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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Mystery > Crime > Character Study > Women > Family > Comedy > Relationships > Sex > Cable TV > Big Little Lies/Crashing: The Complete First Season/Girls: The Complete Sixth & Final Season (2017/all HBO Blu-ray sets)

Big Little Lies/Crashing: The Complete First Season/Girls: The Complete Sixth & Final Season (2017/all HBO Blu-ray sets)

Picture: B+/B+/B Sound: B+/B+/B Extras: B/B/B- Episodes: B/B/B-

When HBO had a few shows not do as well as usual, press outlets went overboard in saying the network was in some kind of trouble. This was as silly as it was wrong, very much so, as the following shows demonstrate...

Big Little Lies

Director Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild) unites Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley for the new murder mystery from HBO, Big Little Lies (2017). Based on the New York Times Bestselling novel by Liane Moriarty, the show manages to keep you guessing throughout and is very easy to get sucked into.

The cast also includes Alexander Skarsgard, Emmy-nominee Laura Dern (who has really made an impressive comeback lately), Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz, James Tupper and Jeffrey Nordling. Big Little Lies is written for television and created by David E. Kelley (seven-time Emmy winner for Picket Fences, L.A. Law).

Set in Monterey, California, the series centers around three very different Mothers all with very different home lives and become friends in an unlikely circumstance. When a young girl has marks on her neck at school a child is blamed. After this several other things unravel, ultimately resulting in murder. The scariest aspect is that anything in this show could easily become reality.

Episodes include Somebody's Dead, Serious Mothering, Living The Dream, Push Comes To Shove, Once Bitten, Burning Love, and You Get What You Need.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen ratio of 1.78:1 and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 track, the presentation on disc is an improvement over the original television broadcast. There are lots of close-ups through where facial detail is on point. The image has a very cinematic look and is beautifully photographed and colored.

A Digital UV copy is also included.

Special Features...

Six "Inside the Episode" pieces

Exclusive extended "About Big Little Lies" piece featuring never-before-seen cast interviews

Behind-the-scenes footage

The acting and filmmaking here is on point and up to HBO's high standards. Recommended.

Crashing: The Complete First Season

Judd Apatow's new HBO comedy series centers around the world of stand up comedy through the eyes of comedian Pete Holmes. While struggling to make a name for himself on stage (inspired by his true life story), Pete comes home to find out that his young wife (Lauren Lapkus) has cheated on him with another man. Now out on the road, Pete is forced to focus on his struggling career of stand-up comedy in modern New York City.

Along the way he crosses paths with Arte Lange, T.J. Miller, George Basil and other comedians who help him gain experience and learn life lessons. Similar to the other TV show about stand up comedy, Louie, the show has equal parts funny and equal parts drama.

Other comedy heavyweights who also guest star in Season One include Jim Norton (Louie), Hannibal Burress (Broad City) and George Basil (Flaked).

8 episodes span two Blu-ray discs and include Arte Lange, The Road, Yard Sale, Barking, Parents, Warm-Up, Julie, and The Baptism.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 track the presentation is a bit better than the original broadcast. The lighting and image is pretty natural throughout and not very stylized, so the show has a feeling that it is happening in the normal world. Also included is a digital UV copy.

Special Features....

Guest Star Fan Club - Pete Holmes talks about his experience working with comedians Artie Lange, T.J. Miller, Hannibal Buress, and Sarah Silverman, all of whom guest starred in Season 1 of Crashing.

Comedy Extras - Enjoy the comedy stylings of T.J. Miller, Aparna Nancherla, and Pete Holmes as they perform their hysterical scenes from Season 1.

About Crashing - Get the hilarious lowdown on Crashing with star Pete Holmes and executive producer Judd Apatow.

The Art of Crashing - Hear what it takes to make it in the comedy business from Pete Holmes and his comic cohorts in this behind-the-scenes featurette.

If you're a fan of Funny People and Apatow's other work, you may want to check this series out.

Girls: The Complete Sixth & Final Season

As one Apatow-produced show begins, another ends with the Sixth & Final Season of Girls, Lena Dunham's often funny and even groundbreaking comedy series about womanhood, friendship, family, love, sex, embarrassment and crazy moments. If you are not up to speed on the show, here's the links to our coverage of all the previous seasons...











Like Family Guy, the show has zero fear over the top, gross, even inappropriate moments of humor, situations and madness, which leads to as many hits as it does misses. Unlike the animated series' unique trip through the worlds of pop culture and Americana gone insane, Girls has to stick with its characters and has done a great job on that count for the most part. However, last season showed the series was starting to run out of steam and ideas, as well as becoming overlapping and a bit repetitive. Thus, it was no surprise this would be the last season.

The first few episodes lag like the previous season, then the show shifts back into where it worked best to begin with and the makers are able to bring all the characters and subplots (including a few that strained/strain the honesty and credibility the show announced from its pilot it would never do) together to end it on an amusing, even totally-new situational note. Needless to say you can believe the cast because they had amazing chemistry off the bat and to avoid any possible spoilers, I will not list the episode titles.

However, I'm glad the show ended on a better note than it looked like it might otherwise and fans can be relived it did not end on a really bad note, which it could have after the worst of the prior season. Just give this season a chance to get warmed up.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 image and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 tracks on each show look as good as the other series to me, but I am not as overly impressed by playback performance as my colleague is. However, I would add that Girls is one of the very vest HD-video shot TV series to date without looking phony, tampered with, degraded or styled in a way that says 'lame' to the viewer. That is more of a victory than you might think and assures the makers that the show will hold up visually for a very very long time.

More 'Inside The Episodes' pieces are joined by Digital Copy of cyber and other iTunes devices of the shows, while last Blu-ray also offers Favorite Moments featurettes, extended final episode, audio commentary on that episode by Dunham, Apatow and co-producer Jenni Konner and a two-part retrospective on the history, success and end of the series.

Sad to see it end, but it is an accomplished work that will hold up and everyone involved can be proud of. I cannot say that about most of the TV shows of late in a glut of some shows that are truly horrible, some of which somehow have an audience. Girls is at least a minor classic in TV history and should be really seriously thought of in the same tradition of important milestones like I Love Lucy, That Girl, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, Rhoda, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and even the better parts of Laverne & Shirley.

It is that special.

- James Lockhart & Nicholas Sheffo (Girls)



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