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

Veep-Season-2When one of televisions best dramas, Game Of Thrones, returns in April, so does one of its very best comedies.  Just in time to brush up for season 3, here comes the second season of HBO’s VEEP on Blu-ray.  The show has received plenty of awards circuit attention, including 2 victories for Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the Emmy Award in the “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” category (they should just name the statue for that one after her in all honesty) and last year’s victory for Tony Hale in the “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” for his role as Vice President Selina Meyer’s personal aide Gary Walsh.  This set drops on March 25 and is only 10 episodes, giving you ample time to catch up and see what all the (much deserved) hype and fuss is about this grand little comedy.

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Season 

Plenty happens during the second year of Vice President Selina Meyer’s term.  She gets appointed to be responsible for foreign relations, deals with a hostage situation and faces a government shutdown.  To throw some wrenches in the matter is the return of a presidential strategist numbers crunch she doesn’t get along with and the return of her ex-husband into her life.  And of course, there is her staff built of some nasty “yes ma’am” ruthless folk who backstab and spit nasty venom at each other, all the while trying to keep the VEEP’s image at its highest pedigree and fully intact.  Nothing comes easy or stress free for the VP.

The second season of HBO’s successful comedy VEEP returns and doesn’t lose a single beat.  It even adds some welcome new twists and turns in the form of a couple new characters.  One being Kent Davison, played by Gary Cole.  Cole brings his usual panache, and plays it very straight.  I guess you could say he “Gary Coles” it up.  The other character is the Veep’s ex-husband Andrew, who brings a very interesting “nice guy” approach to everything.  Even at his most angry, Andrew seems so calm and relaxed.  It’s also fun to see Selina recklessly go back and forth between being so angry at him and untrusting to fawning at him and turning into a schoolgirl with a crush when she’s in his presence.  We also must mention that Tony Hale is equally terrific in one of his classic goofy character roles.

If you’ve never seen an episode of VEEP before, you’re truly missing out.  It’s definitely one of the top comedies currently on running on television.  Its got a cast of folks that you don’t get to see in prominent roles like this, keeping it fresh and each bringing their own brand of comedy.  While they must put Selina first at all times, this cast is full of character and depth, as every aside type moment is always fun to see who they really are once separated from the VP.  King of all though, is Julia Louis-Dreyfus who has more than earned the 2 Emmys she’s received for her work on this show.  This is definitely the best role she’s had since Seinfeld.  She’s so comfortable and loose as Selina, it’s a true joy to see her sweet, vein and vile.

The comedy and players of VEEP is so good, you really don’t need much to happen to have this show explode with hilarity.  Just a little conflict and a lot of improve can go a long way in this show.  This cast is so talented and sticks to their guns, delivering some excellent lines, laughs and lingo.  Seriously, I hear the phrase “POTUS” in my sleep.  Speaking of that term, the show also has a great and memorable despicable character in that of Jonah played by Timothy Simons.  He’s such a moron that you laugh at and love despising.  He’s kind of like a giant sized, arrogant Paul Sheer.

Season 3 of VEEP is coming up very soon, and I’m very excited for it to start.  This second season continued the greatness that started with season 1 and even added some further dimensions and upp’d its game.  And the finale of season 2 is a doozy full of craziness and uncomfortable situations (those ones that are hilarious and make you cringe all at the same time, one of the show’s best strengths).  I definitely like the concise 10 episode seasons they’ve gone with, as its not even close to being overkill and definitely has left me with wanting just a bit more after a season ends.  If you have HBO and you’re not watching VEEP, you’re doing it wrong.

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Episode Listing

Each episode has its own interface where you can access the commentaries, deleted scene and a preview for the episode.

Disc 1

  • “Midterms”
  • “Signals”
  • “Hostages”
  • “The Vic Allen Dinner”
  • “Helsinki”

Disc 2

  • “Andrew”
  • “Shutdown”
  • “First Response”
  • “Running”
  • “D.C.”

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1:78.1

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.

Depth:  It’s a slightly flatter picture, but does a decent job of being 3 dimensional enough to make for a good image.

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.  Dresses that Selina wears are pronounced and can by some good eye candy.

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: None witnessed.

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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:  They honestly could have gone with a 2.0 track here, as this show deals pretty much soley in conversation.  Effects and volume ranches are near perfect and well defined.

Low Frequency Extension:  Your subwoofer kind of gets the day off here, as the show doesn’t demand or call for much usage here.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Your rear speakers are really only put to work when it comes to score and ambience.  Like I said before this show deals with people speaking front and center.

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.

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Extras 

Veep Season 2 comes with a digital copy.  The extras feature plenty of commentaries and the deleted scenes that also appear on the HBO Go and HBO OnDemand versions of the episodes.

Audio Commentaries

  • Ep. 1: With Creator/Executive Producer Armando Iannucci, Co-Executive Producer/Writer Tony Roche, Producer/Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Dunn and Tim Simons
  • Ep. 3: With Creator/Executive Producer Armando Iannucci, Executive Producers Chris Godsick & Frank Rich, Co-Executive Producer/Writer Tony Roche, Producer/Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kevin Dunn
  • Ep. 8: With Creator/Executive Producer Armando Iannucci, Executive Producer Chris Godsick, Co-Executive Producer/Writer Tony Roche, Producer/Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus And Matt Walsh
  • Ep. 10: With Creator/Executive Producer Armando Iannucci, Co-Executive Producer/Writer Tony Roche, Producer/Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Gary Cole And Matt Walsh

Deleted Scenes – Every episode features plenty of scenes and extra dialogue bits.  The scenes have a little bit of an aesthetic than the final look of the show (no glossy polish).

  • EPISODE 1 Midterms (HD, 3:24)
  • EPISODE 2 Signals (HD, 2:25)
  • EPISODE 3 Hostages (HD, 2:53)
  • EPISODE 4 The Vic Allen Dinner (HD, 4:14)
  • EPISODE 5 Helsinki (HD, 3:27)
  • EPISODE 6 Andrew (HD, 5:31)
  • EPISODE 7 Shutdown (HD, 2:57)
  • EPISODE 8 First Response (HD, 5:33)
  • EPISODE 9 Running (HD, 1:36)
  • EPISODE 10 D.C. (HD, 7:44)

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Summary 

Season 2 of VEEP continues the precedent of comedic brilliance set in the inaugural season and takes it one step further.  This Blu-ray set gives it a wonderful presentation, but does seem to slack a little bit on the extras.  The first season provided a bit more in terms of extras, and these sort of feel like the bare minimum.  The deleted scenes can easily be found if you’re an HBO subscriber, so that leaves us with just 4 commentaries.  Lacking extras still, the show itself is strong enough to recommend adding it to your collection as this show has fun dialogue that flies fast and furious and I’m sure there’s stuff you won’t remember from the first time around that will still play quite well upon repeat viewings.

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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).

1 Response to “VEEP: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Awesome review Brandon! I’m glad to see this one here where it belongs! And it’s the first review of its kind out there on the Web! HBO is going to be proud as you did this box set justice with your in-depth analysis of the series. It’s obvious that you love it and when I become an HBO subscriber next month for GOT, this one will be right behind on my must-see list after I finally, finally check out True Detective. As Paul Morrell always says, rock it!