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Spin City - The Complete Second Season


TITLE: SPIN CITY - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009 (Shout! Factory)
Color/1997-1998
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running time: Approx. 9 Hours
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital 2.0
Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

Michael J. Fox returns as New York City's Deputy Major Mike Flaherty in Spin City Season Two. Still the slickest, smartest civil servant around, he handles the daily problems of the world's greatest city with confidence and crossed fingers while managing the missteps of Mayor Randall Winston (Barry Bostwick, "Rocky Horror Picture Show").

There is no shortage of characters at City Hall, and most of them work for Mike. Abetted by his trusty staff (Richard Kind, "Mad About You"; Alan Ruck, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"; Michael Boatman, "Arliss"; Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"; Alexander Chaplin, "The Basketball Diaries"; and Victoria Dillard, "Ali"), Mike juggles the city's biggest problems, the Mayor's endless blunders and his own personal crises. This season he's got a little more help from his new hire, street-smart secretary Stacey Paterno (Jennifer Esposito, "Samantha Who").

Spin City was Michael J. Fox's long-awaited return to television, and this second season is further proof of his spot-on comedic timing and the great acting of this ensemble cast.


Show History / Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Spin City's second season preimiered on ABC on September 24, 1997. The show was moved to Wednesday nights at 8:00-8:30pm for the second season. Second season cast members included Michael J. Fox as Deputy Mayor Michael Flaherty, Barry Bostwick as Mayor Randall M. Winston, Jr., Alan Ruck as Stuart Bondek, Richard Kind as Paul Lassiter, Michael Boatman as Carter Heywood, Connie Britton as Nikki Faber, Alexander Chaplin as James Hobert, Victoria Dillard as Janelle Cooper and Jennifer Esposito as Stacey Paterno. Recurring cast members included Faith Prince as Claudia Sachs, Paula Marshall as Laurie Parres, Sylvia Kauders as Roberta and John Bland as the Reporter. The show was produced in New York at Chelsea Piers' Stage D in New York for the first four seasons. Spin City finished in #32 place in the Nielsen ratings after averaging 7.63 million viewers per week.

Memorable episodes included "Porn in the U.S.A., in which Paul's bombshell mom (Raquel Welch) visits the office, and the Mayor is caught on tape looking for porn. Paul obsesses over proving that he's not racist, while James obsesses over a date in the episode "In the Heat of the Day." Speaking at a press conference, the Mayor announces that Santa Claus doesn't exist in "Miracle Near 34th Street." Mike and Nikki fight when he scares off her date at the Mayor's New Year's Eve party in "Same Time Next Year." The staff undergoes drug testing for the Mayor's new antidrug campaign, but Mike risks failing when he accidently gets high in "A River Runs Through Me." Paul's bachelor party becomes an attempt to dismantle a new statue sure to cause an uproar in "Bye, Bye, Birdie." Mike and Paul try to take out a rat living in Mike's office, but their attempts are continually thwarted and after being evicted, Stuart wants to move in with Carter in "Single White Male." Mike mistakenly books the church for Paul and Claudia's wedding on the same day that a funeral is scheduled in "The Paul Bearer."

Notable guest stars included Mark Linn-Baker as Dr. Benjamin in "Paul Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Paula Marshall makes the first of her multiple appearances as Laurie Parres in "Paul Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Raquel Welch appeared as Paul's bombshell mom, Laurie, in "Porn in the U.S.A." and "A River Runs Through Me." Marla Maples guest starred as Jennifer Goldman in "Wonder Woman." Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin appeared as themselves in "Radio Daze." Michael J. Fox's wife, Tracy Pollan, was Renee Miller in "Thirty Year Itch." Kim Raver appeared as Jeannie in "My Life is a Soap Opera." Meredith Baxter played Mike's mom, Macy Flaherty, and Mitch Rouse was Steve/Mr. Bungle in "Family Affair (Parts 1 and 2)." Former Mayor Edward I. Koch and Alan Dershowitz appeared as themselves in "Family Affair (Part 2)." Alyssa Milano guest starred as the Mayor's daughter, Meg, in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" Donald Trump appeared as himself in "The Paul Lassiter Story." Mos Def played Monty in "Gentlemen's Agreement." Former New York Rangers' Adam Graves, Pat LaFontaine and Dan Cloutier appeared as themselves in "Deaf Man Walking." Jimmy Fallon was the Photographer in "The Marrying Men." Amy Poehler appeared as Susan in "Single White Male."


Packaging:

The 4-disc set contains all 24 episodes from the second season (1997-98). Once again, it comes in a cardboard box that holds two slimcases. The main color of this set is red. On the cover art of the outer cardboard box, there is a large photo of Michael J. Fox in the foreground and the other 8 main cast members and the New York City skyline in the background. An embossed Spin City manhole logo is in the upper left of the box. On the back of the box, there is a synopsis of the set and the DVD specs. There is a filmstrip of four photos from the show at the bottom. Spin City - Season Two is written on the spine of the box. The two slimcases slide out from the right of the thin, outer cardboard box. They have the Spin City logo and the New York City skyline in the background, just like the cover art. Slimcase #1 has a photo of Jennifer Esposito, Alan Ruck, Michael J. Fox and Barry Bostwick. Slimcase #2 features Richard Kind, Connie Britton, Alexander Chaplin and Michael Boatman. The episode titles and original airdates are listed on the back of the slimcases, which feature the New York City skline in the background. Inside the slimcases, there is a black and white photo of Michael J. Fox at a podium in slimcase #1 and Barry Bostwick at his desk in slimcase #2. It would have been nice if they used some different photos for this season. The discs have the Spin City logo and a red background on the bottom. Each disc has a diferent photo. Disc 1 has Michael J. Fox and Connie Britton. Disc 2 features Richard Kind and Barry Bostwick. Disc 3 has Alexander Chaplin and Alan Ruck. Disc 4 rounds out the set with Jennifer Espositio and Michael Boatman. An 8-page booklet is included that has some additional photos of the cast, a listing of the cast and crew, and 2 sentence summaries for the episodes.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are stylish and easy to navigate. When you first insert Disc 1, there are some previews (5:11) for some other Shout! Factory releases like Spin City Season 1, Sports Night (10th Anniversary Edition), My So-Called Life and getback.com which you can view or skip. A short theme is played and the Spin City manhole logo is animated and spins until it lands in the upper left corner of the screen. A series of videoclips (about a minutes worth and different on each disc) play in a triangular-shaped area on the right side of the screen. The menus have a red background and the New York City skyline in the background. There are options for "Play All" and "Episode Selection" on each disc. A "Team Fox" featurette is available on Disc 1. When you select Episode Selection, it takes you to a sub-menu where there are still images from each episode. There are 3 episodes per screen. The photo is highlighted in a yellow border that turns blue upon your selection. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but there are no separate menus for scene selections.


Video and Audio Quality:

These episodes are a little over 10-years-old and look very good. Spin City was shot on film with multiple cameras and in front of a studio audience. The episodes are presented in their original full frame 1.33:1 ratio and in their original broadcast order. The overall video quality is excellent and slightly better than the first season. The colors and sharpness are very good and without any major problems. There were a number of outdoor scenes on the streets of New York City and those look great. New York City was really a character on the show for the first four seasons. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of around 22 minutes. There are a couple that are a bit shorter, but they may have aired that way originally. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for UBU Productions, LotteryHill Entertainment and DreamWorks.

The audio is your standard Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. They shot in front of a studio audience, so the laughter is real. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that any music was changed. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.

Here is the breakdown by disc, including the original airdates and running times:

Disc 1
---------
25. Paul Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (09/24/97) (22:04)
26. Porn in the U.S.A. (10/01/97) (22:04)
27. Wonder Woman (10/08/97) (22:04)
28. The Goodbye Girl (10/15/97) (22:04)
29. In The Heat of the Day (10/22/97) (22:04)
30. Radio Daze (10/29/97) (22:04)

Disc 2
---------
31. Thirty Year Itch (11/05/97) (22:04)
32. My Life is a Soap Opera (11/12/97) (22:04)
33. Family Affair (Part 1) (11/19/97) (21:54)
34. Family Affair (Part 2) (11/26/97) (22:09)
35. They Shoot Horses, Don't They (12/10/97) (22:04)
36. Miracle Near 34th Street (12/17/97) (22:09)

Disc 3
---------
37. Same Time Next Year (01/07/98) (22:04)
38. The Paul Lassiter Story (01/21/98) (22:04)
39. Gentlemen's Agreement (01/28/98) (22:04)
40. Deaf Man Walking (02/25/98) (22:08)
41. The Marrying Men (03/04/98) (22:04)
42. One Wedding and a Funeral (03/11/98) (22:09)

Disc 4
---------
43. A River Runs Through Me (03/18/98) (22:09)
44. The Pope of Gracie Mansion (04/01/98) (22:09)
45. Bye, Bye, Birdie (04/29/98) (21:39)
46. The Lady or the Tiger (05/06/98) (22:09)
47. Single White Male (05/06/98) (22:09)
48. The Paul Bearer (05/20/98) (22:09)


Special Features:

After some interesting special features and interviews and 7 audio commentaries on the first season release, there are none included on this set. It's not that unusual to see special features on an initial release and then none on the remaining seasons. I would have loved to see some bloopers, featuretes and audio commentaries included on each release. An interview with Jennifer Esposito who joined the cast this season would have been welcomed. Also, since they only included portions of the 1996 seminar with Michael J. Fox and Gary David Goldberg on the first season release, why couldn't they include the rest on here? There is a six minute "Team Fox" featurette that highlights some of the people that are helping with fund-raising for his organization. This is the same featurette that was included on the first season release, but I watched it again and still got emotional. For more information, please visit teamfox.org .


Final Comments:

It took years to finally see Spin City seasons on DVD. There was only a little less than 6 month wait between seasons 1 and 2. Many shows go through a sophomore slump, but I don't think it happened to Spin City. The writing remained sharp and the characters continued to develop. I thought Jennifer Eposito was a great addition to an already excellent cast. Family Ties fans will enjoy the appearances by Tracy Pollan as Michael J. Fox's old high school girlfriend and Meredith Baxter as his mother (surprise!). There were tons of other funny guest appearances this season from many recognizable faces. The show dropped over 4 million viewers from the first season, but one of the main factors for that was that ABC moved it to a different night and it was no longer airing after Home Improvement.

After quite a few interviews and audio commentaries on the season one set, it's a little disappointing that there are none included here. Some bloopers, additional interviews and audio commentaries would have been great to see in this release. The episodes look and sound excellent, so I guess any special features would have been gravy on top of that. Hopefully we'll see the remaining 2 Michael J. Fox and 2 Charlie Sheen seasons released in the future. Fans have to be pleased with the release rate so far.


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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 04/26/09

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001O4KBO6/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=245341


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