TITLE: BECKER - THE SECOND SEASON
DVD Release Date: February 3, 2009 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 8 hours, 46 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital English
Subtitles: None; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None
Just what the doctor ordered -- the angriest physician youíll find on a sitcom; fans love Ted Danson (Cheers) as Becker, the Bronx doctor whoís ranting and raving drives his friends and co-workers nuts! This season, when John Becker goes to the rescue of his blind friend Jake (Alex Desert) he gets shot, but meets an attractive doctor while recuperating. And as diner owner Reggie (Terry Farrell) goes back to college, office manager Margaret (Hattie Winston) is flabbergasted when wacky employee Linda (Shawnee Smith) takes in the dinerís most annoying customer. This 3-disc set includes all 24 episodes from the second season of this smart and funny series on DVD for the first time.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
In addition to the episodes noted above, episodes this season feature Becker acting as a good samaritan only to have the woman he helped become an obsessive stalker (the season premiere episode entitled Point of Contact), Becker giving advice to a guy dating Reggie at the same time that Linda is getting taken advantage of by someone she was partnered with through a volunteer organization (Cyrano De-Beckerac), and a department store Santa drops dead in Beckerís waiting room. (Santa on Ice). The only guest star of note this season is John Astin, best known as Gomez Addams from the original Addams Family TV series, appearing in the episode ďAll the Rage.Ē
The packaging is exactly what youíd expect for this studio. It is a single-unit clear plastic case with a flipping panel in the middle. This middle panel holds discs one and two, with the third disc affixed to the back panel. The discs are the usual default Paramount silver with the show logos being given an etched appearance. Front cover features the primary cast on the front in one of the many, many generic cast photos a show like this generates. Inside panel covers features episodic breakdown. Each disc contains 8 episodes; those of you who canít quite grasp simple math take note that episodes 1-8 are on disc 1, 9-16 are on disc 2, and 17-24 are on the final disc.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Any of you expecting more than plain-Jane vanilla basic menus, raise your hands. Those of you with your hands up: A) This is a textual writing, I didnít actually expect you to raise your hands, and B) Were you really expecting something beyond a static menu here? Thatís not to say that the menu isnít well designed -- clearly someone with an artistic eye and a knack for proper layer arrangement constructed this menu, as itís very well done. In the foreground is a static shot of Becker at the counter at the restaurant, smiling. Behind him the background has been edited to a reddish-tinted wood paneling. The show logo is presented in the foreground of the paneling. At the bottom are the Play All and Episode Selection options, each selectable via a check-box to the left of the option. Episode selections feature your expected photo at the top, with a list of episodes and accompanying check-boxes to the left. The menu is in a similar style as season one, only more red than blue. Given the change in packaging color, though, did you really expect the menus to be green or something?
Video and Audio Quality:
There was a time at this site when discovering episode edits was a process that, though painful, grabbed attention from all around, drawing in eyeballs from around the internet to discover what studios had done to their beloved shows. Then, with more and more titles being edited, the shock and novelty wore off, and we all stopped really caring -- sure, fans of a specific show still get their feathers a bit ruffled at edits, and on the titles with particularly grievous edits (WKRP in Cincinnati, released by Fox) attention to the problem can still be found, but really -- who is surprised any more at the slew of titles released by studios -- particularly this one - with edits on their discs and disclaimers noting such on their boxes. Iím not here to complain about the edits any more. Iím tired. I canít keep spending 200 words per review whining about something thatís not changing. Acceptance is one of the stages.
My random required complaining is about the video. There are, periodically, random bits of noise and grain across episodes. Unlike the minor nitpicks plaguing some sets, which you need a TV the size of Rhode Island and about a weekís worth of free time to point out, when these show up youíre a lot less likely to miss the debris present here, which readily showed up on my comparatively meager display. You can see the little black specs dancing across the images, particularly against solid, lighter colors. This problem particularly plagues early episodes, though occasionally reoccurs out of nowhere over the course of the set. There are also minor interlacing issues, causing mild tearing issues on some DVD players. The audio is your average 2.0 Stereo track. No chapter stops.
Now for the runtimes:
Point of Contact: 22:05
Imm-oral Fixations: 22:07
Cyrano De-Beckerac: 22:08
Linda Quits: 22:08
My Boyfriendís Back: 21:18
Shovel Off to Buffalo: 22:06
He Said, She Said: 22:05
Stumble in the Bronx: 21:56
Hate Thy Neighbor: 21:30
Pain in the Aspirin: 22:06
Blind Curve: 21:45
Santa on Ice: 21:39
The Hypocritic Oath: 21:55
The Rumor: 22:05
All the Rage: 21:55
Old Yeller: 21:36
The Roast that Ruined Them: 22:05
For Whom the Toll Calls: 22:05
The Bearer of Bad Tidings: 22:05
One Angry Man: 22:00
Sight Unseen: 22:06
Panic on the 86th Floor: 21:56
None. Youíre telling me no interviews, commentaries or even bloopers could have been on this set? Not even the generic episode promos?
Knowing perfectly well that I can sit here and write a five page missive about how Iíd fix this set, or an itemized list of likes and dislikes. They waste my time, they waste your time, and at the end of the day the advice contained within will be summarily ignored - so Iím not even going to try this time. Anyone with any knowledge whatsoever of what a *good* DVD set contains knows darn well that special features are needed; the complete footage of the DVDís feature is needed. Basic things to justify the purchase. There are perfectly competent people who know exactly what needs to be done to improve this DVD set, and that the change will come *if* the bean counters say itís OK...which it probably wonít be.
If you like the show, go ahead and pre-order this set or buy it when it streets. Itís a good show, and if youíre a fan youíll get your moneyís worth. If youíre not completely sold on the show, watch it in syndication first on WGN America. Get a feel for the series and whether itís your cup of tea. Then, if you decide you like it, you can always buy it later. No need to spend $37 if you donít like the show.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 01/27/09
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