Release Date: September 13, 2011 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Double-Thick Keepcase or Regular Keepcase (see Packaging section)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 573 minutes
Running Time of Features: 59 minutes
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-Captioned
Special Features: That '70s Show Webisodes; Season One: A Look Back; A Talk with David Trainer
It's time to climb back in to the Vista Cruiser for another trip back to the groovy '70s with That '70s Show - Season Two! A re-release of the set released by 20th Century Fox several years ago, Mill Creek brings the out-of-print release back in to print, but now, we get the episodes as they originally aired, and even with original music intact! It gets even better, as the price on these releases is less than half of the cost of the original releases, making the series a true bargain on DVD. But enough with that... let's take a look at That '70s Show - Season Two!
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" (22:04)
2. "Red's Last Day" (22:04)
3. "The Velvet Rope" (22:05)
4. "Laurie and the Professor" (22:05)
5. "Halloween" (22:04)
6. "Vanstock" (22:04)
7. "I Love Cake" (22:15)
8. "Sleepover" (22:04)
9. "Eric Gets Suspended" (22:05)
10. "Red's Birthday" (22:01)
11. "Laurie Moves Out" (22:05)
12. "Eric's Stash" (22:05)
13. "Hunting" (22:04)
14. "Red Gets a Job" (22:04)
15. "Burning Down the House" (22:04)
16. "The First Time" (22:04)
17. "Afterglow" (22:05)
18. "Kitty and Eric's Night Out" (22:04)
Like many recent Mill Creek releases, there are two variations of packaging for this release for whatever unknown reason. The packaging style and artwork is the same for both, but one version has a package that is twice as thick as the other one. Honestly, it seems like it would be more work than it is worth to do two releases, but that is just what Mill Creek has done. Unfortunately, regardless of which version you purchase, you'll still find the discs packaged in black paper sleeves. The cover art has a cast photo (with Kelso and Jackie larger than the rest of the cast), and on the back, there is an "extended cast" photo, along with a brief description of the season. The disc inside, as mentioned, are just in paper sleeves, with each disc containing the series logo on a blue background. Episode titles are printed on each disc. Discs 1 and 2 contain nine episodes each, while Disc 3 contains eight episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Not surprisingly, the menus on this set are very similar to the menus on the release of the first season. The main menu on each disc contains artwork similar to the cover art, with the animated disco ball background again. The main menu has options of Play All and Episodes. Disc 1 additionally contains an option for Webisodes, and Disc 3 contains a Bonus option. The theme song from the series plays in the background, but fans will notice that the version of the theme song used here is not from the second season, but rather the less memorable version from the first season. It isn't a huge deal, though, because the correct version is included on the episodes. Selecting Episodes takes you to a menu that lists all of the episodes on the disc. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. There is only chapter placed in each episode, at the middle of the episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality of the episodes isn't too bad, for the most part. I do feel that they crammed too many episodes on each disc, but given that this is a value-priced release, I can't complain too much. There do seem to be some compression issues, but I don't think they will bother people TOO much. It'll be interesting to see how the Blu-ray release of this series compares when it is released. The episodes are presented in their original full-screen format, with stereo audio. And unlike many Mill Creek releases, every episode on this set IS closed-captioned.
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 Webisodes (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.
The remaining special features can be found on Disc 3. 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 DVDs rather inexpensively. "Season Two: A Talk With David Trainer" (12:56) can also be found on Disc 3. Here, you'll find an interview with the series director, interspersed with several clips from the second season.
There is one change with this set, though. The original release contained audio commentaries on a few episodes, but those weren't carried over to this set. However, this isn't entirely bad news. The commentaries were dropped for a good reason. As we've mentioned, this set contains unedited episodes, while the original releases did not. Of course, these original commentaries matched up with versions of the episodes that were edited. As a result, it was necessary to either remove these commentaries, included the edited versions of those particular episodes, or re-record them.
This is certainly another decent release for the series, very much on par with Mill Creek's release of the first season. And, it is great that they went back to the original unedited versions of the episodes for this release. It is too bad that they couldn't have found some way of including the commentaries from the original release on this set, but from what I understand, they weren't particularly insightful commentaries anyway, so it may not necessarily be a huge loss. Hopefully, we'll see the third season of this series in the near future, as well as a Blu-ray release of this season (the first season has already been announced for Blu-ray). In any event, if you are a fan of this series, whether you are a huge fan or just a casual fan, at a MSRP of $15 (and often retailing for much, much less), you'll definitely want to pick up this season, just make sure that you buy the Mill Creek release and not the original 20th Century Fox release.