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A season of dark undoings at the court of Prince Vince

The world of TV on DVD grew richer this week. Glenn Close returned in the third season of the legal drama Damages. The British spy thriller MI-5 chimed in with Volume 9. ER ended its run with Season 15.

And, as the half-hour comedy Entourage prepares to kick off its eighth and final season on HBO Canada on July 24, Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season reminds fans that it's always darkest before the dawn. So many bad things happened to so many central characters in Season 7 that creator Doug Ellin made a point of assuring Entertainment Weekly last month that the eighth season will be funnier, lighter and more in the spirit of the show's early seasons.

It's not as though the past season wasn't enjoyable. The series, which follows young actor Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his buddies as they navigate Hollywood, retains its lightning speed and witty dialogue. It continues to juggle interlocking subplots without breaking a sweat.

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Famous people continue to play versions of themselves, the way James Cameron did when he offered Vince the title role in Aquaman in Season 2. This time round, Mike Tyson wants to do a remake of The Brady Bunch. Director Nick Cassavetes puts pressure on Vince to perform his own car stunts. And John Cleese pokes fun at his reputation for serial marriages and divorces. He's about to marry a 23-year-old. "You read Perez Hilton?" someone asks him. He replies: "My girlfriend's 23. I have to stay relevant."

But every silver lining has a cloud. Ari (Jeremy Piven), the agent who tackles problems with patter quick enough to set land-speed records, is insufferably proud that he is now the head of the biggest talent agency in the business. Trouble is, he isn't paying enough attention to his agency's clients, and his wife is upset that he pays no attention to her.

Vince takes up with Sasha Grey, whom everyone pretends not to recognize as a porn star; instead, they congratulate her for her mainstream role in Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience. So Vince is happy. Then happiness shakes hands with drugs and alcohol, and you just know that means trouble.

As for Vince's entourage, Eric (Kevin Connolly) is in line to marry the daughter of wealthy Terrance McQuewick (Malcolm McDowell), but you never know. Drama (Kevin Dillon) has a development deal for a possible series, but the deal is coming to an end. Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is scrambling to keep his business ventures afloat.

If something can go wrong, Season 7 ensures that it will. Expect a dark cliffhanger. Expect that Season 8 will set everything right.

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