has an average rating of 8.3 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on TWO 50gb discs
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are short and sweet like the season
– 220 minutes
– HBO (Warner)
Overall Verdict – Worth A Look
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Show Itself, “Bored to Death“, was created by Jonathan Ames. In an almost Charlie Kaufman-like way (ala “Adaptation“) Ames has written himself in as the main character. The only difference is that this is a television show and episodic and not a full-length film that has to end within 2 hours or so. Plus, the characters are entirely different and the plot is as well. It’s just similar, that’s all, not accusing Ames of copying Kaufman or anything. Cast to play Ames is Jason Schwartzman, best known for his debut role in 1998 film “Rushmore“. The character of Jonathan Ames, on the show, is a writer (much like the real one) except he has an obsession with detective novels, marijuana and white wine — not to say the real-life Ames doesn’t as well. The show’s plot really revolves around mainly Ames so we’ll first discuss his situation. He’s just been dumped by his girlfriend, make that ex-girlfriend, who left him for the reasons I mentioned above about his characteristics and hobbies. He’s left bored (hence the title) so he takes the time to actually place an ad on CraigsList for his unprofessional private detective skills. It doesn’t take very long at all before he gets his first client is off on his first adventure and in the process of getting over his ex.
Joining the cast of characters with Ames you have his best friend “Ray Hueston” (played by Zach Galifianakis of “The Hangover” fame) and Ames’ occasional boss “George Christopher” (played by Ted Danson of former TV’s “Cheers” fame). These two are some pretty interesting characters. Ray (Galifianakis’ character) is an artist / writer of a comic book online. Jonathan’s boss George (Danson’s character) is constantly wanting him to smoke pot with him and partake in strange, crazy adventures as well as the occasional writing gig. That’s really pretty much the whole jist of what this show is in between the detective work, unlicensed of course.
All 8 Episodes of the first season of the show are included. They are as follows.
- Episode 1 – “Stockholm Syndrome“
- Episode 2 – “The Alanon Case“
- Episode 3 – “The Case of the Missing Screenplay“
- Episode 4 – “The Case of the Stolen Skateboard“
- Episode 5 – “The Case of the Lonely White Dove“
- Episode 6 – “The Case of the Beautiful Blackmailer“
- Episode 7 – “The Case of the Stolen Sperm“
- Episode 8 – “Take A Dive“
“Bored to Death” is a show I have to admit I was really up watching, just for who the primary cast was because of my love of their previous work. Then you have the lead character on this show who I honestly can identify with A LOT in ways, aside from the CraigsList detective ads and ex-girlfriend situation. That’s a bit too much about my own personal life, I’m turning myself into a “Jonathan Ames” here out of my own boredom and lack of sleep and overwhelmingly overactive imagination that comes from watching movies, TV shows and whatnot constantly.
Now, back to the show. This show is funny and downright absurd at times. “Bored to Death” has got an excellent cast and they really make it interesting each time around (here by of which I mean episode). Plus would it seem HBO likes it as much as I do, as the show’s about to start its second season. This show is definitely “Worth A Look” and that’s why it gets that for the verdict, plus it’s also to reflect the somewhat solid video and audio presentations as well as bonus materials — which I discuss below.
Video Quality on this release is in 1080p using the VC-1 codec on TWO BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Discs) in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
According to IMDb‘s technical specifications listing, this show was shot in Hi-Def (digitally) using the Arri D-21 camera. One thing that stuff filmed digitally in Hi-Def usually suffers from is interframe deformation; this type of flickering you’ll notice mostly on fabrics of cast members and such in combination with the lighting conditions. This can be rather distracting in all honestly and it sadly is something I have to demote the video quality’s score from; so I’ll start things out by saying that already. There is a way to make this interframe deformation (flickering) problem less bothersome and it involves switching the resolution of your Blu-ray Disc Player from 1080i/p to 720p. I’m not exactly sure why this works, but it does, we’ve tested it on numerous titles — all of which happen to oddly usually end up being premium cable TV shows which were shot digitally in Hi-Def. The black level here is pretty much solid, the color palette is vibrant and the fleshtones are accurate. There’s some obvious digital noise in some shots more-so than others, mainly in the darker (dim lit) scenes. The amount of detail here is really impressive at times but just not consistent enough sadly. Also one thing I’d like to mention on a positive note is the opening animation for the title (intro credits) sequence, which just looks amazing in Hi-Def.
Disc 1 uses 37.0GB total. Disc 2 uses 40.1GB total.
All and all here, it’s a real shame that some episodes suffer more-so from that interframe deformation (flickering) problem on fabric that I mentioned above. Still though, this has a somewhat solid video presentation and if you can manage to use my trick (also discussed above) to turn that flicker down a tad, you’ll agree with me on that. This earns a solid “4 Star Rating” for overall video quality but if it were not for the problems, it could have easily been worthy of at least a half star higher rating. Here’s hoping they fix this next season.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. Coming as a fan of Jason Schwartzman‘s music, especially his solo project Coconut Records, it really excited me to learn that he did the opening theme song for the show. It’s not just my bias for his music that I say this but that theme song is by far the real highlight of this lossless 5.1 mix and you get reminded of it each episode. There’s a great amount of rear channel presence for the sound of the pages turning in the animation, a great amount of LFE (bass) for the song and such. The vocals, in this case are distinct and driven just like dialogue from primarily the center channel while the guitars and drums and such get mixed into the front left and right speakers. That’s just for the theme song though. The show itself is highly dialogue driven, that is for sure and I’m happy to report that dialogue is delivered very distinctly throughout and requires no volume adjustments of any sort. There’s the occasional music in the show and that gets a pretty nice presentation with mostly the rear channels getting this sound of reverb or such that adds to the atmosphere of the scene(s). The mix is solid, it’s nothing that will amaze you (aside from the theme song) but it’s enough to leave you pleased and earn this a “4 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus Materials are presented in 1080i/p High Definition (HD) with DTS 2.0 Stereo @768kbps sound — unless otherwise noted below.
Disc 1 includes:
- Audio Commentary on Episode 1 “Sockholm Syndrome” with Jason Schwartzman, Jonathan Ames (Writer/Series Creator), and Alan Taylor (Director)
- Audio Commentary on Episode 3 “The Case of the Missing Screenplay” with Jason Schwartzman, Jonathan Ames (Writer/Series Creator), and Michael Lehmann (Director)
- Deleted Scenes (4:16 – HD) from episodes 3 and 4 are presented.
Disc 2 includes:
- Audio Commentary on Episode 6 “The Case of the Beautiful Blackmailer” with Jason Schwartzman, Jonathan Ames (Writer/Series Creator), and Adam Bernstein (Director)
- Audio Commentary on Episode 8 “Take A Dive” with Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Jonathan Ames (Writer/Series Creator)
- Deleted Scenes (2:52 – HD) from episode 8 are presented. Two deleted scenes from this episode.
- “Jonathan Ames’s Brooklyn” (12:33 – 1080i HD) oddly enough features DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio sound.
- “Making of Bored to Death” (19:58 – 1080i HD)
Overall, the bonus materials are pretty short and sweet, much like this season of the show. You get a total of four audio commentaries, four deleted scenes (in HD) and two excellent featurettes — both of which are around 15 to 20 minutes in length each and in 1080i Hi-Def. Fans of the show will be rather pleased with what they get here in terms of supplemental material.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.