characters and the potential of new lands are quite endless.

Season five definitely has a theme which focuses on relationships.

Each and everyone has an background story of their past to show what made these characters what they are.

From Emma’s past before she worked in bail bonds, Regina and Zelena’s relationship when they were younger and how their Relationship became strained.  Captain Killian “Hook” also has a story about him and his brother.

The latest character to make an impact in season two on the side of good is the introduction of Merida, the female warrior who wants to take King Arthur down.  And you have the magical Merlin who tries to prevent anyone from obtaining Excalibur.

But we see these family, friends and former enemies working together for the greater good, considering there are new antagonists this time around.

And you also have a few returning characters, both good and bad for season five!

For the first half of the series, we see King Arthur, so corrupted by power in his quest for Excalibur that he doesn’t care of what it will take to get that power.

Then you have Emma who has become the Black Swan, and a darker side of the Emma we have never really seen before.

In the second half of season five, you have a new powerful threat named Hades, you have the return of Cruella De Vil, the cold Mr. Hyde and of course, the always bad (but sometimes good), Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin.

Another big plus is the about this series is its cinematography and location shots. From the beautiful location of shooting in the forest for action sequences to shooting in Vancouver for Storybrooke, you get a combination of beautiful location shots along with small town America. The fairytale storyline is what is most appealing because of its high production value, action sequences and costume design.

And last but not least, the writing of this show is phenomenal. I’m a big fan of Jane Espenson’s work but to also have a few of the writers, especially series creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz of “LOST”, another series that I enjoyed immensely is a major plus. Both men had this vision prior to “Lost” and it’s great to see how this series has evolved overtime.  And also, surprising to see actors such as Jared Gilmore, who played the young Henry Mills, now a full-grown teenager and having a love interest.

The writing is captivating, amazingly well-done and definitely a lot of potential for exploration of other characters which can be utilized whenever. But with how season five ends, suffice to say, the antagonists will no doubt have an edge in season six.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is amazing while lossless soundtrack was crystal clear when it came to dialogue and music, I was hoping for it to be a bit more immersive in utilizing the surround channels and LFE a bit more during the more action-driven scenes. As for special features, you do get several audio commentary and a few featurettes.

Overall, “Once Upon a Time” is a fantastic sci-fi drama series. From quality production, costume design, the story, the characters and the performances by the actors, the series is always enjoyable to watch and the writers keep coming up with something fresh and cool, so the series doesn’t go through a lull of banal writing.

Captivating, addictive and in my opinion, one of the best drama series currently on television, “Once Upon a Time” is a unique, well-produced, well-acted, well-written drama series that will win you over instantly. It’s that good!

“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season” is highly recommended!

General Disclaimer:

J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.

For Product Reviews:

For product reviews, J!-ENT has purchased the above product for review purposes or may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews, may it be positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.

For Advertising:

Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.

J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”