After several unsuccessful attempts to headline TV shows since 'Seinfeld, 'I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus has finally found her home with 'Veep.' Sure, 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' did moderately well for a bit, but with HBO's vehicle for her, she might just stick around for as long as 'Seinfeld' did. Created by Armando Iannucci (In the Loop), 'Veep' showcases the ins and outs of the faux current Vice President of the United States of America, and it's a blast to watch.
The Vice President in question is Selina Meyer (Dreyfus), who we see in the first episode is a little too excited at a situation that just might leave her President. We follow Meyer's day to day operations, which range from meeting the press, photo ops, traveling around town, yelling at her staff, and a possible romance. All is done with the most polished of comedy writing with some interjections of some truly hilarious improv.
Meyer's staff is like an island of misfit toys who include Communications Director Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh) who has been working for Selina the longest and for the past few years has done the minimum amount of work to keep things running. He will do anything to get out of having more work and responsibility. On the other hand, we have the Deputy Communications Director Dan Egan (Reid Scott), who is a young guy who will do anything to get ahead and actually wants Mike's job. Selina's personal aide is Gary Walsh (the hilarious Tony Hale), who is the VP's right hand man and works almost 24 hours day, which makes him a tad crazy. Then we have Meyer's Chief of Staff, Amy Brookheimer (the lovely Anna Chlumsky), who tries to keep order in and out of the office.
We follow the VP and her crew as they try to keep the American people happy, which involves going to a family owned ice cream shop, a trip to the baseball park, some racist remarks on national television, and dealing with angry bloggers. What's great about these characters is that they're all very self-aware as to their own insecurities and flaws, and everyone works off of those intricacies perfectly. The situations they get themselves into are very funny, and yet realistic as we can relate to them from what we actually see on our favorite news program on politics. The interactions between these characters show great chemistry and seem to reflect genuine fun on-screen as they try to pull off major campaigns and missions, but sometimes fail.
Dreyfus has really found the role she was born to play post 'Seinfeld'. She kind of reminds me of Gene Wilder a bit from 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' as she is ruthless, mean, and scary at times, but can flip a switch and make you fall in love with her kind and sincere ways with her staff. When each episode ends, all you can think is that you want more. Chlumsky is brilliant in her role as well and turns in very solid performances with each episode. I want to see her in more projects immediately. She's come a long way since 'My Girl.' Walsh and Hale are the funniest characters to me, as one just doesn't care anymore about his important job, and the other is crazy enough to laugh at other's misfortunes.
HBO's 'Veep' is a stellar comedy about our political system and the behind the scenes lives of our political figures. Everyone turns in solid performances with some truly amazing and funny dialogue. If you haven't given 'Veep' a chance yet, then I highly recommend you do, as your sides will be hurting from laughter. I for one can't wait to see what Selina and her misfit staff get into next season.
'Veep' season 1 comes with an impressive 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. HBO has once again provided a flawless image that is rich with color and detail. The colors shine vibrantly, which there are tons of patriotic colors of red, blue, and white with some of the browns in the office. They all look amazing and are never over-saturated. The detail is very sharp as you can see every perfect hair on Dreyfus' head and can see every mustache hair on Walsh.
The black levels run deep and inky as well, with flesh tones running very natural and smooth. Closeups reveal facial poring as well as the imperfections in the actor's faces and costumes. And the scenes that take place outside provide natural and good depth. There was no evidence of banding, aliasing, or motion blur. This is a satisfying and top notch video presentation.
This release comes with a great lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix which sounds quite good. This is more of a dialogue driven comedy series, and luckily, the dialogue is crystal clear and very easy to understand. There is quite a bit of ambient noise of people chattering in the background as well as normal office type sounds that echo through the surrounds and rears. There are also quite a few instances of bigger and boastful noises from motorcycles and other vehicles that make the bass rumble a small amount and all of the speakers get a work out. The dynamic range is great and the directionality is spot on throughout each episode. For being a dialogue driven comedy, this audio presentation has a lot of surprises.
'Veep' is one hell of an ensemble comedy for HBO. It's amazingly funny. All of the actors do a tremendous job and the writing is great. The audio and video presentations are top notch and the extras are decent as well. This first season of only eight episodes will only get you revved up for the upcoming second season, not to mention the fact that it's completely re-watchable to get in all the subtle jokes. Highly recommended.