I'm a casual viewer of 'Entourage.' I know the characters and most of the large story arcs, but I don't catch every episode. I think that's one of the great things about this show, it's unusual in today's world of serialized TV, where standalone episodes are almost non-existent, that there's a serialized program that can be enjoyed off and on just as easily.
Sure, each episode of 'Entourage' leads to the next, carrying on the same story arcs and characters, but it's a breeze to follow. All that's needed is a decent understanding of the main characters. Once you have that, feel free to jump into season six of HBO's hit show. That's right, you can jump right in and still understand what's going on.
Season six sees the guys growing and changing more than they ever have, except for Vince (Adrian Grenier), who really takes a backseat here. His main job is to hit on hot chicks wherever he goes and bring them home. While Vince is mired in his own self-indulgence, waiting for his new film to start shooting, the rest of the gang have some pretty interesting and life-changing story arcs happening.
Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is dating real-life Jamie-Lynn Sigler from 'The Sopranos.' I've always been amazed at how 'Entourage' is able to blend a world of fictional characters into a world of non-fiction. Trying to get my head around a fake romance between fictional Turtle and very real Jamie-Lynn is hard. Not just because this is Turtle we're talking about, but because the entire situation seems like it may tear a hole in the space time continuum. Turtle is changing, and it's a fascinating metamorphosis to watch. Maybe he realizes how lucky he is, or maybe he's just realized there's more to life than smoking weed and hanging out with his obscenely rich friends, but he's going back to college.
Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) continues to try and claw his way out of his brother's shadow. Thing is, Johnny never resents Vince for his fame and fortune. The two get along better than ever. Johnny is faced with a few life-altering decisions in this season. Should he continue with his hit TV series, the fictional NBC drama 'Five Towns?' Should he try and get a part with in the new 'Melrose Place' that's being produced? Or should he take some time off and just relax? Johnny has always been my least favorite character on the show, but this season made me think twice about that. He's moved ahead of Vince, that's for sure.
Eric (Kevin Connolly) still has the hots for Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), but he's dating other people. He meets a young attractive girl named Ashley, who may or may not be completely insane. Eric's main story arc focuses on how he's trying to make a name for himself. Not content living off of Vince's fame anymore, Eric has some choices to make. Does he continue to grow his company The Murphy Group? Or does he look to get a job at another agency? I like Eric, his constant mutterings about how much he loves Sloan get tiresome at times, but it's easy to see why he's so enamored with her.
Last, but definitely not least is Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven). Ari may be going through the grandest transformation of all the characters on the show. Oh, don't worry he's still the loud-mouthed cocky S.O.B. he's always been, but season six has him dealing with a myriad of problems ranging from his best friend and co-worker (played by Gary Cole) having an affair with an agent in the office to his dutiful assistant Lloyd wanting to be an agent. There are far too many great Ari scenes in this season to pick out a favorite, but him and Jeffery Tambor arguing on the golf course as Tambor kicks his ball down the fairway is very near the top. Much of this season focuses on Ari and his goal to become the biggest and baddest agent in the world.
This season isn't without its flood of guest appearances from the rich and the famous. LeBron James, Matt Damon, Bono, and Tom Brady pop up. Matt Damon, continuously hounding Vince for money to be donated to his charity, is the best cameo by far.
'Entourage' is still a fun ride, even after six years. It's a show that doesn't require much thought or investment, but it does provide quite a bit of enjoyment. If you stopped watching a while back like I did, then season six is as good as any place to jump back in.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
The season six set of 'Entourage' comes on three 50GB Dual-Layer discs. The discs are housed in a fold out with each disc having its own dock. The fold out slides nicely into the cardboard container provided.
The disc menus can be tricky to navigate. When you select episodes they appear in the upper right, but the bottom of the screen is where you pick whether or not to play the episode. To toggle between episodes you have to use the left and right buttons on your remote, but it's setup strangely, so that whenever you use left and right it toggles through the episodes even when you're on the bottom of the screen. It's all really confusing.
HBO's 1080p transfer sporting an AVC encode does the show justice, but has a few hiccups along the way.
For the most part, the Blu-rays for season six have a very clean and detailed look to them. Close-ups feature great detail, and the surroundings of opulent Southern California are presented in all their sun-drenched glory. Well lit interior and daytime shots are the best of the bunch. Darker shots, not so much. The heavy grain from the original TV airings is still here, but it hinders the darker scenes with busy noise and some very soft shots. I'm not hating on the heavy grain, I'm just saying these aren't scenes you'd use for demo material that's all. There's one scene in the season premiere that stands out as problematic. Sloan is running and a skyline of Los Angeles is shown in the background. It may be a combination of L.A. smog and the heavy grain, but the shot just looks terrible. It's the only bad shot of the entire season though. Ringing does crop up on more than one occasion, and source noise like blips and specks flare up rarely, but they're there.
'Entourage' season six is still one of the better TV transfers I've seen, and should keep fans happy.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 presentation is very solid, giving another great audio presentation from HBO.
In a dialogue-centric seires, the audio still finds time to impress. The numerous club and party scenes provide a heavy and regular helping of thumping bass. The LFE, however, never drowns out the voices. All the dialogue is perfectly intelligible. Sadly, the rear speakers are left to hang silently on your wall. They're never really engaging, even during crowded scenes on movie lots or in populated clubs. Much of the soundfield is harbored up front. This isn't a bad thing, but it does provide for a less than stellar surround sound experience.
Like the video, 'Entourage's audio does a lot of things right, but it gets just enough wrong that it can't be compared to other great audio presentations.
I'm a fan of 'Entourage,' albeit a casual one. Even though I haven't watched every last episode of the series, the sixth season is a great place to get started again. The gang is going through some radical changes, and combined with the witty writing and slam-bang dialogue delivery from the likes of Ari, season six is hilarious fun. The video and audio are slightly above average, giving us a good example of what a TV show should look and sound like on Blu-ray. The special features are thin, but enough thought was put into them to warrant a nice score. Overall, this is a great season of a fun-loving series. Recommended.