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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: HBO - 2013
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Feature running time: 300 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1, Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Starring: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver, Alex Karpovsky
Directed by: Various
Music by: Michael Penn
Written by: Lena Dunham
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 13, 2013
"Almost getting it kind of together"

Film Synopsis:

Girls is a comic look at the assorted humiliations, awkwardly disastrous plights and rare triumphs of four very different twenty-something NY City girls: Hannah Horvath and her complicated web of NYC friends, most notably pals Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna as well as their respective significant others, exes and interludes.

My Take:

In season Two, Hannah forges ahead with her dream of being a bestselling author and begins seeing someone new, but her enthusiasm is tempered by the responsibility she feels for her now-ex Adam (Adam Driver), convalescing after his S1-finale accident. Let down by work and still lonely after calling things off with Charlie, Marnie (Allison Williams) needs her best friend and former roommate more than ever, but lingering awkwardness – and some surprising turns – only drive a wedge further between them. Meanwhile, still-married Jessa (Jemima Kirke) returns from her honeymoon, supplying Hannah with surprising new ideas. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) takes charge of her new identity as a sexually active woman – and copes with the emotions that come along with it – as Ray (Alex Karpovsky) has an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude toward their relationship.

Girls hit my radar at the last Golden Globe Awards so I requested Season Two for review. It’s an eclectic and contemporary adult comedy that plays sort of like a series of episodic vignettes that revolve around main character Hannah and her small inner circle of friends. Its urban NY City setting is apt for their spiraling misadventures and thematic situations that in any other location might just seem inordinate.

Truth be told Girls probably isn’t a show for everyone. The “problems” facing these young people, many of which are self-generated, won’t resonate with those from a generation removed. Having said that I will admit that it can be entertaining sitting by watching as some of the toxic relationships, interstitial reliance, and perpetual neediness twists, turns and fuels the sometimes barbed interplay among the shows principles. Each of the girls is somehow broken and struggling to attain solace whether it is Hannah’s innate feelings of insecurity, Marnie’s incessant need to fulfill her twofold dream, Jessa’s inability to finish anything, which seems to stem from a dysfunctional childhood, and Shoshanna, the youngest of the bunch who clearly hasn’t figured things out yet. Co-mingled are the men in their lives who quite frankly only serve to exacerbate their respective problems.

Season Two mixes in a few interesting choices for guest stars/characters seem to predominately revolve around Hannah. The most noteworthy took place in episode five which featured Patrick Wilson. I honestly didn’t think that it was that well written but it focused primarily on his character Joshua and Hannah and Lena Dunham’s performance made the episode special. As you might expect from a cable based TV program Girls pulls no punches in its depiction of “adult” behavior featuring graphic nudity, explicit language, sexuality and drug use content. I would say that in most respects it coincided well enough without seeming in your face solely for the sake of gratuitousness although I will admit that seeing Lena Dunham’s naked form probably occurred more often than I cared for.

So, since this is my first experience with Girls the question is was it worth 300 minutes of my time? The answer is yes. Initially I wasn’t so sure that I was going to have tolerance for whining, pining, and needy trappings of their world but the writing is spot on and fresh which kept me not only interested but wanting to see where things would go. This is aided by a solid crop of young actors that breathe credible life into their characters. I am not sure what lies in store for Season Three but I suspect fans can look forward to another rewarding blend of twenty something life forged by angst, relationship melodrama and the quirky comedy that can quite often accompany those moments that only last for a second but tend to resonate much longer.

Season Two’s 10 episodes is evenly divided over two BD-50 dual layer Blu-ray discs with the bonus material divided between them. It comes housed in a fold out cardboard keep case/slipcover with each of the discs secured in their own pushbutton cutout. It’s a little flimsy but functional and gets the job done.

Parental Guide:

This show contains mature themes, sexual content, graphic nudity, drug content and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Girls: The complete Second Season comes to Blu-ray from HBO Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.

This high definition video presentation offers clear, refined images that boast a noticeably de-saturated level of color. This is intentional and conveys he show’s thematic underpinnings. The rendering of fine detail can range from exquisite to moderate. This leaves certain long range and mid level shots with less dimensionality but not to the point of appearing soft. Black levels fluctuate similarly however with the stable contrast and subdued chroma this wasn’t problematic and worked well with the visual style of the series. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts/anomalies.

The multi-channel lossless audio won’t test the limits of your surround sound system but it capably delivers the elements present in the show’s soundtrack. Dialogue is tonally rich with excellent room penetration and defining clarity. Dynamic range and bass response is appropriate in support of the track’s recorded elements. The front channels handle the bulk of the audio and presents an open two dimensional soundstage with the surrounds supplying ambient detail. I think the mix mates perfectly with the source material and sounds great.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) 15 deleted & extended scenes

  • (HD> Two part gag reel – 10 minutes

  • (HD) The making of Girls – An inside look season two – 15 minutes

  • (HD) Charlie Rose interview with Lena Dunham – 29 minutes

  • The New Yorker Festival 2012: Emily Nussbaum interviews Lena Dunham – 75 minutes

  • (HD) Musical performances by Judy Collins & The Swell Season (with special guest Daniel Johnston)

  • (HD) Guys on Girls – Round table discussion with Lena Dunham and the male members of the cast

  • (HD) Inside the episodes – 2 minute episodic breakdown with the creative team (10 segments)

  • (HD) Episode 5 table read – 23 minutes

  • 7 audio commentaries with cast/crew

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Girls is an eclectic and contemporary adult comedy that comes from the mind of writer/star Lena Dunham. While it may not be the type of TV series that has broad appeal it hits the mark for its target audience and perhaps beyond as I find it to be well written, enacted and entertaining. Girls The complete second season comes to Blu-ray from HBO featuring gratifying high definition audio/video mated with a worthwhile supplemental package that provides lots of material for fans to explore. I enjoyed the show and look forward to what lies in store for Season Three.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal )

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen

Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
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