Entourage: Season Three, Part One review, Entourage: Season 3, Part 1 DVD review

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Buy your copy from Amazon.com Entourage: Season Three, Part One (2006) starstarstarstarhalf star Starring: Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven
Director: Various
Category: Comedy
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Taking a cue from other hit HBO shows like “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City,” the latest season of “Entourage” has been split into two parts. Why? Well, for two reasons, really. First off, it allows the studio to make more money on DVD releases such as this. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it gives the audience exactly what they want: more of the wild, Hollywood antics that have made Vincent Chase and Co. one of the hottest things on television. The first part of season three hardly disappoints, either, and while the show did get off to rocky start (many even began to wonder, “Is there such a thing as a junior slump?,” including resident “Entourage” blogger Jamey Codding), the writers quickly turned things around to deliver the best year yet.

Season three picks up with the world premiere of “Aquaman.” Hollywood is still buzzing about “It” boy Vincent Chase’s (Adrian Grenier) foray into superhero territory, and after the film scores big with a record-setting opening weekend, Vince lands the role of a lifetime: Pablo Escobar in the biopic directed by Academy Award-winning director Paul Haggis. Of course, what’s a season of “Entourage” without at least a little controversy, and after signing on to appear in the film, Warner Brothers fast tracks an “Aquaman” sequel that interferes with his shooting schedule for “Medellin.”

As Vince threatens to ruin his newly-earned A-list status by butting heads with the Warner Bros. studio head, Ari (Jeremy Piven) is left to pick up the pieces. He’s also hard at work on setting up his own agency in a slice of prime real estate, not to mention taking on both Drama (Kevin Dillon) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) as new clients, at the behest of Vince, of course. Still, not everyone is going through such hard times. With the help of Ari, Drama scores a lead role on the new Ed Burns pilot, and Turtle’s rapper, Saigon, gets a deal at a major record label. Meanwhile, Eric (Kevin Connolly) accepts an invitation to partake in a threesome with girlfriend Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and her hot friend, only to wake up the next morning to discover that he’s spooning the guest star.

And let’s not forget the hilarious lineup of guest stars, including Seth Green as a pompous ass whose own entourage gets into a brawl with Vince’s crew at a Vegas stripper competition, James Woods as a perk-happy celebrity who nearly gets into a fistfight with Drama over a couple of premiere passes, and Bruno Kirby as a toy-collecting producer who has his Shrek doll stolen during a house party. Among the laundry list of appearances, however, it’s Martin Landau's turn as old-school producer Bob Ryan that ultimately takes the cake. After promising Vince a starring role in the upcoming Ramones biopic (which is discovered by Eric amongst a pile of previously rejected scripts), Bob reneges on the agreement when Ari becomes jealous and begins to interfere with the pitch process. This, of course, leads to the eventual firing of Ari, which stands as the biggest open story arc at the end of the first half of the third season, and one that should be resolved within the final seven episodes, set to air in April.

Unfortunately, while the show continues to hook new viewers every year, the DVD releases for “Entourage” remain as unattractive as ever. HBO has certainly improved the selection of bonus material this time around – with three audio commentaries by creator/producer Doug Ellin and stars Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara, as well as a production featurette on the making of the “Vegas Baby, Vegas” episode – but it’s still slim pickings for those of us who love diving into hours of extras. Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny the allure of a show like “Entourage,” (heck, just writing about it makes me pine for new episodes), and while the latest three-disc box set continues to disappoint on the special feature side of things, “Entourage” remains one of the most original series on television today. There’s nothing quite like it, and with HBO saying farewell to critically acclaimed series like “The Sopranos” and “Rome” by year’s end, “Entourage” will no doubt become the flagship program that it was always destined to be.

~Jason Zingale