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Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season(TV) (2011)
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 Third Season and the Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray release, see Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on October 4, 2012 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 Third Season Blu-ray Review
Et tu, HBO?
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, October 4, 2012
It's not TV, it's HBO. I would add: unless it's a half-hour series, in which case there's no guarantee. While the premium cable network's hour-long, Emmy-darling dramas are nestled all safely and snuggly in their beds, its half-hour comedies and dramedies aren't afforded the same luxury. Quality may be higher, content may be more adult in nature, the writers' rooms freer to pursue their showrunners' visions, but the chance of cancellation? Cancellation can come just as swiftly on HBO as anywhere else, particularly when it comes to shows that clock in at thirty-minutes per episode. How to Make It in America: booted after just two eight-episode seasons. Hung: ousted after three ten-episode seasons. And now Bored to Death, one of HBO's finest and funniest, gone to the great city in the canceled series sky after three eight-episode seasons. Honestly, I was happy to see How to Make It in America shut down. Wasn't all that special anyway. Hung was growing on me, but its departure didn't stir up any emotion whatsoever. But Bored to Death? I'm going through the five stages of grief. Say it ain't so, HBO. Say it ain't so!
Season Three is all about life change, looming series end or no. Homebrewed private detective Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman), now a published author and more established investigator, learns that his father isn't his father at all, and goes on a search for a sperm donor with the few pieces of information he has at his disposal. Ray (Zach Galifianakis), meanwhile, tries, fails and tries again to bond with his infant son -- complete with an AMBER alert -- and nearly patches things up with his ex (Heather Burns) -- again -- before indulging in an even unhealthier relationship. And George (Ted Danson), ever the proponent of the legalization of... just about anything that feels good, does some growing up and soul searching of his own, taking up a new hobby, opening his door to a new roommate, and reconnecting with his estranged daughter Emily (Halley Feiffer), who's engaged to a man twice her age (David Rasche). Familiar faces (Oliver Platt, Patton Oswalt, John Hodgman) and fresh, new eccentrics (Mary Steenburgen, Isla Fisher, Stacy Keach) pop up along the way as well, all to hilariously flaky ends.
Eight episodes isn't a whole lot to work with, and Season Three blows by quicker than any before it. Chalk it up to just how uproariously funny the misadventures of creator Jonathan Ames' neurotic PI of the same name can be (if you like your humor dry, wry and a touch over the top that is), the quick wittedness of Schwartzman, Galifianakis and Danson's dim-witted brothers in arms, or the precariously mundane circumstances they find themselves in, Bored to Death makes the most of what few hours it has while leaving little doubt that eight episodes per season is something of a travesty. It stings even more now, with the realization that the series proper will never amount to more than twenty-four already much-too-short episodes, but such is the fate of the misunderstood greats. The series has never been everyone's cup of espresso and it thankfully doesn't sacrifice its particular wills and wiles in an effort to lure more viewers into the fold. If anything, Jonathan's increasingly bizarre cases are a bit less central to the story, framing whatever wacky trouble the Ames-and-Friends trio find themselves in rather than vying for narrative or comedic dominance. And what wonderfully wacky trouble it is.
Since Wes Anderson's Rushmore settled in as the go-to coming-of-age comedy in my collection some years ago, I've become a Schwartzman apologist. What's that? S1m0ne, Spun and Slackers, you say? I'll see your Just Like Mona, and raise you an I Heart Huckabees, a Shopgirl, Darjeeling Limited, Funny People, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Moonrise Kingdom. All genre-skewing comedies, sure. All attuned to Schwartzman's droll delivery and wounded weakling charisma, no doubt. Bored to Death isn't much different. It ditches Schwartzman's rapidfire barbs in favor of his sullen puppy sensibilities, but it plays to his real strengths; the softer, sweeter insecurities that made his Max Fischer so easy to rally behind, flaws and all. Likewise, funnyman-turned-big-screen-superstar Zach Galifianakis doesn't stray too far off the beaten path he's forged on the big screen; Ray is merely a more fatalistic incarnation of the comedian's bearded man-child. Danson, ever in his element, frequents the same narcissistic hemisphere as Damages' Arthur Frobisher (and to a degree Cheers' Sam Malone), albeit with enough toked up personality quirks to mellow out any self-centered braggart. The terrifically cast threesome grab hold of every awkward encounter and quotable series quote the writers hurl their way, subverting noir and genre convention at every turn and tempering each blunder, rowdy run-in, and clumsy clash with irresistibly gawky absurdist charm.
Together with Ames at his sharpest, Schwartzman and his merry maladjusted men make Bored to Death's third season the series' best, and that's saying quite a lot. It's just a shame we'll never get to find out where Jonathan, George and Ray go from here.
Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
With The Case of the Mysterious Artifacting long solved, Bored to Death's third season 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation looks every bit as good as its second season counterpart, with nary a complaint to be had. Thin, almost negligible edge halos are still apparent from time to time, but nothing else struck me as out of sorts, even skintones, which weren't entirely consistent last go-round. Colors are both pleasing and lifelike, contrast is consistent, and black levels are straight out of a pulp detective novel. Not that anything is lost in the shadows, dark as they grow when the sun sets and Jonathan hits the streets. Detail is remarkable, with exacting edges, refined textures and a knockout string of closeups and midrange shots. Delineation doesn't falter, and there aren't any eyesores, inherent or encoded, to contend with. Like the series itself, Bored to Death's third and final Blu-ray release goes out on a high note.
Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Bored to Death remains a chatty, front-heavy series to the end, and its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track follows suit. The rear speakers are a bit more active than in previous season releases, but only just, making the soundfield less cinematic and immersive than what HBO junkies have become accustomed to. Dialogue is clean, clear and confidently centered, and Pat Irwin's music has its fun with every channel, LFE included, which is otherwise reserved. There's a bit more action this time out, making for a more exciting soundscape, but it doesn't translate to an exciting lossless mix. All in all, there's nothing wrong with the third season's DTS-HD MA track; there just isn't anything all that memorable or engaging about it either.
Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Farewell, dear friend. You'll not be forgotten. You gave me more than I ever asked for and made me laugh harder than I ever thought you could. You accomplished more in three eight-episode seasons than most have accomplished with far more, and you only got better as you soldiered on. You will be deeply missed. At least we have the Blu-ray release of The Complete Third Season to help us through this difficult time. Its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't all that memorable, nor is its supplemental package as full and funny as it could be, but its video presentation is as polished and proficient as the third and final season itself. So goodnight, sweet neo-noir comedy, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
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• This Week on Blu-ray: September 4 - 11 - September 2, 2012
This week sees the release for an enduring cult classic: Re-Animator. Based on a story from author H.P. Lovecraft, this horror film takes a graphically perverse look at medical student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and his attempts to bring the dead back to life. ...
• Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray - June 7, 2012
In September, HBO Home Entertainment will bring Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season to Blu-ray. This absurdist comedy focuses on amateur private investigator Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman, Rushmore) and his two friends, comic book creator Ray Hueston ...
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