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DVD Review: Californication – The Second Season

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Gear up for more outrageous Southern Californian hijinks with Californication: The Second Season. Picking up several months after the end of the previous series, the second season finds sexaholic writer Hank Moody (David Duchovny, in his best role since The X-Files) reunited with his true love, Karen (Natascha McElhone). So far, life has been great for both Hank and Karen — as well as their daughter, Becca (Madeline Martin). But the days of sunshine and happiness soon go awry following a disastrous party at the mansion of music king Lew Ashby (Callum Keith Rennie), who hires Hank to write his biography.

Meanwhile, Hank’s best friend and publisher Charlie (Evan Handler) is all set to fry some of the biggest fish imaginable. First off, he loses his job. Next, his wife Marcy (Pamela Adlon) develops a serious cocaine problem. Thirdly, he starts to fall for a young porn starlet (Carla Gallo), whom he starts to manage so she can get a breakthrough part in Vaginatown, the upcoming period piece (no pun intended) that is supposed to raise the bar in the industry.

That in itself is the best description of this season, folks: a season chock full of unlikable adults behaving badly. And that’s probably what didn’t appeal to me. Sure, the same adults were behaving just as badly in season one (which I absolutely adored), but there was still something human about them. In season two, most everyone just seems to be one-upping Monty Python’s “Most Awful Family In Britain” sketch, with an abundance of drug use, drinking, and sex thrown in for good (?) measure.

Granted, I still enjoyed Californication: The Second Season — just not as much as the first season.

On DVD, Showtime and CBS/Paramount present Californication: The Second Season in a fine 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is on a par with the last season set. The presentation is solid and clear, without any noticeable defects and only minor grain. Viewers get to decide whether to watch all 12 episodes in English 5.1 or 2.0, or (if you’re in the mood for something different), Spanish Mono. The 2.0 is set as the default, but I preferred listening to the 5.1, which came through adequately. No subtitles adorn this release, but closed captioning is available.

Extras for Californication: The Second Season are not as disappointing as the bonus features on The First Season, but they are still short-lived. Here, we get a commentary on episode 6 with actress Pamela Adlon followed by a few interviews with cast and crew and a featurette on “Marcie’s Waxing Salon” (also with Adlon), neither of which is anamorphic. Additional bits and pieces are in the guise of bios, a gallery, some trailers, and free episodes of other Showtime series (which can only be accessed via the Internet).

In short, Californication: The Second Season offers all of the fun in the sun that the first season became a hit for — but without any of the warmth.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.
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