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Weeds: Season One(TV) (2005)
Featuring an all-star cast including Golden Globe-winner Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Nealon, "Weeds" examines family life in the suburban neighborhood of Agrestic, California, where recently widowed Nancy Botwin (Parker) is finding it hard to make ends meet while raising her two sons. Left with more family debt than expected, Nancy embarks on a new career as a pot dealer to pay the bills. As her business grows, she has to hide her new career from her family and her best friend, PTA president Celia Hodes (Perkins). In the neighborhood of Agrestic, nothing is what it seems.
For more about Weeds: Season One and the Weeds: Season One Blu-ray release, see Weeds: Season One Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 25, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Mary-Louise Parker, Alexander Gould, Justin Kirk (I), Kevin Nealon, Hunter Parrish, Elizabeth Perkins
Directors: Scott Ellis, Bethany Rooney
» See full cast & crew
Weeds: Season One Blu-ray Review
Should this Blu-ray be "high" on your must-own list?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 25, 2007
That girl's got too much hubris.
Weeds is an intriguing little television program from Showtime. If it has anything going for it, its the unequivocal originality of the show. Who would have thought that a program about a single mother in suburbia who sells marijuana for a living would ever see the light of day? As a show airing on premium cable television, it should come as no surprise that the show is packed with adult situations and language and features anything from a 10 year old boy acting out a beheading on camera to a mother covertly feeding her overweight daughter laxatives. Of course, these are but two of the many sub plots that permeate the main story line of the sale of illegal drugs in suburbia. Needless to say this is a show for mature audiences only, and one that will likely manage to find a way to insult or offend just about everyone out there. That's not to say it's bad or good. It is what it is, a middle of the road television show that succeeds in being different and at about 30 minutes per episode, it never outstays its welcome, and as such even the lesser episodes manage to move along briskly.
Weeds is the story of Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker, The West Wing). Her husband recently died while jogging, leaving Nancy alone to raise two boys and continue to pay for their upper middle class lifestyle. Her solution: resort to selling marjuana around town. Her drug supplier is a family whom she also considers friends. Conrad (Romany Malco, Blades of Glory) and Heylia (Tonye Patano, The Savages) keep her supplied, though they have no qualms about keeping collateral when she can't pay, including her SUV and diamond wedding ring. Nancy's sons Silas (Hunter Parrish, RV) and Shane (Alexander Gould, How to Eat Fried Worms) remain unaware of their mother's dealings, though they deal with issues of their own, namely Silas' relationship with a deaf girl named Megan (Shoshannah Stern, Jericho) and Shane's coping with the loss of his father. There are many, many characters and side plots littered throughout this first season, but the primary plot of Nancy's dealings, obviously, is the center around which all others revolve. In this first season, Nancy finds new, more "palatable" means of getting her clientele high; she must deal with the arrival of her brother-in-law Andy (Justin Kirk, Hollywood Dreams); she employs several college students to aid her in selling on campus, and she also must cope with being in a drive-by shooting at Conrad's house.
The primary problem I encountered with this show is that it never really flowed. It seemed rather disjointed and haphazard, and the thirty minute runtime doesn't provide much space for the episode to breathe and sort things out in greater detail. So what is a strength is also a weakness. I never found myself caring much at all about any of the characters, and as positives and negatives for each character cropped up, I found myself disinterested in their successes, failures, or personal problems. For example, when one character announces in the show's final moments that she has cancer, I wasn't shocked, disturbed, or depressed. I wasn't happy either, mind you, I just didn't care. We hardly knew the character at the time, except that she's a generally bad person from what we have seen, but nevertheless, I simply didn't care. Another thing that perturbed me is that from the first episode Nancy is dealing. We never see her grieve the loss of her husband, we never see her struggle to find a way to make ends meet, and we never see her come to the decision to sell marijuana. The perfect first episode, in my opinion, would have delved into these issues, and maybe then I would have cared more for the character and her plight.
Weeds: Season One Blu-ray, Video Quality
Weeds: Season One premiers in high definition in 1080p framed in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. For some odd reason, the first two episodes looked downright horrible. Blacks appeared to be gray and the entire image had a "washed out" quality to it. Grain was ever present. Colors were dull and lifeless. From episode three on, however, I noticed a drastic improvement. Colors were richer with some life and pizzazz that they certainly lacked in the early episodes. Blacks fared better as well, though they were far from perfect, still a shade of very dark gray rather than black. The image retained a rather soft look to it, and the grain, for the mot part, vanished without a trace. The image lacked any depth at all, however. Flesh tones looked fairly accurate with no trace of the dreaded reddish tint. When the show manages to look good, it looks really good. Detail was moderately high in the better looking scenes. I never saw this show as it originally aired on television, but comparing it to another Showtime series on Blu-ray, Masters of Horror, Weeds is a mild letdown. While I didn't feel that Masters of Horror fared all that well visually, it's still the better looking of the two shows by a small margin. Simply put, Weeds fares no better than a good upconverted DVD.
Weeds: Season One Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Weeds: Season One lacks a true high definition soundtrack. A 1.5 Mbps DTS track and a lower bit rate Dolby Digital track are all that are available. Frankly, I wonder if anything more would have made any discernible difference with this mix as-is. This is perhaps the most front-heavy soundtrack I've heard, but that's not really a fault of the disc. This is a dialogue driven half hour TV comedy and there is practically no instance where any sound came from the rear. Even the left and right front speakers failed to deliver much of a punch. The vast majority of the sound emanates from the center channel. As expected, bass was a no-show as well. The track's only real opportunity to shine was during scenes with music, especially bass heavy rap. Channel separation was fine and bass nudged its way into the track for a brief appearance. Like the video quality, the audio is sufficient but nothing special.
Weeds: Season One Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Weeds delivers the goods in the supplements department. This is a full-blown special edition with a lot of material to dig through. Six of the ten episodes feature a commentary track, one of which is by a real-life owner of a medical marijuana club in Los Angeles. Each track is fairly informative and worth a listen for fans.
Suburban Shakedown (480p, 14:01) begins as a look at the growth of suburban America and its impact as the settings of many popular television shows since the 1950s. It evolves into a series of interviews about the show with cast and crew. Smokey Snippets (480p, 2:40) is a humorous short that plays more as a series of outtakes from the interviews in the previous special feature.
Up next is a music video entitled All Too Much/More Than a Friend (480p, 3:46). Smoke & Mirrors (480p, 13:12) is a feature hosted by Romany Malco who asks questions about the world of marijuana which will, of course, be answered by a series of experts. A Showtime Original Special (480p, 3:56) is a promotional short that gives a very basic and quick plot outline, most of which is recycled from the Suburban Shakedown feature. Showtime Original Series Shorts (480p, 4:45) is a two-part series of more inerviews with the cast talking about their real-life vices and their upbringings. A Showtime trailer (480p, 1:38), and Agrestic Herbal Recipes for anything from "hash" browns to "pot" roast round out the supplements.
Weeds: Season One Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Weeds is a good show with a good premise that, I believe, has room to improve. Perhaps I will find season two more agreeable, but for now, Weeds is a show I am glad I watched once but it's not likely I'll ever return to this title again. Both the audio and video quality have plenty of room to improve, but the supplemental section was much more substantial than I thought it would be. I would recommend renting this or catching a few episodes on television before paying full price for this.
Weeds: Other Seasons
Blu-ray bundles with Weeds: Season One (3 bundles)
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