Weeds: Season One Blu-ray Review
PictureWeeds Season 1 comes presented on Blu-ray with a 1080p High Definition rendition in the TV show's original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The detail is generally quite good, but the production does often betray its TV origins. Softness varies from scene to scene, but can be quite apparent and grain can get invasive, depending on contrast levels. Some of the indoor low-lighting scenes are particularly bad. It often has a documentary style feel to it, but generally, despite all of my misgivings, the picture presentation seldom detracts from your enjoyment of the show. The colour scheme is quite homely, with the outdoor shots seeming quite bright and the greens quite vivid. Black levels are often devalued by the grain, which makes the shadowing marginally disappointing, but again, perhaps this show does not have to look pristine for you to still enjoy it.
SoundThe Blu-ray release of this first season of Weeds comes complete with two solid soundtracks - a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX track as well as a superior DTS-HD 6.1 mix. Dialogue, probably the most important element of this show, generally comes across clearly and coherently, dominating the frontal array. It's not exactly an effect-driven extravaganza, so the surrounds only have a few standard background noises to contend with: popping popcorn, cheering kids, car engines, that kind of stuff. The quirky little soundtrack is a bit more effective, from the opening track (that does begin to drag after ten episodes) to the tinkling score that undercuts the satirical observations. It's not the kind of material that is crying out for uncompressed PCM but still it is nice to have decent Hi-Def presentation for the series, despite its inherent lack of power.
ExtrasThe first season of Weeds comes complete with a whole bunch of extras, including Audio Commentaries for over half of the first season. Amongst these six offerings are commentaries on the pilot and on the season finale by Jenji Kohan, with technical commentaries on two of the other episodes (including contributions from the show's technical pot advisor) as well as the more interesting cast commentaries on Dead in the Nethers, by Romany Malco, and on The Punishment Light, by Kevin Nealon. Whilst these two are easier to digest than the technical offerings, the highlights are still the two Kohan commentaries, as he was the creator of the show and has plenty of insight into the production and its evolution.
Smoke and Mirrors is pitched as a 'Marijuana Mockumentary', but is just your regular run-of-the-mill Making-of, with cast and crew interview contributions, explaining the basic story and the motivations behind the various characters. Fans of the show will love to hear from these actors and it is a nice little fifteen minute offering, that is not too fluffy. The Showtime Original Content (and Showtime Original Series Shorts) is conversely totally fluffy, purely advertising tosh, playing as extended trailers for this and other shows, but the Suburbia Showtime Special, which runs at another fifteen minutes, looks at the origin and evolutions of Suburbia. Finally, we get a text list of Agrestic Herbal Recipes (pot munchies) and the Music Video, 'More than a Friend.'
VerdictWeeds is an interesting satire that paints a picture of the truth beneath the supposedly idyllic suburbs. The first season comes to us on Blu-ray with average presentation (restricted by the original content) and reasonable audio, as well as a nice selection of extras (most notably the multiple audio commentaries). Considering the release costs less than most high definition movie releases these days, it is very good value for eleven episodes of this satire. Worth renting first but if you find you like it then the price certainly makes it more compelling to add it to your collection.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.59
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