TITLE: COMMUNITY - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 505 minutes
Running Time of Features: Approx. 120 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles and Captioning: English Subtitles
Special Features: Commentaries on Every Episode; Outtakes and Deleted Scenes; The Paintball Finale: From Script to Screen; Creating Wonderland; Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas Animatics; Season Two Cast Evaluations; DJ Steve Porter Remixes Season One
It's time to head back to college for the sophomore year of the NBC series Community on DVD! The four disc collection contains all 24 episodes from the 2010-2011 season following Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) and friends as they go through their academic careers at Greendale Community College. In season one, the series started as Jeff, a former attorney, was found to have cracks in his degree and credentials to become an attorney, specifically that he faked some of them. As part of his punishment, he is required to go back to school and ends up at Greendale, where he attends class with some eclectic classmates at very different phases of their own lives.
The second season begins as Betty White is the study group's new anthropology professor in "Anthropology 101," where Jeff finds out the surprising consequences of rejecting Britta in the previous season. Meanwhile, former Spanish professor Chang, having been discovered that he too faked his educational credentials, is now in class with his former students and trying to do everything possible to get into the study group. In "Accounting for Lawyers," Jeff finds out that one of his old friends was responsible for his disbarment. Pierce has to deal with the death of his mother in "The Psychology of Letting Go." In "Basic Rocket Science," an assignment to salvage an aging museum exhibit has far reaching consequences. Shirley asks Abed to make a film about Jesus in "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples," but Abed's choice of a star causes drama between the duo. In "Epidemiology," a Halloween party turns into a terrible rabies epidemic.
Hilary Duff guest stars in "Aerodynamics of Gender," where Abed makes it his passion to take down mean girls. Somebody stole Annie's pen and it is a really big deal in "Cooperative Calligraphy." Jeff is about to be busted for a phony night class credit in "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design," but what happens next causes everybody to be confused. Toby's 21st birthday is celebrated by the entire study group in "Mixology Certification." The whole cast gets "drawn together" when Abed wakes up to find everything in slow-motion animation in "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas." Malcolm Jamal Warner makes his first appearance as Andre, Shirley's husband, in "For a Few Paintballs More," where Shirley is pregnant and the father may just be Chang.
Pierce will do anything to get a starring role in an anti-drug play in "Celebrity Pharmacology 212." Jealousy overcomes Pierce when the study group tries to help a student everybody makes fun of in "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons." In "Early 21st Century Romanticism," everybody is trying to find a little bit of love, and Britta goes to extremes to prove she is open-minded about lesbians. Pierce pretends to be dying to take advantage of the group in "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking." The Vice President is coming in "Intro to Political Science," and Dean Pelton realizes that the school is missing something that it needs: a student body president. Any volunteers? In "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy," Chang is determined to prove that he'd be a good father for Shirley's child, whether Shirley wants that or not.
In "Critical Film Studies," Abed makes a shocking announcement: he is done with pop culture. Abed's latest class is a comprehensive course over the history and legacy of the TV series Who's the Boss? in "Competitive Wine Tasting." Everybody reminisces about their times together while working on their 20th anthropology diorama in "Paradigms of Human Memory." In "Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts," it is time for the anthropology final, but it seems that Shirley may be going into labor. The season ends with the episodes "A Fistful of Paintballs" and "For a Few Paintballs More," where the first season paintball tournament has come back again, and this time, they mean business.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Anthropology 101" (21:08)
2. "Accounting for Laywers" (21:16)
3. "The Psychology of Letting Go" (21:17)
4. "Basic Rocket Science" (21:13)
5. "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples" (21:01)
6. "Epidemiology" (21:17)
7. "Aerodynamics of Gender" (21:15)
8. "Cooperative Calligraphy" (21:13)
9. "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" (21:14)
10. "Mixology Certification" (20:41)
11. "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" (21:27)
12. "Asian Population Studies" (21:18)
13. "Celebrity Pharmacology 212" (20:44)
14. "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" (21:16)
15. "Early 21st Century Romanticism" (21:11)
16. "Intermediate Filmmaking" (21:07)
17. "Intro to Political Science" (20:43)
18. "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy" (21:18)
19. "Critical Film Studies" (20:37)
20. "Competitive Wine Tasting" (21:10)
21. "Paradigms of Human Memory" (20:52)
22. "Applied Anthropology" (19:52)
23. "A Fistful of Paintballs" (21:23)
24. "For a Few Paintballs More" (20:27)
The packaging is very nicely done for this set, and in fact, when you see it, it'll almost take you back a few years: they have actually continued with the slimcases for this set! While many other studios are rapidly moving to Viva cases (or in the case of Universal, still using folding digipacks), we have two slipcases in this set, each holding two discs. The cover art has a photo of the anthropology study group, with comments written all over the photo about each of the characters. On the back, we have a brief synopsis of the season and all of the characters, along with several cast photos. Inside the outer case, we have the two slimcases, both of which contain two discs. The themes on each case don't really coordinate each other this time, but it isn't a huge deal. On the first case, everything is themed as Abed's "secret notebook," where inside the case, we see many of Abed's notes about the girls in the group. The second case looks like a "campus life" book on the front, but inside, we find a lost and found bulletin board, where it just so happens that the entire study group has their student ID posted on there. On the back of each case, we have episode titles and descriptions for all of the episodes, along with a list of special features by disc. As for the disc artwork, each disc contains a snapshot of a torn piece of notebook paper with photos of the characters attached to them. Each disc contains six episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are very well done, with the main menu featuring the theme song and various cutouts of the cast members floating around the screen (much like the opening credits). Options on the main menu include Play All Episode, Episode Selections, Subtitles, and Special Features. Whichever option you take, you go to a submenu that has the episodes or features listed on the piece of notebook paper, in a font that looks very much like handwriting. Selecting an episode goes straight to the episode. There are no submenus or chapter menus, but chapters ARE placed throughout each episode at all of the appropriate places. All of the special features can be found on the Special Features menu, which is fine, but it would make sense to put some of these (like commentaries and episode specific deleted scenes) on the episode menu. Still, the menus are very nicely done.
Video and Audio Quality:
The set has excellent video and audio quality, with no real issues to report. Watching it on my Blu-ray player (which, of course, upconverts DVDs to high definition), the series looks about as good as it does on NBC, being very crisp and clear. The episodes are presented in 16x9 widescreen, as are MOST (though not all) of the special features. And the audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, which is pretty much the standard for newer series. There is no closed-captioning, but there are subtitles. In fact, there are two sets of subtitles, one in English, and one in English for the deaf and hard of hearing. I'm not really sure how these differ (I didn't really take the time to investigate), but I'm guessing the second one gives details of sounds occurring in the series that are not dialog. It is just too bad that Sony, one of the pioneers of Blu-ray technology, still hasn't put this show (or any sitcom for that matter) on Blu-ray, but I honestly think that this series probably wouldn't be as big on Blu-ray as sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory or The Office (both of which are steadily being released in the format now).
As was the case last time, this set is literally LOADED with special features. And once again, they begin with commentaries. Not for one episode, or a few episodes, or even most episodes. There are commentaries for EVERY episode. The episodes and commentators are as follows:
1. "Anthropology 101" - Gillian Jacobs, Joel McHale, Joe Russo, Chris McKenna
2. "Accounting for Laywers" - Joel McHale, Rob Corddry, Joe Russo, and Emily Cutler
3. "The Psychology of Letting Go" - Chevy Chase, Donald Glover, Anthony Russo, Hilary Winston
4. "Basic Rocket Science" - Dan Harmon, Donald Glover, Anthony Russo, Andy Bobrow
5. "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples" - Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Richard Erdman, Garrett Donovan
6. "Epidemiology" - Dan Harmon, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Anthony Hemingway
7. "Aerodynamics of Gender" - Donald Glover, Gillian Jacobs, Adam Countee, Jake Aust
8. "Cooperative Calligraphy" - Dan Harmon, Yvette Nicole Brown, Joe Russo, Megan Ganz
9. "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Jim Rash, Chris McKenna
10. "Mixology Certification" - Yvette Nicole Brown, Joel McHale, Neil Goldman, Andy Bobrow
11. "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" - Dan Harmon, Danny Pudi, Dino Stamatopoulos, Ludwig Göransson, Duke Johnson
12. "Asian Population Studies" - Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Kim Jeong, Danny Pudi, Anthony Russo
13. "Celebrity Pharmacology 212" - Chevy Chase, Jim Rash, Hilary Winston
14. "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Joe Russo, Andrew Guest
15. "Early 21st Century Romanticism" - Donald Glover, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Jeong, Steven Sprung
16. "Intermediate Filmmaking" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Joe Russo, Megan Ganz
17. "Intro to Political Science" - Joel McHale, Dino Stamatopoulos, Joe Russo, Adam Countee (with appearances by Andy Robert Smigel and Andy Dick)
18. "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy" - Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Anthony Russo, Andy Bobrow
19. "Critical Film Studies" - Kim Jeong, Danny Pudi, Neil Goldman, Sona Panos
20. "Competitive Wine Tasting" - Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Joe Russo, Jake Aust
21. "Paradigms of Human Memory" - Dan Harmon, Jim Rash, Tristram, Shapeero, Chris McKenna
22. "Applied Anthropology" - Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Jim Rash
23. "A Fistful of Paintballs" - Jim Rash, Joe Russo, Andrew Guest, Garrett Donovan
24. "For a Few Paintballs More" - Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Joe Russo, Hilary Winston
Next, we have outtakes, and there are plenty of these for every episode. Each disc contains an outtakes feature. The runtimes are as follows for each disc: Disc 1 (5:20), Disc 2 (6:37), Disc 3 (6:38), and Disc 4 (5:57)
There are many deleted scenes included on the set as well. Unfortunately, these are not sorted by episode title (as deleted scenes often are on the NBC sitcoms released by Universal), but instead are listed with their own titles, with a Play All option. The runtimes for these are as follows: Disc 1 (1:21), Disc 2 (0:45), Disc 3 (1:26), and Disc 4 (1:44).
Of course, fans of the series know that the episode "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" was an animated episode that took much more work to create than any of the others, so there are many special features specific to this episode. The first is "Creating Wonderland" (17:34), where the cast and production crew talk about creating the animated versions of all of the characters. "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas Original Story Board Animatic" (21:44) is much like the animatics seen on animated series such as The Simpsons or Family Guy, where we get to see the "rough draft" of the episode before any of the final animation was put in place. But if that isn't enough, there is also "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas In-Process Animatic," (21:44) where some of the animatic is cut in place with the actual scenes as the animatic was in process! The only thing that is missing here is a commentary for the animatic, but all other corners are covered! These can all be found on Disc 2.
On Disc 3, we begin with "Season Two Cast Evaluations" (10:35), where just like in the first season, each of the cast members gives candid "evaluations" of the first season. In this feature, creator Dan Harmon takes them into his office one-by-one to get their reflections on the season. It is a really nice and fitting feature for the series. If you missed out on the first season, you can catch up by watching "DJ Steve Porter Remixes Season One" (1:50), a music video that recaps the first season. It appears to be from an NBC online promo. It would have made more sense to put this one Disc 1, though!
Finally, on Disc 4, we have "The Paintball Finale: From Script to Screen" (20:02), where the cast and crew goes in-depth and behind-the-scenes on the final episode of the season.
The special features are great, but one omission that has been made unfortunately. The webisodes that were produced for NBC.com for this season are NOT included in this set, as they typically are for the NBC Thursday night sitcom DVD sets. This likely has to do with the fact that the series is a coproduction with NBC Universal and Sony, and that Sony is distributing the DVDs rather than Sony. But still, you would think something like this could be worked out.
The series may not be a ratings winner, and it may not be a big hit even by NBC standards, but it definitely has charm and a fanbase. It took me a while to warm up to this series, but the more that I watch it, the more I find that I like it. It is a fun series to watch and you never really know what to expect from one episode to the next (unlike other NBC sitcoms which follow a more serial format). The DVD set (which seems to be the ONLY sitcom that Sony ever puts out anymore at all) is a very great set, and every episode looks and sounds wonderful. That isn't to mention the nice job that was done on the special features. I think Dan Harmon really takes a lot of pride in this series, which is highly commendable for a series creator (many just focus on what is going on in the upcoming season and see older seasons as merely the "past"). So I'd recommend that everybody come back for the sophomore season of the series, and don't forget to catch the junior year as it premieres in a few weeks!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 08/28/11
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