Master of None - Season 1 Blu-ray Review
"I'm on a date that is now over. I'm thrilled: she began the night with an aggressive Cartman impression."
Master of None - Season 1 Review
Aziz Ansari's Master of None reminds of Netflix's other similarly-themed comedy series, Love, and Gervais's Extras, but has enough cultural originality to make its own mark.Ansari, a stand-up comic arguably best known - at least on TV - for his work on Parks and Recreations, acts as creator, producer, writer, director and star of Master of None, which often feels like a cathartic form of venting over the racial stereotyping, casting issues, and sidelining for Indian actors in the (US) film industry, as well as an interesting look at cultural woes back home - with relationships and family members.
The show follows Ansari's Dev, a bit part actor about as successful as Joey from Friends, who meanders through life with the help of an eclectic group of colourful friends - including Eric Wareheim's hilarious, self-titled 'token white friend' Arnold, and Lena Waithe's outspoken Denise, the part rewritten to suit Waithe's own race and sexuality - whilst circling around Noel Wells' potential love interest, Rachel, who he once had a brief - messy - encounter with.
Master of None does not take long to settle into its stride, establishing a pointed look at cultural issues regarding Indians in the States
Although Ansari - at least if you're unfamiliar with him - takes a minute to warm to, particularly in terms of his distinctive, neurotic style (although he's positively laid back in comparison to Paul Rust's Gus from Love), Master of None does not take long to settle into its stride, hitting some warm, funny highs, tasting some sweet moments and perhaps best of all establishing a fabulously pointed look at cultural issues predominately regarding Indians (but also immigrants in general) in the States.
Indeed the second episode's look back at the lives of the parents of both Dev and his Taiwanese friend is an early high point, superbly stylised (Ansari directed it himself) and instantly relatable, whilst the commentary on forced accents is also curiously hilarious (although it'd be easy to wonder whether the same argument would be as successful with the two accents that most Brit actors are compelled to do, at one point or another in their US career - posh and Cockney). Even beyond the cultural observations, his look at relationships is just as refreshing, taking leaps in the timeline to innovatively (at least for a comedy) reflect upon what many will also be able relate to.
Ansari doesn't land doubling-over-laughing jokes - not really - nor emotional depth (I'm thinking Gervais' excellent After Life here), but manages a show about on par with Love, Netflix's other romantic comedy TV series about a young guy loosely skirting the film industry whilst navigating relationships with the help of his eclectic friends. It's 10 half-hour episodes of witty life commentary which is perfectly bingeworthy even if it's also hardly head-and-shoulders above its peers.
Master of None - Season 1 Blu-ray PictureMaster of None - Season 1 comes to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray courtesy of Network, who deliver a strong enough 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the show's original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen.
A very good presentation
Hardly Netflix's most glamorous show, Master of None still looks like a healthy, digitally shot modern production, enjoying the trappings of its NY locales, well-lit and appointed, and boasting some nice detail, whether on facial close-ups or background textures. Ansari exhibits some considerable style, particularly in the second episode, and this translates well, with a colour scheme that is vibrant and expansive, revelling in reality but still enjoying some rich tones and strong enough black levels. It may not be a demo presentation; it's hardly a demo show, but it is a very good - and particularly faithful - presentation nonetheless.
Master of None - Season 1 Blu-ray SoundThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a punchy enough affair, enjoying the music on offer, the background score and some measure of ambience - similarly not quite a demo affair but very good nonetheless.
A good track
Dialogue remains firmly prioritised throughout - it is, after all, the core component - delivered clearly and coherently, whilst effects bring the various locales to life, sparking to life a little more on the film sets (or in the elaborate 'flashbacks') but otherwise mostly atmospheric, and hardly expansive. LFE input remains nominal, and the score is well regarded, given some room to breathe on the array. It's a good track and whilst hardly noteworthy, it, similar to the video, is perfectly faithful to the material.
Master of None - Season 1 Blu-ray ExtrasNothing
Master of None - Season 1 Blu-ray Verdict
10 half-hour episodes of witty life commentary which is perfectly bingeworthy even if it's also hardly head-and-shoulders above its peers
The first season of Netflix's Master of None comes to UK Blu-ray courtesy of Network, delivering strong enough video and audio, but no supplementals - for those without Netflix it's a decent enough way to check out the comedy series.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £16.99
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