TITLE: BENSON - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Manufacture-on-Demand)
Color / 1980-81
Packaging: Amaray Case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: approx. 580 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Dolby Digital
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
Benson is back on DVD after a near five year wait! Benson: The Complete Second Season arrives on a 3-disc DVD-R set from Sony Pictures Television Manufacture-onDemand. The first season was an actual DVD release, but this set is an onDemand DVD-R release. Cheaper, but at least we get this released! Benson (Robert Guillaume) confronts two new obstacles to maintaining order in the wacky household of the widowed Governor Gatling - Chief of Staff Clayton Endicott III (Rene Auberjonois) and Press Secretary Pete Downey (Ethan Phillips). While working to fix the problems these two newcomers create in the executive mansion, Benson manages to foil a foreign plot to steal a priceless gold statue, help his chief nemesis Gretchen Kraus (Inga Swenson) gain citizenship, and withstand a siege by protesters who've encircled the governor's mansion. And after he and Governor Gatling are caught by a muckraking press corps as they are helping an old friend who has taken ill in a bordello, the unexpected death of the State Budget Director leads to Benson being elevated to the post.
The series stars 5-time Emmy nominee Robert Guillaume as Benson and James Noble as Governor Eugene Gatling. Also starring in the second season are the governor’s little daughter Katie played by Missy Gold, the stern German housekeeper Gretchen Kraus played by Inga Swenson, the governor’s secretary Marcy Hill played by Caroline McWilliams, the chief of staff Clayton Endicott III played by Rene Auberjonois and press secretary Pete Downey played by Ethan Phillips.
The second season had 22 episodes. They are presented in production order. The first 17 are the same order for both production and airdate, so it doesn’t matter but the remaining five are not in the same order, so be aware that this set is in production order. We get those on this DVD-R set, but we also for some reason have the first two episodes of the third season. The more the merrier, I guess! Originally when this release came out, the first episode of the second season was missing so they recalled it and delayed the release. Good move in fixing it. Memorable episodes from this second season include the season premiere “Thick of Thieves,” where Benson and Kraus are taken hostage by a band of thieves. In “Masquerade,” Benson becomes mixed up in a plot where revolutionaries are planning on stealing a national treasure. In “Citizen Kruas,” Benson helps Kraus become an American citizen. In “Benson’s Groupie,” Benson has a summer romance. In “Marcy’s Weddinh,” Marcy's getting married, but her mother does everything she can to take charge of the ceremony. In “No Sad Songs,” Benson's mother comes to visit and everyone makes her feel welcome, but then she suddenly dies. In “All Shook Up,” an earthquake occurs and the Governor imposes orders that include Benson's and Clayton's taking shelter in the cellar. And in “Lifesaver,” Benson saves Kraus's life but wonders if he did the right thing when her appreciation goes way too far.
Guest stars this season include Jerry Seinfeld as Frankie, James T. Callahan, Beverly Todd, Shavar Ross, Beau Richards, Jordan Charney, and Ted Danson as Dan. Each episode seems unedited at around 25:30. The runtimes are as follows:
1. Thick as Thieves (25:33)
2. Benson In the Hospital (25:37)
3. Fool’s Gold (25:29)
4. Masquerade (25:19)
5. First Lady (25:38)
6. Citizen Kraus (25:40)
7. Benson’s Groupie (25:39)
8. In High Places (25:39)
9. Old School Ties (25:37)
10. The Apartment (25:37)
11. Big Buddy (25:40)
12. Fireside Chat (25:37)
13. Marcy’s Wedding (25:39)
14. Rivals (25:38)
15. No Sad Songs (25:12)
16. Clayton Go Home (25:39)
17. Easy Kid Stuff (25:40)
18. Handwriting on the Wall (25:38)
19. All Shook Up (25:38)
20. Governor’s House Call (25:39)
21. Lifesaver (25:38)
22. Homework (25:38)
23. Benson’s Appointment - Season 3 Episode 1 (25:35)
24. The Grass Ain’t Greener- Season 3 Episode 2 (25:32)
The packaging comes in a standard Amaray case. A photo of Robert Guillaume as Benson is used as the cover art. The show logo and The Complete Second Season mention are both above the photo. The back of the case has a large photo the entire cast, but why Didi Cohn and not Caroline McWilliams? There are also two smaller episodic images below that. A short synopsis of the season and the DVD specs are provided. The same photo of Robert Guillaume is featured on the spine of the case. Inside the case, there is no artwork, just plain black. It would have been great if they included some episode summaries or additional photos. The discs just have a plain white background, with the Benson logo and disc number in black. Generic!
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu is very basic like other Sony MOD titles. It just has various televisons in the background with a blue/green tint. They've used this same generic menu on other Sony on demand releases. They couldn’t just insert a cast photo, even if it was just the same one as the cover art? The episode titles are listed vertically in black text in a teal box on the left side of the screen. There's a "Play All" button or you can view the episodes individually. A film cannister type icon is next to the option you highlight that turns yellow upon your selection. Unfortunately, there are no chapter stops within the episodes, which is disappointing to me.
Video and Audio Quality:
This DVD set is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media, as we mentioned. Thus, the packaging notes that this disc is expected to play back in DVD Video "Play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives. The episodes are presented in 1.33:1 full screen. I believe this series was remastered, so it looks really good and the MOD doesn’t affect it really. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is just one: Sony Pictures Television.
The audio is an English Dolby Digital track. It sounds fine and for something in the early ‘80s it sounds just as good as it could. So there is nothing to worry about here. Unfortunately though, there are no subtitles or closed captioning on any of the episodes. Pretty standard and basic, but both audio and video are perfectly good here. Very good!
Unfortunately, there are no special features included, like the other Sony MOD titles. This is usually the case with these on manufactured on demand type releases. You just get the episodes here, which is fine I guess. No expectations. Season one had about 38 minutes of special features: “Video Introduction by Robert Guillaume,” “Inside the Governor’s Mansion: Remembering the First Season of Benson,” “Favorites from the First Season,” and “Photo Gallery.” We get nada here. That’s OK, I guess. We weren’t expecting it for this season since it moved to MOD.
This is such a great and underrated show that I am so glad after about five years we are getting more episodes on DVD. Even if it a MOD DVD-R release, it’s still something! I hope we get seasons three-seven this way at least if Sony is not willing to give us an actual DVD release. This set has flaws, but I think it is expected since it is a cheapened set. Surprisingly, the audio and video are not affected. They both are very good. Packaging and menus need improving though, but that’s not a major issue. Special features are never expected on MOD stuff, so if we even got something it would have been surprising. This is definitely a release for just the episodes and you get those! And every episode is unedited, so that’s the most important thing!
Go and buy this release from our link below, because the internet is the only way to buy this! You demanded it, now you have Benson season two! What a great show!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 2/5
-- Reviewed by Pavan on 05/12/12
To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:
Please e-mail me with your sitcom related questions, sitcoms to add, and suggestions for additional links. © 1999-2014, Todd Fuller Contact Form