Blu-Ray Review: Latest Seasons of Showtime’s ‘Nurse Jackie,’ ‘Weeds’

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CHICAGO – One of Showtime’s former best comedies and one of their current best both saw a season land on Blu-ray in the last few weeks and we’re here to give you the details. Lionsgate owns the rights to “Nurse Jackie” and “Weeds,” two of the more acclaimed cable programs on the air right now. Sadly, the once-brilliant “Weeds” is a shadow of its former self, but “Nurse Jackie” continues to deliver. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

Showtime has carved a cable niche by casting incredibly strong actors and actresses in lead roles and building programs around their characters — David Duchovny (“Californication”), William H. Macy (“Shameless”), Laura Linney (“The Big C”), Toni Collette (“The United States of Tara”), Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”). Two of their most successful results in this should-be-patented formula are “Nurse Jackie” and “Weeds,” built around award winners Edie Falco and Mary-Louise Parker, respectively.

Nurse Jackie: Season Two was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 22nd. 2011
Nurse Jackie: Season Two was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 22nd. 2011
Photo credit: Lionsgate Home Video

The first few seasons of “Weeds” were a thing of beauty. With Jenji Kohan’s sharp writing, a great performance by Parker (balanced by underrated supporting work by Justin Kirk and Elizabeth Perkins), and a dark sense of humor, the show was one of the best comedies on TV. When Kohan essentially blew up her “suburban mom drug dealer” concept and sent the Botwins on the road, the show became a leaky tire with moments of greatness but a general spiral downward. It hit rock bottom in the sixth season, easily the program’s worst.

The cast is still strong enough to find what once was so easy to grab but with nowhere near the level of consistency. I don’t believe what happens on “Weeds” any more. And the cast seems bored. If any program needed a shot of adrenalin in season seven, it’s “Weeds.” It’s possible, but you might want to wait and see before picking up season six. If the seventh season, debuting in June, is like this one, you can just stop at five.

Weeds: Season Six was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 22nd. 2011
Weeds: Season Six was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 22nd. 2011
Photo credit: Lionsgate Home Video

“Nurse Jackie” returns on March 28th and is a show that may not be rising as quickly as we thought after the first season but is still one of the most interesting comedies on television. Edie Falco needs to be inserted in any conversation of the best TV actresses of all time. She delivered one of the form’s best performances on “The Sopranos” and she’s found another fascinating character in Jackie Peyton, a tough-talking, pill-popping life-saver. I think the writing around Jackie hasn’t been as strong as it could be but Falco is SO good that it doesn’t matter. Just watch it for her. It’s enough.

The Lionsgate-produced Blu-rays for the second season of “Nurse Jackie” and the sixth season of “Weeds” are better than average with cast and crew commentaries, strong HD transfers, and interesting featurettes. Just like most Showtime series, they just seem a bit more expertly produced than most TV-on-BD releases. Fans will be satisfied and they’re strong enough to even draw in new ones before the upcoming premieres.

Special Features — “Nurse Jackie: Season Two”
o Audio Commentaries with Edie Falco, Linda Wallem, Liz Brixius, Richie Jackson, Eve Best and Peter Facinelli
o “Perfecting an Inappropriate Touch” featurette: A look at the career of Peter Facinelli and his role as Dr. Cooper
o “All About Eve” featurette: Learn how this highly acclaimed theatre actress came to the role of Dr. O’Hara

Special Features — “Weeds: Season Six”
o Audio commentary on select episodes with creator Jenji Kohan plus cast and crew
o “What Do We Have Left To Say?” featurette with Justin Kirk and Kevin Nealon
o Gag reel
o “Fandemonium: Weeds Writers Tell All” – Weeds’ Creators Answer Fan’s Burning Questions
o “Bye Bye Botwins” – Interviews with the Cast of Weeds: Season Six

“Nurse Jackie: Season Two” stars Edie Falco, Merritt Wever, Dominic Fumusa, Paul Schulze, Eve Best, and Peter Facinelli. “Weeds: Season Six” stars Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould, Justin Kirk, and Kevin Nealon. Both titles were released on Blu-ray and DVD by Lionsgate on February 22nd, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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