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Featured TV on DVD Review: Weeds: Season Seven

February 16th, 2012

Weeds: Season Seven - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

For the first four years of its run, Weeds was a critical smash and a perennial contender during Awards Season. However, around season five things seemed to take a turn for the worse. By the time season six was over, I was close to giving up on the show. However, with talk that season eight will be the final season of the show, I figured I would give it one more chance. Would it recover? Or should have gone with my gut instinct on this one?

The Show

I should have gone with my gut.

First a recap. Mary-Louise Parker stars as Nancy Botwin. At the beginning of the series, her husband has a fatal heart attack so she turns to selling pot to her rich friends to make money. It starts out well, but she eventually screws that up, burns down her house using a wildfire and moves her family to a town near the Mexican border. Here she continues to sell drugs, but gets mixed up with a drug cartel, gets pregnant by a drug lord, and screws up so badly she has to flee to Seattle, with her new baby. That lasts only a few episodes till she screws up again and has to flee Seattle. While attempting to leave the country to get to Copenhagen, she gets caught by the police, but the rest of them make it out of the country.

And that brings us to season seven. In-between season six and seven, she's tried, convicted, and spends three years in prison. She was supposed to get witness protection when she got out, but that didn't happen. At first she's freaking out, as she's sure Esteban is going to have her killed. However, she got lucky. Esteban was killed in prison and with his cartel gone, she's safe. The FBI got her released early as a thank you for all the information she gave in court, but she has to stay in a halfway house for the remainder of her term. If she can stay clean, maybe she can get her life back together. Yeah right.

Meanwhile in Copenhagen. Andy, Doug, Silas, and Shane are living semi normal lives. Andy and Doug run a tourism business, such as it is. Silas has become a male model and is the face of some weird flower water. Shane was in a semi-serious relationship with a woman, and a puppeteer as well. However, when they learn from Nancy's sister, Jill, that Nancy got out of prison and is living in a Halfway home in New York City, they all race to meet her. It is not a happy reunion. In fact, when she sees them waiting for her at the halfway house, she bolts the other way.

She takes off partially at the shock of seeing her family, which is completely understandable. But she's got places to go. She's she's trying to sell stolen hand grenades to an Afghan veteran for pot to sell. I really wish I was joking.

I mentioned in the review for the previous season how frustrating this show has become. The initial setup was great. Take a upper middle-class family and see what happens when the mother turns to selling pot to make ends meet. There's a lot of humor in that situation, and it worked because the characters where sympathetic. It's not like Nancy was a drug dealer because she liked the power of being the head of a criminal organization. She was just trying to avoid losing everything after her husband died. However, starting in season four, a lot of the humor was sucked out of the show and the plot was no longer driven by contrast between safe suburban environment and the drug trade. For the past few seasons, the plot is driven almost entirely by the increasingly stupid decisions of the lead character. That part of the show, the main part of the show, is wholly uninteresting to me. And when Nancy and Silas became competitors, it was just too much. And don't get me started on that cliffhanger ending.

On the other hand, some of the side plots were a lot more intriguing. Lindsay Sloane shows up for a few episodes as an artist, who starts dating Andy. It's more complicated than just that, but I won't go into details to avoid spoilers. Lindsay Sloane has always been a favorite of mine and this storyline is arguable the best in the season. Martin Short plays a creepy lawyer willing to help Nancy with her custody hearings, and he's fun as usual. And Michelle Trachtenberg plays Emma Karlin, a member of the increasingly complicated drug business. I like the actress, but the storyline she's involved in is not compelling.

The Extras

Extras on the first disc include audio commentary tracks on two episodes, plus just over twenty minutes of outtakes. Disc two has two more audio commentary tracks plus two short featurettes, Guru Andy's Tricks of the Trade and Puff Puff Pass, but neither have much replay value. The final disc has two more audio commentary tracks. There is a nine-minute interview featurette with Alexander Gould, six minutes of deleted scenes, plus an early test on split-screen scene and the final product.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, but it does cost the same as the DVD, so there's no reason not to buy it if you have made the leap to high definition.

The Verdict

They need to wrap up Weeds. It went from an award-worthy show to one that has lost its charm. I keep hoping it would find its way back, but no luck with season seven. There are plenty of extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray, so if you are more forgiving than I am, it is worth picking up, while the latter is the better deal. However, I can imagine a lot of people who loved the first three seasons completely giving up on the show and not even watching it on TV anymore.

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