HBO is known for it’s progressive and groundbreaking original shows. From Game of Thrones to The Wire and back again, they’ve proven time and time again that if you want the best that TV has to offer, HBO is your channel. But what about the series’ that end prematurely? Are they still worth your time? HBO sets out to prove yes with this Blu-ray release of Looking: The Complete Series and The Movie.
The Movie Itself (4/5)
Looking is an HBO television series that ran for two seasons from 2014-2015 before being cancelled and closed off by a feature length film in 2016. The story closely follows a group of gay men who live in San Francisco and dissects and revolves around the relationships, both past and present, that they take part in.
In all, there are 18-30 minute episodes in this series, and then the full length movie. Each episode takes place as a part of the continuing story that revolves around our three main characters, Patrick, Agustin, and Dom. Over the course of the series, we watch them as they each get into and out of relationships of differing levels of intensity.
Having not seen much in the ways of gay cinema, I was both surprised and pleased at how much I enjoyed this show. For one, it doesn’t conform to the standard tropes of gay characters that you see in every other tv show ever. Each of these men felt like a fully formed and complicated person of their own, each with character flaws and strengths. It was fully refreshing that this show did not just consist of that flamboyant happy personality that comes into the room shooting sparklers into the air and proclaiming that it’s girl talk time, like you would expect if your only view into gay characters on tv came from the various sitcoms out there.
Instead, you quickly dive into the very real lives of these men. In fact, there are many times throughout the viewing where the story feels so real that you feel guilty for peeking in on the show. Not guilty because you may or may not agree with the characters lifestyles or relationship choices, but guilty in that you are looking in on very intimate and personal moments in their lives. Tough decisions, fears, and insecurities are just some of the gritty, life like situations that you find yourself in.
That is not to say that this show is a downer all the time. There is a lot of comedy, love filled, and happy moments as well. As with life, Looking features all of the ups and downs, and gives you, the viewer, a very real look into the life of a gay man in the urban setting of present day San Francisco.
Visuals/Picture Quality (4/5)
Looking looks quite good on Blu-ray. No, seriously, it does. There’s not a ton of excitement on screen to make this really stand out in your collection, but given the show has a lot of nighttime scenes and has a very urban grit to it, the quality will definitely please, and is worthy of a Blu-ray release.
Score/Audio Quality (4.5/5)
With many scenes taking place in crowded areas such as the bustling streets of San Francisco, or in the many gay clubs of the area, the audio track has to flex it’s stuff to keep up, and I’m pleased to say that it does. Plenty of ambient noise is present throughout the series and movie, and lots of exciting club scenes with loud music as well. Throughout my viewing, I did not notice any times where dialog was lost in the mix, which was awesome.
Special Features (1.5/5)
Sixteen of the episodes feature commentaries with cast and crew, but there are no other special features included in this set, which is a big letdown, as HBO is generally pretty good about extra content.
This set comes in a standard looking 5-disc blu-ray case with a nice card stock slipcover that matches the art on the sleeve. The discs feature very generic text on five different brightly colored Blu-ray discs. Also included is an insert with a UV copy of the series and movie.
HBO opted to not go all out with the packaging like they do with Game of Thrones or some of their other shows, but this set is attractive and fits in well with the rest of your HBO sets on the shelf.
- Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
- DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Spanish: DTS 2.0
- French: DTS 5.1
- German: DTS 5.1
5 BD discs (3 BD-25, 2 BD-50)
Runtime 624 Mins
Looking is a smartly written show that is one of the more real and personal shows I’ve seen in quite some time. It features very interesting and fleshed out characters who are just living their lives in the gay community of San Francisco. But you don’t have to live the lifestyle to appreciate the drama here, I’d recommend it if you’re looking for drama with that signature HBO quality.
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.