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

Sunday nights have proven themselves to be most hardcore night of television in the modern era.  Forget about Thursday, Sunday is when all the great shows air.  Well, premium channel speaking, I suppose the regular networks still hold their big guns for Thursday. I’d also make an argument for Tuesday being a big night as well. Anyway, I digress. During Game of Thrones season the past few years, HBO has had the best primetime lineup above all else for just one network. Game of Thrones followed by Silicon Valley and VEEP.  Amazing, right? This time around, though, for the sixth season, these two fantastic hours of television will be separated sadly. However, VEEP is coming back quickly. And you’ll be able to catch up on all the Washington DC antics from the fifth season with this Blu-ray set on April 11th!

Season 

Selina Meyer is in the midst of a virtually unprecedented Electoral College tie – with her future as President coming down to only a few hundred votes.  Selina finds herself spinning her wheels in D.C. as her staff continues their mission to make her seem presidential (even though she is the President) while fending off the ambitions of her charismatic Vice Presidential running mate who,  through an obscure constitutional procedure, could end up being President.  Veep continues to prove that in Washington, even the most banal decisions can have ripple effects – with unexpected and often hilarious consequences.

Picking up where the previous season’s cliffhanger left off, we are amidst the big recount for the season. With this little bit of a plot device, there is a new factor being added to VEEP; suspense. As terrible as all of these people are to each other, you still don’t want to see them fail or fall into a situation where they would have to part ways (Not winning the election). With each episode, there are added bits of humor with this, but also the clock keeps ticking toward the endgame which had me a bit on the edge of my seat with anticipation of the result.

Every year I review the new season and every year I praise the cast; but deservedly so. They also are rightfully awarded or nominated for it regularly. I swear Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a vampire. She appears as if she doesn’t age, but still has such a fire in her with her comedic prowess that is still top of the line and there is really no one like her on TV or movies.  She’s truly a legend and VEEP has become a role that maybe even tops Elaine from Seinfeld by the time its over.  Oh yeah, speaking of cast, Jonah check!  He gets elected to Congress this season with some hilarious campaigning (The video, OMG). I cannot wait to see where this goes next season.

VEEP once again continues to be one of the best, if not the best comedies and programs on television, period. Its funny, its both a well oiled machine at this point, knowing how best to utilize its cast and their talents, but also not afraid to take new directions, bring in new people and make bold choices. In its fifth season, the show still feels fresh and gets incredible laughs week in and week out. It also utilized some suspense to the agenda as well, with so much uncertainty and the very back and forth nature of the recount and the tie breaking decision on the presidential race.

Episodes

Morning After

Nev-AD-a

The Eagle

Mother

Thanksgiving

C**tgate

Congressional Ball

Camp David

Kissing Your Sister

Inauguration

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Video is clear and crisp, if not but a little bit soft.  Detail is at a solid level, but for the most part is smooth.  Wood grain on office furniture, carpet texture and surfaces of walls and such is nicely real looking with its detail.

Depth: The image does a decent job of being 3 dimensional enough to make for a good image.  Smooth movements and a real feeling of space is felt.

Black Levels: A solid display of rich blacks.  Not a lot of differences in shade, but most of this show takes place in well lit settings, so its not really a big deal.

Color Reproduction: Colors are bold and bright.  Flashy clothing looks nice, and most of the “professional” attire looks lifelike.  Some of Selina’s gowns and flashier clothing gives a nice pop to the image. Whites are pretty strong too.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are consistent.  Plenty of detail is noticeable in close ups but is more smooth in appearance from medium and farther away shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

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

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: I’ve said every season that the show really doesn’t need to go the extra mile and give us 5.1, as a 2.0 track is more than enough to effectively translate the show.  Its a program rooting and dependent on conversation. However, the effects are all well handled and the underlooming score sounds very nice. Environments prove accurate for a 360 trip around the room. This gets the task at hand done very well.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer isn’t called upon constantly, or needed to be boom, but it does have effectiveness when necessary.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a very front-heavy track, but the rear channels do provide voices and ambiance for good accuracy.  Movements are done with a precise match to screen.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clear and crisp.  At times it can sound very “mic’d up”, but that’s the nature of the show and part of the source.

Extras 

VEEP: The Complete Fifth Season comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of every episode in the season.  It is a 2-Disc Blu-ray set.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary

  • Morning After – Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (Executive Producer/Actress), Timothy Simons (Actor), David Mandel (Executive Producer), Lew Morton (Executive Producer), Georgia Pritchett (Co-Executive Producer)
  • Mother – Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (Executive Producer/Actress), Tony Hale (Actor), David Mandel (Executive Producer), Alex Gregory (Writer), Peter Huyck (Writer)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 11:29) 

Disc 2

Audio Commentary

  • C**tgate – Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (Executive Producer/Actress), Timothy Simons (Actor), David Mandel (Executive Producer), Brad Hall (Director), Georgia Pritchett (Co-Executive Producer)
  • Congressional Ball – Reid Scott (Actor), Timothy Simons (Actor), David Mandel (Executive Producer), Lew Morton (Executive Producer), Billy Kimball (Writer)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 22:31)

Summary 

I’ll keep beating a dead horse, but VEEP is an incredible comedy that should be mandatory viewing for everyone. The fifth season winds up being one of its strongest, too. The show looks and sounds a nice uptick better than its broadcast quality.  Sadly, once again, HBO has skimped on the extras, which they seem to do across the board with their comedies (And a lot of their shows not named Game of Thrones) nowadays. A definite pick up based on the strength of the show alone.

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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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