Release Date: October 16, 2012 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Multi-Disc Blu-ray Disc Case
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 573 minutes
Running Time of Features: 24 minutes
Audio: English 5.1 DTS Master HD
Subtitles and Captioning: English Subtitles
Special Features: That '70s Show Behind-the-Scenes; Season One: A Look Back; A Talk with David Trainer; Commentaries (3)
It's time to jump back into the Vista Cruiser for a third time for the second season of That '70s Show on Blu-ray! Following up on their release of the first season of the series on Blu-ray, Mill Creek now has the second season of the series on Blu-ray. The four disc set brings the same material that we saw on DVD from Fox (and actually a little bit more than we saw on DVD from Mill Creek) to the high-definition format.
Since we've reviewed the second season of this series before (twice, in fact), we're not going to create an "all-new" recap of the episodes. The following is a recap of the episodes as presented in our review of Mill Creek's second season DVD.
The second season begins with "Garage Sale," where the parents accidentally eat all of the "special brownies" that Hyde makes. Red faces his last day of work at the plant in "Red's Last Day." Donna, Eric, Hyde, and Fez go to a dance club in Chicago in "The Velvet Rope," but only Donna is let in initially. One of Laurie's professors is willing to do anything to get her to return to classes in "Laurie and the Professor." The gang revisits their elementary school past in "That '70s Halloween." The gang heads off to Vanstock in "Vanstock." Eric finds himself confused about how to respond to Donna's feelings in "I Love Cake." Tommy Chong makes his first appearance in "Sleepover," where Eric and Donna sleep together... but it isn't quite what you think. Eric gets suspended from school after holding Donna's cigarette in "Eric Gets Suspended."
In "Red's Birthday," a birthday dinner doesn't turn out so pleasant for everybody. Laurie moves out of the house in "Laurie Moves Out." In "Eric's Stash," Eric discovers that his secret money stash has been stolen. The guys go hunting (parents and kids) in "Hunting," while the girls and wives stay at home and play poker. Red seeks a new job in "Red Gets a Job," but when Eric is hired before him, things aren't so pleasant at home. Kelso manages to ruin Jackie's "small" party in "Burning Down the House." Eric and Donna really do take their relationship to a new level in the episodes "The First Time" and the sequel "Afterglow." Eric and Kitty spend some quality time together in "Kitty and Eric's Night Out."
The episode title says it all for the episode "Parents Find Out" (look back a few episodes if you are confused). Kelso's open-relationship with Laurie and Jackie is about to turn into no relationship in "Kiss of Death." Kelso is determined to win back Jackie in "Kelso's Serenade." In "Jackie Moves On," Jackie finds new comfort, sort of, with Fez. Eric and Laurie stop going to church in "Holy Crap." Red has found a new whipping boy at work in "Red Fired Up," which makes Eric happy, for a while at least. In "Cat Fight Club," the entire Jackie-Kelso-Laurie triangle creates even more trouble for everybody. The season ends with the cliffhanger episode "Moon Over Point Place," where everybody is angry about something or another.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Garage Sale" (22:12)
2. "Red's Last Day" (22:12)
3. "The Velvet Rope" (22:12)
4. "Laurie and the Professor" (22:11)
5. "Halloween" (22:12)
6. "Vanstock" (22:11)
7. "I Love Cake" (22:12)
Mill Creek is always the biggest disaster of a studio out there when it comes to DVD packaging, but as it turns out, they do very well on Blu-ray packaging. This set is no exception, and it has excellent packaging. The cover art has a cast photo on a orange background, with the series logo in yellow letters. On the back, there are several episode snapshots, along with a description of the second season. Inside, you'll find the four discs (one more than the DVD release!), with episode titles printed on each disc. Each disc contains seven episodes, except for Disc 4, which contains five episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on this set are very similar to the season one Blu-ray set, and takes advantage of the Blu-ray menu standards. On the main menu, there are options of Play All, Episodes, Setup, and (on Disc 4) Special Features. The theme song plays in the background. Selecting one of the menu options brings up a pop-up menu which gives you a detailed list of options (these pop-up menus are accessible even while you are watching the episodes). As has been the case before, there are three chapters placed in each episode... not really enough!
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality of this set is definitely better than the DVD release (which was simply disappointing). Here, we have a true high definition release, although perhaps it doesn't look as great as some of the more recent series on Blu-ray. Still, I honestly couldn't find any real flaws in the video. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen. The set also features DTS Master HD audio. Finally, each episode on the set contains English subtitles.
Like the DVD, this set contains many of the special features that were contained on the original release by 20th Century Fox a few years ago. On Disc 1, we have "behind-the-scenes featurettes" (41:05), which are probably among the earliest exclusive-to-the-web videos made for a TV series. Basically, these are a behind-the-scenes look into many of the episodes from the second season, with the production crew. As a note, these were referred to as "webisodes" on the DVD release.
These begin with "Season One: A Look Back" (4:55), which gives viewers an opportunity to catch up with anything that they may have missed from the first season. Of course, you can pick up those Blu-rays (or DVDs, if you must) rather inexpensively. On "Season Two: A Talk With David Trainer" (12:56), you'll find an interview with the series director, interspersed with several clips from the second season.
Finally, the set includes commentaries on three of the episodes. These are the same commentaries that were included on the release from Fox, but for some reason, they were excluded on Mill Creek's DVD set. Now, though, they're back for the Blu-ray! They are from director David Trainer, and included on the episode "Halloween," "Hunting," and "Cat Fight Club."
Blu-ray or DVD, which should you choose? Well, if you have a Blu-ray player and don't own the DVDs, the answer is pretty obvious: these Blu-rays are nicer than the DVDs. But even if you already own the DVDs, I really feel like the Blu-rays are worth every penny. Mill Creek is really the first studio to take the concept of "value-priced" DVDs to Blu-ray, and the end result is that we have a Blu-ray set here that is cheaper than most DVDs out there. I only wish that the special features on this set had been a little more extensive. What we have on here is not a very impressive list. Still, I think that fans will be impressed with this "groovy" set that we have.