Bored to Death appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. I expected little from the presentation, but Bored looked quite good for SD-DVD.
Sharpness was usually strong. Some shots could be a smidgen soft, but those concerns remained minor. For the most part, the shows appeared pretty concise and accurate. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge haloes appeared absent. Source defects also weren’t a concern; some digital artifacts popped up in darker shots, but otherwise the shows looked clean.
Bored went with a fairly natural palette that came across well. The shows displayed warm, clear tones at all times, and these looked nice. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows seemed fine. No issues with opacity or excessive dimness affected the programs. Overall, I felt pleased with the visuals.
I also liked the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Bored. Though the mixes never became tremendously active, they offered more information than I expected. Street scenes used the various channels in a satisfying way, and other sequences boasted solid activity. For instance, the boxing match in the final episode worked in the different speakers in an involving manner. The tracks formed good soundscapes.
Audio quality was also satisfying. Speech always appeared natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music sounded full and rich, while effects displayed good accuracy and heft. Across the board, I felt pleased with these more than competent mixes.
When we shift to extras, we find audio commentaries for a few episodes. These chats accompany four programs:
“Stockholm Syndrome”: writer/series creator Jonathan Ames, actor Jason Schwartzman and director Alan Taylor.
“The Case of the Missing Screenplay”: Ames, Schwartzman and director Michael Lehmann.
“The Case of the Beautiful Blackmailer”: Schwartzman, Ames, and director Adam Bernstein.
“Take a Dive”: Schwartzman, Ames and actor Ted Danson.
Across the commentaries, we learn about the theme song and other musical choices, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, real-life influences, and a few other production areas. Overall, the tracks tend to be useful. Ames dominates, and we get a fairly nice view of the various aspects related to the series. You’ll find a moderate amount of happy talk, but there’s still enough worthwhile content to keep us interested.
We find Deleted Scenes for three shows. These come along with Episode 3 (0:41), Episode 4 (3:35) and Episode 8 (two scenes, 2:52). These offer extensions to existing scenes. The one for E3 doesn’t add much, but the other two are more substantial. E4 shows more of the conflict between Ray and Leah, while E8 lets us know more about Jonathan’s abortive novel writing efforts. The second scene is less useful; it’s essentially an outtake from the boxing match that’s slightly funny but not anything that would’ve been good in the show.
The Making of Bored to Death runs 19 minutes, 56 seconds, and includes remarks from Schwartzman, Danson, Ames, Taylor, director Paul Feig, illustrator Dean Haspiel, and actors Zach Galifianakis, Heather Burns, Olivia Thirlby, Jim Jarmusch, and John Hodgman. We learn about the series’ origins, characters and stories, cast and performances, music, and some episode specifics. “Making” tends toward general promotional material and doesn’t provide many interesting behind the scenes elements. It’s not an awful program, but it lacks much merit.
Finally, Jonathan Ames’ Brooklyn lasts 12 minutes, 31 seconds. It provides notes from Ames and Schwartzman as they lead us on a tour of the series’ locations. Like “Making”, this remains a somewhat fluffy piece, but it’s a decent overview of the different spots.
A detective series with a quirky feel, Bored to Death offers a pretty enjoyable first season. A good cast embellishes the material and makes this a fun collection of shows. The DVD provides solid picture and audio along with some inconsistent but decent supplements. I’ll be interested to see where Bored goes, as I enjoyed its initial season.