Veep capped off an amazing fifth season by putting its central character at a bit of a crossroads professionally and personally. It was a bold choice to make and given the actual political climate at the time, maybe hedging a bet against the actual was a good choice too. More on that in a minute.
I've been lucky enough to handle reviewing most of the adventures of the show and you can read them all here if you'd like. And seeing Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus ,The New Adventures of Old Christine) outside of her Presidential term, and trying to cull together those brief moments into legacy items that other Presidents have such as paintings or libraries, was fun and a little sad to see. She has a trimmed down staff in her post-West Wing days, she still has Amy (Anna Chlumsky, My Girl 2) and Richard (Sam Richardson, Spy), and Mike (Matt Walsh, Ted) joins on to help her write her autobiography. Of course she also has Gary (Tony Hale, The Informant!). But other members of her staff have moved on, like Dan (Reid Scott, Amusement) to a morning anchor job on CBS, and Kent (Gary Cole, Pineapple Express) and Ben (Kevin Dunn, Transformers) now work for Jonah, (Timothy Simons, Inherent Vice), who is now a congressman.
For the politicking Selina continues to attempt as an ex-President, a subtle arc over the course of the year is her relationship with her daughter Catherine (Sarah Sutherland). Catherine is hoping to have a baby with her girlfriend Marjorie (Clea DuVall, Argo), Selina's former secret service agent who apparently bears a striking resemblance to her when you look at her back. Marjorie is very serious in life but very loyal to Catherine and to wanting to start a family with Catherine. The relationship between the two is shown as they try to include a child in the family, but Selina's adjustment to this life as a future grandmother is also something to keep an eye on too. She's not sure how to process it, and when she does, she does in the only way she knows how, which is as a politician. It's a little cringeworthy to experience but such is the life of a politician I suppose.
Dreyfus continues to excel as Selina and she gets some excellent lines to utter as usual, as does the ensemble. The more peripheral characters occasionally get to poke their heads in also, culminated by the appearance of Jeff Kane (Peter MacNicol, Sophie's Choice), appearing in Season Six's penultimate episode. He wasn't on screen much in Season Five but most any time he was, he delivered stellar work next to Jonah and Richard. He's only onscreen one time in Season Six, in this three minute episode. And he delivers some hilarious, venom-filled zingers at Jonah and his fiancée that are truly a sight to behold. In past seasons, Veep had this role almost designated to Dan Bakkedahl (Killing Hasselhoff) who plays Senator Roger Furlong from Ohio. Bakkedahl does appear in Season Six with some more cruel insults, but MacNicol's time on screen on Season Six, with the dialogie he gets to utter, is in the pantheon of insults and diatribes. It is magical.
The sixth season of Veep had to try and live up to an absurdly high bar that Season Five had put upon it. It comes close at times, but it tries to force Selina into a quieter life after her presidency, something that she's not prepared or willing to do. She may settle down at some point but who knows when we'll see it, besides, showrunner David Mandel has already said the show's seventh season will be their last. The other thing too, given the fact that we have to say the words "President Donald Trump" in this order for another 3 years and change at the minimum, exactly what can the show do that isn't going to be immediately dwarfed by whatever the administration does?The Blu-rays:
The ten-episode run of Veep is split evenly across two discs, with an AVC encode befitting each 1.78:1 widescreen episode. They look as they did when they aired Sunday nights, with colors appearing vivid but not oversaturated, flesh tones appearing natural (or in the case of the CBS broadcasts, very much made up for HD as a subtle prod). When Selina leaves the hospital there are moments of crushing but overall the discs are good, not great, and represent the show adequately.Audio:
DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround for all of the episodes on both discs, per the usual. Like the transfers, these all replicate the show experience nicely. Since it's not Game of Thrones you're not going to get dragons roaring through the channels, but dialogue sounds well-balanced and things like crowd noise in public spots or on television shows sounds natural with a convincing immersion layer to them. It sounds as good as it does when it first aired.Extras:
The slow gradual diminishing of extras on Veep Blu-rays continues, with no deleted scenes or bloopers, but commentaries on 7 of the episodes, usually with Mandel, the writer of that episode, and a couple members of the cast (a mix of Dreyfus, Scott, Simons, Richardson and Hale). The tracks are a mix of information such as ideas for the characters at the beginning of the year, along with character motivations. Some watching of the episodes is done on most of the tracks, and some political hot takes are made (the government shutting down by September being a good one), some production recall is shared too. They aren't hugely complementary but most are worth a listen to.Final Thoughts:
With maybe ten episodes left in Veep there are a few things that are so wide open that closure may not be attained, chief among them is how they tie a bow on the political work of Selina Meyer. They started making steps on doing that in Season Six that aren't as funny as past seasons, they're just in a different direction and could not possibly live up to precedent. Technically the show is fine even if the extras continue to diminish, and it's worth checking out if you've seen any other season of the show to date.