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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Second Season


TITLE: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: October 11, 2005 (Warner Home Video)
MSRP: $29.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 562 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 12 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Spanish, and French subtitles; closed-captioned
Special Features: Best Bits of Bel-Air; Bel-Air Bloopers


Introduction:

Yo yo yo! It's time to get the Complete Second Season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which is now available on a four disc set from Warner Home Video! That's right, the second season of the hit former NBC sitcom are presented in a four-disc set that is full of great episodes and a few special features. The set is loaded with 24 great episodes (almost all of which are good in their own way), and some guest surprising (at times) guest stars. And of course, there IS the star of the show, Will Smith, who is now a much bigger star than even he would have imagined when he was making the show.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

There is quite a bit to talk about here! I am barely scratching the surface. To begin the season, we have Tisha Campbell guest-starring as Will's girlfriend in "Did the Earth Move for You?" Will and Carlton get involved with a bully that is bullying Ashley at school in "The Mother of All Battles." We find out how much smarter Carlton really is in comparison to Will in "PSAT Pstory." Will may have found his perfect match (a role played by Queen Latifah) in "She Ain't Heavy," but does she have the figure that he wants in a woman? Malcolm-Jamal Warner makes a guest appearance in "Closed Up." Also, Zsa Zsa Gabor makes a guest appearance in "Hi-Ho Silver." Carlton rents the house to Bell Biv DeVoe so that they can shoot a music video in "The Butler Did It." Bernie Koppell, Dr. Dre, and Milton Berle all make guest appearances when Will gets his tonsils taken out in "Ill Will." Bob Eubanks makes an appearance in "Eyes on the Prize." Raven-Symone makes a guest appearance in "Vying for Attention," an episode which was ironically directed by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Finally, the second season ends with "Striptease for Two," where Will and Carlton decide to become strippers to earn money to get a bracelet out of pawn.


Packaging:

I don't say this too often, because it doesn't happen too often... but the packaging for this season is definitely a step down from the first season. That isn't saying that the packaging is bad—just that it isn't as good this time as it was last time. The outer box is a little bit thinner this time, which is a good thing. And the cover art this time is very nice I think, with a picture of Will on the front of the box with a blue background. The bad stuff starts once you get inside the box. Once again, there is a digipak that contains four panels. So four panels, one panel for each disc—right? Wrong! Only the two middle panels contain any discs, and they have the discs arranged in a way where you are forced to remove certain discs to get to others. I wish that the manufacturers would realize that consumers (like you and I) hate these arrangements! The step down comes with the episode descriptions this time. It isn't a huge deal, but instead of the nice little booklet that was provided with the first season, this time, we have disc contents and episode descriptions on the two panels of the digipak that do not contain any discs. The way that they are listed on there is a little awkward too. But I wouldn't by any means call the packaging "unacceptable," I'll just say that they can do better here.


Menu Design and Navigation:

I really like the menus that are employed with the Fresh Prince DVD sets (which obviously imply that the menus this time are EXACTLY the same as the first season). Basically, once you get past the technical stuff (i.e. FBI warnings, Warner Home Video logos), the theme song begins playing in the background (the extended version that was used on the first few episodes of season one), and the menu kind of "builds up" with the music. But if you are switching discs between episodes, this is kind of bad because you can't just skip this menu transition—you are forced to wait. Once it finally loads, you'll find several video clips playing on the right side of the screen from episodes in the second season, and of course the theme song continues to play in the background.

The main menu has basic options of Play (same as what other television show DVDs call Play All), Episodes (the episode selections), Special Features (this option is on all discs, although only Disc 4 has any at all), and Languages (which allows you to turn on English, French, or Spanish subtitles). There is no scene selection menu, but there IS an added bonus in this set that I've never seen in a Warner TV-DVD set before—chapters on every episode! They are appropriately placed at every place where a commercial break should be. Hopefully these chapters are the beginning of a good new thing with Warner.


Video and Audio Quality:

Everything is perfectly fine here—at least I can't find anything to gripe about. These Warner Home Video products seem to do well here. The video is as clear as I'd want and expect it to be, with virtually no flaws, and the same can be said about the audio—I can't find any reason to give this set anything below a 5 here (maybe I could if I was REALLY picky though). The audio (for all of the technical folks out there, which does not include me...) is presented in Dolby Digital Audio—and for the non-technical folks, I'll just reiterate—it sounds great. And the hearing-impaired needn't fear—this set has closed-captioning and English subtitles, and if you are really interested, Spanish and French subtitles are available.

The episodes all run at 23 minutes, but there is one episode that runs at 22 minutes. You need not fear, however, it has been reported on the Home Theater Forum website that this episode is indeed unedited, so once again, we (assuming that the individual on the website is correct, and there is no reason to doubt the individual) have another unedited season of the show.


Special Features:

After the special features included on the first season DVD set, I am disappointed with the features offered this time. All that we have is Best Bits of Bel-Air (7:57) and Bel-Air Bloopers (4:09). The first one is a little more interesting, and basically all it is, is just a series of clips from episodes in the season, and gives many fun facts about people and things on the show as it goes along on the bottom of the screen. The second one is basically just a compilation of bloopers, the same bloopers that air with the closing credits at the end of the show, so we have nothing unique here. There were lots of interviews in the first season, why not have those again? And how about commentary perhaps next time?


Final Comments:

So, you are probably wondering why you should even bother with this set. I mean, the show does air in reruns on Nick at Nite all the time, right? Well, yes, that is true, but this is a good DVD set to own. Besides, there may be one day when Fresh Prince is not "overplayed" and your DVD collection may be the only place that you can go to see the show. And if you collect these official season sets, you will be pleased; in fact, you may not even care to watch the broadcast versions anymore. The quality of this set is remarkable... the only thing that needs serious improvement is the special features area. If you like the show at all, you'll want to get this set!


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

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

--Reviewed by skees53 on 10/22/05

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000A59PM4/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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