Bored to Death is a hilarious HBO comedy series starring Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan Ames — a white-wine-drinking, pot-smoking writer who decides to moonlight as an unlicensed private detective after his girlfriend leaves him. Zach Galifianakis plays his best friend Ray, and Ted Danson plays his slick, womanizing boss, George. Created by writer Jonathan Ames (yes, he named the main character after himself), each of the eight, 30-minute episodes in season one seems to deal with the fictional Jonathan getting himself into funny situations after taking on a new client or a new writing assignment. For the most part the show works well as a straight comedy but occasionally touches on relationship and addiction problems without ever getting too heavy.
I like Schwartzman in small doses and find the show loses momentum when the focus is only on his character. Galifianakis and Danson are definitely the two that keep Bored to Death moving and the laughs coming. Special appearances from Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig, indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, and actress Parker Posey are also nice touches scattered among season one. The writing with each episode tends to get stronger too, and it took me until episode three before I was truly hooked.
Picture & Sound
Unlike other HBO shows The Sopranos and Hung, Bored to Death is a disappointment on Blu-ray as it doesn’t look any better than it did when it originally aired in high-def. The 1080p picture was noticeably grainy and I found that there was a constant flickering throughout each episode. The sound is clear but since a majority of the show is dialogue it doesn’t quite warrant the 5.1 DTS-HD mix.
Just like the picture and sound, the special features didn’t sell me on recommending Bored to Death: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray. There’s a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, audio commentary on select episodes, and a featurette with the real Jonathan Ames taking a mini tour of Brooklyn with Schwartzman.
No question Bored to Death is another HBO gem that will get better with time. Does it deserve to be added to your Blu-ray collection? No. If you’re a fan the regular DVD set will suffice (and save you a few bucks). If you’ve never seen the show catch it on TV first to see if it’s your cup of tea.
Show *** / Blu-ray ** (out of 5 stars)
Main Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis