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Joan of Arcadia - The Second Season



DVD Release Date: November 28, 2006 (CBS DVD, Paramount Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $58.99
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 16 hours and 8 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 61 minutes
(not counting commentaries)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Closed Captioned.
Special Features:
• 5 Audio Commentaries from the Crew
• Featurette: “The Making of Queen of the Zombies”
• Featurette: “Joan of Arcadia ­ A Look at Season Two”
• A Tour of Joan’s High School
• Table Read from “Common Thread”


What if God was one of us? God is one of us in the critically acclaimed CBS drama, Joan of Arcadia. Joan of Arcadia, is back on DVD for its last season (sadly) after over a 18 month wait between releases. Now you can bring god home to your DVD player in the second and final season of Joan of Arcadia! Join Joan, her friends, and the rest of Girardi family for godly visits. For those of you who don’t know, Joan is a 16 year old high school girl, with some friends, and a family, but now she gets unexpected visits from god himself. It might sound cheesy, but the writing of this show is remarkable. The show stars Joe Mantegna as Will Girardi - a tough but soft-hearted police detective of Arcadia, Mary Steenburgen as Helen Girardi -­ an art teacher, Amber Tamblyn as Joan Girardi- ­ a typical teenager who now sees god, Jason Ritter as Kevin Girardi - a former high-school sports star who is in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident, and Michael Welch as Luke Girardi -­ Kevin & Joan’s younger high school science-geek brother. Christopher Marquette, Becky Wahlstrom, Aaron Himelstein also star as Joan’s friends Adam, Grace and Friedman…and Mageina Tovah as Glynis.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The show is very well written again this season, despite the ratings going down this season. Some memorable episodes include the season premiere “Only Connect” where Joan returns from summer camp and ignores god; “Back to the Garden” where Joan creates a garden in a playground; “The Cat” where Joan’s aunt Olive has a heart attack while visiting; “Friday Night” in which Joan deals with romance and death; “The Book of Questions” in which Joan finds out why Grace is so private; “Queen of the Zombies” in which the school puts a musical performance; “Trial and Error” Adam and Joan’s one-year anniversary is approaching but Adam wants to confess he betrayed her; “Common Thread” is where Adam goes missing; and “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is the season finale (well, series now) where Joan meets with someone who also can talk to god…who also happened to save Adam. Is he bad or good, though?

Some guest stars include Sprague Grayden as Judith Montgomery, a bad girl that turns into one of Joan‘s friends; Constance Zimmer as Sister Lilly; Elaine Hendrix as Ms. Lischak; Annie Potts as Lieutenant Lucy; Mark Totty as Detective Carlisle; Cloris Leachman as Aunt Olive; Evan Handler in “P.O.V.;” Haylie Duff as Steveie; Hilary Duff as Dylan; Alexis Dziena (“Invasion”) as Bonnie; Michael Badalucco as Father Payne; and Wentworth Miller as Ryan. The many faces of god includes: Kris Lemche as “Cute Boy God,” Amber Tamblyn’s dad Russ Tamblyn as “Dog Walker God,” Juliette Goglia as “Little Girl God,” Kathryn Joosten (“Desperate Housewives”) as “Old Lady God,” and Jeffrey Licon as “Goth Kid God.”


The packaging is reddish and has the Girardi family in the background (Will, Helen, Luke, Kevin and Joan). The back of the box has information on the series, set & special features and lots of photos including a big one of Joan. There are three slim cases inside of the box which has two discs in each slim case. All the slim cases have a blue color scheme. Each case has a different pose of all four members of the Girardi family. The back of each case lists the episode on each disc, with episode titles w/original air dates, synopsis of the episode, and if any special features.

The discs also have a blue color scheme. Disc one holds episodes 1-4 and has photo of the Girardi family (same photo as the cover of slim case #1). Disc two holds episodes 5-8 and has a photo of Joan. Disc three has episodes 9-12 and has a photo of Will. Disc four has episodes 13-16 and has a photo of Helen. Disc five has episodes 17-20 and has a photo of Kevin. Finally, disc six has episodes 21-22 and the special features with a photo of Luke.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen looks so different from season one…and I don’t think it is a better change. Last set we had some clips playing in the background with the rarely heard closing theme playing in the background. This season it is just a blue background with a light shining with three photos (each disc has different photos) and the episodes are listed right on the main menu. And if available, audio commentary can be turned on/off by selecting an episode. The special features option is only on disc 6. Good news is that there are chapter skips. About six different stops per episode, so no need to fast forward to find a scene!

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio are obviously good. In fact the set is in widescreen…just like season one! This is much better than watching it on CBS, unless you have an HDTV. I really enjoyed the widescreen again. It made it feel like I was watching a better quality version of the show. The sound is in Dolby Surround Stereo. No flaws or low sound--just perfect. Each episode runs about 42-45 minutes in length, just like it did on CBS. Something I’ve noticed is that each episode has the episode title in the beginning. I know I don’t remember CBS doing that for season two. Also, the opening credits ("One of Us") is only on the first episode of EACH disc. The other episodes have the cast names rolling over the first scene. I guess that isn't bad. The closing theme song can be heard again, as on CBS they played promos of the next show during the credits.

Following are the run times for each episode:

Disc one
1. “Only Connect” 45:11
2. “Out of Sight” 44:16
3. “Back to the Garden” 44:34
4. “The Cat” 44:10

Disc two
5. “The Election” 44:49
6. “Wealth of Nations” 44:00
7. “P.O.V.” 44:14
8. “Friday Night” 45:12

Disc three
9. “No Future” 44:44
10. “Book of Questions” 42:49
11. “Dive” 43:56
12. “Game Theory” 44:50

Disc four
13. “Queen of the Zombies” 41:34
14. “Rise & Fall of Joan Giradi” 41:53
15. “Romancing the Joan” 44:46
16. “Independence Day” 44:37

Disc five
17. “Shadows & Light” 43:18
18. “Secret Service” 43:31
19. “Trial & Error” 42:53
20. “Spring Cleaning” 44:20

Disc six
21. “Common Thread” 44:07
22. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” 44:34

Special Features:

The special features are very good despite not being as much in quantity as last season. I’ll break it down by disc. There are four audio commentaries. On disc one, audio commentary is available for the season premiere “Only Connect” from the creator Barbara Hall and executive producer James Hayman. They gave us commentaries with this duo on season one, so if you liked it with them then, you’ll like it here, too. They are very informative.

Disc two has audio commentary for the episode “Friday Night” with Stephen Nathan and James Hayman. This is a very powerful and pivotal episode for this season, and they know it and I’m glad they do commentary for it. You’ll learn a lot. The last two audio commentaries are both on disc six on the last two episodes. Nathan and Hayman return to bring us commentary on “Common Thread.” And Barbara Hall and James Hayman return to give commentary on the last episode “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” So James Hayman was on every commentary! I wish we had actor commentaries like last time we had the Girardi family doing commentary together--what fun that was! Also, no deleted scenes this time, after having a ton on the last set.

All the other extras are on disc six. The first featurette is “Joan of Arcadia: A Look at Season Two.” It runs 15:31 and has interviews with Hall, Hayman and the Girardi family—Amber, Mary, Joe, Jason, and Michael, also Christopher Marquette and Becky Wahlstrom. Various clips and images are also shown on this one. This is a very interesting feature and very informative.

The next featurette is “The Making of Queen of the Zombies.” It runs 11:16 and has interviews with Christopher Marquette, Barbara Hall, Joy Gregory (writer/co-executive producer), Graeme Clifford (Director), Jonathan Grossman (composer), James Hayman, Joe Malone (choreographer), Stephen Nathan, Amber Tamblyn, Bill Eigenbrodt (production designer) and Mary Steenburgen. We take a look at the different aspects of this episode. The play, the choreography, singing, and more. This was a special episode and it came out well. Then we have “A Tour of Joan’s High School” that runs 9:27. Bill Eigenbrodt gives us a detailed tour of the high school set at Sony studios. It is cool to see how it looks and it looks like a real school! Finally, one of the most interesting features is a “Table Read for the Episode ‘Common Thread’.” It runs 24:01 and we see most of the scenes being read by the cast for the first time. They are so good! The actors are sitting at a huge table with the crew there also and nice food on the table. It looked good, too. Michael Badalucco, who guest starred on this episode also is at the table read. If you like how a show is made and about, this is for you!

Final Comments:

Well, after 18 months of waiting we finally have this series complete on DVD. It is just too bad that this show didn’t last longer. The season finale was not really an ending and it left us hanging. Shame on CBS for canceling this show. The show aired on Fridays and did decently, though not as good as it did in season one. However, this set is well done and CBS/Paramount should be proud. I loved the widescreen video and the stereo sound. That just makes the set so cool. The special features were done very well and I especially loved the table read. That was so fun and interesting to see. So after this Thanksgiving, share some time with Joan and her family & friends, and you might also see God come down to you and talk to you!

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

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

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 11/22/06

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