DVD Review: Femme Fatales: The Complete Second Season

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Sleazy, trash fun from Cinemax, Femme Fatales is an anthology series featuring pulpy, lurid stories about wicked women. The first season aired during the summer of 2011 and was made available on DVD earlier this year. Now the complete second season has hit home video as well, available as a three-disc DVD set. It’s telling, in terms of how much value Cinemax places on the series, that there is no corresponding Blu-ray version. Femme Fatales makes no pretense of being anything more than it is—a schlocky, nudity-filled, B-level alternative to similarly structured episodic suspense shows like HBO’s The Hitchhiker.

Just as The Hitchhiker had Page Fletcher, the title character whose intros and outros bookended each episode, Femme Fatales has Tanit Phoenix as Lilith. She’s a sexy dame who opens each half-hour episode with a hint of what’s to come, usually not seen again until the wrap-up. Otherwise, the cast varies from episode to episode, each a self-contained, noirish tale. “16 Minutes of Fame” spoofs reality TV competitions such as Big Brother and the like. Housemates are dropping like flies, and no one knows who’s behind it. For the most part the acting is perfunctory. It’s all cheap thrills and lots of exposed flesh. “Trophy Wife” involves a wife plotting to kill her cheating hubby, but his mistress simultaneously suggests getting rid of the wife.

Femme Fatales 3 (133x200).jpgNone of the episodes end quite the way you’d expect, at least that’s what Femme Fatales’ writers have in mind. Some twist endings work better than others, but really this is just vapid, late-night, “Skinemax” viewing. The episodes feature mostly unknowns, though occasionally guest stars (including Vivica A. Fox, Eric Roberts, Casper Van Dien, and Steve Railsback) drop in.

The dozen second season episodes are spread over the first two discs in the set. Each episode has audio commentary by various participants. The third disc is exclusively bonus features, including the “international version” of the episode “Libra.” There are a number of featurettes as well, some focused on the making of specific episodes (“Family Business,” “Libra”). There’s also footage from Comic-Con 2012, the season two red carpet premiere, and deleted scenes. If you’re a fan, Femme Fatales: The Complete Second Season on DVD packs in quite a bit of extras.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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