"Entourage" has become a wildly successful series for HBO, which started in 2004 and has nabbed 6 Golden Globe noms and 4 Emmy wins. The series, which is produced by Doug Ellin, Mark Wahlberg, and Stephen Levinson, is based loosely upon the early years of Whalberg's career as an actor. The series revolves around Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), a young actor who has become the "next big thing", and the series follows his rise to stardom.
Coming along for the ride are his childhood friends from Queens - Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), his older brother and an actor with limited success in the field; Vince's business manager Eric (Kevin Connolly) and Turtle (Jerry Ferarra), who generally plays the cheerleader and general assistant to Vince and the group. There's also Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), Vince's snake-ish, hardworking agent who remains deeply cynical, sarcastic and drunk on his own power and ego.
Ari got the rug pulled out from him at the end of the first part of the third season, where Eric and Vince decided to drop Ari after he causes Vince to lose an important role. The second half of the third season opens with Vince trying to line up new projects with Ari's competitor, the attractive Amanda (Carla Gugino). Ari tries to use every trick in the book to get back into the group's good side, eventually winning out when he informs Eric that he can get Vince into "Medellin" (the story of Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar) if a deal can be made in time. When Vince turns on Amanda as a result, he realizes he was wrong and loses her in the process. Eric and Vince leave it up to Ari to try to revive the project.
"Entourage" still manages to entertain with its balance of an inside look at the entertainment industry and lightly spoofing both the scene and the show's whole macho world (Drama's pointless purchase of a horse that quickly escapes and nets him a huge fine.) The performances are pretty good, as Grenier has really never been better than he has here as an actor trying to do what's necessary to keep him on top of the world. However, it's Dillon, Ferarra and Piven who handle the humor of the series. Dillon's portrayal of Drama's meltdown at bad reviews - he busts into the offices of Daily Variety and rounds up every paper in the country - is one of the actor's several funny bits in these episodes. The fictional series (produced in the series by Ed Burns, who can probably figure out how to make 5 no-budget films in real life for what he gets paid per episode here) is awful, but as Drama drives off in despair, he soon finds out that the series is a huge hit.
As the series rolls towards the end of the third season here, Eric and Vince try to get "Medellin" off the ground themselves, which involves giving up their pad (in the final episode of the season, "Adios Amigos") for something less glam. Drama moves into a grungy place and his landlord instantly rats him out to US Weekly. When he looks for something better, he accidentially sees an expensive condo that he gets his heart set on, despite it being too expensive for him. When Eric moves in with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui, underrated), the guys think things have changed between the two.
This second volume of the third season offers these episodes:
35. 3-13 313 8 Apr 07 Less Than 30
36. 3-14 314 15 Apr 07 Dog Day Afternoon
37. 3-15 315 22 Apr 07 Manic Monday
38. 3-16 316 29 Apr 07 Gotcha!
39. 3-17 317 6 May 07 Return of the King
40. 3-18 318 13 May 07 The Resurrection
41. 3-19 319 20 May 07 The Prince's Bride
42. 3-20 320 3 Jun 07 Adios Amigos
VIDEO: "Entourage" is presented by HBO Home Video in 1.33:1 full-frame. The show looked quite good here, as sharpness and detail remain consistently fine throughout the show, even in some of the dimly-lit sequences. Some minor shimmering was spotted, but the picture looked clean for the majority of the running time. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other problems.
SOUND: The show's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack sounded just fine, with bassy music and some background ambience during the crowd/outdoor scenes. Audio quality was fine, with crisp, well-recorded dialogue.
EXTRAS: The second disc includes a "behind-the-scenes" featurette looking into the making of the finale, as well as a 45 minute Q & A discussion with the cast and creators. As for audio commentaries, we get a commentary with creator/exec producer Doug Ellin, actors Jerry Ferarra, Kevin Connolly and Kevin Dillon for "Adios Amigos", creator/exec producer Doug Ellin, actors Jerry Ferarra and Kevin Dillon for "The Resurrection" and "Manic Monday". There are also recaps of the first, second and first half of the third season. The set is packaged in a nice, fold-out box.
Final Thoughts: "Entourage" remains quite entertaining, with snappy, fast dialogue and memorable characters. The DVD presentation offers solid audio/video quality, as well as a nice helping of bonus features. Recommended.