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Weeds: Season Six(TV) (2009)
Everyone's favorite pot-selling soccer mom and hemptress, Nancy Botwin, returns in the complete Sixth season of the hit series 'Weeds'.
For more about Weeds: Season Six and the Weeds: Season Six Blu-ray release, see Weeds: Season Six Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on February 9, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 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 Six Blu-ray Review
What's the deal?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, February 9, 2011
Have you heard of something called "Desperate Housewives Syndrome"? Well don't feel like you've suddenly lost track of your pop culture compass, because I just made up the term. "Desperate Housewives Syndrome" is that propensity of some television series to set up an intriguing premise and then either vary too far from it or, conversely, to shoehorn so many foreign elements into the concept that the overall enterprise becomes diluted and unfocused. The first season of ABC's dark comedy was bracing, acerbically original and often very, very funny. But once the central mystery of that first season was more or less tied up in the final episode of that year, the series started a long, slow drift away from its setup, to the point where it now exists largely as a parody of itself. Like Desperate Housewives, Weeds started its life as a rather pungent satire on suburban life, as, well, desperate housewife Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), suddenly widowed and without an easy source of income to support herself and her two young sons, took to dealing marijuana to help ends meet. Weeds was in fact (initially at least) quite similar in tone to that first season of Desperate Housewives, with a subtly anarchic sense of humor that managed to upend all sorts of bourgeoisie stereotypes, casting them in a sort of postmodern, dryly humorous way. Also like Desperate Housewives, Weeds often took off on tangents of melancholy and even melodrama, some of which were not entirely successful or even in keeping with the show's overall winking ambience. Now as we enter the sixth season of the show on Blu-ray, there are lingering questions about whether the show may have outlived its premise. We still have wonderfully funny bits enacted by an ace group of performers, chief among them Parker herself, but as the Botwin family enters its own self-designed "witness protection program," some viewers may be getting the munchies for something more substantial than this show wants to offer.
Weeds has slowly become skewed toward the patently absurd over its past several seasons, as Nancy has "evolved" from simply dealing marijuana to getting caught up, and becoming rather powerful, within an international drug cartel. This actually divorced the show from one of its most winning elements, the small town, suburban feel of the first season. As Nancy's predicaments have become sillier and sillier, the show has assumed a cartoonish ambience that is undeniably funny at times, but which casts the overall show in such a ridiculous hue that when Weeds does try to develop a plotline that is at least relatively realistic, it falls flat. Season Five ended with a fantastically funny (literal) punch line, as Nancy's troubled younger son Shane took a croquet mallet to the head of Nancy's nemesis Pilar, dispatching her with a rather vicious fury. That of course sent Nancy into a tailspin of panic as she quickly picks up and spirits her family away from her Mexican cartel husband, who is hot on her trail to retrieve the newborn son he fathered with Nancy. That means that the sixth season of Weeds becomes, for its first several episodes at least, a sort of road comedy where Nancy, her kids, and brother-in-law Andy (Justin Kirk) all are swept up in the ramifications Shane's impulsive act of what he sees (probably correctly) as the only way to protect his mother and, in fact, his older sibling.
This season's Blu-ray release insert is subtitled "Let's blow this joint," and of course that perfectly sums up the season's arc, as well as being perhaps too revealing about how cutesy the show's creative staff has started to think about itself. As Nancy as her troupe travel everywhere from Seattle to Colorado to Nancy's hometown of Dearborn, Michigan, the writers seems to get increasingly desperate to inject new angles into the already dysfunctional family relationships. We get younger son Shane, now obviously a murderer, flirting with deeper problems that are casually waved away with a passing joke a lot of the time, even as he's kidnapped by Nancy's angry husband for part of the season. Older son Silas discovers his parentage isn't what he thought it was. Nancy herself reveals youthful indiscretions that play into a major guest starring role toward the end of the season. But it all seems too contrived, and not funny enough, for a lot of the season.
What continues to set Weeds apart from the pack, and to keep its head above water (if only just barely) through this sixth year is the continued efforts of a uniformly watchable cast. Mary-Louise Parker has always been an extremely quirky actress, and the role of Nancy fits her to a tee. Parker is able to casually throw away her sarcastic offhand comments with perfect élan. Justin Kirk is wonderfully inventive and often hilarious as brother-in-law Andy, a tic-filled tagalong whose love life is frequently in ruins. And Hunter Parrish as Silas and Alexander Gould as Shane both have moments of pathos and actual real emotion that helps to at least temporarily ground the show in something approaching normalcy.
But the best bits of this season are often left to the unusual supporting cast, some of whom are recurring regular characters, and some of whom are frankly stunt casting cameos. The best of these is the wonderfully wacky Kevin Nealon as longtime customer of Nancy's Doug Wilson, who in this season shows up yet again and manages to get involved in the kidnapping subplot. Alanis Morisette is back, albeit briefly, as OBGYN and putative love interest for Andy Dr. Audra Kitson, bringing some of her deadpan delivery to a couple of great scenes. And none other than Richard Dreyfuss shows up as a former teacher of Nancy's with whom she had a romantic dalliance when she was still a teenager.
Weeds is still bright and is able to elicit some decent laughs along the way, but as the show meanders across the country through its sixth season, it seems at times as if the writers themselves are the ones who are searching for new territory to explore. The show frankly outgrew its suburban weed selling mom premise within its first couple of seasons, and Weeds has struggled, sometimes valiantly, to find a way to push forward even as the plots have become more entangled and ridiculous. The sixth season ends (in a supposed homage to Hitchcock, though you'd be hard pressed to figure that out if you didn't listen to creator Jenji Kohan's commentary) with a nice cliffhanger that may finally see the show moving toward some denouements. Nancy Botwin may be about to face the long arm of the law, and that may finally scare the show's creative team straight.
Weeds: Season Six Blu-ray, Video Quality
Weeds Season Six is presented on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. This series moves along like a travelogue at times (though as the commentaries reveal, most of it was done in Los Angeles with some special effects help in post production), and as such we get at least some nice actual real life establishing shots of various locales, as well as more of a geographic sweep than some of the previous seasons. Overall this Blu-ray looks really good, with a suitably filmic texture, excellent color and saturation, and a really pleasing amount of fine detail. What hobbles the image from time to time is some minor artifacting, which includes everything from shimmer on such things as closeknit sweaters to transitory aliasing on some geometric structures like skyscrapers. Overall, though, this is a great looking show, with spot on contrast, black levels and a generally sharp and well detailed image.
Weeds: Season Six Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Does a series like Weeds really need a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix? Well, probably not, but who's going to complain, especially when it wasn't so long ago that even BD releases of series (including Weeds) didn't offer any lossless audio options. While surrounds tend to be utilized mostly for the ubiquitous source cues which play under the bulk of the series, there's really some surprisingly fine attention paid to crafting a believable soundscape, especially as this series is on the road. While things go as expected in terms of effects like traffic panning directionally, there are nicely subtle touches at times, like the ambient noise in the background when the Botwins stop at a gas station, or guest sounds when they're employed at a Seattle hotel. Fidelity here is practically perfect in every way, with excellent dynamic range. Dialogue is clearly presented, though tends to be anchored toward the front channels most of the time.
Weeds: Season Six Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Weeds Season Six has a stash of good supplements spread across two Blu-rays:
Weeds: Season Six Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Weeds isn't exactly primo stuff some of the time, but it's still surprisingly potent as it treads through its sixth season. If you can get past the patently ridiculous trials and tribulations Nancy and crew endure, there are some incredibly good performances here, and some occasionally very, very sharp writing. The seventh season will probably tell the tale as to whether Weeds has jumped the shark (and/or spliff), but though this season meanders too much for its own good, there's still enough of the good stuff here to keep the series Recommeded.
Weeds: Other Seasons
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