House of Lies Season 1 DVD Review
House of Lies is
a dark-comedy (so to speak) about a management consultant and his team
experts who work to "consult" with big businesses and corporations in a
that is all about revenue and the financial stream and little about
right. The expert consultant? Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle). His crew of
includes Jeannie (Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Schwartz), and Doug (Josh
is one A-class consultant team that cares about bringing in the big
(usually) little else.
series centers upon Marty as
the main character. You get to spend more time with his character than
other character on the show. In some ways, you even get to spend some
time with his family (his elderly father, his openly bisexual son, and
ex-wife) essentially to a greater degree than you get to in regards to
is a conniving and determined
individual who wants to make his life be all about his business and not
his family. He tries to be as involved in work as possible so as to be
of avoiding as much of his personal life problems as possible. He'll
kids school-play performances if he can, and spend extra time at work
means avoiding his personal life. He occasionally has moments where he
concerned about his personal relationships and lifestyle but then he'll
another minute or so going down a routine suggesting he is just as
happy in his business as per usual.
story that exists with Season 1 of
House of Lies centers primarily on
establishing the character Marty and introducing the audience to his
co-workers while trying (unsuccessfully) to focus on a plot-line about
business merger with high-stakes which ultimately could lead to the
firing of Marty, Jeannie, Clyde, and Doug (and apparently countless
the firm, too).
seems to be worried about
facing the potential wrath of "the Rainmaker" (Griffin Dunne), who has
sleeping with women around the business and has been promising
sound promising and safety with the merger. Jeannie is one of the
employees hoping for security. She's also presently engaged, and to
isn't so connected to. She can barely stand her fiancée. This is
about as much
knowledge we gain concerning leading-lady Kristin Bell's character. At
more than can be said about supporting goofball characters Clyde and
so far seem to only be used for some comedic support, which is rather
seeing as how nothing on this series
lies (pun?) my biggest gripe with House
of Lies: This. Is. Not. A. Funny.
Show. Something advertised and promoted as a comedy (and that
thinks that it's an amazingly hilarious series to boot) is downright
even more so when it has an interesting cast that consists of people as
talented as Don Cheadle and Kristin Bell. This definitely disappoints
series. I was so looking forward to this show.
loved Kristin Bell from Veronica Mars and Don Cheadle
variety of feature films. Showtime producing a series starring the two
seemed promising from the get-go. Unfortunately, the series was created
Matthew Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team).
It surprised me that he was
involved in a series. Carnahan does comedy? Apparently. But absolutely
only becomes interesting when it's focused on the dramatic elements. I
intrigued when the series offered a plotline about Marty becoming
seeing a girlfriend (who also became involved in his family life). By
of the season? This interesting plotline was dropped. I was intrigued
series introduced the fiancée apparently engaged to the barely
character of Jeannie. That is, until it took a ridiculous amount of
before this element was even brought up again (which is something only
in the finale, and it wasn't handled all too well as a plot-point).
series would have a good
dramatic moment and then it would crash, surrounded by remarkably
grating humor and plot-lines involving generic opportunities the
team led by Marty would have. It became episodic and fast and the humor
something that could not be expected - only attempts at humor (and it
plotlines introduced weren't
that good. Nothing about this show was that good. It skated by based
the excellent acting by several performers who continued to be
dedicated to the
show even as the writers of House of Lies
didn't seem to be capable of coming up with anything that interesting
characters to do and for these actors to capably perform.
of the best moments from House of Lies seem to come
Cheadle performing subtle material that doesn't feel written or
suggested by a director.
I would say the greatest strength of the series is Don Cheadle winging
it as a
character so badly written that he has essentially come up with his own
way of attempting
to dramatically elevate the series.
haven't even mentioned the score
yet. This series has one of the worst scores that I have heard
high-profile series. House of Lies is
scored by Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo
fame and who has composed music for many television series and films,
several by Wes Anderson). I have enjoyed the music of Mark Mothersbaugh
I do not enjoy it on House of Lies. It sounds like he's completely
in. Nothing has even remotely come close to a score as bad sounding as
one. Not even other recent scores by Mothersbaugh.
of these detractors make the
prospect of another season more promising or exciting. This is a flat
uninvolving series: one that is only occasionally capable of finding
moments of worth from
actors in determination of finding something to do with their poorly
This series really seems to be out of
gas (and after only twelve episodes). Some major revamping will need to
to this series if they want it to last beyond a second season. I would
this one of TV's most disappointing introductory seasons of a high
produced by a network now known for making great television.
of Lies is
presented in its original television
broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The series is not that interesting
This DVD presentation isn't all that impressive either. Colors seem to
rather flat and compression is not the greatest. There are obvious
compression problems where pixilation and a general lack of good
clarity can be
found. The series simply is not going to impress visually. There are
where the show looks just fine: clean, slickly produced, and well
the series could have looked better than it does on this release.
Digital audio isn't that interesting. The music is the main thing that
benefit from the surround stage, and that seems unfortunate given that
music score isn't really all that good. Spanish 2.0 audio and English
subtitles are also provided.
only a few supplements on this release: commentaries
on the season premiere and finale.
God of Dangerous Financial
commentary by Don Cheadle, Josh Lawson, Ben Schwartz, writer/creator
Canaham, and executive producer Jessika Borsiczky. The
Mayan Apocalypse contains commentary by Josh Lawson, Ben
Schwartz, writer/creator Matthew Canaham, and executive producer
also a number of short featurettes: Hanging
with Kristin Bell, Hanging with Don Cheadle, Rainmaker, and Marty Kaan Profile. Each
piece lasts only 2 or 3 minute and is
essentially fluff material. The interviews with Kristin Bell and Don
actually are interesting enough in that they contain some cool facts
of them, but these are ridiculously brief and they don't elaborate on
series in the slightest.
of Lies seemed
to be a promising series based upon the cast alone. Unfortunately,
about this series is unfunny and it's aiming to be a hilarious comedy
Something about it just doesn't work. It only works when it's being
dramatic. Those moments are few and far
between and the excellent cast just can't carry the weak writing.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.