Hey Beautiful Video
Get ready to suit up once again with Ted, Robin, Lily, Marshall and the outrageously inappropriate Barney when the Emmy®-nominated series How I Met Your Mother Season Two arrives on DVD on October 2 from Fox Home Entertainment. How I Met Your Mother Season Two features an all-star cast including Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie), Jason Segel (Knocked Up, Freaks & Geeks), Cobie Smulders (The L Word) Alyson Hannigan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Date Movie) and 2007 Emmy®-nominee Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser M.D., Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle). Inspired by the rapidly approaching wedding of his two best friends, Ted's (Radnor) quest to find his own Miss Right continues and his sites are set on the charming and independent Robin (Smulders)...but destiny may have something different in mind. Told through a series of flashbacks, Ted recalls his single days, the highs and lows of dating and the search for true love. The three-disc DVD collection includes all 22 season two episodes, audio commentary from the cast and crew, a "How We Make Your Mother" featurette and gag reel.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
How I Met Your Mother's second season premiered on CBS on September 28, 2006. After airing on Mondays at 8:30PM
ET/PT for the first three weeks of the season, it swapped slots with the struggling "The Class" and was broadcast at 8:00PM ET/PT. The show finished in 61st place in the Nielsen ratings, with 8.5 million viewers (down from 9.5 million in
season 1) and a 3.2 rating/9 share (#51) in the 18-49 demographic. Neil Patrick Harris received an Emmy Nomination for "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series."
There were many classic episodes in season two. After Ted and Robin's first big fight, Barney tries to convince Ted that being an architect is an easy in to picking up chicks in "Ted Mosby: Architect." Marshall tries to get used to being single in a world that is very coupled-oriented in "World's Greatest Couple."
Marshall goes on his first real date post-breakup with Lily, and not only do Ted and Barney try to warn him that this girl has got the crazy eyes, but Lily decides to do everything she can to find out about this her and break them up in "Swarley." Barney thinks that the more you know the more likely you are to find a deal breaker, and Ted wants to know the deal breakers right away, as Robin refuses to go to the mall to cover her secret in "Slap Bet." Thinking that Bob Barker may be his father, Barney is overjoyed to be a contestant on "The Price is Right" in "Showdown." With everything going wrong on Lily and Marshall's wedding day, to everyone's surprise it's confirmed bachelor Barney who tries to fix it all in "Something Borrowed." Robin tries to tell a story but keeps getting interrupted, and Barney tries his hardest to figure out Ted and Robin's secret in
A long list of guest stars made appearances in season two. George Clinton appeared as himself in "Where Were We?." Cristine Rose ("Heroes") guest starred as Mrs. Mosby and Michael Gross ("Family Ties") played Mr. Mosby in "Brunch."
Michael Gross also returned in "How Lily Stole Christmas." Bryan Cranston played Druthers and Jane Seymour was Professor Lewis in "Aldrin Justice." Wayne Brady appeared as Barney's brother, James Stinson, in "Single Stamina."
Harry Groener guest starred as Clint and Moon Unit Zappa was Stacy in "How Lily Stole Christmas."
William Schallert played Brady in "Columns" and Bryan Cranston returned as Druthers in "Columns."
Emmitt Smith appeared as himself in "Monday Night Football." K Callan guest starred as Grandma Lois
in "Bachelor Party" and "Something Blue." Legendary game show host Bob Barker appeared as himself in "Showdown."
Unfortunately, I've only received screener discs for review so I can't detail
the final packaging. If it is like the season one set and other recent 20th Century Fox releases,
it will come in a thin, cardboard box that holds two slimcases.
The season one set had a pretty simple design, with just a regular cast photo on the front.
The season two cover art is a bit more ambitious. All five cast members are featured in
color photos. The "How I Met Your Mother" title font is in large, red letters.
There are various black, white and gray drawings of buildings and various items in
the background, such a horn and traffic light. All five cast members are also featured
on the spine of the box. I'll update this section when I receive the final product.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are stylish and easy to navigate. The main menus feature a montage of still
photos from the episodes that move across the screen. Each disc has a different
set of photos. The show logo is shown in red in different blocks that fly across the screen. Various
white/gray marble-like backgrounds are used. A 24 second version of the instrumental ending theme is played in the background. The sequence loops back to the beginning after finishing.
On the bottom of the screen, there are options for "Episode Selection," "Language Selection"
and "Special Features." There are red, vertical bars around the option that you highlight that
turn light blue upon your selection. When you select "Episode Selection," it takes you to
another sub-menu. Individual shots of Ted, Lily and Robin are on these menus. Episode titles
are in black text with white borders and listed vertically. You can turn on
the English, French or Spanish subtitles in the "Language Selection." Barney is featured on
discs 1 and 2. Lily, Ted and Marshall are found on disc 3. Finally, the "Special Features"
menu feature Lily on disc 1 and Marshall on discs 2 and 3. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but there are no separate menus for scene selections.
Video and Audio Quality:
Many fans complained that the episodes on the season one DVD set were in 1.33:1 full frame instead of the
original widescreen 1.78:1 format. They had been cropped on the DVD to full screen. Thankfully, they've corrected that here and the episodes are presented in their proper aspect ratio. This is my first time seeing
them in widescreen. I think they look a lot better in this format.
With the show just airing over the last year, the episodes look as good as they are broadcast... probably
a little better on the DVDs. How I Met Your Mother is shot with four cameras and
no studio audience. This allows them to use many different sets and to edit together
many different scenes. The episodes are designed to look like mini-movies.
With minimal outdoor scenes, the lighting is important on the sets. The episodes always
look well lit to set the mood and have excellent camera work. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is
the Carter * Bays - Muttnik stamp logo, followed by one for 20th Century Fox.
All of the episodes have running times between 21 1/2 to around 22 minutes in length.
Since I don't have the final packaging, I don't know if they mention if any of the original
music had to be replaced for the DVD versions. They didn't make any mention of the
music changes on the season one DVD set, although I've read on some forums that at least
10-15 songs were replaced. There were approximately 30 songs used in season two.
Hopefully they didn't have to replace too many, but it seems almost unavoidable these days.
You can view a list of the music used in season two by clicking here. While listening to the audio commentaries, I did manage to hear some of the original songs. Of course, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers is heard about 50 times in the "Arrivederci, Fiero" episode.
The audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track. The volume is at
a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. They don't use a "canned" laugh track.
The scenes are shot without a studio audience. Then they are edited together and shown
to an audience for their responses. Closed captioning is available for all of the episodes.
Subtitles are offered in English, Spanish and French. I don't think any of the special features
have a subitles option.
Here is the breakdown by disc, including the original airdates and running times:
1. Where Were We? (09/18/06) (21:19)
2. The Scorpion and the Toad (09/25/06) (22:04)
3. Brunch (10/02/06) (21:41)
4. Ted Mosby: Architect (10/09/06) (22:03)
5. World's Greatest Couple (10/16/06) (22:03)
6. Aldrin Justice (10/23/06) (22:02)
7. Swarley (11/06/06) (21:59)
8. Atlantic City (11/13/06) (22:02)
9. Slap Bet (11/20/06) (22:02)
10. Single Stamina (11/27/06) (22:03)
11. How Lily Stole Christmas (12/11/06) (21:55)
12. First Time In New York (01/08/07) (21:45)
13. Columns (01/22/07) (22:01)
14. Monday Night Football (02/05/07) (21:30)
15. Lucky Penny (02/12/07) (21:33)
16. Stuff (02/19/07) (21:58)
17. Arrivederci, Fiero (02/26/07) (21:48)
18. Moving Day (03/19/07) (22:01)
19. Bachelor Party (04/09/07) (22:00)
20. Showdown (04/30/07) (22:02)
21. Something Borrowed (05/07/07) (21:58)
22. Something Blue (05/14/07) (22:02)
After a nice amount of special features for the rookie season, they've done an even better job
with the sophomore season. There are seven audio commentaries available by the creators, director
and cast members. Once again, the commentaries are very interesting to hear. Co-creators Carter
Bays and Craig Thomas and Director Pam Fryman do the commentary on the first and third to last episode of the season. They
are the most entertaining to me. All of the cast members participate on at least one episode. Most
of the commentaries focus on their general observations of the episodes, but they also toss
in a few interesting trivia facts and behind the scenes details. There is just a nice mix here, so the same people
aren't on every episode. It would have been great to have the five main cast members on a season finale commentary to give their overall thoughts on the season.
The full 3-minute version of the hilarious Robin Sparkles music video can be found on disc 2. The remaining special features are found on disc 3. They include a featurette on the making of an episode, a gag reel, additional scenes
and a music video for "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids.
Here is the special features breakdown by disc:
Commentary on "Where Were We?" by show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and director Pam Fryman -
They give their proverbial plug of their band, The Solids, who perform the show's theme song. They talk about Alyson's wigs, the high school and college flashhbacks,
how they tried to make it a visually interesting episode, the chemistry between Ted and Robin, George Clinton's cameo,
and various other topics.
Commentary on "Swarley" by writer/producer Greg Malins and cast member Alyson Hannigan - They talk
about how they came up with the idea of Swarley, which cast member is allergic to dogs, how Alyson
was talked into doing the show, and the closing Cheers-like tag.
Commentary on "Slap Bet" by show creator Craig Thomas, writer Kourtney Kang and cast member Cobie Smulders -
They talk about the idea of the episode, how they shot the music video and did the choreography, and the origin of the
slap bet idea.
Commentary on "Single Stamina" by writer Kristin Newman and cast member Neil Patrick Harris - They talk
about how they got the idea of the episode, who Neil Patrick originally envisioned as his brother, guest star
Wayne Brady, the episode writing process, how Neil Patrick dealt with his personal news that broke
when they were shooting the episode, and the T-Mobile Sidekick product placement.
Robin Sparkles Video (3:17) - This is the full version of the "Let's Go to the Mall" video. It is shown
in full screen. It's so cute how Cobie Smulders (Robin) says "about" and the other Canadian references
in the video. You'll laugh at this video if you've never seen it before. I would have loved to see
a behind the scenes / making of featurette on the video.
Commentary on "Arrivederci, Fiero" by writer Chris Harris and cast member Jason Segel - This
is the silliest commentary on the set. They talk about how they got the idea of the episode,
the Proclaimers song, the origin of the zitch dog game, some Fieros trivia, and how Jason was cast on the show.
Commentary on "Bachelor Party" by show creator Carter Bays, director Pam Fryman and cast members
Bob Saget and Josh Radnor - They give their general observations of the episode and tell a few stories
about their own lives. Bob Saget gives an interesting fact about one of the cast members.
Commentary on "Showdown" by show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and director Pam Fryman - They
talk about how they got the idea for The Price Is Right episode and working with Bob Barker.
How We Make Your Mother featurette (17:10) - This includes interviews with Co-Creator Carter Bays,
Co-Creator Craig Thomas and Director Pam Fryman. This featurette is divided into various sections:
The Read-Through, The Run-Through, The Rehearsal and The Room. It focuses on the season finale, "Something Blue."
Various clips are shown from the initial read-through or rehearsal, while part of the script or other footage
of the same scene is shown in a small box in the corner of the screen. They talk about the various stages of producing an episode. It was fun to see the various sets and some behind the scenes footage and different camera angles
of scenes. I can see how the show would be very difficult to film in front of a studio audience. There
simply would be no room for them. They shoot many more scenes than a regular studio audience sitcom.
Gag Reel (7:10) - These bloopers and outtakes are shown in full screen. A lot of funny moments here.
How It Really Happened: Moving Day (2:22) - Neil Patrick Harris continues his list of names for Ted's truck.
Many of these couldn't have been broadcast due to the adult language.
How It Really Happened: Showdown (1:08) - Barney gives his Best Man speech.
How It Really Happened: Bachelor Party (1:58) - A scene involving the stripper.
Hey Beautiful Video (3:51) - Various clips from the episodes are shown with the mouth(s) of the person(s) singing the
song super-imposed over the cast members' mouths. Whoever edited this video, they did a nice job of putting it together. It just has good flow. It is also nice to hear the full version of the song. We only get to hear a short portion of it as the show's opening theme.
It was another legen...wait for it...dary season of How I Met Your Mother! They continued to
have consistently funny writing and excellent directing throughout the season. They benefit from
having one director for all of the episodes. The cast is
outstanding and have a lot of chemistry together. I was one of those people who thought Ted and
Robin were destined to be together, but after watching this season I can see why it would never
work. They just have very different attitudes and goals than each other.
20th Century Fox has done an improved job on this release. These episodes are presented
in their original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format. There are plenty of interesting and
entertaining commentaries to hear. The making of featurette provides some nice behind the scenes
footage of the cast on the sets. Robin Sparkles' music video is hilarious to watch. I would have liked to see a
few more deleted scenes, but the three they included were a nice bonus. Hopefully this set will have fewer
songs replaced than on the season one set. I know many fans want to see these episodes as close
as possible to the original broadcast versions. The producers carefully choose the music to fit
a scene. When a key song is replaced, the scene is rarely the same.
This show is so awesome. There shouldn't have been any talk of it being canceled after the second
season. It is clear that the show could use more critical buzz and viewers. If this show had
the opportunity to air after "Two and a Half Men," I'm sure it could become an even bigger hit and really
become the next "Friends." Tell your friends to watch it on CBS on Mondays at 8PM ET/PT. High five!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Note: The overall score may be reduced if a lot of the original songs have been replaced.
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/01/07
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