- Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
- Video Codec: AVC MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Spanish DTS Surround Sound 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: A (B? C?)
- Rating: TV-MA
- Run Time: 300 Mins.
- Digital Copies: iTunes
- Discs: 3 (2 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Studio: HBO Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: December 11th, 2012
- List Price: $49.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Girls, in this first season, tells the story of Hannah (Series Creator Lena Dunham), an early twenties liberal arts school graduate living in New York. Believing she has the calling as a successful writer, Hannah aims to write her first memoir — only she has to figure out exactly what she wants to include in it. Thinking this might be easy, her parents give her everything she wants, that goal suddenly comes to a screeching halt after she is cut off financially. Now Hannah must decide what life has in store in for her, all while occasionally having sex with actor/woodworker Adam (Adam Driver) and dealing with the drama of her best friends, Marnie (Allison Williams), Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet). What results is a funny, typically heartfelt offering from Dunham.
While watching the initial episodes of this series, I found myself smiling, laughing and pausing to think about what I had just seen on screen. The subject matter was making my heart and mind think and feel what was occurring on screen. These episodes were successfully mixing humor and serious tones in a manner that is rarely done. Curious to know more about the show, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Judd Apatow (known for Knocked Up and the highly underrated Funny People) was billed as an Executive Producer of the series. Then it all began to click.
Apatow, unlike few others, has the rare ability to inject humor into situations we might not typically find it in. Like his cancer subject in People, the subject matter of trying to find our path in life – all while dealing with physical emotions – is something that everyone goes through in just about every aspect of our lives. In Hannah, we see our self being that early to mid twenty-something-year-old — you know the time when your parents usually let you go — only for you to realize ‘wait a second, I need to figure out how I’m going to make it.” She struggles daily not only to understand who she is mentally, but what her heart wants. In Adam, she sees that person that we’ve all seen before. The one we all want to be with – only to see that he/she doesn’t want the same things we want from them.
Essentially, I could go on and on listing the ways these characters connect to everyday people like you and me. Instead I’ll just end this by saying that Dunham has developed the kind of series with characters whom we want to witness their ups and downs – only if because if make us realize that we all go through what these folks go through.
Like many other HBO series, Girls – The Complete First Season arrives with a 1:78:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer. Again like other HBO releases, this transfer excels on nearly all fronts. Shot using the Arri Alexa cameras, the show has a very natural, clean look and feel to it. Just like the series HD broadcast, the palette rings with accurate colors (particularly that of the deep, dark blacks). Detail is impressive as well, especially that of facial close-ups, which showcases correct contrast levels for a majority of the 1st season (some of the latter episodes show off a somewhat bland look to the characters in some scenes). Outside of that slight issue (which really doesn’t ‘hurt’ the image), I found this transfer to consistently strong.
The series hits the right notes with its provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Dialogue is well reproduced via the center channel, with no instance of drop out. Atmosphere may be a bit subdued at first, but once the show starts up, the ambience of the Brooklyn, New York locale shows off a wide range of effects. Parties, background chatter and cars passing by help to place us right in the middle of all the drama these girls are going through. LFE is deep and immersive at times, offering up solid low-end (especially when it mixes in with the variety of music used during this first season). All in all, I was quite impressed with how smooth and consistent this effort was from HBO.
The supplements provided on this release are featured in High Definition, and are spread across the seasons 2 discs.
- Disc 1:
- Deleted and Extended Scenes – 17:02 worth of scenes (from Episodes 1-5) are shown.
- Table Reads – Excerpts from Episodes 2-5 are shown. I’ve always found table reads to be intriguing, so this was definitely an interesting watch.
- Inside the Episodes – The first 5 episodes (via a 13:48 conversation with Creator Lena Dunham) are given a behind-the-scenes look.
- Gag Reel – 5:22 worth of gags from the first 5 episodes.
- A Conversation – The series main 4 cast members sit down (in 21:37) and chat about what it was like filming this 1st Season.
- Cast Auditions – 4 Auditions are shown. Adam Driver (6:51), Allison Williams (2:21), Andrew Rannells (6:27) and Zosia Mamet (2:59).
- Commentary – The 1st Episode is given a commentary track with Lena Dunham and Executive Producer Jenni Konner.
- Disc 2:
- Deleted and Extended Scenes – 11:40 worth of scenes (from Episodes 6-10) are shown.
- Table Reads – Excerpts from Episodes 7,8 and 10 are shown. I’ve always found table reads to be intriguing, so this was definitely an interesting watch.
- Inside the Episodes – Episodes 6-10 (via a 14:55 conversation with Creator Lena Dunham) are given a behind-the-scenes look.
- Gag Reel – 5:32 worth of gags from Episodes 6-10.
- A Conversation – Series Creator Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow sit down for this 24:40 conversation, one of which is a fascinating listen.
- The Making of Girls – A 16:05 look into the making of the series via rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage.
- Fresh Air Interview with Lena Dunham – Fresh Air is a show on NPR hosted by Terry Gross. Via an audio only interview that runs 36:55, Dunham speaks on the series coming to life.
- Commentaries – Commentaries on Episodes 6, 7, 9 and 10 are available with participants Lena Dunham (all), Judd Apatow (6), Jenni Konner (7), Director Richard Shepard (9) and Allison Williams, Jemima Kirk and Zosia Mamet (10).
The Definitive Word
HBO is the most consistent channel on television with numerous winning series after series. Girls continues this path of successful. Equally winning is the Blu-ray for this First Season with an excellent V/A presentation and many solid features. Highly Recommended as a blind buy (especially for Amazon’s current low price of $22.99.)
Additional Screen Captures