"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.
The fifth season sees Vince having to have to start back from the bottom once again, with his dream project, "Medellin", having turned out to be a legendary disaster upon its premiere at Cannes (the fifth season opens with former "Ebert and Roeper" critic Richard Roeper panning the movie on the program. While Vincent is in a slump, at least it's a slump in paradise, with he and his friends hanging out with women in the tropics, boozing and womanizing their way through the sorrows on a beach somewhere in Mexico.
When Ari finally makes his way into the middle of paradise in order to try and convince Vince to try and come back to the states in order to try and jumpstart his career again. The results don't go as planned, and while Eric believes that Vince's career will soon be bigger than ever, things don't play out that way and soon Vince realizes that his financial status requires him to make an appearance at a Super Sweet 16 party for work and consider an offer for a role in the next "Benji" movie (to prepare for the decision on "Benji", the group trips out at Joshua Tree and awaits for the answer to come to them - but Ari doesn't do so well with the experience.) Aside from the unappealing choice of "Benji", also on Vince's plate is "Smokejumpers". At the end of the season, the guys decide that there's only one place to head: back to Queens.
"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. Additionally, for a series that could have grown quite repetitive at this point, "Entourage" continues to find new approaches and viewpoints for the characters and their adventures in Hollywood.
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 - Piven continues to impress with his portrayal of a world-class jerk, with a highlight being his war with agent Adam Davies in the third episode. Of course, there's more than a few good guest star parts this season, including Stellan Skarsgard as a director and both Eric Roberts and Seth Green as themselves.
55. 5- 1 7 Sep 08 Fantasy Island
56. 5- 2 14 Sep 08 Unlike A Virgin
57. 5- 3 21 Sep 08 The All Out Fall Out
58. 5- 4 28 Sep 08 Fire Sale
59. 5- 5 5 Oct 08 Tree Trippers
60. 5- 6 12 Oct 08 ReDOMption
61. 5- 7 19 Oct 08 Gotta Look Up To Get Down
62. 5- 8 26 Oct 08 First Class Jerk
63. 5- 9 2 Nov 08 Pie
64. 5-10 9 Nov 08 Seth Green Day
65. 5-11 16 Nov 08 Play'n With Fire
66. 5-12 23 Nov 08 Return To Queens Blvd
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: Audio commentaries on 3 episodes, with participants including Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Connolly, Andrian Grenier, creator/producer Doug Ellin and others. "The Celebrity Factor" is a 10-minute piece that discusses the guest stars that were brought in for the season.
Final Thoughts: "Entourage" still 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.