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Californication
The First Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 340 minutes

Starring: David Duchovny, Natascha McElhone, Madeleine Martin, Madeline Zima and Evan Handler

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $39.99

Features: Audio Commentary with David Duchovny, Writer Tom Kapinos and Director Stephen Hopkins, Biographies, Photo Gallery

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Episode Selections, Chapters (6 Chapters per episode), Two-Disc Set

Released: June 17th, 2008

 

 

The first season of "Californication" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and these are consistently excellent transfers. Other than some edge halos, these transfers are pretty much perfect. Fleshtones hit the spot, detail is quite good (check out those Los Angeles exterior shots) and color saturation is pretty bold (and there's no smearing, either). These are very pleasing and impressive transfers, overall. 

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are pretty good. Dialogue is very clear and easy to hear, while the show's music sounds strong through the channels. There isn't that much in the way of discrete surrounds, as lot of the sound effects are more subtle (foosteps, door closings and that kind of thing). The tracks sound pretty warm though, and fidelity is very high, however subwoofer use is pretty non-existant. In all, these are fine tracks that complement the show's character-driven tone. 

Also included are English and Dolby Surround tracks, plus English subtitles.

 

It's not on the box, but if you select the Pilot, you'll see that you can select an Audio Commentary with David Duchovny, Writer Tom Kapinos and Director Stephen Hopkins. This is a very entertaining and chatty track, as the trio share a lot of laughs and seemed to really enjoy creating the pilot. In-between all the jokes, there's a lot of anecdotes revealed: shooting locations, the music, praise for the cast and crew, discussion of things in the script, and much more - including a somewhat revealing mistake and how Showtime insisted in keeping in an amusing movie theater scene, while the producers wanted it out. I can't stress enough how enjoyable this commentary is - it's a must listen for any fan of the series, and I wish the set had more commentaries.

The second disc also has some cast Biographies and a Photo Gallery. Also, somehow it's a "bonus feature" to win a trip to Mexico. Blah.

 

"Californication" is a bit on the raunchy side, and may not be for everybody, but most should find it to be a pretty funny and well-written show. The series also features a great ensemble, featuring the wry David Duchovny. As far as a DVD set, this is pretty good: the episodes look excellent, the 5.1 mixes are decent and the sole commentary is a blast to listen to. This is a series that's definitely worth checking out.