Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Weeds Season Six

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  1. Richard Gallagher

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    Weeds: Season Six

    Studio: Lionsgate/Showtime
    Year: 2010
    Rated: Not Rated
    Program Length: 351 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p
    Languages: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA
    Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

    The Program

    On last week's episode of the Showtime series Californication, a concept for a new show is pitched to a network with the assurance that it will be "the new Weeds." A little cross-promotion never hurts, but it also serves to demonstrate that Weeds has become an iconic series for Showtime. The program, about a recently-widowed suburban mom who turns to dealing pot to make ends meet, debuted in 2005 to critical acclaim. It quickly attracted a loyal fan base and eventually garnered multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. The sixth season of thirty-minute episodes has now been released on Blu-ray.

    Mary-Louise Parker stars as Nancy Botwin, whose husband dropped dead while jogging. Left to raise two sons, Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould), she discovered that her family could maintain its standard of living if she built up her own marijuana distribution business. Among her customers is Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon), who also is her accountant. During Season One her brother-in-law Andy (Justin Kirk) came into her life. Nancy's drug-dealing eventually led to confrontations with the Mexican Mafia, and by Season Six the Botwins are assuming new identities and heading north.

    These are the sixteen episodes which comprise Season Six:

    Thwack
    Felling and Swamping
    A Yippity Sippity
    Bliss
    Boomerang
    A Shoe for a Shoe
    Pinwheels and Whirligigs
    Gentle Puppies
    To Moscow, and Quickly
    Dearborn - Again
    Viking Pride
    Fran Tarkenton
    Theoretical Love is Not Dead

    The guest stars in Season Six include Richard Dreyfuss, Alanis Morissette and Linda Hamilton. Mary-Louise Parker continues to shine as Nancy, a role which has led to her receiving multiple Emmy nominations. The supporting cast is equally strong, and the writing is consistently top-notch. Weeds is an original, first-class production which easily blends comedy with drama. The series has lost none of its freshness and fans will definitely want to add Season Six to their collections.

    The Video

    The 1.78:1 1080p Blu-ray transfer is excellent, with crisp, sharp images, outstanding detail, and strong contrasts. Colors and flesh tones are accurate, black levels are solid, and shadow detail is very good. The picture appears to be accurately framed and overall it looks noticeably better on Blu-ray than the original HD telecasts which I saw on DirecTV.

    The Audio

    The lossless 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio is excellent in every respect. Dialogue is clear and intelligible. The surround channels are effectively used to create ambient sounds which help to keep the viewer immersed in the action on the screen. The audio also gives the musical soundtrack a wide and pleasing soundstage.

    The Supplements

    This Blu-ray release includes a nice assortment of extras.

    Eight of the episodes include commentary tracks:

    1. "Thwack," the first show of the season, has a commentary track by series creator Jenji Kohan, who also wrote this episode.

    2. "A Yippity Sippity" includes a commentary track by director Tate Donovan and writer/actor Brendan Kelly.

    3. "A Shoe for a Shoe" features a commentary track by actors Hemky Madera and Enrique Castillo.

    4. "Pinwheels and Whirligigs" has a commentary track by actors Kevin Nealon and Justin Kirk.

    5. "To Moscow, and Quickly" provides a commentary track by Hunter Parrish and Alexander Gould.

    6. The commentary track on "Dearborn - Again" features producers Roberto Benabib and Matthew Salsberg.

    7. "Viking Pride" includes commentary by co-producder Michael Trim and script coordinator Tara Hermann.

    8. Series creator Jenji Kohan is back for the commentary track on "Theoretical Love is Not Dead," the final show of the season.

    Kevin Nealon & Justin Kirk appear in a short segment which apparently was filmed on the same day that they recorded their commentary track. They kid around with each other while asking questions about their backgrounds and their respective characters on the show.

    A five-minute gag reel is mildly amusing. It works better when seen after all of the episodes in Season Six have been viewed.

    "Bye-Bye Botwins" is an eight-minute featurette in which the cast and crew discuss how the characters have evolved sice the series began. It contains spoilers if you have not seen the earlier seasons.

    "Fandamonium: Weeds Creators Tell All" is a ten-minute featurette in which the series creator and producers answer questions sent in by fans. Again, this segment contains potential spoilers for viewers who are not familiar with the previous five seasons.

    The Packaging

    The thirteen episodes are spread over two discs, which are packaged in a standard-size Blu-ray keep case.

    The Final Analysis

    Weeds continues to be one of the most successful premium-channel series on television. Lionsgate has done an excellent job of releasing Weeds on Blu-ray, and fans of the show will not be disappointed.

    Equipment used for this review:

    Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player
    Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specifications by Gregg Loewen
    Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
    BIC Acoustech speakers
    Interconnects: Monster Cable

    Release Date: February 22, 2011
     

     

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