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Girls: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray Review)

Girls-S5Its crazy to think that Lena Dunhams’ talked about and controversial (is it?) show Girls is already coming to its end this year (and soon mind you).  It feels like just yesterday I was testing it out and turning my nose up to it.  Luckily after Season 2, I decided to suck it up and really have at it and found myself understanding it better and really get to the humorous level this show is guiding you through.  Are characters obnoxious, annoying and make you want to pull your hair out?  Hell yes, that’s part of the fun I’ve found.  But before the final series airs on HBO, its time to look back on the previous one, the fifth season.  That particular jaunt with Hanna Horvath and friends will release to Blu-ray on January 3rd, giving you ample time to digest it and be refreshed or just plain up to speed for the final season when it airs.

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Film 

As Season 5 begins, Hannah has put her writing ambitions aside and is teaching alongside Fran, her new boyfriend. Marnie realizes that she needs more space after her honeymoon with Desi. While working towards becoming a therapist, Jessa also manages a budding relationship. And Shoshanna is thriving at her new job in Japan, flirting with her boss despite her long-distance relationship with Scott. Honest and uproarious, with unexpected surprise turns, the fifth season of Girls promises to maintain the series’ place as one of the most talked-about shows on television.

While the fifth season of Girls starts with everyone together at Marnie and Desi’s wedding, the duration of the episodes we follow them through seems to have them at their most apart.  Everyone has individual trials and tribulations with a loved one they’ve hooked themselves up with and are dealing with issues coming from commitment, “betrayal” and dealing with actually being with someone (Or in Shoshanna’s case, a place) for an elongated period of time.  Yes, they all cross paths or may have pair ups here and there, but for the most part all the arcs feels separate and free of another’s drama.

Joining in on these arcs with what seems like a much more personal story in this season is Elijah, as he finds himself in a heated relationship with a pseudo celebrity played by Corey Stoll.  This is actually one of the more interesting stories in the season and truly spaced from the rest of the characters aside from Elijah maybe asking for advice from someone.  While Elijah has always seemed arrogant and very overconfident (But in a funny side character way), this season really humanizes him and opens the door on more of who he is when the rest of the characters aren’t around.  He’s actually very much the opposite as he’s sort of shy, scared and not too sure of himself.

One big plus point I’ll give this season, Jessa really wasn’t the worst and I found her to be a bit more tolerable.  Her and Adam share a will they/won’t they kind of thing early one which ends up becoming a sort of abusive kind of affair.  Having her with Adam allows her to be in a place where I actually kind of have to side with her and also got to see things in a light that I shared her opinion on.  Overall, a weird sort of feeling as I haven’t been able to stand her pretty much all of Girls series run.  But here, for this one season, I was able to actually enjoy time spent with her.

Girls Fifth Season continues its strong run with characters you get to watch grow up and make mistakes, act like shitheads and overall entertain you for 25 minutes a pop.  This current season had them spread the furthest from one another they had ever been while also ramping up some personal dramatics and bringing in a couple surprise returns from older characters.  Yes, Ray and Shoshanna are still my favorites and I tend to enjoy watching their growth more than others, but each character really had a good equal amount of good entertainment and arc for this season.

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Episodes

Wedding Day

Good Man

Japan

Old Loves 

Queen For Two Days

The Panic In Central Park

Hello Kitty

Homeward Bound

Love Stories

I Love You Baby

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Video  

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Girls has the appearance it does when it airs on HBO, but with a bit more crispness to the touch on this Blu-ray.  Colors and sharpening come on with a rustic, real approach to them.  Detail on things like clothing fabric, surfaces and objects throughout the episodes of the series comes across really well.

Depth: Movements are very smooth with plenty of space between environment and characters.  Background imagery is as crisp as the focus will allow.

Black Levels:  Blacks are nice and inky and enhance the image’s outlining and definition.

Color Reproduction: Girls has a very natural approach to its aesthetic.  Colors come on as bold and rich but not overly vibrant unless what we’re looking at is intentionally flashy.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are natural with just a hint of cool to them. Whether it be stubble, moles, make-up, lip texture or a scar, you can make out every facial detail from any given distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, Spanish 2.0 DTS Digital Surround

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics:  Girls once again comes in with a very solid 5.1 mix that gets the job one.  A job that looks simple on the surface, but with good, layered effects and ambiance, becomes a full lived in experience for the viewer.  Music, vocals and sound effects are all wrapped up nicely in the balanced mix.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: There’s nice a whole lot of wam-bam moments needed in girls, but what the subwoofer adds is kinda understated.  Cars, doors closing, club music and such are all brought on with a stilting accuracy that makes you feel like you’re out on the street or in a restaurant.

Surround Sound Presentation: All the characters are track and motioned accurately in this 5 channel mix.  The rear is mainly for environmental ambiance, but really does some good work in creating a feel and lived in experience like the streets of new york, a quiet home or even a loud club.

Dialogue Reproduction: Crisp, loud and clear.  This is the bread and butter fo the show and captures all the diction volumes and placements correctly.

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Extras 

Girls: The Complete Fifth Season is a 2-disc set that comes with a digital copy of the entire season.

Disc 1

Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD, 11:46)

Inside The Episodes (HD, 16:32) 

Disc 2

Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD, 7:34) 

Inside The Episodes (HD, 18:03) 

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Summary 

Girls scores another solid season.  Where its going to finish, I have no idea.  But, I’m hoping it some sort of natural closure, but not too neat as the characters lives still have a lot more to live.  Anywho, HBO brings together again a nice presentation on Blu-ray to go with some “okay” extras (Nothing you wouldn’t see on the OnDemand stretch of viewing.  Fans, pick it up, you only have one more to get after this.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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