Background: Playboy is one of the few cultural icons that I believe a majority of folks across the country, perhaps even the entire industrialized world, know about. This is due to the generations of us that have been impacted thanks to Hugh Hefner's quest to promote a freer lifestyle that wasn't locked into a very narrowly defined way society seemed intent on pigeonholing us in. While his impact has lessened over the last twenty or so years, Hugh set something up that arguably helped the various rights movements of the 1960's succeed, the resulting chaos providing us with a broader range of opportunities in many fields. Well, aside from the Playmate of the Year competition, the yearly calendar is looked upon favorably by many of us as a chance to see some of the most beautiful gals in the word in the buff; albeit in tasteful, tame poses. As a sign of the times, the company has released a video version of the calendar for years now, my look at the Playboy: 2006 Video Playmate Calendar being my last glimpse into the effort. Well, it's that time of year again so here's a look at the recently released Playboy: 2008 Video Playmate Calendar that came out a few days ago; a similar title with the all new batch of babes you'd expect as led by Playmate of the Year, Sara Jean Underwood:
The Ladies by month
The Show: Playboy: 2008 Video Playmate Calendar follows a similar formula to the previous ventures in the series did, showing a short clip of the ladies in scantily clad lingerie and bouncing around happily; essentially amounting to music video clips with some minimal interviews. The twelve clips lasted under 85 minutes total so those of you expected an extended romp with each gal might be disappointed but rather than waste a lot of time talking about the ladies, here's a picture of each of them suitable for the new guidelines to get an idea what they look like:
Jayde Nicole: Miss January (Miss January 2007)
Brittany Binger: Miss February (Miss June 2007)
Giuliana Marino: Miss March (Miss April 2007)
Tiffany Selby: Miss April (Miss July 2007)
Janine Habeck: Miss May (Miss September 2006)
Nicole Voss: Miss June (Miss August 2006)
Heather Rene Smith: Miss July (Miss February 2007)
Tamara Sky: Miss August (Miss August 2007)
Shannon James: Miss September (Miss May 2007)
Kia Drayton: Miss October (Miss December 2006)
Sarah Elizabeth: Miss November (Miss November 2006)
Sara Jean Underwood: Miss December (Miss July 2006 and Playmate of the Year 2007)
Okay, my comments about the series from the past generally hold true here as well with the bone inducing heat generated by the light fluff pieces minimal but if you wanted porn and sexual contact, you'd be reading reviews over at Xcritic.com and not here. The tease value was decent as a warm up but like playboy itself, there was nothing here you wouldn't expect on late night cable premium channels. It was well done overall but the lack of extras and replay value limited my admiration of the show to a mere low end Rent It. Attractive strippers dancing around in states of undress are always welcome by this reviewer but keep in mind that the nature of this one is much like that of the print calendar too; you won't be going back to watch them a whole lot unless you're pretty hard up.
Picture: Playboy: 2008 Video Playmate Calendar was presented in the same 1.33:1 ratio full frame color presentation it was produced in by Michael Trikilis. In general, it looked as expected with a lot of visual effects used to enhance the features of the young ladies displayed in the vignettes. The fleshtones were accurate, the grain apparently added into some scenes for effect, and the lighting on par with most Playboy productions. There were no compression artifacts or video noise to mar the viewing experience either. The bitrate was typically in the lower to mid 7 Mbps with no obvious compression artifacts but there was some aliasing and the filters/other photography tricks employed to make some of the gals look better were often in evidence.
Sound: The audio was presented in a 2.0 Dolby Digital English using a 224 Kbps audio bitrate. The vocals were narrated and the music varied from light rock & roll to rockabilly to something slightly jazz oriented (there were no music credits or I'd let you know about them). There wasn't a lot of separation between the channels and the dynamic range won't test your high end home theatre set ups but it was decently handled.
Extras: The extras were limited to a short photogallery of each lady and nothing more.
Final Thoughts: Playboy: 2008 Video Playmate Calendar is one of those titles that really doesn't lend itself to in depth discussion. But for the new policies, I'd have stacked the review deep with nude pictures of the ladies to give you an even better idea of what to expect from them but many bore implant scars or other blemishes, the generally rule of thumb being that they were all enhanced in various ways to look their very best according to Playboy standards. In short, Playboy: 2008 Video Playmate Calendar was fun, light, and vacuous eye candy for people to enjoy. The ladies giving golden insights to their personalities like "I like to laugh", "I carry my own weight", and "That is sooo not me" notwithstanding, each gal was a cutie and I wish all of them well.