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

Veep-S3Julia Louis-Dreyfus reprises her 3-time Emmy®-winning role as Vice President Selina Meyer in the sharp and satirical third and most-watched season of the comedy series VEEP.  Hilariously skewering the whirlwind day-to-day existence of the Vice President’s office and Washington politics at-large, the series continues to prove that in Washington, even the most banal decisions can have ripple effects, with unexpected and far-reaching consequences. The series, created by Oscar® nominee Armando Iannucci (In the Loop), features an outstanding ensemble cast that includes Emmy® winner Tony Hale, Emmy® nominee Anna Chlumsky as well as Matt Walsh, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Sufe Bradshaw, Kevin Dunn and Gary Cole.

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Season 

After the revelation at the end of Season 2 that the president will not run for re-election, Season 3 begins with Selina, eyeing a promotion, courting Iowa Caucus voters at a signing of her new book.  Soon, however, she learns that the Secretary of Defense, war veteran Danny Chung, is resigning – setting the stage for a possible clash with her nemesis in the presidential primaries.

Its the end of March, so that must mean another season of VEEP is here on Blu-ray in anticipation of the upcoming season.  VEEP is a show that hit the ground running since it started and has been really confident of its material and performers.  This third season just continues its stride of greatness that hopefully sees no end.

Selena does a lot of traveling in this season and we get to see plenty of her awkward interactions with regular people.  We also get to continue to delve further into her conceitedness as she feels she is on the verge of becoming president of the United States.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus pretty much feels like an Emmy-lock every time she’s onscreen.  She’s one of the greatest comedic actors ever, and its such a charm to see her getting one of her best roles along with some of her best material material she’s ever had.

But, she’s not alone.  Her supporting cast is a wonderful mix of “scum and villainy”.  Now, if you watch VEEP, its no surprise that Jonah Ryan is clearly the scene stealing favorite of the show.  Of course people say his character is “the worst”, but in terms of comedic entertainment worst = the best!  Timothy Simon is going to be one of the break outs of this show when its all said and done.  And this season sees him take a leap to having an incredibly hilarious subplot where he’s let go from the White House and takes to internet “shock jock” video blogging (Ryan-Tology).  Oh, and there was a moment with him that had me laughing for weeks on end thinking about it (“Sittin’ on tha coe-na!” “WHA CHU SAY!?!”).

The rest of the cast rounds out with terrific turns on their own right.  Each of them have nice little stories of both support and backstabbing, which is what works and makes the show so damn devious and enjoyable.  What’s very funny is that on a bonus feature, the Governor of Maryland says this show is the most accurate show about politics in D.C. that you’re going to find.  That’s hilarious, complimentary and scary at the same time.  But, I think the show also resembles a lot of workplace stuff that folks can relate to as well.

VEEP shows no signs of letting up in its third season.  It also makes huge jump in its finale to raise the stakes for big time for the upcoming fourth season.  And you know what?  As long as this cast stays primarily intact, its going to be just fine and go on as HBO wants, delivering quality comedy scenarios, one-liners and characters.  Its also part of the best 2-hours of television during the year which sees it paired with Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley.  Hell of a night, right?  And to think at the same time over on AMC, Mad Men is airing.  That’s a lot of GREAT TV right there.

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Episodes

“Some New Beginnings”

“The Choice”

“Alicia”

“Clovis”

“Fishing

“Detroit”

“Special Relationship”

“Debate”

“Crate”

“New Hampshire”

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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.  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.

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

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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:  This is a very “chatty” show, so pretty much all the action is up front and centered.  There is some solid ambiance and volume shifts accurate to picture.

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: The Complete Third Season comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the episodes.  The cover features an episode list and additional promo photos on the reverse side.

Disc 1

Deleted Scenes

  • Episode 1: Some New Beginnings (HD, 3:30)
  • Episode 2: The Choice (HD, 1:38) 
  • Episode 3: Alicia (HD, 1:12) 
  • Episode 4: Clovis (HD, 1:39) 
  • Episode 5: Fishing (HD, 1:52) 

Disc 2

Audio Commentary

  • Episode 7: Special Relationship – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Anna Chlumsky, Chris Addison (Producer), Christopher Godsick (Executive Producer) and Tony Hale.
  • Episode 8: Debate – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole, Matt Walsh
  • Episode 9: Crate – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Matt Walsh, Chris Addison (Director), Frank Rich (Executive Producer), Tony Hale.
  • Episode 10: New Hampshire – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Dunn, Sufe Bradshaw, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons.

Deleted Scenes

  • Episode 6: Detroit (HD, 2:24)
  • Episode 7: Special Relationship (HD, 1:59) 
  • Episode 8: Debate (HD, 2:28) 
  • Episode 9: Crate (HD, 1:31) 

Governor’s Visit (HD, 2:56) – A little quick piece about filming in Maryland, featuring a supportive interview from the Governor.

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Summary 

VEEP continues to be one of, if not the best comedy on television.  Its certainly one of my personal favorites.  It’s an expert at uncomfortable situations and having a cast of dastardly characters coexisting in close quarters with one another.  HBO does another wonderful job in its presentation here as both audio and video are top notch.  The extras aren’t much, but they are a quality collection of deleted scenes and commentaries.  This is a must to have in your collection is you’re a fan of the show or just have a good sense of humor.

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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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