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Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Second Season


TITLE: EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: December 14, 2004 (HBO Home Video)
Color
MSRP: $44.98 (US)
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 750 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Feature: 76 Minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning:
*Audio Tracks in English, Spanish, and French
*Subtitles in English, Spanish, and French
*Closed Captioning in English
Special Features:
*Audio Commentary by Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal on 2 Episodes
*Deleted Scenes Reel
*Blooper Reel


Introduction:

Everybody Loves Raymond is about a rather crazy extended family in Long Island. Starring Ray, a successful sportswriter, and husband of Debra (played by Patricia Heaton). The couple consistently deals with their young kids - a 6 year-old daughter and twin sons, as well as Ray's brother, Robert (Brad Garrett), and parents Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts), who are always coming over at unexpected times or otherwise meddling in their business.

After its first season, Everybody Loves Raymond was 84th in the total ratings. Friday at 8:30 was draining the show of what Nielsen life it had. CBS, seeing the potential of the show, placed the show between Cosby and Cybill, Monday at 8:30, for the 1997-98 season, and ratings began to shoot-up. The timeslot move gained the show a full two ratings points, and 35th overall. Also this season is an increase in the overall comedy level of the show. While the first season was rather weak, the second season really is the beginning of the comedy juggernaut the show is today.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

While last season didn’t have any real standout episodes, this season has several. First is show 33 (11 on the set), The Letter. Fed up with Marie constantly making her life miserable, she writes a rather blunt letter to her mother-in-law, telling her to butt out. Ray then goes to extremes to try to stop her from delivering it. Also is episode 37 (15 on the set), Marie’s Meatballs. Other shows include 34 (12), All I Want for Christmas; 39 (17), The Ride Along; and the Two-part Finale, The Wedding.

Guest stars are present for season two. Kevin James reprises his role as Kevin for four episodes in total. The character Kevin would later be spun-off, as The King of Queens. Other guests include, Pat O’ Brien, as well as comedian Dave Attell who guest star in episode 29 (7), Working Late Again. Noted cartoon voiceover actress Christine Cavanaugh appears, in person, in show 34 (12), All I want for Christmas. Dan Castellaneta ­ better known as the voice of Homer Simpson - guests in show 42, T-Ball. The 2-Part Finale, The Wedding, finds the return of Katherine Helmond as Debra’s mother Lois.


Packaging:

Inside, the five DVDs are arranged with discs one and two seen when opening the set. Unfolding the set further reveals a disc index, and the other three discs. Disc one has episodes 1-5, disc two has episodes 6-10, disc three has episodes 11-15, disc four has episodes 16-20 and disc five has episodes 21-25. They’re reusing the cast photos on the front or back from the first season set, however, the rest are new. New pictures on the front, side, and back. Disc Art has the same characters on the same discs as last time (Ray ­ 1, Debra ­ 2, Robert ­ 3, Marie ­ 4, Frank ­ 5), but uses new photos of them. Word of warning…the extended pieces of plastic on the disc holders that help seal the case seem to be quite fragile. I dropped the case ONE and two broke off. Be careful (Obviously one should be careful with DVD sets anyway, I'm just saying that a bit of extra caution would help.).


Menu Design and Navigation:

Just like last time, the main menu features a series of scrolling video clips playing (with audio), over the main theme. Option selection in the menus is still just a simple text menu below the playing clips. The Special Features, Episode Selection, and Language menus each feature a row of cast pictures with one particular picture in the foreground. With there being several menu pages per disc, and a total of ‘five’ discs, it's just an impossibility to list ALL the pictures and clips used in the set. They did change a couple of tiny things, graphically. Menus are now green, to match the overall release art for the season, and they did swap out the pictures and clips for season two content. Still no Play All button, but all else is good.


Video and Audio Quality:

Episodes are presented in their original 4:3 aspect ratio…with three different audio options. While watching the episodes, you have the option of listening to the original English, or French or Spanish, in Dolby 2.0. There are also commentary tracks on season two episodes eleven and nineteen by Ray and series creator Phil Rosenthal.

While the audio is fine, the video has a couple of issues. They, for some unknown reason, upped the compression a little from the last set, when there wasn’t a GREAT deal of video compression artifacting. I was quite surprised to find that all 25 episodes have more this time around. Depending on the size and type of screen you view it on, the problem ranges from a mild annoyance on, say, a laptop screen, to a rather big pain on the larger screens. Also, the chapters in each episode were divided in a rather poor way. Chapter one is the opening teaser, two is the main credits, then 3 is the main episode, and 4 is the closing credits. See the problem? Other than that, they make the transition to DVD fine.


Special Features:

Special features still exist on the second season’s release, but aren’t as plentiful as the first season’s set. Two episodes, as discussed before, have commentary by both Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal. Total runtime for the two shows is right around 45 minutes. WHY they didn’t add commentary to the 2-parter “The Wedding” is beyond me. There are two other special features. First is a set of Deleted Scenes from the season. It’s one long reel, with the episode number and name preceding the deletions for that episode. I love seeing the scenes that were deleted for one reason or another, be it due to a long run time, or otherwise. The Deleted Scenes reel runs right at 14 minutes. Also on the set is a Blooper real from the season. The second thing on the reel is a little different, as it’s either A)Not a blooper, or B)I don’t know French….It’s the French first season open to the show…maybe there was a blooper recording the audio that I didn’t notice (Again, I do NOT know French), but I don’t know. The Deleted Scenes reel runs 17 minutes. Grand total for features is right at 76 minutes.


Final Comments:

This set’s got a few problems, but it’s ok. They really, REALLY, need to work on the compression issue for the inevitable 3rd season release. Artifacting when there are only 5 30-minute shows per disc is just sloppy. Also, they desperately need to put chapters at the start of each SCENE, rather than the way they’ve got it divided up now. If you hit the Skip Chapter button at any time after the theme ends, you’re automatically at the end credits. Special features were good, but seemed a bit emptier this time. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if, for the next set, they dug around and snagged a few appearances of Ray on Letterman (besides the 1995 one on the season one release). Also, more commentary tracks, particularly on episodes of note like The Wedding would be great.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend buying the set if you’re even remotely a fan of the series. If you’re out to buy a great comedy, and aren’t necessarily a fan, I’d probably recommend rental first, but if you like what you see, by all means, buy it.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.0/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 12/14/04

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002VETFO/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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