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Featured TV on DVD Review: Californication: Season Three

December 8th, 2010

Californication: Season Three - Buy from Amazon

It has been a while since I last reviewed Californication, but with the fourth season starting at the beginning of January, next month, the third season hit the home market at the beginning of last month. (The screener was one of many to arrive late recently.) I haven't exactly been a fan of the show so far, but I keep hoping that will change, as I'm a fan of quite a few of the people in the show. Is this the year that finally happens?

The Show

I'm going to start this review with a question. Is it bad that the main character of the show is the least compelling character?

David Duchovny plays Hank Moody, a writer who at the beginning of the season seems to be washed up. No publisher wants to touch his latest book and no studio is interested in turning it into a movie. Since his wife moved to New York City, temporarily, his has to raise his daughter by himself, which isn't going so well. For instance, she stole some of his pot and got high with one of her friends. While being confronted by the mother of the other girl, he's invited to their place for dinner. There he learns the cyclist he previously threw his lit cigarette at is the father, and dean of the local university. He also meets a couple other guests at this dinner, including an author / professor, Richard Bates, and inadvertently knocks him off the wagon. As a result, he gets to be the new professor, sleep with his T.A.,Diane Farr, his boss's wife, and eventually one of his students.

And suspension of disbelief officially fails.

There's nothing about Hank Moody's personality that makes me think this would happen. He's an unrelenting ass, but women throw themselves at him because... that's what the writers want to happen? Seriously, I can't think of another reason to explain this. When he tries to be nice, like convincing Jackie, one of his students, that she should continue going to class, it feels out of character and forced. There are some parts of this season that are great, including Kathleen Turner's recurring role and Becca Moody's coming-of-age storyline makes her character seem more real and less a "wise beyond her years" stereotype. However, practically every character in this season does nothing but make a steady stream of bad decisions and it is really hard to care about someone who just keeps screwing up.

The Extras

The only real extras are four minutes of outtakes and a three minute featurette with Pamela Adlon, which starts with her holding some woman's boob. It's actually her talking with some divorced woman about why they are divorced, dating in L.A., etc. Pamela Adlon's character, Marcy, is my favorite on the show, so these extras she does are the best part of the DVD releases.

On the other hand, the image gallery, text bios, and especially the bonus episodes to unrelated shows are not strong extras.

The Verdict

The amount of talent on display during the third season of Californication is outstanding, but the central character is so loathsome that I just can't get into it. Additionally, there are not enough extras on the DVD for me to recommend buying it. On the other hand, it has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe, so obviously there are many who disagree with me.

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