TITLE: CAROLINE IN THE CITY - THE SECOND SEASON
Release Date: March 10, 2009 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: approx. 8 hours 53 mins.
Total Run Time of Special Features: 12 minutes 30 seconds
Subtitles: None; Closed Captioned
Special Features: Episodic Promos
A successful syndicated cartoonist, Caroline Duffy (Lea Thompson) is a neurotic New Yorker who draws upon life’s little experiences for comic inspiration. Aiding her in her quest for love and material are a zany trio of co-workers and friends including her boyfriend Del (Eric Lutes), her sarcastic but secretly smitten assistant Richard (Malcolm Gets), and her neighbor and best friend Annie (Amy Dietz).
In the show’s second uproarious season, it has now been three months since Caroline called off her wedding, but America’s favorite fictional cartoonist with a show on NBC hasn’t changed a bit as she continues to look for love in all the wrong places while meddling in the lives of her best friends.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The season presented on this DVD is the series’ 2nd out of 4. This is also the point at which I stopped watching. My interests in television shows began to shift around this time, and as a result I simply stopped watching. Factor in the show’s absence in syndication in recent years, and the episodes later in the season are *all* new, while the ones in the early part of the season are a vague memory at best. Most of you clearly like this season, as the majority of episodes are rated greater than an 8.5 on a 10 point scale at popular episode ratings websites.
The season opens with a bona fide two parter -- “Caroline and the Younger Man” and “Caroline and the Letter.” Your opinions on these two are clearly mixed. One episode received a 7.1 score, while the other got a perfect 10. Another perfect 10 is assigned to “Caroline and the Comic,” where Caroline wants Richard to reconcile with his father, an ex-Vaudeville comic.
Special guests include Lauren Graham, David Hyde Pierce, Julie Andrews, Judd Hirsch, Debra Jo Rupp, Rose Marie, Gordon Jump, French Stewart, and Jay Leno.
If you’ve read the review of any DVD set put out by the studio releasing this one -- CBS/Paramount -- you pretty much can have an idea of exactly how this will read. For those who haven’t: Hard plastic clear case. Inside features three discs. One and two are on opposite sides of a swinging plastic panel in the center. Disc 3 is fixed to the inner-right of the physical case itself. Discs, as always with this studio, are silver with the show logo being a shiny silver. Cover art is rather simple, and features the animation style of those bits of the show. Cover art can be viewed at the top of the review -- no sense describing what you can see for yourself already. Each disc holds 8 episodes. This set takes on a yellow tone intermixed with the white.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu is extremely well-designed -- but static with no music -- it features various cast members standing behind a sketched out outline of New York City. The whole cast is represented across the three discs but the most interesting one is on disc 1, which features Caroline pointing at the square where the episode list is drawn in. In front of her is a sketched out outline of New York City. Selecting an episode takes you to a sub-menu where you can select to play the episode or to play it with its for-syndication promo beforehand.
Video and Audio Quality:
We’ve crossed the mid 1990s border and are now approaching the late 90s, a time where video qualities improved to something consistent with a modern standing. There are minor issues with interlacing, but the colors are sharp and vibrant and look *extremely* realistic. Overall, this is very nice video to be 12-13 years old. Audio is loud and clear, and while the audio is only a mere stereo track, it at least gets the job done fairly well. There are chapter stops at the end of each act. Chapter stops are occasionally overlooked, but they’re always nice to have especially if you have to stop an episode mid-episode.
Now for the painful part: In low-contrast fine print near the bottom of the rear cover of the packaging is not one but two disclaimers: “Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions” AND “Music has been changed for this home entertainment release.” I’m not surprised anymore, just disappointed.
Caroline and the Younger Man (Part I): 22:11
Caroline and the Letter (Part II): 22:33
Caroline and the Cat Dancer: 22:14
Caroline and the Guy Who Gets There Too Soon: 22:44
Caroline and the Dreamers: 22:44
Caroline and the Nice Jewish Boy: 22:29
Caroline and the Victor/Victoria: 22:34
Caroline and the Comic: 22:13
Caroline and the Therapist: 22:41
Caroline and the Red Sauce: 22:35
Caroline and the Freight King: 22:42
Caroline and the Perfect Record: 22:39
Caroline and the Singer: 22:24
Caroline and the Kept Man: 22:47
Caroline and the Log Shot: 21:07
Caroline and the Dearly Departed: 21:46
Caroline and the Getaway: 22:06
Caroline and the Monkeys: 22:08
Caroline and the Buyer: 21:26
Caroline and the New Neighbor: 22:08
Caroline and the Critics: 22:23
Caroline and the Ombudsman: 22:28
Caroline and the Bad Trip (Part I): 22:15
Caroline and Richard and Julia (Part II): 21:36
Caroline and the Wayward Husband (Part III): 21:34
Runtimes below 22 minutes are usually indicative of edits in this set.
There’s only one feature, but given the studio producing the release that’s a monumental increase.
Episodic promos -- 30 second promos for each episode. These aren’t the NBC promos; rather they’re the syndication promos for each of the season’s episodes. 30 seconds x 25 episodes = 12.5 minutes
Caroline in the City was a great show that NBC should have given another year or two on the schedule, in my opinion. Yes, shows end, but the feeling I’m getting watching these episodes is that four years probably wasn’t quite enough to tell all the stories that could be told. The second season, save a few clunkers, is pretty great cover to cover, and will make a welcome addition to your DVD collection. Recommended.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0.5/5
*Half-point deducted for edits
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 02/26/09
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