review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
It’s difficult to review a tv show when it isn’t really making any major changes. In its fifth year, the show is still reliant on flashbacks for quick laughs, guest stars to add some fresh flavour and the defiance of any of the characters to really change or adapt considering some of their lives have moved forward dramatically.
This isn’t always a terrible thing but after seeing four seasons of the same sort of episodes, the show does feel like it is becoming stale, offering very little that is new or bringing anything fresh or exciting to the show. Like in previous seasons, Zach Braff’s JD is still center of the show, with events seen through his eyes, but the bigger changes and stories seem to be happening to those around him.
Turk and Carla are having a baby, adding a new dimension to the only relationship that is actually making any progress. Attempts to include some of the subsidiary characters are growing further, with an episode seen from the point of the Janitor being a highlight, but for the most part, the show stays the same.
This does mean that when it does something new or fresh, it is quite noticeable. Scrubs has become known for its decent guest stars and alongside the usual, one episode appearance of JD’s brother, played very well by Tom Cavanagh, there are appearances by Mandy Moore as a ditsy, clumsy love interest for JD. It’s a pretty low-key guest star and one of the poorer seasons for taking advantage of high-profile guests.
This season does introduce a decent addition to the cast, Travis Schuldt, as intern Keith. He is part of one of the better story-arcs, playing a decent love interest for Elliott and rival for JD. The actual actor goes through a lot in the season and would be a decent permanent addition to the show too.
It’s actually one of the regular cast that also gets the best of the story-arcs this season though. John C. McGinley has always stole whichever scene he is in as Dr Cox and he gets a decent, three episode arc which demonstrates the strength and weaknesses of the best character in the series. It also highlights how good the show is at doing powerful, emotional episodes, something this season sorely lacked.
A couple of highlights aside, the season felt like a solid, if non-eventful addition to the overall series. It didn’t make any major changes, nothing was widely, drastically different at the end and it counts as another example of the series slowly treading water, desperate for an injection of something new.
Overall, season 5 of Scrubs is more of the same. Decent gags but nothing incredible, innovative flashbacks but nothing spectacular, solid stories but aside from one or two particular highlights, very familiar moments. The series needs to start doing something very different or it will become another, boring, generic sitcom, something that Scrubs never was.
Best Episode – My Lunch/My Fallen Idol: Two episodes that highlight how good John C McGinley is and how invaluable Dr Cox is as a character.
Best performance – John C. McGinley as Dr Cox
Should there have been another season? – It has a solid pattern, decent stories and is very watchable, but does need to start shaking things up before it becomes very stale.
Season Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)