Now, I’ll be honest. When a drama about a mega church that aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network showed up at the Nerd Mentality offices for review, I was real skeptical that it would be anything at all up my alley. I had assumed that Oprah’s channel would be targeted to an audience that did not include me. So was I right? Is Greenleaf a drama aimed to someone else? Or does it have the depth and range to keep me interested?
The Movie Itself (4.5/5)
Greenleaf follows the story of Grace, the estranged daughter of the Greenleaf family who has returned to her home after several years away to grieve for her recently passed sister.
The Greenleaf family run one of the biggest megachurches in the area, and, before she left, Grace was looking to be the next in line to take over the ministry when her father Bishop Greenleaf (played by Keith David, who absolutely shines in the role) steps down. Unfortunately for Grace, a dividing family secret drove a wedge between her and the rest of her family, and ultimately fueled her in her choice to stay around and see justice served.
I won’t go into detail about what Grace’s real mission is here, but I will say that it’s incredibly personal and a bit controversial as well. The show definitely does not shy away from awkward and ordinarily off-putting themes. In fact, between the ten or so family members that this show revolves around we see almost as many vices and sins that they each deal with.
So does this show appeal to a wider audience? Maybe that isn’t a fair question. I may have a skewed view of who the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) is for. I can say that this is one of the more compelling and surprisingly great shows that I’ve stumbled across in the last couple of years. It only took about an episode and a half before I was completely drawn in and binging the rest of the season in a two day period.
Although very soapy in almost every way, I was never so distracted by that fact that I wanted to stop watching. The core struggle that Grace faces, coupled with the many, many side stories and the career defining performance of Keith David as Bishop Greenleaf made sure that I stuck around, and I’m sure that most people would agree, regardless if they are interested in the inner workings of a massive church or not.
In the end, I have to say that I fully recommend this show. It has a lot of satisfyingly tense drama and genuinely interesting struggles that face an interesting family. Definitely check this one out.
Visuals/Picture Quality (5/5)
Greenleaf is visually impressive, to say the least. From the first episode this show has some gorgeous shots, brimming with color and texture that pop from the screen. This persists throughout the season and remains strong the entire time. Skin tones and clothing both look great as well. Overall, it’s hard to say what would be improved here.
Score/Audio Quality (4/5)
Similar to the picture quality, the audio track is quite good. The Master Audio 5.1 track makes pretty good use of each speaker, and is fairly well balanced. The main gripe I have here is the opening credits, which come in abnormally loud for some reason. Other than that, though, the dialog comes in clear and everything sounds great.
Special Features (3/5)
The special features are split between discs two and three, and include the following:
- The Oprah Winfrey Conversations – A series of interviews hosted by Oprah herself.
- Music Sessions: Greenleaf – A quick overview of the music from the film.
- Creating Greenleaf – Oprah and Craig Wright discuss.
- Gag Reel – You know what this is.
These are fairly run of the mill extras, but they are worth watching if you enjoyed the show. For Season Two I want to see some Keith David commentaries or something.
This set comes with a shiny glossy slipcover that matches the art on the sleeve. There are three Blu-ray discs in the set, each with differing art on the disc featuring a character from the show. Inside you will also find a slip with a UV code. Overall, this is a very attractive package.
- Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
- DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
3 BD discs
Runtime 589 Mins
Greenleaf was a surprisingly great new series that is high on my list of shows to watch this year when Season Two starts. It has a lot of drama and interesting subplots that will appeal to a larger demographic than you might suspect. Couple that with great picture and audio quality and a slick looking packaging, and you have a recommendation for sure.
You can pick it up here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.