It's been a year since Vinnie Chase and his loyal band of friends and mischief makers rode off into the Hollywood Hills sunset, and HBO is marking the occasion with the November 6 release of "Entourage: The Complete Series" on DVD and Blu-ray.
Both sets include all 96 episodes (eight seasons) of the Emmy-winning series that was inspired by Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg's move to Hollywood with his own entourage. But, given the series' trademark showcasing of the more glamorous people, places, and things in Los Angeles, the Blu-ray set is worth its heftier price ($299.99 retail, though Amazon.com is currently listing it for less than half that price, at $139.99).
The video quality of each season, presented in a 1:78:1-framed, AVC MPEG-4-encoded transfer rate, is fantastic, with rich colors and textures and a picture quality that, again, showcases how much the look of the show added to the fun of watching it.
The Blu-ray audio quality for the set is also top notch (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), which is most noticeable when another trademark of "Entourage" kicks in: its soundtrack. The show's music supervisors always made selections that perfectly accompanied the action on screen (what fan hasn't spent at least a few dollars at iTunes after discovering a great song in an "Entourage" episode?) -- right down to the theme song (Jane's Addiction's "Superhero").
Both the DVD and Blu-ray sets also include nearly two dozen bonus features, with interviews with Wahlberg and the cast, cast commentaries on individual episodes, the show's Museum of Television & Radio panel, and the trailer for Season 4's fake movie, "Medellin."
All the bonus features were released on previous sets (though this complete series package marks the Blu-ray debut of Seasons 1 through 5), but the opportunity to own them in one attractively packaged collection makes a marathon session of "Entourage" viewing a no-brainer.
Among the most fun bonus material in the sets: "Hollywood Sunset: A Farewell to Entourage," a Season 8 featurette in which the cast (Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon, and Jerry Ferrara), series creator Doug Ellin, and Wahlberg sit down to chat about the seven years they spent making the show, and "The Celebrity Factor," a Season 5 featurette that focuses on another of the series' trademarks, its impressive list of celebrity guest stars.
"That's what makes 'Entourage' what it is," says Ferrara in the featurette, which touches on how the celebs helped make the show about Hollywood more authentic, and how the best guests were the ones who didn't take themselves too seriously. Seth Green, for example, recalls how his real-life friendship with Connolly led to a bit of improvisation that sparked a storyline that found Green and Connolly's Eric as fierce rivals.
The list of other famous types who popped in for cameos and sometimes bigger roles throughout the show's eight seasons includes Martin Scorsese, Jimmy Kimmel, Larry David, Val Kilmer, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Hefner, James Cameron, Peter Dinklage, U2, Brooke Shields, Paul Haggis, Sofia Vergara, M. Night Shyamalan, Snoop Dogg, Peter Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Michael Phelps, 50 Cent, Aaron Sorkin, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Eminem, Sean Combs, Jessica Simpson, Alex Rodriguez, and Wahlberg himself.
One name missing from the list of "Entourage" guest stars, however, is the actor Ellin had named as his dream guest during a 2005 interview: Vince Vaughn.
Other noteworthy TV DVD releases this week:
"Wolf Lake: The Complete Series" (eOne Entertainment)
Only 10 episodes of the 2001-02 series were produced, but the adventures of a Seattle policeman (Lou Diamond Phillips) who unwittingly moves to a town inhabited by werewolves aired on CBS long enough to draw a fanbase. With the current fervor for all things werewolf-related, "Wolf Lake" might have just been a little ahead of its time; one of its stars was Paul Wesley, then a teen wolf, now a teen vampire on the vamps-and-wolves drama "The Vampire Diaries."
"Sesame Street: Old School, Volume 3: 1979-84" (Warner Home Entertainment)
The latest single-disc release in the "Old School" series includes a true "Street" classic, Thanksgiving Day 1983's "Goodbye, Mr. Hooper," in which Big Bird finds out that the beloved store owner (played by actor Will Lee) has died. The disc's six hours of episodes and bonus material also includes an interview with Caroll Spinney, the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Mark Wahlberg
- Kevin Connolly