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Hearts Afire - The Complete Second Season


TITLE: HEARTS AFIRE - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 1, 2005 (Image Entertainment)
Color/1993-94
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 17 half hours (16 episodes)
Running Time: 540 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 5 minutes
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles: None; Closed Captioned.
Special Features: “Bloopers & Outtakes” on disc 3


Introduction:

John, Georgie, Billy Bob and the kids are moving on down south for the second season of the well written sitcom, Hearts Afire! Yes, the series’ second season is now available on the DVD for the first time. Be sure you do not miss out as the series moves on south and they buy a local newspaper. The cast moves from Washington D.C. to John & Billy Bob’s hometown. The series stars John Ritter, Markie Post and Billy Bob Thornton. Joining the cast this season are Conchata Ferrell, playing Madeline and Leslie Jordan playing Lonnie Garr.

The show was created & produced by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Designing Women). Executive producers include Linda’s then husband, Harry Thomason and John Ritter’s business partner, Robert M. Myman.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

While this season is not as good as the first season, there are some good episodes. I don’t consider the one-hour season premiere (“Lovely Always) to be memorable, but you have to watch that one so you know where the show is headed now in season two. “String of Pearls” is a good episode and we see John & Georgie celebrate their one year anniversary, “Blue Christmas” has Ed Asner returning and Georgie announcing she is pregnant, “The Son of Sissy-Whatsis” is another good episode where Georgie takes on sassy teenagers, “Sleepless in a Small-Town” is a nice tale of love, “Do the Limbaugh” has Rush Limbaugh guest starring and proves that politics doesn’t fall between men and women, and “Love in the Afternoon” proves again how romantic John & Georgie are.

Guys be alert, Markie Post is again well dressed throughout this season. Especially in “Moonlighting” (swimsuit bikini), “String of Pearls” (black dress), and “Do the Limbaugh” (green dress).

The guests include, Little Richard (“Moonlighting”), Ben Stein (“The Great Depression”), Debra Jo Rupp (“Sleepless in a Small Town”), and Rush Limbaugh (“Do the Limbaugh”). Look for a brief un-credited appearance by the Dave’s World cast in the episode “Sleepless in a Small Town.” You’ll see Harry Anderson, Meshach Taylor, and Shadoe Stevens in the bathroom when John and Billy Bob enter.


Packaging:

The packaging is nice and creative, and simple—an amaray case--similar to the first season. The case’s front cover has a photo of John leaning Georgie with the red, white & blue stars in the background. The show’s logo, John & Markie’s names, and The Complete Second Season marking are also present, with a co-star mention of Billy Bob Thornton. A nice red, white, and blue color scheme is on this set. While I like this a lot, the second season moved away from D.C. and is now in a southern town, so it doesn’t make sense. And also, the logo changed, the packaging is using the first season logo. The back of the case has four small different screenshots from the first season: Georgie, John & Georgie, Carson-Lee & Billy Bob, and Billy Bob & John. The back also has a brief synopsis of the show. A special light red box is shown of the Special Feature found on this set. A blue box has the cast credits listed.

When we open the case once, we see a little booklet and disc one on the left side. And when we open the case a second time, we see disc two on the left and disc three on the right. The little booklet showcases episodes by disc with complete breakdown of the episode, with episode titles, synopsis and nice photos on the top. It is very well designed—but again more of a D.C. theme, when this season they moved on down south.

Each disc has the same photo & style. The same photo used on the cover of this set and the booklet is used on the discs. Disc one holds episodes 1-5, disc two holds episodes 6-11, disc three holds episodes 12-16 and the bloopers/outtakes.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen is well designed, just like the packaging. Like season one, it starts off with a nice photo of John and Georgie, the Capitol Building and the Hearts Afire wording, with the instrumental theme song playing in the background, and then it fades to the actual menu screen as the theme finishes off. The theme does not loop. This is great but was already used and the show is not taking place in D.C. On the menu screen itself, the episodes for the disc are listed. There is no play all option, but that is not a big problem with me at all, as I really never use it. When we select an episode, we are taken to a scene selection menu, where we can choose where to begin. On the half hour episodes, there are three selections and on the one hour season premiere there are five. You can also use the chapter button on your remote control if you wish. The navigation on each sub-menu and the main menu is very easy. The design is also quite nice and creative.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video looks magnificent once again! If anyone has original copies from the CBS years, those are probably getting a bit dated, so this would be a wonderful improvement. It is also better than the rerun airings from USA Network in 2000. The audio is also very clear and in the original stereo. And what is even more cool is that the original “CBS StereoSound Where Available” tag is intact in every episode underneath the show’s logo once again! That is very cool since we did not see this in syndication. Each episode runs on average about 23 minutes and 40 seconds, some more, some less. The one hour episodes run around 46 minutes. All the episodes are for sure the original network broadcast versions, so fans can take it easy and relax, if anyone was worried. The one hour episode is in its original one hour format, and not the two part syndicated format, which is astonishing news.

Hearts Afire is was well known for using music in episodes (in particular for the last scenes). Linda Bloodworth loved using music on her shows. She used music in her other series Designing Women, but nothing like this! Almost every episode had music this season. So people buying this set and fans would I’m sure like to know if the original music is intact. The answer is … well, some of it is intact. Melissa Pollak, who is a diehard Hearts Afire fan and has an extensive and VERY detailed episode guide, lists all the music for each episode (it is located here: http://mistwebdesign.com/HA2.html. If you all watched the show on USA Network in 2000, you’ll probably know what was used and removed, because whatever was removed on USA, is also removed on this set. Here is the complete breakdown on what music each episode had:

"Lovely Always" -- "?" plays on radio and at the end, intact on USA Network and DVD.
"The Great Depression" -- a different version of "Young at Heart" was used at the end one with no trumpet or trombone; the song John's dancing to in the credit tag is totally missing -- and it's also missing earlier in the show when Georgie's trying to find something to cheer her up. In the original, the song is Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll"
"First Edition" -- Steve Winwood's "Roll With It."
"String of Pearls" -- James Ingram's Grammy Award-winning song, "One Hundred Ways"
"Sons of Sissy-Whatsis" -- fairly obscure tune by Charlie Pride "You're So Good When You're Bad"
"Accelerated Dating" -- Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England." middle of episode.
"Sleepless in a Small Town" -- The background music is the soundtrack from Sleepless in Seattle, which includes soundtrack music from An Affair to Remember.
"Do the Limbaugh" -- Limbaugh checks out Georgie, while Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" is used as background music. The show ends with Georgie telling Hartman what she learned from her encounter with Limbaugh. The two dance to Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love."
"Love in the Afternoon" ­ The DVD does not have "Shake You Down" (in the last scene). Just as we didn't hear it in "First Time" and "String of Pearls" like we were supposed to.

So, in essence, again we don’t get all the music, but we get whatever was used in syndication on USA Network. At least the episodes are unedited in length, that is all that really matters, but some scenes rely on the music, so it is a shame.


Special Features:

Again there is only one special feature on this set, but it is well worth watching! Quality over quantity, I say. The last set we had over 27 minutes of bloopers. On this set we only get 5 minutes, but it is better than nothing!


Final Comments:

Image Entertainment has first brought you a wonderful and rare show to DVD. I know the music issue is probably not their fault, and would cost so much money, but I’m glad some music is intact and that ALL the episodes are unedited. I’m also glad that the rare original stuff, such as the CBS StereoSound are intact. The extra material was very good to watch. All just like season one.

For this set I was not happy with the packaging and menus. They were like season one and this season was totally changed so the D.C. theme was out of place. Other than the music and this, it is a must buy. We have one more season to go and we are finished with this great sitcom on DVD. The 3rd season arrives on a great day — February 7, 2006!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 11/12/05

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BCKFYS/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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