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Arrested Development - Season Two


TITLE: ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT - SEASON TWO


Info:

DVD Release Date: October 11, 2005 (20th Century FOX)
Color
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 18
Running time: Approx. 396 Minutes
Audio Tracks: English Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, and French
Closed Captioned
Special Features Include:
Commentary by series creator Mitchell Hurwitz and actors Will Arnett, Michael Cera, David Cross, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, and Jessica Walter on "Good Grief," "Ready, Aim, Marry Me," and "The Righteous Brothers"
Deleted/extended scenes
"Season One in 3 Minutes" overview
Deleted/extra scenes from selected episodes
Blooper reel
Campaign videos from "The Immaculate Election" episode (Easter Egg)


Introduction:

In this Emmy-winning comedy's hilarious second season, Michael Bluth, once again determined to be free of his dysfunctional family, packs up the car and his son George-Michael and heads for Arizona. But he's soon pulled over by the police who tell him that his father, George Sr., has broken out of prison. Due to the company's shady business deal with Iraq, Michael could face prison time, so he returns home to clear his name as George Sr. secretly flees to Mexico. Tobias decides to be an understudy for the Blue Man Group, and Lucille begins a torrid affair with her husband's twin brother, Oscar.

The show received eleven Emmy Award nominations this year, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor In a Comedy Series (Jason Bateman), Outstanding Supporting Actor In a Comedy Series (Jeffrey Tambor), Outstanding Supporting Actress In a Comedy Series (Jessica Walter), Outstanding Writing For a Comedy Series (3 nominations), Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For a Comedy Series (3 nominations), and Outstanding Casting For a Comedy Series. Mitchell Hurwitz and Jim Vallely won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing For a Comedy Series for the episode "The Righteous Brothers." Jason Bateman won a Golden Globe for Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role - Musical or Comedy Series and the show was nominated for two Golden Globes awards for Outstanding Musical or Comedy Series.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

FOX shortened the second season (2004-2005) from 22 to 18 episodes. I guess the reduced order of episodes was worth it as it was brought back for a third season - despite some not that great ratings. There were a number of memorable episodes. After hearing that his grandfather has died in Mexico, a distraught George-Michael goes off to be alone, only to discover his grandfather hiding out in a hole at the model home construction site in "Good Grief." Look for all the Charlie Brown references in this episode. At the Bluth Company Christmas party, Gob gets upset and fires all the employees, forcing Michael to invite them all to a second party at the banana stand so he can rehire them in "Afternoon Delight." Michael tries to track down the seal that bit off Buster's hand, and also tries to save his son after Lucille takes George-Michael to the Motherboy dinner dance in "Motherboy XXX." Look for Henry Winkler jumping the shark in this one. Michael decides that the best way to stop George-Michael from getting pre-engaged to his girlfriend is to have his girlfriend's parents meet the Bluth family in "Meat The Veals." In "The Righteous Brothers," a mix-up leads to Michael's arrest, while a trick George Sr. plays on Oscar ends up with George Sr. once again free--and Oscar mistakenly taken into custody.

A number of guest stars appeared in season two. Martin Mull appeared as Gene Parmesean in "Amigos!" Ben Stiller made a funny appearance as the magician in "Good Grief!" and "The Sword of Destiny." Ed Begley, Jr. guest starred as Stan Sitwell and Andy Richter appeared as himself in "Switch Hitter." Ed was also in "Queen for a Day," "Burning Love," and "Ready, Aim, Marry Me." Christine Taylor played Sally Sitwell in "Burning Love" and "Out on a Limb." Martin Short appeared as Uncle Jack in "Ready, Aim, Marry Me." Julia Louis-Dreyfus reprises her role of Maggie Lizer from season one in "Out on a Limb" and "My Hand to God." Carl Weathers returns as himself in "Motherboy XXX." Ione Skye guest starred as Mrs. Veal in "Meat The Veals." Dick Van Patten appeared as Cal Cullen and Scrubs' Zach Braff was Phillip Litt in "Spring Breakout." Desperate Housewives' creator Marc Cherry appeared as himself in "The Righteous Brothers." Recurring characters included Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero, Henry Winkler as the family attorney Barry Zuckerhorn, and Judy Greer as Kitty Sanchez.


Packaging:

This three-disc set comes in somewhat similar packaging as the first season DVD set. Once again, the predominant colors are black, orange, and white. The outer plastic slipcover is translucent and transparent and orange in color. It has a a silhouetted cast photo and some photos of the cast and details of the set including the special features on the back. The main cardboard DVD box slides out from the top or bottom of the outer slipcase. There is a large photo of Jason Bateman on the main box, which is viewable from the outer plasic slipcover. There are smaller photos of the other cast members on the front. On the back, there is a more traditional cast photo featuring everyone. Jason Bateman and a silhouetted photo of cast is on the spine of the box. Three slim cases slide out from the right of the box. The predominant color of the slipcases is orange. The same cast photo is on each slipcase, but there is a different combination of silhouetted and visible cast members. There are some additional photos on the back of the cases along with episode titles, original airdates, writing/directing credits, and somewhat brief episode summaries. Much like the season one set, there is just blank white space inside each case. Some additional photos, trivia, or quotes would have been nice to see there. The actual discs have the Arrested Development logo on them with the same cast photo on each, but some have visible photos while other cast members are silhouetted. Disc 1 is orange with Michael, Lucille, and George Sr. pictured and contains episdoes 23-28 (numbered 1-8 from season 2). Disc 2 is black with Gob, Lindsay, and Tobias pictured and contains episodes 29-35 (7-12). Disc 3 is white with Buster, George-Michael, and Maeby pictured and contains episodes 35-30 (13-18).


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus have a similar look and feel as the season one set. The opening theme intro music is played in the background with various video clips from the episodes playing in 2 different window boxes (much like you see in the show's opening credits). There are options for "Play All," "Episode Selection," "Language Selection," and "Special Features" on each disc. The episodes sub-menu lists the episode titles vertically in red. A different photo is shown from each episode as you highlight them, and an arrow points to your selection. The Language Selction menu features some different background music and photos. There are chapter stops within the episodes but no scene selection menus, once again.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality of this set is outstanding, just like the season one set. The episodes were shot with a hand held Panasonic High Definition camera (widescreen 1.78:1) that gives them a documentary film look. The picture looks very sharp and is on par with the HD broadcasts. The audio is in Dolby Surround, and there are no major problems with it and it gets the job done. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are available in the set as well as closed captioning. The episodes are unedited in their original form with running times around 22 minutes. The profanity that is bleeped in the original broadcasts is also bleeped on the dvds.

Here is the breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
23. The One Where Michael Leaves (21:56)
24. The One Where They Build a House (21:55)
25. Amigos! (21:57)
26. Good Grief (21:59)
27. Sad Sack (21:50
28. Afternoon Delight (21:57)

Disc 2
---------
29. Switch Hitter (21:58)
30. Queen For a Day (21:58)
31. Burning Love (21:57)
32. Ready, Aim, Marry Me! (21:58)
33. Out on a Limb (21:56)
34. Hand to God (21:57)

Disc 3
---------
35. Motherboy XXX (21:59)
36. The Immaculate Election (21:57)
37. Sword of Destiny (21:59)
38. Meat The Veals (21:58)
39. Spring Breakout (21:59)
40. The Righteous Brothers (21:59)


Special Features:

While there are a good number of extras on this set, they aren't nearly as impressive as the lineup from the season one set. Creator Mictchell Hurwitz and actors Will Arnett, Michael Cera, David Cross, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, and Jessica Walter provide audio commentaries for three episodes: "Good Grief," "Ready, Aim, Marry Me!" and "The Righteous Brothers." These are very fun to listen to. They talk about the production of the episodes, guest stars, and give interesting little trivia tidbits. You can tell this cast has great chemistry and is like a real family.

There are deleted/extended scenes on all three discs. These run 28 minutes, 33 seconds and cover 15 of the 18 episodes. It's sad that the show is only 22 minutes long. So much good stuff must get left on the cutting room floor. Mitchell Hurwitz provides the narration for them. Here is a breakdown by disc and episode:

Disc 1 - The One Where They Build a House (2 Scenes), Amigos (1), Good Grief (3), Sad Sack (1), Afternoon Delight (1)
Disc 2 - Switch Hitter (2), Queen For A day (6), Burning Love (2), Out on a Limb (3), Hand to God (3)
Disc 3 - Motherboy XXX (1), The Immaculate Election (3), Meat The Veals (4), Spring Breakout (2), The Righteous Brothers (5)

Here is a breakdown of the other special features by disc:

Season One in 3 Minutes Overview (Disc 1) - This looked like a FOX promo for the first season. Since there is some running storylines and gags from season one to season two, it might be a good idea to watch this if you haven't seen the show before. It's fun to watch, but why not have one for season two on this set? (3:11)

Blooper reel (Disc 3) - 8 minutes, 43 seconds worth of bloopers. David Cross, Jason Bateman, and Will Arnett give a short intro. Some of these scenes are from the actual episodes and are just not bloopers that didn't make the show. David Schwartz's music can be heard in the background. These are hilarious to watch. I want more bloopers!

Campaign Videos from "The Immaculate Election" episode (Disc 3) - This special feature is identified on the packaging, but it's a hidden easter egg. To view them, go to the episode selection menu and when you highlight "The Immaculate Election," click the left arrow button on your remote and it will take you to them. There are 3 campaign videos: George Michael's, Steve's, and Rav's.


Final Comments:

I loved season one, but I have to say there was a bit of a sophomore slump. The episodes were still enjoyable, but I found my self laughing less. Maybe it was because of the shortened season by FOX. There were less criss-crossing story arcs, and the episodes felt more self-contained, and there was more physical comedy. I'm amazed to see that this show is so popular on DVD (currently #4 on Amazon.com), but it's ratings continually lag. The audience is a loyal, but small one. I guess this is one of the show's that people either get or don't get. I hope the ratings improve, but if they don't... I could see the show moving to F/X or another cable network.

Overall, this is another very good set. It is not as great as the season one release though, especially when it comes to the special features. I also think this DVD set should have been released before the start of season three, but maybe FOX didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle of all the DVD releases in early September. Tune in and watch this show Mondays on FOX at 8:00 PM ET/PT!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/12/05

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000A9QKRI/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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