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Girls: The Final Season (Blu-ray Review)

When Lena Dunham’s Girls debuted, I gave it a watch. I didn’t make it past the pilot. It turned me off big time and I hated pretty much every character. Sometime during season 3, I was unemployed and binging some HBO stuff I hadn’t seen and decided on giving Girls another shot. The problem I had before wasn’t the show, it was me. I’m glad I went back, because it has been a fond part of my Sunday night HBO watching for a few years now. Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa weren’t people I related to, but I enjoyed watching them grow up. And by that, you watch them stumble, make horrible decisions and drift further apart in their friendships. Its something we all have done thematically in our 20s, but when its brought in a more blunt and honest look, its hard to take in. But once you let it, its quite a fun ride. The show has now come to a conclusion, and I hope it has a legacy of being something very truthful and very fun in own way for the most part. You can find it to purchase on Blu-ray from HBO when it releases on July 25th.

Season 

Hannah, enjoying new success as a writer while her roommate and bestie Elijah considers getting serious about his acting career. Marnie, now in a relationship with Ray, seeks to maintain her independence post-divorce from Desi. Now also a couple, Jessa and Adam decide to embark on a creative project to channel their passions, which could become a source of contention. And Shoshanna finds herself professionally on the right path, though personally she realizes that her friendships may be holding her back. A time for closing chapters and new beginnings, Girls follows our four familiar friends as they attempt to get closer to becoming the women they always envisioned – even as life sometimes gets in the way.

In the final season of Girls, Hannah finds herself on an assignment trip that winds up in her being pregnant for the entirety of the season. Its an interesting angle and it only further starts to really separate her from her longtime group of friends. Some try and hang on, others float away rather quickly. Its all set up quite nicely for a series finale that really shakes the series down to its core.  As loud and rambunctious as the show began, its amazing how quiet it finishes. But its still honest, funny and engaging. And, to give Dunham some real credit, not only did she land the impossible permission to use Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”, I’m probably always going to remember this episode when I hear the song.

The season did have a one more instant classic episode where Hannah, Marnie and Desi head out for a getaway at a cabin and they find out Desi has been addicted oxycontin and is without it and goes nuts. It plays as almost like a slasher movie. But to find even more appreciation for Dunham, she said she was trying to make it look and feel like Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs. It comes off as just as jumpy and crazy, but its also a pretty big laugh riot and triumph for a character I despise (Desi) to go out on a satisfying note.

Its not a perfect season, though. It does have its issues. One of the bigger ones being Adam (And maybe Jessa, but she’s got a better wrap up). While it has seemed pretty obvious before, things really come to fruition this season. You can see that they found him as a talent or potential star power and kept the character around longer than his shelf life probably was. They were able to work him around quite well, but in the final season, its just out of gas and has a stupid storyline of him and Jessa making a movie about he and Hannah’s relationship. Its doesn’t sink the season, but its a real waste of time.

Girls: The Final Season closes out on a pretty good high. No, its not perfect, some storylines prove a couple characters may have been held onto for too long. But what’s great is Lena Dunham doesn’t give you what’s expected, but finds a finish that is fully earned and feels right. She also manages to wrap up all the other characters without anything feeling forced or finite, just a part in their lives where they are moving on to another step. As a whole, I loved that this series was something that got me stirred up, angry, laughing and more understanding of a generation that I’m years removed from. If people were against the show, or repulsed by it, it was only because sometime people have a hard time respecting or understanding truth and honesty. And that’s what Dunham brought to the table, and opened the doors for others.

Episodes

All I Ever Wanted

Hostage Situation

American Bitch

Painful Evacuation

Gummies

Full Disclosure

The Bounce

What Will We Do This Time About Adam?

Goodbye Tour

Latching

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

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. No crushing witnessed and the saturation levels are improved from the television presentation.

Color Reproduction:  As mentioned above, the show 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

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

Dynamics:  This show isn’t one to be exhaustive in the audio mix department, but the mix replicates and displays every interior and exterior a scene takes place in with a brilliant accuracy.  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. Club scenes bump, regular moments of doors closing, engines humming and then stuff like glass breaking get a nice addition from the LFE.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Voice to screen placement is completely accurate and movement is well documented in the track.  The rear is mainly for ambiance, but really does some good work in creating a feel and lived in experience for all environments.

Dialogue Reproduction: Crisp, loud and clear.  Volume and pitches are displayed with perfection.

Extras 

Girls: The Final Season is a 2-Blu-ray Disc set that comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of every episode.

Disc 1

Inside The Episodes (HD, 16:51) – Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner go over key story points and character moments from each episode and also throw tid bits about some of the performers in their conversation. This disc covers Episodes 1-5.

Girls Favorite Moments – All collection of scenes for each character that works as sort of a “Best of” reel from the entire series run.

  • Shoshanna (HD, 18:36)
  • Jessa (HD, 15:36)

Disc 2

Audio Commentary

  • With Creator/Executive Producer/Director Lena Dunham (Hannah) & Executive Producers Jenni Konner and Judde Apatow

Inside The Episodes (HD, 21:27) – Covering Episodes 6-10.

A Goodbye To Girls – Part 1 (HD, 20:13) – A retrospective documentary on how the show came to be and saw itself through the years, which features interviews with Lena Dunham, Jenni Konner, Judd Apatow, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke and other members of the show’s cast.  It also has footage from photo shoots and behind the scenes of episodes. This first part covers getting the show off the ground and the casting of each of the major players, complete with audition tapes and early on-set footage from the pilot.

A Goodbye To Girls – Part 2 (HD, 14:56) – In part 2, they immediately tackle the backlash, confusion and controversy that came with breaking new ground and treading into a more honest territory in the representation of modern women in their 20s on television.  They also shine a light on the guests stars and fashion that came with the show and cap it off with Lena Dunham stating what she hopes is the show’s legacy now that it has completed.

Girls Favorite Moments

  • Hannah (HD, 12:01) 
  • Marnie (HD, 11:47)

Summary 

As did the show, HBO wraps up their Girls Blu-ray sets with The Final Season. Unlike the previous releases, this one does a little more in terms of bonus features (For one, it HAS them). The supplements supplied are good for both the season and series as a whole. Its the kind of material you’ve wanted all along from these releases. Couple that with a terrific presentation with the video and audio, and you have the best released season of Girls that has been released of them all.

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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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