Matt LeBlanc has found his second coming in his career by portraying an exaggerated version of himself on Episodes, a Showtime comedy series that finds the former Friends actor working with two British scribes on a monotonous sitcom called ‘Pucks’. The show is about the behind-the-scenes comedic events that occur between the cast and crewmembers, which pokes fun at the highs and lows of producing television and being a celebrity.
LeBlanc’s Golden Globe winning turn recently had a second season run in the summer of 2012 and now a new DVD set has arrived that combines both the first and second seasons. The first season featured LeBlanc trying to get along with his new partners during the show’s pre-production stages and pilot creation that resulted in affairs, brawls and car accidents.
Season 2 keeps the ball rolling as the show gets picked up for a season and the trio reluctantly working together permanently in light of Matt putting his friends’ marriage in crisis. Things get hilariously more complicated as LeBlanc strikes up an affair with his producer’s blind wife, tries to keep his weight plus a young stalker at bay and keeping the show strong enough to earn a steady pay.
Episodes is a hilarious concept that certainly was amusing in its first season and even better in its second as the writers and the cast find a comfortable groove with the material. LeBlanc proves in the first his ability to finally find something to chew on past his Joey Tribbiani days as himself, but takes tha ball and runs with it in the second arc, resulting in nothing short of comedic genius.
The ability for most of the Friends cast to find a professional life beyond the sitcom has been challenging, but for LeBlanc this seems to be the role he was truly born to play. Emotionally, Matt is more complex in this realm and also wittingly egotistical. With Showtime’s unrestrictive boundaries, this LeBlanc can let the vulgarity fly where he sees fit and it’s awesome.
But he’s not alone. The supporting cast in the show are each able to bring their own laughs and plot nuances with their characters, so that no one on the show becomes as redundant as the formula for the fake show they’re working on. Season 2 is where the show really shines and gets extremely funny in ways that the first season only toys with in the set-up.
This 2-disc box set due for release on January 8, 2013 comes quickly after Paramount put out a first season single disc edition only months before (for a full review read here) in 2012. Besides the inclusion of the second season episodes, not much has changed for added consumer value.
Besides the inclusion of the second season episodes, not much has changed for added consumer value. The show is definitely worth watching on its own and with a higher episode count in this set, bigger viewing marathons can occur between both seasons. While the video quality stays at a consistently strong image throughout, its worth noting that the sound mode changes between seasons.
Like the previous release, Season 1’s sound option consists of an average but acceptable general 2.0 surround, while Season 2’s ups the ante with a full-fledged Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix. It’s a welcome improvement, but a shame considering a remix couldn’t have been done on Season 1 to make it seamless over the speaker system.
Episodes is an extremely witty and highly funny show not afraid to make fun of the television business, along with a star not afraid to poke fun at himself for the sake of laughs. Season 1 is an amusing start, but Season 2 is where the show really finds its footing and brings the goods.
The DVD set is an improvement over the previous release with the additional inclusion of a better sound-mixed Season 2, but beyond that there’s nothing else new on the table for fans to enjoy with it.