HBO Bids Adieu to “Entourage” After Eight Seasons

To be completely honest, “Entourage” probably should have called it quits a few seasons ago after Vincent Chase reemerged from the failure of “Medellin” to reclaim his spot among the Hollywood elite. But now that the final season is just around the corner, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited to see how it all ends. Even with the chance of a potential big screen adventure, it’s hard to imagine that creator Doug Ellin won’t want to provide at least some kind of bookend to the series – particularly one that’s a little happier than the way he left off things last season.

With perhaps the exception of Eric, whose rekindled relationship with Sloan led to the pair getting engaged, the rest of the guys ended Season Seven on a low. After bringing in Mark Cuban as a potential business partner for Avion tequila, Turtle was seemingly pushed out of the deal with nothing to show for it; Drama gave up a plum job on network TV only to wind up settling for a new animated show conceived by Billy Walsh; Ari managed to save his career but not his wife after she walked away from their marriage; and Vince was thrown into cocaine rehabilitation following his arrest for possession of cocaine.

Fortunately, the only place to go from there is up, which means that even if Season Eight doesn’t cap off the series with a completely happy ending, it’ll at least have a much brighter outlook than the previous season. Though everyone involved is holding their cards pretty close to their chests in regards to what we can expect to see, HBO has released a few promos and snippets of information that tell us a few things. For starters, the season will begin with Vince being released from a 90-day stint in rehab and eager to get back to work. But when he finds it difficult to land an acting job due to his recent tabloid-worthy exploits, he decides to write a starring vehicle for himself.

The rest of the guys will also continue to try and forge their own careers now that they’ve severed their dependency to Vince, with Turtle launching a new business venture to open a Hollywood location of the New York-based Italian restaurant, Don Peppe; Drama beginning production on “Johnny’s Bananas” alongside Andrew Dice Clay (presumably as one of the other voices); and Eric opening a new management company with Scotty Lavin. Interestingly enough, it also looks like his engagement to Sloan has hit a snag, while Ari will dedicate his time solely to winning back Mrs. Ari following their separation.

It all sounds promising enough, as long as things don’t get too serious. That was one of the main problems with last season, which often forgot it was a comedy at times by focusing all of its energy on the darker and more dramatic moments. And with only eight episodes for its grand finale, Ellin and Co. will have to be especially mindful of staying true to the story they want to tell while still delivering the show that fans know and love.

The eighth and final season premieres July 24th at 10:30 pm EST on HBO.

NOTE: Starting this season, my “Entourage” blog will be moving from Premium Hollywood to the Bullz-Eye Blog, so be sure to go there on Sunday night or Monday morning for all the latest episode recaps. You can also follow along on BE’s “Entourage” fan hub where the latest entry will always be posted.

  

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Entourage 5.1 – Fantasy Island

After the semi-disastrous season four, the “Entourage” writers were in desperate need of a longer vacation. After all, there’s nothing like a little R&R to get you back to full fighting strength, and though that much-deserved break came in the form of the writers’ strike, it may have just been a blessing in disguise. It should come as no surprise, then, that as the new season opens, Vincent Chase is also on vacation following the disastrous performance of “Medellin” at the box office. It seems not even Harvey Weinstein could save the film, and to make matters worse, Richard Roeper has just proclaimed it as one of the worst films of the year. Better yet, he says that Vince’s make-up job made him look like “the love child of Jimmy Glick and a bag of Twinkies” and then rips into him even more by declaring that “Al Pacino called and wants his accent back.” Ouch.

Still, all the negative publicity doesn’t appear to be affecting Vince quite like it should. He’s down in Mexico with Turtle jet skiing, lounging around, and having sex with lots of beautiful women, while Eric and Ari desperately attempt to save his career back in LA. Eric’s management company has even expanded to include a secretary and a new client – Charlie (Bow Wow), an up-and-coming comic who has yet to land an actual gig. When word comes in from Ari that producer Carl Hurtz is anxious to meet with him for a new genre film called “Danger Beach,” however, the duo head down to Mexico to convince him otherwise. Vince couldn’t care less (despite the fact that Hurtz is willing to pay his full asking price), but after some rather discouraging words from Eric (who feels responsible for messing up “Medellin”), Vince agrees to give the whole movie star thing another shot.

Entourage 5.1

Upon returning home (sans bushy beard) and taking the meeting with Hurtz, however, Vince is upset to learn that he was only being used in order to drive down Emile Hirsch’s (the original star attached to the film) asking price. This is probably the last thing I expected to happen, but it actually makes sense considering Vince has been MIA for the past six months and his last movie tanked. Also, did Warner Brothers just void the contract they had with Vince and Walsh for “Silo,” or is that still happening? I guess if I was a betting man, I’d choose the former. That would also explain how Vince is able to live so lavishly down in Mexico after investing everything he had into “Medellin.” Sure, $79/day may not sound like much, but it has to start adding up when you’re unemployed.

Nevertheless, while Vince is top priority amongst the characters in the show, Eric has always been the real star. His arc has remained the most interesting of the five men, and this season promises to flesh it out even more as he stops relying on Vince and becomes a success on his own. Drama and Turtle still need to break the comic relief mold and get some meatier storylines, but where their silly antics were a bit tiring in the past, they delivered some of the best moments in tonight’s episode. Turtle blasting the porn from the Escalade was hilarious, but Drama’s retaliation against Hurtz was even better. After taking a golf club to his Mercedes and leaving a fish on the hood, Turtle asks him if he’s leaving some sort of message, to which Drama replies, “Yeah. Aquaman is back.” It’s unclear whether the same holds true for “Entourage,” but if the season premiere is any indication, it’s certainly on the road to reclaiming its former glory.

  

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Entourage: Season Five Preview

No matter how disappointed you may have been with the fourth season of “Entourage,” there’s not a fan in the world that isn’t counting down the days until the show’s season premiere on September 7th. A victim of the writers’ strike, the HBO comedy series hasn’t aired a new episode for an entire year, so it’ll be nice to finally see what Vince and Co. have been up to since “Medellin” tanked at the Cannes Film Festival.

You might even want to check out season four as a refresher before diving in to the new season. Not only will it prepare you for the year to come, but you’ll also notice that, despite some minor faults, it really isn’t as bad as you remember. Sure, Eric and Walsh’s bickering got rather annoying at times, and Drama and Turtle actually took a step backwards in terms of character development, but the overall mood of the series has remained the same since Day One: chicks, celebrities and cannabis.

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The biggest problem with the fourth season was that the whole “Medellin” plot failed to be as interesting as the writers hoped it would be. Thankfully, it looks as if the film is but an afterthought in the upcoming season, which finds Vince living the life of a beach bum in Mexico after “Medellin” flops at the box office. The whole “Medellin” fiasco will no doubt be mentioned early on, but aside from that, I think Doug Ellin has learned his lesson about creating storylines that are overly ambitious.

So what about the rest of the guys? Well, HBO isn’t spilling the beans, but from the few publicity shots that have fallen into my hands, it appears Eric will be getting a new client in the form of rapper-turned-actor Bow Wow, while Turtle will be hanging out with Vince in Mexico; at least for the short term. No word on whether Bow Wow will be playing himself or a fictional character, but at least it shows that Eric’s career plans haven’t been completely thwarted since getting canned by Anna Faris. Additionally, one of the clips over at Dailymotion has confirmed that Drama’s French lover, Jacqueline, is now his girlfriend, so that should give him a little more to do this year other than playing the group jester.

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As for guest stars, season five is looking pretty good. Both Mark Wahlberg and Martin Landau are returning, while Tony Bennett, Phil Mickelson, Kevin Pollack and Fran Drescher will also appear. Giovanni Ribisi and Lukas Haas are also tapped for recurring guest roles as a pair of up-and-coming screenwriters that sign with Eric, so look for Kevin Connolly’s plotline to dominate most of the season. That’s all we know for now, but that alone is enough to indicate the writers are planning to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. It’s exactly what the series needs, and I can’t wait. In the meantime, check out this “Viking Quest” web game, which is sure to get you in the mood for the new season.

  

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