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Blu-ray Review: Trio of HBO Comedies in ‘Bored to Death,’ ‘How to Make It in America,’ ‘Hung’

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CHICAGOHBO finally broke through with their first major new comedy successes since “Entourage” this year with the amazing “Girls” and “Veep.” There were a few growing pains between the critical darlings however, a trio of shows that never quite took off like their breakthrough network hoped they would. And yet there are things to like about at least two of them and they probably have some loyal audiences who want to own them on Blu-ray. Now they can.

Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012
Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012
Photo credit: HBO

“Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season”

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

The third and final season of Jonathan Ames’ hipster comedy is typically inconsistent for a show that never quite found the right rhythm. Having said that, there were always elements of “Bored to Death” that worked, most notably a spectacular cast led by Jason Schwartzman, Zack Galifianakis, and Ted Danson. All three have stellar comic timing and HBO ends this show’s brief run with a strong Blu-ray set. It may have never been great but it wasn’t that bad either.

Synopsis:
Writer turned private-eye Jonathan Ames was last spotted duking it out in a dean’s office, (almost) saving Super Ray from a stalker, and endorsing George’s decision to resign from his glossy magazine gig. This season Jonathan will come face-to-face with “furries,” hang with Dick Cavett, and go on the ultimate oedipal investigation!

StarClick here to buy “Bored to Death”

Special Features:
o Audio Commentaries
o Deleted Scenes
o Outtakes
o Inside The Episodes

How to Make It in America: The Complete Second Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012
How to Make It in America: The Complete Second Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012
Photo credit: HBO

“How to Make It in America: The Complete Second Season”

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

This “Entourage” mimic about young people trying to make it in New York (as opposed to young people trying to make it in California) never worked for me. The writing wasn’t strong enough and, most importantly perhaps, the characters and actors who played them were never likable. Some of the supporting cast was strong (Luis Guzman rules) but I never cared what happened to these people and the humor wasn’t strong enough to make that problem worth overlooking.

Synopsis:
Who will you become to get what you want? The relentless pursuit of the American Dream continues for the enterprising duo Ben (Bryan Greenberg) and Cam (Victor Rasuk) in the whirlwind second season of How To Make It In America. Following their business trip to Japan, aspiring fashion magnates Ben and Cam pound the New York City pavement with tenacious abandon to get noticed, get ahead and get paid. Among those who rub shoulders with Ben and Cam in and around New York City are Ben’s ex-girlfriend Rachel (Lake Bell), an interior decorator now searching for meaning; Domingo (Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi), a well-connected friend with his own “entrepreneurial” business; David “Kapo” Kaplan (Eddie Kaye Thomas), a hedge-fund manager and high-school acquaintance; and Cam’s cousin Rene (Luis Guzman), an ex-con who is eying his own get-rich scheme.

StarClick here to buy “How to Make It in America”

Special Features:
o Inside The Series
o 3 Days Downtown: A Glimpse Into the Lives Of Three Young Entrepreneurs Trying To find And Hold Onto Success In New York City
o 3 Audio Commentaries With Creator/Executive Producer Ian Edelman, Executive Producer Julian Farino, Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk

Hung: The Complete Third Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012
Hung: The Complete Third Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012
Photo credit: HBO

“Hung: The Complete Third Season”

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

I so wanted “Hung” to work after its frustrating first season because there was a lot to like here but, much like “Bored to Death,” the writing never delivered for the high-caliber cast. When “Hung” works, it’s because of what the great Thomas Jane, the underrated Anne Heche, and the rest of the strong ensemble bring to it. The Blu-ray release is particularly impressive with 4 audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and a ton of featurettes.

Synopsis:
Picking up approximately six months after the end of Season 2, Ray (Thomas Jane) and his unlikely pimp Tanya (Jane Adams) are taking matters into their own hands by opening the “Happiness Consultants Wellness Center for Women” - a front for their gigolo business. Meanwhile, Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff) seeks revenge for stealing her “lifestyle” idea, and transforms a 25-year-old busboy named Jason (Stephen Amell) into a new male hooker to rival Ray. Will Happiness Consultants’ small roster of clients stay loyal to the older, more sensitive Ray, or will they be swayed by the young, hot newcomer?

StarClick here to buy “Hung”

Special Features:
o Never Before Seen Alternate Ending From The Season Finale Episode The Whole Beefalo
o Hung: Inside The Series - Creator/Executive Producers Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin Discuss The Story Arc For This Season
o Wellness Center Tour
o Pimpin’ Aint Easy
o “Where Is Henry Ford” Music Video
o Deleted Scenes
o Four Audio Commentaries With Creator/Executive Producers Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin and Writers Julia Brownell, Drew Lindo, Eduardo Machado, and Micah Schraft

The latest seasons of HBO’s “Bored to Death,” “How to Make It in America,” and “Hung” were released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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