Friday, October 1, 2010

Bored to Death: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Release Date: September 21st, 2010
TV-Rating: TV-MA
Region: ABC
Disc 1 Episodes:
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • The Alanon Case
  • The Case of the Missing Screenplay
  • The Case of the Stolen Skateboard
Disc 2 Episodes:
  • The Case of the Lonely White Dove
  • The Case of the Beautiful Blackmailer
  • The Case of the Stolen Sperm
  • Take a Dive
The Video
Bored to Death: The Complete First Season’ comes to Blu-ray with 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 for all eight episodes. The Blu-ray release is certainly impressive from the beginning, but like most TV shows it does have some flaws.

The high-def visuals are very impressive and when they shine they really shine. The show’s visuals almost look like high-resolution promotional shots, very strong in detail and clarity. The show is given life in high-definition and there is no confusing this release for a DVD whatsoever.

The show does have a healthy layer of grain throughout each episode but it looks nice and wasn’t distracting to the experience. Colors are vibrant and do help the show with dimension. There are times where the image looks a bit flat, but this is not a common issue throughout the season.

Overall I am very impressed by the presentations. The episodes look great and I am more than pleased by the quality of the transfers included. The show doesn’t rank among the very best looking television shows on Blu-ray, but it certainly looks fantastic overall. 8/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for each episode. A French 5.1 DTS and Spanish 2.0 DTS track are also included. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish.

I expected the audio would be very front heavy, and it is. Dialogue is of course the main priority and is front and center throughout the entire season, but it does have a nice clarity. The surround use moments really are few and far between, which is unfortunate as the mix can sound a bit lifeless.

There were certainly opportunities in which the surround speakers could have been given little details and at times attention is paid, however I just wasn’t impressed overall. The dialogue is well delivered overall, but I guess you could say it almost had me ‘bored to death’ when it comes to surround use. 6/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc) (37.0 GB):

Audio Commentary for episode 1: ‘Stockholm Syndrome’
With Jason Schwartzman (Jonathan), Jonathan Ames (Writer/Series creator) and Alan Taylor (Director).

Audio Commentary for episode 3: 'The Case of the Missing Screenplay'
With Jason Schwartzman (Jonathan), Jonathan Ames (Writer/Series creator) and Michael Lehmann (Director).

Deleted Scenes (4:16) (HD)
Two deleted scenes are included from episode 3 and 4 and are presented in high-definition.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc) (40.1 GB):

Audio Commentary on episode 6: 'The Case of the Beautiful Blackmailer'
With Jason Schwartzman (Jonathan), Jonathan Ames (Writer/Series creator) and Adam Bernstein (Director).

Audio Commentary on episode 8: 'Take a Dive'
With Jason Schwartzman (Jonathan), Ted Danson (George) and Jonathan Ames (Writer/Series creator).

Jonathan Ames’s Brooklyn (12:33) (HD)
Jonathan Ames and Jason Schwartzman visit locations in Brooklyn where they filmed parts of the show.

The Making of Bored to Death (19:59) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes on the set of ‘Bored to Death.’ I love a great making of and this is very informative and entertaining. There are plenty of cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage included in high-definition.

Deleted Scenes (2:52) (HD)
Two deleted scenes from episode 8 are included and are presented in high-definition.

The extras on this release are certainly enjoyable. I am very happy to see audio commentaries were included for half of the episodes. I didn’t care for the deleted scenes, but I did enjoy the behind-the-scenes featurettes. There isn’t a boatload of features on this release, but for a TV show it is quite okay. 6.5/10.

The Season
Bored to Death: The Complete First Season’ debuted on HBO, the premium channel which is home to some of my favorite television shows, and I’m sure many of yours as well.

To be honest, I didn’t watch ‘Bored to Death’ on television as it aired, but I certainly was looking forward to screening the season on Blu-ray disc. The show features some familiar faces including Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson. There are also some enjoyable guest appearances throughout the episodes.

Jason Schwartzman is lead character Jonathan Ames. Jonathan is a pretty bland guy whose girlfriend leaves him, leading him to make some funny decisions. He begins a career as an unlicensed private detective, helping with seemingly simple cases which end up much more complicated than he planned for.

Zach Galifianakis plays his friend and we do get a supporting storyline which plays in with the main storyline of the show. I find Zach Galifianakis to be hilarious and he certainly adds plenty of humor to the show like he did in ‘The Hangover.’

The show is lighter in nature and has some solid humor, although it definitely isn’t for everyone. A lot of the humor is very selective; however I can say anyone who likes a mix of smart/stupid comedy will enjoy it.

I really like ‘Bored to Death’, however I don’t necessarily love it compared to my favorite HBO programs. The show is certainly very solid, particularly when compared to television on basic cable, it is clever and a fun time. It will be interesting to see where the show goes with season two and I certainly will be watching. 8/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Bored to Death: The Complete First Season’ is a light but very entertaining show. The Blu-ray release is good overall, featuring impressive video presentations but lacking audio presentations. The extras are light but at least they are enjoyable. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended.

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