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Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season(TV) (2010)
Jonathan Ames, a young Brooklyn writer, is feeling lost. He's just gone through a painful break-up, thanks in part to his drinking, can't write his second novel, and carouses too much with his magazine editor. Rather than face reality, Jonathan turns instead to his fantasies — moonlighting as a private detective — because he wants to be a hero and a man of action.
For more about Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season and the Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray release, see Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on September 21, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis, John Hodgman, Oliver Platt, Mary Kay Place
» See full cast & crew
Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review
"No! I will not have a three-way cuddle with a struggling comedian."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, September 21, 2011
And the hits just keep on coming. Antsy author and intrepid, self-made private investigator Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) is back for another round of side jobs and back-alley gumshoeing with beardy comicbook artist Ray Hueston (Zach Galifianakis) and wealthy, womanizing magazine editor George Christopher (Ted Danson). And, as much as I enjoyed Bored to Death's first season, series creator Jonathan Ames (yes, you read that correctly) delivers a sophomore season that's a bit sharper, smarter and squirrellier than its predecessor. Nerd-noir is still a fledgling subgenre, granted, and Bored to Death still isn't going to win over anyone who isn't willing to spend a few episodes marinating in its style, dialogue and rhythms. (Even then, it's sure to carve creases of disapproval across the furrowed brows of any uncompromising sitcom faithful who remains impervious to its charms.) But between Schwartzman's neurotic would-be hero, Galifianakis' glum-chum sidekick shtick, Danson's dim-bulb debauchery, and Ames' perfectly cast guest stars, the series shakes up the TV comedy formula, stirs in its own unique blend of self-effacing wit and quirky intrigue, and goes down oh-so-smooth.
Bored to Death sizzles when it's in its element -- shadow-draped storefronts, shady client rendevous, amateur-hour stakeouts, and dingy bars, dives and diners -- and still takes time to revel in the mundane minutiae of New York City life. For every kidnapping plot and S&M shakedown, there's a botched drug test. A bumbling stalker. Jonathan's personal crises. Open relationship propositions and uncomfortable three-ways. Creative differences at the "Edition" offices. Enamored femme fatale hopefuls in Jonathan's writing class. A visit to a Korean spa. A lost dog. Ray's waning relationship with Leah (Heather Burns). George's latest fling. Comic-Con peril. The series is as funny when Jonathan is on the clock as it is when he's tending to Ray's broken heart, George's punctured ego or his own insecurities. (This season, he frets over everything from his penis size to his talent as an author, both of which he fears aren't very sizable.) But if Bored to Death only gave us Jonathan, George and Ray, the series would grow stale before you could say "Super Ray is mortal!" Instead, Ames rolls out the red carpet for a slew of one-hit wonders, A-list cameos, comedians and hilarious third-tier character actors, welcoming back scene-burglars Kristen Wiig and Oliver Platt, pitting Jonathan against a smarmy rival played with astute arrogance by none other than John Hodgman, opening the door to the likes of Patton Oswalt and Lenny Venito, and inducting Kevin Bacon, F. Murray Abraham and Olympia Dukakis into the Bored Hall of Infamy. And with a casting coup lurking around every corner, there's always a fresh bit of comedy for Schwartzman and his cohorts to sink their teeth into.
Season Two also benefits from the series' now-established cadence and idiosyncrasies. Season One spent much of its early entries laying groundwork for later episodes, but Ames is no longer shackled by the necessary evils of exposition. Every running gag builds on the last, every joke and uncomfortable dust-up seems to recall past cases and run-ins, and each character is less of a three-note gimmick and more of a fleshed out underdog. The show still adheres to Ames' episodic peculiar-pulp fictioning, though -- sometimes to a fault -- and, if anything, lacks the sort of depth fewer overlapping subplots might allow. Eight episodes is a short order as well, and Season Two makes an abrupt exit with a reunion that feels like a mid-season milestone rather than a proper season finale. But all of that barely diminishes what comes before it as Bored to Death mounts a memorable assault on the usual television-comedy malaise. I laughed out loud more times than I care to count. Just try to contain yourself when Jonathan grabs a loose branch, grits his teeth and charges three drug dealers; when Ray hits it big with a superhero who gains his powers after... I won't spoil the surprise; when George and Ray try to save Jonathan from a pair of passive aggressive thugs after stocking up at a local gun shop; when George deals with a prostate cancer diagnosis; when Ray meets with Kevin Bacon to option a movie; when Jonathan and Louis face off again and again and again. It's quick, it's funny and it drizzles off Ames' pen with rapidfire flair and clumsy cool. Bored to Death may not be everyone, but I'd take it over ninety percent of the sitcoms clogging the airwaves. Give it a fair shake; you just might find out it does the same for you.
Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Blu-ray edition of Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season boasts a 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation that surpasses its predecessor. Gone are the minor artifacts that sometimes flickered into view. There's still a bit of ringing and some over-saturated skintones, but none of it calls HBO's commitment to quality into question. Vanja Cernjul's palette is overflowing with rich colors, striking primaries and shadowcast blacks, contrast is consistent and filmic, and detail is all too satisfying. Everything from Ray's tangled beard to the pinstripes on George's designer suits to the buttons and straps on Jonathan's two-sizes-too-big private-dick overcoat have been rendered with care, and fine textures, closeups and brightly lit interior and exterior elements have been meticulously resolved. The series' photography doesn't quite split hairs -- darker scenes put a damper on the otherwise exacting image -- but delineation and edge definition rarely falter. Even when they do, videophiles will rightfully chalk it up to intention, not an encoding mishap. Significant macroblocking, banding, aliasing, smearing and other seedy characters are nowhere to be found, and faint, altogether negligible bursts of digital noise (brief and infrequent as they may be) are about the only things that hold back the presentation. Fans will be thrilled; even those who comb HBO's encode for every last sign of wrongdoing.
Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The only disappointment to be had? Bored to Death's unmistakably front-heavy DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Yes, the show's sound design is the perpetrator, and yes, series regulars won't bat an eye. But all the crystal clear dialogue and mischievous music can't take the sting out of such a flat-footed experience. Crowd noise is distant and detached, ambience is weak and unreliable, and the soundfield isn't immersive in the slightest. Directionality follows suit, of course, and dynamics aren't far behind. Even pans, smooth as they sometimes are, tend to hop from speaker to speaker instead of gliding across the stage. Ah well. The rear speakers may tip toe around the obvious, but voices are bright and intelligible throughout, effects are crisp and clean, and LFE output, while relatively restrained, throws enough punches and takes enough swings to keep things lively. In fact, if Ames' New York were more enveloping, I suspect the series' audio would be as arresting as its video presentation. Sadly, that isn't the case. Adequate at best, passable at worst, there just isn't enough razzle dazzle to distract audiophiles from the track's shortcomings.
Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The 2-disc Blu-ray edition of Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season serves up a solid supplemental package comparable to its first season counterpart (give or take an audio commentary). As an added bonus, all of the extras are presented in high definition.
Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Is it just me or does HBO rarely miss? Simply put, were it not for such daring premium networks, we wouldn't have clever comedies like Bored to Death. It won't appeal to everyone, that much is sure. It will leave some rolling their eyes, some shaking their heads and still others wondering what Schwartzman, Galifianakis and Danson are smoking. But for those like me who fall for the quirky misadventures of Jonathan Ames, Private Detective, Bored to Death will prove to be a smart bet. The 2-disc Blu-ray release of The Complete Second Season isn't without its share of flaws -- its front-heavy DTS-HD Master Audio track spells trouble from the beginning -- but HBO's terrific video presentation and solid supplemental package, not to mention the series' excellent sophomore season, close the case nonetheless.
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Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray (Updated) - June 2, 2011
HBO and Warner Home Entertainment will bring the second season of the comedy "Bored to Death" to Blu-ray. Jason Schwartzman (Fantastic Mr. Fox) stars as Jonathan Ames, a frustrated writer moonlighting as a private eye. The second season finds Ames coping with ...
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