HBO // 2009 // 326 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // June 28th, 2010
Life changes. Friends don't.
Well, it's official. I'm officially out of things to say about HBO's Entourage. Not that I'm entirely to blame, as Entourage is out of things to say about Entourage, too. For those of you keeping score or who believe in the "jumping the shark" phenomenon, this is the season where it happened for Entourage.
For one reason or another, I've actually reviewed nearly every season of Entourage for DVD Verdict, and in preparation for writing this review for Entourage: The Complete Sixth Season, I decided to go back and re-read all of my past season write-ups. The reviews I've written do a pretty good job of tracing the steady decline of the series: I started out as a defender of a show often accused of celebrating vapidity and douchiness, but ever so slowly the cracks start to appear. By my review of Season Five, I'm holding out hope but willing to admit that the show had pretty much become what everyone had accused it of being. Well, here it is, Season Six already, and there's not much about Entourage that connects it to the show I once enjoyed. What was once a series about male friendship and loyalty, which took shots at the movie industry while still providing decent escapist entertainment -- after all, it probably is fun to be a rich movie star -- has by now become a bad imitation of itself.
Here's the biggest problem with Season Six of Entourage: there are no stakes. While I recognize that the series has never been about high drama, there was still enough on the line in the world that it creates that we could invest ourselves in the action. Vince's movie is a flop. He can't work with a co-star because they have a past. He and Eric have a falling out that threatens to end their friendship. Within the realm of Entourage, these are real problems and were treated with some urgency and respect. This season, however, we're expected to care about the most inane things as though they actually matter -- so much so that every episode ends on a laughable "cliffhanger" meant to carry us into the next show on the edge of our seats. Eric calls his girlfriend the wrong name! Turtle's famous actress girlfriend (Jamie-Lynn Sigler of The Sopranos, playing herself) has to go shoot a TV show in another country! Eric's girlfriend is jealous! Vince might have a stalker and has to hire an expensive security team! Eric wants to get back with his ex-girlfriend Sloan (Emanuelle Chriqui, Taking Chances). The only storyline that works all season involves Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold and his friend Andrew Klein, an agent played by Gary Cole (Pineapple Express), who begins an affair with another younger agent (Autumn Reeser, Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball). It's the only time all season where you feel like characters have something to lose, both personally and professionally, and the only storyline that lets Jeremy Piven cut loose and really be Ari.
Watching Season Six back for the purposes of this review, it didn't bother me as much as it did when I watched it during its run on HBO last summer. I suppose that's because I knew just how slight and inconsequential it all is, and could adjust my expectations accordingly. Knowing it was a disappointing season and that the show had lost its mojo, I could at least appreciate it as a slick distraction. That doesn't mean it's very good. I mean, Vince ceases to even be a character his season. He never works. He never does anything but hang out, be rich and have sex with any girl he wants. Entourage has usually been at its best when it focuses on the business of making movies, whether it's the production of James Cameron's Aquaman or the collapse of Smokejumpers. To bail on that entirely in favor of trite relationship non-drama is to miss what makes the show at all compelling.
HBO has always done a good job with the A/V presentations of their series, and Entourage: The Complete Sixth Season is no exception. The 12 episodes are all presented a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer with a good amount of clarity, accurate colors and overall warmth. The noise and grain present are a function of the way that the show is shot and not a faulty transfer; otherwise, there are no visible flaws or defects. If you've been happy with the DVD releases of previous season of Entourage, there's no reason you won't like this one. The 5.1 audio is equally satisfying, delivering the dialogue clearly and giving a boost to the omnipresent hip-hop soundtrack.
Unfortunately, like a lot of past Entourage season on DVD, The Complete Sixth Season does skimp a little on the bonus content. There are commentary tracks on three episodes, and while they're breezy and sometimes fun they're not exactly packed with content (like Entourage itself, I guess). There's a standard behind-the-scenes featurette, "Life at the Top," about how being on Entourage is awesome, plus a short behind-the-scenes on the racing episode called "A Day at the Speedway." Both are a bit of a bore, and, if you're anything like me, may only help increase your hostility towards the show. The best extra feature is a fake PSA by Matt Damon (who plays himself in the season finale), which works better than most of what made the actual show this season.
It's summer, which means that Entourage is starting up its seventh season. The series is going to have to do some major course correction if it's going to save itself. I haven't given up on it yet, and despite this lackluster sixth season I'll be giving Season Seven a try (most likely because it's summer, and what else is on?). Besides, there is one good joke in Entourage: The Complete Sixth Season. When Vince thinks he has a stalker (the resolution of which is terrible, by the way), his perpetual loser brother Johnny Drama picks up some guns for protection. When asked where he got all the firepower, Drama responds "John Milius was having a garage sale." It's a great inside-Hollywood joke, even if I'm not sure the target audience for Entourage knows who John Milius is.
Review content copyright © 2010 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 326 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Official Website