I'm not quite sure why, but Californication is a series I had never watched before I received a copy of the first season, sometime in early June. I've never been a big fan of the series' star David Duchovny, who has always struck me as a bit snide and egocentric and X-Files just never caught on with me. However, since so many people I know couldn't stop raving about the show, I decided I'd better take a look at it when it hit DVD.
I expected to hate Californication. Simply dismiss the whole thing as a piece of trash. Having watched countless hours of television I know that's never a good idea, but nonetheless, that was my mindset. After watching about ten minutes of the first episode, I realized I couldn't have been more wrong. Californication is definitely an adult drama with adult themes, but the series and its star are a revelation.
Duchovny stars as Hank Moody, an author trying to straighten out his personal and professional life. When he sold the film rights to his best-selling novel, God Hates Us All, the New York-based writer decided to move out to Los Angeles with his girlfriend Karen (Natasha McElhone) and their daughter Becca (Madeleine Martin). As Californication begins, Hank's book has been turned into a successful film called A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, starring Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Much to Moody's dismay, his story has been reborn as a romantic comedy, which goes against everything Hank claims to believe in. However, in typical Hank Moody fashion, our intrepid writer didn't refuse the spoils Hollywood had to offer: "As soon as I cashed that check, I wrapped my lips around the mighty erection that is the film industry and sucked hard, just like a good whore should." As I said before, Californication is strictly adult material; sex and nudity are central to the series' premise and four-letter words are spoken with virtually every breath.
Despite the success of A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Hank's life is in a serious tailspin. He has been fighting a serious case of writer's block for five years, and Karen had cheated on him and then left the relationship. She apparently got bored with their life together. "Imagine my disappointment when you turned out to be the biggest cliché of them all, sitting there Googling yourself," she says, acknowledging that sex was the only thing they did right together. "You're out there sticking your dick in anything that moves."
Hank has indeed turned himself into a Hollywood cliché. Drowning his sorrows in so many drugs and women how could he possibly put one sentence together? Despite the fact that Hank seems determined to bed every woman in Los Angeles, he dotes on his precocious daughter and yearns to rekindle his relationship with Karen.
My initial thought after viewing the twelve episodes of Californication, was how the heck I classify this show, and as much as I tried to resist it, Californication is a male version of Sex and the City with lots more drugs! Heck, Sex and the City regular Evan Handler even plays Hank's beleaguered agent, Charlie Runkle. In an effort to get Hank to write something, Charlie gets a reluctant Hank to accept a job as a blogger for Hell-A magazine, which as it turns out is owned by Karen's new fiancé, Bill (Damian Young).
Californication is a series full of over-the-top excesses and escapades and Hank Moody is the kind of smug, self-congratulatory jerk that seems to fit David Duchovny rather well. David's seemingly permanent deadpan demeanor makes it seem as though he has to do little more than jump out of bed to slip into the role of role of Hank.
Californication is so over-the-top that once I got over my initial surprise at the amount of nudity and sex in the series I couldn't help but laugh. The situations Hank finds himself in are ridiculous, but the smart dialogue will keep adults watching.
All 12 episodes are presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer. By default, the audio is presented in 2.0 stereo, but you can switch it to 5.1 surround and Spanish mono, with optional English captions.
Californication – The First Season doesn't offer too many extras. However, even though it's not mentioned on the box, series executive producer and star David Duchovny does provide an audio commentary on the pilot episode along with writer/creator Tom Kapinos and director/producer/consultant Stephen Hopkins. Don't expect to learn much here. The guys mostly congratulate themselves for getting the series on the air.
Disc two contains text biographies of the stars of the series and a photo gallery. Maybe next season's set will at least include some type of behind-the-scenes featurette?Powered by Sidelines