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The Cosby Show - Season 2


TITLE: THE COSBY SHOW - SEASON 2


Info:

Release Date: March 7, 2006 (Urban Works Entertainment)
Color/1985-86
MSRP: $31.95
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 600 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 53 minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Closed Captioned
Special Features:
* Bloopers
* Cliff’s Parenting Tips
* New Interview with Director Jay Sandrich
* New Audio Commentary by Director Jay Sandrich


Introduction:

On September 26, 1985, The Cosby Show hit the airwaves to launch its 2nd season. Primed to take over the #1 slot on television, the Huxtables rejuvenated the prime-time lineup for NBC (they could probably use another Cosby right about now, eh?). After a year of groundbreaking success and rave reviews, Cliff, Clair, and the Huxtable Family were now firmly cemented as household names.

Relive all the classic episodes from this season ­ see below ­ with all 25 *UNCUT* network episodes and a wire array of bonus features to satisfy the true Cosby fan!


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Folks, it’s the COSBY SHOW. It’s one of the most prolific series in the history of television, and this is generally considered one of its better seasons. There is, in my genuine opinion, no singularly BAD episode or even “OK” episode the entire season. I’m going to be sincere when I say there is really no way you can go wrong with this season.

That really leaves the only thing to look out for as guest stars: Those of you who didn’t read my Flying Nun review should take note: Instead of attempting to list 1 or 2 credits you might or might not recognize for a guest start, I’m now simply linking to their IMDb profiles. As always, I’ve tried to include at least 1 guest star for which the name won’t immediately jump out at you until you see their credits, at which point it will hit you fairly quickly.

Robin Givens: Theo and the Older Woman
Blair Underwood: Theo and the Older Woman
Mario Van Peebles: Clair’s Sister
The guest cast for “Play It Again, Russell”
Stevie Wonder: A Touch of Wonder
Roscoe Lee Browne: The Card Game


Packaging:

The packaging is in a similar style as the first season’s set, with one minor/major difference (depending on your personal tastes it’s either no big deal or a huge issue). It’s still a Digipak like the first set was, however, this season they reduced the number of total panels on the disc holder to 3 meaning…overlapping discs. I’m REALLY not a fan of overlapping discs in packaging, but I still prefer that to double-sided DVDs, so at least that can be said. The layout for the box and disc holder artwork is essentially the same as the first season’s set, just with photographic and color changes. For season two, the box shifts from a reflective box coloring to a reflective blue look. The photos of the cast members have been changed out, and the Season bar that runs between the kids photos at the top and the main box art changed from a reflective bronze to a reflective gold. The back cover is the same reflective blue. The majority of the back cover features the text box, with three small photos vertically stacked to its right. Below it is a photo of the full Huxtable family (or at least, full in terms of Cliff/Clair/the kids ­ no grandparents). To their right is the bonus features list.

The disc holder is a non-reflective light blue, with the season bar (not listing the season on the inner packaging) being a blue/gold gradient. All photos remain the same. The other two “back panels” (The front cover of the disc holder IS a back panel) feature: Left Panel: Same family photo on box back cover; Middle Panel: Cliff, Rudy, and Rudy’s bear. Along the top of the left and middle panels are a series of series stills from season two. On the discs’ side, behind the information flap and discs themselves is a collage of random season two images in black & white. The information flap contains only one piece of information: One little leaflet with the front cover show (sans kid’s photos) on the front, and a disc by disc breakdown on the back. Each disc is a blue/white gradient with a silver season bar. In the disc by disc breakdown below you will find out what episodes are on each, as well as who’s featured on the front cover.

Disc by Disc Breakdown:
Disc # - Cast Member Featured ­ Episodes on Disc
Disc 1: Cliff. Episodes 1-8
Disc 2: Clair: Episodes 9-15
Disc 3: Rudy: Episodes 16-22
Disc 4: Vanessa: Episodes 23-25 plus special features


Menu Design and Navigation:

Menus are similar is layout to the season one menus, so there’s no learning curve, and ­ let’s face it ­ the menus are just NICE. The set starts with the animated logo flies in, leading to the main menu. At the main menu, various clips from the first season play in a half-circle in the right side of the screen. Two clips play side-by-side in a long, horizontal strip extending out from the half-circle. The logo sits atop this strip. Below the strip are the Play All and Episode selection options. The blue-ish background stays animated the entire time, while the main theme plays. Choosing Play All will cause one of the catchy transition music pieces from the show to play, while the show logo flies out, and your episodes start. Choosing the selection menu (ex: “Episodes 1-8”), will once again cause a transition piece to play, and the episode selection menu to fly in. A circle with clips from the episode, with Play Episode text, adorns each selection menu. Extending from the circle is a silver bar with the episode number and title, as well as a rarity among TV DVD releases, the option to choose which act of the episode you want to start at (Opening, Act 1, Act 2, or Credits…Once again you can choose to view nothing more than a show’s end credits). The scene selection is again a rare treat for TV DVD releases, and is greatly appreciated.


Video and Audio Quality:

…previously on The Cosby Show DVD Review: Cosby Show Season 1 was released. Despite original broadcast copies being promoted, they were syndicated cuts. The fans provided a very vocal backlash, and after a few seasons being released, Carsey-Werner, the owners OF The Cosby Show promised all sets from thereon out would be original broadcast. One questions remained…would future releases BE original broadcast copies?

YES! (CELEBRATION SFX). Let’s go to the runtimes!

First Day of School: 24:39
The Juicer: 24:40
Happy Anniversary: 24:40
Cliff in Love: 24:40
Theo and the Older Woman: 24:40
Halloween: 24:39
Denise Drives: 24:40
Rudy Suits Up: 24:40
Clair’s Sister: 23:40
Denise’s Friend: 24:40
Clair’s Toe: 24:39
Mrs. Westlake: 24:39
Vanessa’s Bad Grade: 24:40
The Auction: 24:40
Theo and Cockroach: 24:40
The Dentist: 23:39
Play it Again, Russell: 24:09
A Touch of WondeR: 24:40
Full House: 24:40
Close to Home: 24:10
Theo’s Holiday: 24:20
An Early Spring: 24:10
Denise’s Decision: 24:40
The Card Game: 24:40
Off to the Races: 24:10

AS you can see, these are NOT syndication cuts! Rejoice and party. Chapter stops are placed at the scene selection locations, so you have TWO ways to get to that particular Act.

One of the big reasons commonly stated for syndication cuts being used in many sets is often cited as the episodes being deteriorated severely. I can 100% say beyond a shadow of a doubt this is NOT the case for Cosby Show S2. The video looks wonderful for a show from 20 years ago. The opening credits are really the only area where any noticeable visible defects occur, you can see a bit of artifacting against the solid-gray background that the cast members dance in front of in said credits. It’s a minor glitch that really doesn’t otherwise affect a near-flawless set. The audio is spectacular for a Dolby Digital 2.0 track ­ the music is loud and clear, the colors look PERFECT, the vocals come across at perfect levels ­ not too quiet, not overpowering. There’s no hiss, there’s no audio hiccups. I can’t find a flaw.


Special Features:

Commentary by director Jay Sandrich on Episode 10, “Denise’s Friend”: The commercial director for Bill Cosby’s Jello commercials developed the opening titles for the show. The first scene always introduced the plot on most comedies…Cosby Show found they would do scenes that had nothing to do with anything else, however ­ including this episode. 24:40 of great insight of the show. This is a rather packed commentary, as it’s the only commentary track on the season Runs 24:40.

Bloopers: Runs 5:38. This one’s pretty obvious.

Cliff’s Parenting Tips: 8:50. This is various clips of Cliff’s interaction with the kids and how he deals with them.

Interview with Jay Sandrich: 13:41. Interview with Jay--this is basically other material about him, the show, etc. in addition to what’s the commentary.

Total runtime for features: 52 minutes 49 seconds


Final Comments:

Those of you who are a frequent follower of my reviews know that I’m not a fan of syndication edits on DVD sets. As such, to see a studio finally own up to it’s mistakes and get the versions fans WANT to see out there is a big statement to the power that fans hold, and it says a lot about Carsey-Werner that they were willing to so easily own up to their goof and fix the problem. Now that the episodes are presented intact, I can be a bit more objective in my opinion of the rest of the set. That being said: It’s a wonderful DVD set, and if you haven’t purchased it yet, buy it NOW. BUY IT NOW. This set easily makes up for last season’s problems. For future releases, there are really only two things I’d like to see. First and foremost, switch back to the single-disc-holding Digipaks. These overlapping-disc sets tend to be problematic at best.

Secondly, COMMENTARY. The one track is appreciated, but given that this is a show in which the entire main cast is alive, well, and always looking for a bit of exposure, commentary would be great.

Recommended.


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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 3.0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 03/16/06

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BJS4UI/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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