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Weeds - Season Six (Blu-ray)


TITLE: WEEDS - SEASON SIX (BLU-RAY) (DVD)


Info:

Release Date: February 22, 2011 (Lionsgate)
Color / 2010
MSRP: $29.97
Packaging: Blu-ray Double-Disc Case
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 351 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 35 min.
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles and Captioning: English and Spanish Subtitles
Special Features: Commentaries; "Kevin Nealon & Justin Kirk: What Do We Have Left to Say?" featurette; "Fandamonium: Weeds Creators Tell All" featurette; "Bye-Bye Botwins" featurette; Gag Reel


Introduction:

Get ready to toke it up again as the Newman family (formerly the Botwins) are on the run across America in their RV! The sixth season of the Showtime series Weeds takes even more twists and turns than any of the previous seasons, after sweet little Shane just so happens to murder the woman dead set on destroying the family at the end of the fifth season and the family has to figure out where they're going to go to escape their past. But it'll be a long journey to get there, and the fifth season takes the Newman family--the new identity for the Botwin family--all across the country on a road trip that is certain to have bumps along the way.

The sixth season of the series is available on both a three-disc DVD set and a two-disc Blu-ray Disc set (the latter which we have received for review) from Lionsgate.


Episodes:

The season begins with the episode "Thwack," where we pick up at the very second that the fifth season left off. I tried not to spoil this episode in the fifth season review, but since it has come and gone now, the fifth season ends with Shane murdering Pilar, and in this episode, Nancy realizes that this murder has been caught on camera, and the only answer now is for the family to run for their lives. In "Felling and Swamping," Nancy has to struggle to figure out where their going to go, and how their going to get there. Linda Hamilton guest stars in "A Yippity Sippity," where the first journeys of the family on the run ends up placing them in jobs at a hotel. In "Bliss," Shane finds acceptance in a "mommy group," while Nancy is still trying to run the business while on the run. Doug is held hostage and everything could come crashing down on the family after a parking ticket in "Boomerang." Esteban is looking for what he sees as a "fair exchange" in "A Shoe for a Shoe." In "Pinwheels and Whirligigs," the solution to the family's housing AND transportation problem may come down to (of all things) a butter eating contest in Montana.

The Botwins/Newmans settle down in a former western movie set in "Gentle Puppies" and everything seems to be pretty safe here... that is until Nancy has an X-rated encounter with a bartender (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who just happens to be married. Baby Stevie's poo has a very unusual color, meaning that Nancy has to take him to a pediatrician in "To Moscow, and Quickly," but how can she do this safely while on the run? It's home again for Nancy in "Dearborn-Again," but Shane and Silas begin to make some discoveries of their own while in her hometown that may destroy the family as we know it. In "Viking Pride," Andy is trying to get passports and Silas begins to seriously wonder if Nancy's former high school boyfriend might be his real father. Everybody is trying to come up with passport money in "Fran Tarkenton." The season ends with "Theoretical Love Is Not Dead," where Silas finds out the truth about his real father and the family is about to leave the country for good... but could a surprising cliffhanger change the series yet again?

Disc 1:
1. "Thwack" (24:36)
2. "Felling and Swamping" (27:33)
3. "A Yippity Sippity" (26:55)
4. "Bliss" (27:43)
5. "Boomerang" (28:23)
6. "A Shoe for a Shoe" (25:00)
7. "Pinwheels and Whirligigs" (24:20)

Disc 2:
8. "Gentle Puppies" (29:16)
9. "To Moscow, and Quickly" (26:03)
10. "Dearborn-Again" (27:44)
11. "Viking Pride" (28:09)
12. "Fran Tarkenton" (28:07)
13. "Theoretical Love Is Not Dead" (28:39)


Packaging:

The Blu-ray Disc set comes packaged in a standard Blu-ray Disc case, with the cover art showing Nancy in a green greases with the entire family standing behind her in a field. On the back, we have another family snapshot, along with a listing of special features and a brief description of the season. Inside the case, we have the two discs, and a list of all of the episodes on the set with writing and directing credits (as usual, no descriptions). The disc artwork is the same as the cover artwork, and Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7 and Disc 2 contains episodes 8-13. We did not receive a copy of the DVD version of the set for review, but presumably, much of it is the same as the Blu-ray Disc set, with the exception that it will likely come in the standard digipack that previous seasons have come in.


Menu Design and Navigation:

Menus are where Blu-ray sets really shine, and this set is no exception by any means. The main menu has alternate views of the same image seen on the cover art, with some of the transitional music from the season playing in the background. The options on the main menu include Play All Episodes, Episode Selection, Set Up, and Special Features. I assume that these options are the same for the DVD set, but from this point forward is where the Blu-ray Disc set really does differ.

Episode Selection (which can be accessed from the main menu or as a pop-up menu during the episode) lists all of the episodes from the season in a scrolling display, along with a snapshot from the episode. But all 13 episodes are listed on both discs. So what if you select, say episode 13, and you are on Disc 1? Well, you'll be prompted to insert Disc 2, and the episode will play immediately upon inserting Disc 2. There is no waiting for the menus or anything; it is just direct and straightforward. This is a very beneficial feature to have on a home media set, and a feature that is only possible with Blu-ray. The Set Up option isn't really much at all, it just provides you with the option to turn on the subtitles. It also lets you set up your menu options, particularly the volume of the transitional effects on the menus. And the Set Up menu, for some odd reason, has an audio option, but this is useless as there is only one audio track on the set, 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.


Video and Audio Quality:

Again, it is important to mention that we have NOT seen the DVD version of this set, so our comments apply strictly to the Blu-ray Disc version of the set, but I imagine that the DVD version is probably of excellent quality, just as the previous season were. As for this Blu-ray version, however, the video and audio quality is just outright amazing. It is great seeing the series in true high-definition where everything has the chance to shine. The video quality on the set is amazingly perfect with no imperfections that are noticeable. My only complaint--and a very minor one--is regarding the audio. It is presented in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which is the best that is out there, but if your home theater isn't up to those standards, it can be a tidbit low. It would have been nice had they offered an optional Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. English and Spanish subtitles are available, but the set is not closed-captioned (as this is not a possibility with Blu-ray Disc and HDMI).


Special Features:

Somehow, I feel like the special features are not as numerous in this set as in previous ones, but they are still good. We'll start with the commentaries, which naturally have made it to every set. Episodes and commentators are as follows:

"Thwack" - Jenji Kohan
"A Yippity Sippity" - Tate Donovan and Brendan Kelly
"A Shoe for a Shoe" - Hemky Madera and Enrique Castillo
"Pinwheels and Whirligigs" - Justin Kirk and Kevin Nealon
"To Moscow, and Quickly" - Hunter Parris and Alexander Gould
"Dearborn Again" - Roberto Benabib and Matthew Salsberg
"Viking Pride" - Michael Trim and Tara Herrmann
"Theoretical Love Is Not Dead" - Jenji Kohan

They are all pretty standard commentaries with nothing too surprising in them. I honestly would have liked to have seen more cast commentaries, but alas, there were only two this time.

On Disc 1, we have"Kevin Nealon & Justin Kirk: What Do We Have Left To Say?," (10:01), where Kevin Nealon and Justin Kirk get together to prepare for what they are going to say on the commentaries. We kind of get a little bit of insight on their lives in this very candid featurette with the duo, although a lot of it is just silly banter. I really do like the chemistry between the two, though, and their commentaries tend to be the best ones on the each set.

"Gag Reel" (5:28) is a very nice collection of bloopers and outtakes from the sixth season, all presented in high-definition. It is just too bad that this couldn't have been longer, but it was still as fun to watch as it usually is.

On Disc 2, we have "Fandamonium: Weeds Creators Tell All," (10:11), where Justin Kirk conducts an interview of the creators of the series. It's a really nice special feature that gives us some insight into how the series came to existence.

Finally, we have "Bye-Bye Botwins" (8:04), where Jenji Kohan the cast (INCLUDING Mary-Louise Parker, who rarely appears in the Weeds special features) talks about what happened at the end of the fifth season and how the family evolved from the Botwin family to the Newman family.


Final Comments:

This is a great set for a great series! Of course, the series is nothing like it was in the first season, but the changes have, in all honest, not really been bad at all. The only thing that disappoints me is how the character of Celia (played by Elizabeth Perkins) was abruptly removed from the series with no real explanation. They should have at least brought her back to explain why her character was gone. It is really a shame that she had to leave, though, as she did provide many comedic moments in the first five seasons. I used to compare the series a lot to Desperate Housewives, which it was very similar to at the beginning, but it has evolved into something totally different every season, and there is no telling what the series will evolve into next season, although it seems pretty clear that the family won't be on the run in an RV next season. You'd have to see the series from the beginning to understand how it got to this point, so if you've never seen the series, start from episode 1. Now where will the series go next? Who knows, the future is up in smoke right now!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/17/11

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