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Featured TV on DVD Review: Weeds: Season Six

February 20th, 2011

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

When Weeds debuted in 2005 it earned excellent reviews and immediately became an Awards Season contender, even though it earned far more nominations that actual wins. Over the years the critical praise has tempered somewhat, while there's talk that next season, season seven, will be its last. But after watching season six, will fans be mourning the imminent death of a loved show, or looking forward to its conclusion?

The Show

First a recap of the show so far. Mary-Louise Parker stars as Nancy Botwin, wife and mother of two sons. The plot kicks off when her husband dies of a massive heart attack. Without an income, Nancy decides to become a drug dealer, selling pot to her rich neighbors to maintain her lifestyle. After a few seasons of that, her life became so complicated that she used wildfires in her neighborhood as a cover to burn down her house and leave town to start life anew. She travels to a small border town of Ren Mar, which is where her father-in-law lives.

There, despite a chance to start over, she continues her drug trade, but living so close to the Mexican border instead of in an affluent neighborhood, it quickly becomes a lot more dangerous. She starts working with, and having a relationship with, a Mexican drug lord, Esteban, who also has political aspirations beyond being the mayor of Tijuana. Here the show started to lose its way and the darker tone becomes an issue, an issue that continues through season five. In fact, season five ends with her younger son, Shane, killing a woman who had just threatened to kill both Shane and his older brother, Silas, in order to get rid of complications and improve Esteban's political fortunes.

That brings us to season six.

Nancy decides that after the events of season five, her life in Ren Mar is over and it is time for her family to flee, again. This time heading north to Seattle to take on a new identity as the Newmans. Once there, the three adults, Nancy, her eldest son Silas, and her brother-in-law Andy, get real, but menial jobs. It's not glamorous work (she's a maid in a fancy hotel dealing with a union strike) but it's honest work and there's potential to make a life. In fact, Andy even impresses his boss with his cooking skill and gets a promotion from dishwasher to the cooking staff.) But Nancy, for reasons I can no longer understand outside of an undiagnosed mental illness, can't handle not being in the drug business, and by episode three is selling hashish, hashish made in the hotel's laundry facilities. That's a great way to keep a low profile.

This woman is so frustrating. It's like she has a neurotic need to screw things up. It gets painful to watch. In fact, much of this season was painful to watch, because Nancy continues to do stupid things and she is almost never called on it. Hell, the other people in her life usually go along with it. It does start to get better seven or eight episodes in, but since this is only a 13-episode season, that's just too damn late.

On a side note, there were some really fun guest appearances during this season, and not just the big names like Richard Dreyfuss as Nancy's former math teacher, or Linda Hamilton as one of her pot connections. But also smaller roles like Kate Micucci, from Garfunkel and Oates, and Sugar Lyn Beard, a.k.a., Sugabaybee, a.k.a. Sugar from YTV. If you don't know who those people are, do a YouTube search, but be warned, a lot of Garfunkel and Oates is not safe for work. (As a fellow Canuck, I was especially excited to see Sugar on the show. Plus, while I was looking at what else she's done recently, I discovered she's got a few movies coming out as well.)

The Extras

Extras on the three-disc DVD include audio commentary tracks on six of the thirteen episodes, which is excellent. There are a large number of people involved, but usually only two at a time. This allows for a wide range of personalities to be heard, without having any one track become overwhelmed. Disc one also has some outtakes, while disc three has a Q&A session and a featurette on the show's changes from season five to season six.

I don't have the Blu-ray, but on it is only $1 more. You can't beat that price.

The Verdict

Weeds went from a really great show for the first three seasons, to one where the flaws are overshadowing the strengths during season six. There's talk that season seven will be the show's last, and I'm not surprised, because I think the writers are running out of ideas. If you are still a fan of the show, then the DVD or the Blu-ray are worth picking up, as they have plenty of extras. Additionally, the Blu-ray is the better deal.

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