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Charles in Charge - The Complete Second Season



DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007 (Arts Alliance America)
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 660 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Languages: English; Closed Captioned.
Special Features: None


After almost two years (like 21 months), Charles in Charge returns to DVD with the popular second season! Season 1 was released by Universal Home Video, but it looks like they sold the home video rights to TV Guide’s Arts Alliance America and they will release all the Powell years (which is the rest of the series). The show was canceled by CBS in 1985 after just a season, but the show returned on the air in 1987 as a first-run syndicated series, and with a different family! The Pembroke’s exit and the Powell’s enter.

We get all 26 season two episodes on DVD for the first time. Tag along with teen idol Scott Baio ("Happy Days") as he takes on the role of live-in helper for a new family. Between his college friend, Buddy (Willie Aames) and the mischievous Powell kids, Charles has his hands full! Can he keep up with his social life while keeping the household going? Even when things spiral out of control, Charles still manages to be a positive role model for his three teenage charges. Charles and his best friend Buddy return, but everyone else is different. Even Charles’ girlfriend Gwendolyn is no more. We have Ellen Powell the mother of the children, Walter Powell the grandfather of the children, Jamie Powell the oldest daughter, Sarah Powell the middle child, and Adam Powell the youngest of the three children. Joining the cast later on in the season is Charles’ mother, Lillian. So join the fun with Charles and the rest of the gang at Copeland College and New Brunswick, NJ for some fun on the complete second season of Charles in Charge!

Charles in Charge season two stars Scott Baio (Charles), Willie Aames (Buddy Lembeck), Sandra Kerns (Ellen Powell), Nicole Eggert (Jamie Powell), Josie Davis (Sarah Powell), Alexander Polinsky (Adam Powell), Ellen Travolta (Lillian) and James T. Callahan (Walter Powell).

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Since the series was in first-run syndication, the episode order is usually weird, but the DVD has the right order...airdate order. Sometimes in reruns, we see the production order for some reason (Nick at Nite went in airdate order though), and the first episode of the season was actually made 6th, so we are introduced to the Powell’s six episodes in, so that makes no sense. Then there is the Lillian situation. Lillian is Charles’ mother and there is an introduction episode to her, which was made 4th but doesn’t air until like the 24th episode, and we see episodes with her prior to that. Therefore, maybe the airdate order does not make sense. I would have just put the introduction episode of the Powell’s first, and then go in production order the rest of the way, but even that would not have worked really. The UFO episode was the first one made this season, but it did not air until the 18th episode of the season. Oh well, at least they are all here. See the video section for the production list. Now to the best of the best this season, we have a new family so the first episode of the season is a must-see. It is titled, “Amityville,” Charles returns from a two-week camping trip with his friend Buddy, to discover a completely new household waiting for him. In the next episode “The Naked Truth,” Charles' new girlfriend is a nude model for art class, but he doesn’t find out until he gets to the class...while he took Adam. In “A Fox in the Henhouse,” Commander Powell's amorous shipmate visits Ellen, and has one thing in mind. In “Isn’t That What’s Her Face,” an actress asks Charles' help to stay undercover. In “Mama Mia,” Charles' mother takes over during a visit. In “U.F. Oh No!,” Charles and Adam think they see a UFO. Gwendolyn Pierce returns in a special two-part episode called “Twice Upon a Time,” will she stay? In “A Job from Heck,” Charles chaperones newly hired waitress Jamie. In “Lillian Puts a Round,” we meet Lillian and Charles worries when Lillian begins to date. Finally, in “The Undergraduate,” Ellen's sexy married cousin makes a play for Charles.

Guest starring this season are Michael Pearlman as Jason Pembroke (“Amityville”), Ben Stein as Stanley Willard, Robert Costanzo, Julianne McNamara as Paula Thackery, Jeff Robie as Sid, Kay Lenz as Ellen’s married cousin Joan Robinson, and Jennifer Runyon as Gwendolyn Pierce.


The packaging is a bit different than the season one set which used an outer box and three slim cases. This time it comes in an Amaray movie-style snap case. The case is a bit thinner than the first set, but it will still look nice stacked together. The cover art features five (four that are visibile) polaroid-style photos of the cast. Scott Baio is in the center. There are cast photos surrounding it. The show logo is at the top of the case. A blue and yellow tile background is used. On the back of the case, there is another cast photo that isn't from the second season but that isn't that big of a deal. A synopsis of the set and the DVD specs are listed. Scott Baio is on the spine of the case.

When we open the case, we get to the discs. There is a single sheet that has the same photos as the cover art on one side and a listing of the episodes by disc on the other side. Discs 1 and and are in a holder in the middle. Disc 3 is in an embedded holder on the back of the case. Each disc has the same photo of Scott Baio that is used throughout the packaging and menus and the Charles in Charge logo. Disc 1 is blue and has episodes 1-9. Disc 2 is lime green and has episodes 10-18. Disc 3 is yellow and has episodes 19-26.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen is very cool. It starts with rotating cast photo images, and then we get to the main menu where the opening theme is playing in the background and we see the video of it on the main menu! It loops, too. The options are Play All and Episode Selection. On the first season DVD we had a Languages section, but nothing on this DVD. That is not a big deal really, unless you want subtitles or audio in another language. When we select the Episode Selection option, we have a blue background with the episode number and title. It is nice and simple. A screenshot for each episode is on the episode selection sub-menu. We have five chapter stops per episode! On the first set, we have no chapter stops at all, so this is a major improvement! So, I’d say the menu design and navigation is better than season one. The main menu is much better than season one’s, but I would have liked a languages section with at least subtitles.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio are both excellent. The series has never looked and sounded better. These prints look nicer than what I remember seeing on Nick at Nite in syndication. The show was shot on tape, so there is no dust or debris that you find on film. The episodes are in their original full screen format. A minor complaint is that discs one and two have nine episodes on each of them. They could have been spread out a bit more over four discs instead of two. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of around 22 1/2 minutes in length. The times are all very consistent, give or take a few seconds. Chapter stops are placed at all the appropriate places, so that is another positive change from the first season set. The audio is a Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 track. The dialogue is at a good level and it easy to understand. I didn't notice any major problems. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are plenty of logos here. There is Al Burton Productions, Scholastic Productions and an old Universal logo.

Here are the runtimes:

Disc One
1. Amityville (22:28)
2. The Naked Truth (22:26)
3. Feud for Thought (22:28)
4. The Egg and Us (22:27)
5. The Loan Arranger (22:27)
6. American Teen (22:26)
7. Buddy Comes to Dinner (22:27)
8. A Fox in the Henhouse (22:27)
9. Pizza Parlor Protest (22:28)

Disc Two
10. Trade Off (22:26)
11. Dating (22:26)
12. Music, Music, Mayhem (22:27)
13. Buddy in Charge (22:24)
14. Isn’t That What’s Her Face? (22:29)
15. A Date from Heck (22:26)
16. Mama Mia (Lillian’s second episode) (22:26)
17. Weekend Weary (22:27)
18. U.F.OH No! (22:26)

Disc Three
19. The Case of the Mock-Turtle Mystery (22:27)
20. Twice Upon a Time, Part 1 (w/Lillian) (22:25)
21. Twice Upon a Time, Part 2 (w/Lillian) (22:26)
22. A Job from Heck (Lillian’s third episode) (22:27)
23. Baby Doll (w/Lillian) (22:26)
24. Lillian Puts a Round (debut of Lillian) (22:24)
25. Her Brother’s Keeper (w/Lillian) (22:24)
26. The Undergraduate (w/Lillian)(22:27)

As I discussed in the memorable episodes section, the episodes are in airdate order, so the Lillian introduction is a bit messed up. Even in production order, the order seems messed up. Therefore, I am not sure what would have worked best. In the production order, we do not get Twice Upon a Time Part 1, Twice Upon a Time Part 2, and Baby Doll like we do on this DVD, because they were produced later, but aired for season two. Instead, Speechless, Heart Burglar, Dear Charles were produced first, and are not on second season DVD. Mama Mia is on the second season DVD, but was produced 27th. Here is the production order:

1. U.F.OH No! (Ellen Travolta is in the credits)
2. The Naked Truth
3. Her Brother’s Keeper (Lillian is in the episode)
4. Lillian Puts a Round (debut of Lillian)
5. Dating
6. Amityville (the introduction of the Powell’s)
7. A Fox in the Henhouse
8. Getting In (Lillian is in the episode)
9. The Egg and Us
10. Pizza Parlor Protest
11. American Teen
12. The Case of the Mock-Turtle Mystery
13. Trade Off
14. Speechless (Lillian is in the episode)
15. A Date from Heck
16. The Loan Arranger
17. Buddy Comes to Dinner
18. Feud for Thought
19. A Job from Heck (Lillian is in the episode, seems like her third episode)
20. Music, Music, Mayhem
21. Heart Burglar
22. Weekend Weary
23. Isn’t That What’s Her Face?
24. Buddy in Charge
25. The Undergraduate (Lillian is in the episode)
26. Dear Charles (Lillian is in the episode)
27. Mama Mia (Lillian is in the episode, seems like her second episode)

Therefore, I am not sure what order would have worked the best to keep the Lillian storyline in sync. I guess it does not matter, since even originally it aired wacky. I think the order they have now on DVD, is good but maybe they could have done this for the last 10 episodes or so of the DVD:

Last three on Disc Two:
16. Weekend Weary
17. U.F.OH No!
18. The Case of the Mock-Turtle Mystery

Disc Three
19. Lillian Puts a Round (debut of Lillian)
20. Mama Mia (Lillian’s second episode)
21. A Job from Heck (Lillian’s third episode)
22. Her Brother’s Keeper (w/Lillian)
23. The Undergraduate (w/Lillian)
24. Twice Upon a Time, Part 1 (w/Lillian)
25. Twice Upon a Time, Part 2 (w/Lillian)
26. Baby Doll (w/Lillian)

Special Features:

Unfortunately, there are no special features included. It would be great to see some bloopers/outtakes, syndication promos and new cast interviews on future releases. We lost James T. Callahan earlier this year. A tribute would be nice to see.

Final Comments:

Well, after almost 2 years we have the second season DVD! Thanks to Arts Alliance in picking this up from Universal, since they didn't want to release this. I wish we had some special features. On season one we had some extras but they weren't really "extras." We had an 80's featurette on Universal shows and the second season premiere as a bonus episode on the first season DVD. I wish we had like interviews or bloopers at least on this set. Nicole Eggert is so hot and it would be nice to see her on the extras. Scott Baio hosted a Nick at Nite marathon a few years ago and there was a Charles in Charge E! True Hollywood Story, so I know the cast would be willing to participate! Well, anyway, Arts Alliance America did a nice job. I loved the menu screen and of course, the episodes are unedited at 22:25 or so, which is normal because this show was a first-run syndicated show. Arts Alliance has promised to release the rest of the series, and I think we can expect seasons 3 and 4 in 2008, at least. Season 3 tentatively in April and Season 4 next fall. The final season is season 5, and hopefully they can fit that in 2008 as well...if not early 2009 is fine! So, Charles is in Charge and he orders you to click on the link below to buy this DVD! You had better hurry before Buddy finds a hot party at his dorm and you get distracted and forget to buy the DVD!

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

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

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal and Todd Fuller on 11/19/07

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