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Portlandia: Season Two Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Unrated
  • Run Time: 220 Mins
  • Discs: 2 (2x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: MVD Visual
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 25th, 2012
  • List Price: $24.95

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:2/5]

Portlandia, starring former SNL cast members Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, is kind of a hard show to really explain. Origin-wise, we look back to 2005 when series creators Armisen and Brownstein started to collaborate on a bunch of Internet skits under the name Thunderant. The skits themselves were based around the city of Portland, Oregon (hence the name of the series) tackling subjects like the Hawthorne District to a random one-man performance in a theater. In 2009, the duo decided to see if the skits could be made into a full time series. Boom, the birth of Portlandia soon occurred. This second season features 10 20+ minute episodes that essentially follows a wide range of actors ranging from Steve Buscemi to Selma Blair (and Armisen and Brownstein too) as they travel throughout the city living each day via varying skits.

It’s not necessarily that I don’t enjoy improv comedy, no that’s not the reason I still can’t find myself getting into the humor of Portlandia. Moreover, it’s that I just don’t find either Armisen or Brownstein funny or entertaining in the slightest sense. Some of their guest actors (like Jeff Goldblum and Edward James Olmos) make their specific scenes funny and chuckle worthy; however, with Armisen and Brownstein dominating this second season, the laughs and humor just weren’t there for me. Portlandia isn’t the kind of series everyone will enjoy or even want to see. The humor is a mix of sometimes quirky, sometimes borderline stupid, the style odd and the jokes weird. Call it a mix of my mood at the time or me just not getting the humor, but I didn’t find anything of real interest here.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The 1:78:1 framed, AVC/MPEG-4 encoded transfer is okay for a smaller budgeted show. The series color palette is quite soft at times featuring a mostly subdued palette. Softer colors like sky grays and blues tend to dominate this transfer. In comparing this to the HD broadcasts, I did find that the Blu-ray does offer up a solid difference with a stronger image, but still not quite the quality we might expect. Grain is kept in check, while there’s no instance of video scrubbing or any other annoyance. All in all, this is 2nd season offers up a slighter improved image.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

The show’s Dolby Digital 2.0 is serviceable for the material at hand. Immediately from the initial opening episode continuing to the final sixth episode, we can see the limitations the sound designers ran into. While dialogue is well reproduced via the front channel, the rest of the track is fairly basic at best. Dynamics are mostly absent, obviously no LFE is present and there’s a lack of atmosphere. I guess one can lay the fault on the budget of the show. Still, I guess I didn’t really expect much so that’s why I was mostly pleased with what was presented. Granted the series is rather low budgeted, but I find the exclusion of a lossless track to be unacceptable.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The included features are shown in HD.:

  • Portlandia The Tour -This runs 3:20 and follows Armisen and Brownstein as they travel to Washington for their 2011-12 tour.
  • Inside Portlandia – Running 22:39, this is a rather solid behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the series.
  • Deleted Scene – One scene is shown, totaling 2:50 in length.
  • Brunch Village: The Director’s Cut – The TV cut ran 22:32, while this Director’s Cut basically doubles the original running time at 45:03. A wide assortment of new scenes are added, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the episode.
  • Fred, Carrie and Jonathan Krisel Commentaries – 4 commentaries are available. “Mixologist”, “One Moore Episode”, “Cool Wedding”, and “Brunch Village.”
  • Excerpt from Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors – 10 pages of the duo’s upcoming book is sampled.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

While the second season release does feature a slightly better video presentation, I still couldn’t find much to enjoy here. Simply put, if you’re a fan of this series, this review will do nothing to deter you in picking this one up.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006LG7ISO[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B0089AJE96[/amazon-product]

Purchase Portlandia: Season Two on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Portlandia, Season 2 - Portlandia

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B006LG7ISO[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B0089AJE96[/amazon-product]

Purchase Portlandia: Season Two on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Portlandia, Season 2 - Portlandia

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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