DVDs in Review - #21 - Weeds: The Complete First Season

Category: , , By Rev/Views

Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin
Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes
Silas Botwin as Silas Botwin
Kevin Nealon as Doug Wilson
Alexander Gould as Shane Botwin
Justin Kirk as Andy Botwin
Andy Milder as Dean Hodes
Romany Malco as Conrad Shepherd
Tonye Patano as Heylia James

The Show:

Weeds is the story of Nancy Botwin, an ordinary housewife from suburbia who's struggling to make ends meet since the death of her husband Judah (played in videos by the awesome Jeffrey Dean Morgan). When we first meet her she has turned to dealing pot in her neighbourhood and has already gathered some small success and client base.

First of all, let's get the inevitable comparisons with Desperate Housewives over with. Yes, both shows are set in the suburbs. Yes, both shows have a housewife female lead(s). Yes, both shows deal with suburban life as a single mother. Yes, they are both dramas. But that's where the comparisons end. Weeds is quite a different beast from DH, while the show stars the lovely Mary-Louise Parker (Nancy) and Elizabeth Perkins (Celia) as suburban home makers the rest of the cast is largely male. The show looks into Nancy's situation, the events that surround her choice of income and the difficulties involved in raising two boys without a father.

Nancy is a woman attempting to reconcile her decision to deal and rationalise it. We're not shown exactly what prompted her to decide dealing was the best choice, but we do get to experience what it's like and the challenges facing her as the season progresses. Nancy is very much someone in over her head, while she rapidly proves capable of selling product in the face of competition she's still very naive and unaware of the risks and dangers involved. But she's going to learn, sometimes the hard way.

The cast of Weeds are a very talented bunch and all provide solid performances that are believable and enjoyable. Mary-Louise is superb as Nancy, managing to be likable even when she's breaking the law or being intensely hypocritical, but the top performance is from Tonye Patano as Nancy's supplier Heylia; who effortlessly steals every scene. Each episode is pretty much the perfect length, not feeling too long or too short and always finishing with a flourish that leaves you wanting more.

The Other Stuff:

Weeds season one contains 10 episodes at a total run time of 272 minutes. It can be had from play.com for £12.99 right now, which works out at a slightly expensive 4.8p per minute but there is plenty of re-watching potential in this series as it's so light and funny. The set is packaged in a colourful cardboard sleeve that holds two slimline DVD cases, it takes the same amount of space as the repackaged DVDs of "The Wire" and "Dexter" do which is pretty much the size you want from a DVD.

The discs come packed with extras, spread across the two DVDs are outtakes, a mockumentary on Marijuana, Agrestic Herbal recipies, three Showtime featurettes, Audio Commentaries on 6 of the 10 episodes, a featurette on 'Suburban Shakedown' and a music video. I've only watched the featurettes and the mockumentary at this point, but they were quite an enjoyable experience. The mockumentary in particular has a dark streak of humour about it.

The Final Word:

I still don't recall why I started watching Weeds, but the DVD set is a nice little package. My main complaint is the length of the footage, it's all finished in a little over 4.5 hours and honestly that's not enough for the full retail price of £25. The show is one that has stuff for both genders and even if you're not that keen on the subject matter it's still fun, lighthearted entertainment that doesn't take itself too seriously or attempt to push it's agenda too hard.

It's a good show with plenty of room to grow (sorry for that one, couldn't resist).

Final Score:

A solid 3.5 for Weeds Season 1.


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