The television debut of critically-acclaimed indie directors Jay and Mark Duplass (Cyrus, The Puffy Chair), Togetherness follows four adults living under one roof struggling to keep their relationships and dreams alive as they approach the age of forty. Brett (Mark Duplass, The League) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey, Two and a Half Men) are struggling to rekindle the spark in their relationship, which has puttered out from the stresses of marriage and children. When Brett's friend Alex (Steve Zissis, Baghead) and Michelle's sister Tina (Amanda Peet, The Way, Way Back) move in with them, the foursome engage in a tragically comedic struggle to follow their personal dreams while still remaining good friends, siblings, and spouses to each other.
Ahhh, the Duplass brothers! Known for their independant movies, and their portrayal as midwives on The Mindy Project, they've decided to dip their toes into television with the creation of Togetherness for HBO. It's obviously been successful, as they're also executive producers on the show Animals, also for HBO.
I was eager to take a look at the first season of Togetherness because I've enjoyed some of the other projects the Duplass brothers have worked on (Safety Not Guaranteed - great movie!), and because I've enjoyed Amanda Peet in the few things I've seen her in (I've never seen Jack & Jill, but I wish it were on DVD).
This 2-disc set includes all 8 episodes from the first season:
Disc 1 (1:47:43)
Family Day (27:58)
Houston, We Have a Problem (26:59)
Disc 2 (1:48:13)
Kick the Can (26:53)
Ghost in Chains (25:22)
Party Time (27:11)
Not so Together (28:47)
The show looks great on Blu-ray, with zero sign of compression artifacts (sorry, cable companies, but you won't win when it comes to quality). There are a few scenes with some noise in them, but they're usually darker, night scenes. Each disc contains a "play all" option. Unfortunately the discs won't pick up where you left off if you stop watching an episode (a feature some studios provide).
The show sounds really good on Blu-ray, as HBO has provided an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track for the episodes. Most of the audio is around the center channel, with the left, right, and two rear speakers being used for filling in the soundscape. The music sounds good on this as well, and I found myself trying to look up a few songs that were being played in the episodes because I liked them so much (I've discovered a lot of excellent music from watching HBO shows over the years). There are French and German DTS Digital 5.1 tracks, along with Spanish DTS surround 2.0, and subtitles in English, French, Spanish and German.
Inside the Episode (22:41)
Short bits of information about each episode in the season with Mark and Jay Duplass.
Family Day (2:54)
Houston, We Have a Problem (3:05)
Kick the Can (2:38)
Ghost in Chains (3:16)
Party Time (2:14)
Not so Together (2:45)
Deleted Scenes (7:03)
Family Day (2:28)
Houston, We Have a Problem (1:00)
Kick the Can (1:18)
Ghost in Chains (0:50)
Party Time (0:39)
Amanda & Steve (5:02)
Amanda (Tina) and Steve (Alex) have a ton of fun in this (silly) featurette.
I quite enjoyed the first season of Togetherness. It was a funny show, with plenty serious moments, and I'm interested to see where the second season goes for the characters. I thought Amanda Peet was excellent as Tina, a slightly spastic, yet genuine character; maybe she'll be nominated for an Emmy? Co-Creator Steve Zissis was also great as "Alex," the chubby, funny, best friend who is ready to pack it in and leave his dream of becoming an actor in Hollywood. I like that the characters in the show seem real, and relatable, and that's a credit to the writers, Jay and Mark Duplass, along with Amanda Lasher.
While the Blu-ray is great in terms of the video and audio quality, I wish we had a few more extras. I enjoyed the "Inside the Episode features, but I wish there was a longer interview with the brothers talking about the creation of the show, or maybe one or two commentary tracks so we can gain a bit more insight into the production of the series. It just felt as though something was missing from the set.
I'm definitely interested in checking out the next season when it hit DVD/Blu-ray next year.