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What's Happening!! - The Complete Second Season


Info: DVD Release Date: October 5, 2004 (Columbia Tri-star Home Entertainment)
Color/548 min.
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Languages & Subtitles: English ­ Mono; Closed Captioned.
Special Features: Bonus Previews

What's Happening Season 2 DVD Menu

Review (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: N/A
Menu Style & Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

What's Happening Season 2 DVD Menu What's Happening Season 2 DVD Menu


“Hey, hey, hey!!!” Raj, Rerun, Dwayne and the rest of the gang are back for a second season of What’s Happening!! All 22 episodes from the show's second season are here to make you laugh out loud until it hurts. The series’ second season started in the fall of 1977 on ABC and aired on Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m., before moving to Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. for mid-season. This is the last season for Mabel Thomas who plays Mama on the show. She did not appear in the series’ last season (season 3). The second season also marks Shirley Hemphill joining the regular cast in the opening credits. In season one she was listed in the guest credits only. The opening credits now also have video shots of Dee and Mama.

Notable episodes from the second season include: “Rerun Gets Married,” “Rerun Sees the Light,” “Going, Going, Gong,” “Dee’s First Date” and the 2-parter “Doobie or Not Doobie.” The season finale is “The Apartment” where Raj and Rerun move out after graduation into an apartment, which will be the main setting for season three.

Some famous guest stars include Irena Cara (“Rerun Gets Married”), Tim Reid (“It’s All In Your Head”), Ellen Travolta (“Nothing Personal”), The Gong Show cast (“Going, Going, Gong”) and The Doobie Brothers (“Doobie or Not Doobie”).

The packaging for this set is pretty nice. I had the Time Life copy from the first season so I can’t compare it to the Columbia Tri-star one from season one. The box cover has Shirley, Raj, Rerun and Dwayne from left to right. The background is in two shades of an orange color with the title in red with a white border. The back of the box is in two shades of a blue type color and has a long synopsis to what to expect in season two. There are three photos, too. One of Rerun singing and the gang watching him, the other of Raj, Dwayne and Rerun and the last one is a big one of Shirley and Raj.

The case cover is the same as the box cover. The back of the case has a photo of Rerun, Raj and Dwayne with a message, “All of your FAVORITE characters are BACK!” When you open the case once, you get a shot of the title shot and a photo of Rerun and Dee on one side in a yellow background and Raj, Dwayne and Shirley on the right side in an orange background. When you open the case another time, you get to the discs. There are four sides to it. The first side holds the episode synopsis booklet and a booklet of other upcoming series on DVD, like One Day at a Time and NewsRadio.

Disc one has an orange background with Raj’s face on it. It holds episodes 1-7 of season two. Disc two has a red background with Dwayne’s face on it. The title shot for this one is in orange this time, instead of the usual red. Disc two holds episodes 8-14. Disc three has sort of a dark yellow/light orange background with Rerun’s face on it. It holds episodes 15-22.

The menu screen is fairly easy to navigate. My one complaint for most (maybe all) Columbia Tri-star TV on DVD sets is when you go into the episode selection screen; I could never get back to the main menu! It can be done, but you have to play around with your remote control. They should have a link on the bottom of the episode selection screen to get back to the main menu screen. For each disc the menu screen photo has the same photo as what is on the disc, like Raj on disc one. The menu screens are shown above. This set has chapters that have about 5 place marks. One thing I noticed is that the last place mark doesn’t go to the Sony logo like in previous sets; the last place mark is the closing credits. I like that much better. It made no sense before to have the last chapter have a 10 second Sony logo. There are only two options on discs one and two. Play All Episodes and Episode Selection. The episode selection screen has a photo of Shirley, for each disc. Disc three has the same two options but also a Bonus Previews section. That section has a photo of Raj. The same three previews that Sony always uses are on this set. A note to Sony: how about updating those previews?

The video and audio are about the same as they were on season one’s set. However, for some reason to me, the season two opening credits looks a bit dusty from season one. It’s not that bad, but still I noticed a difference. The audio is in mono and it’s like season one. As for the episode timings, most of the episodes run from anywhere between 24-26 minutes; with none exceeding 26 minutes or lower than 24 minutes. Though, part-one of “Doobie or Not Doobie” runs just under 22 minutes but it also has a 4 minute preview for part-two, so the episode comes out to little less than 26 minutes. Part-two however runs just under 22 minutes. So either something is fishy there or it was just like that originally. When this 2-part episode first aired, it aired during two installments on separate weeks, rather than a one hour episode on the same night. So, if someone has syndication copies taped from BET years ago or a local channel, please do check if anything is edited out on this 2-part episode. I’m guessing it’s unedited, though. I don’t know if that four-minute preview was there originally for part one, but it sounds like it was. I also don’t know if that is in tact in syndication. This show needs to be resurfaced more in syndication, so everyone can tell. Right now the show is only on one or two locals in the U.S.; very sad.

Sadly, this set again has no special features other than those useless outdated bonus previews of other Tri-Star sets. They could have done a tribute to Fred Berry at least, who passed away untimely last December. Some other Tri-star sets now are getting interviews for special features like Diff’rent Strokes and 227, so I’m guessing that they are learning, but for sets that are already started, like Sanford & Son and All in the Family, will just continue to have no special features. Unfortunately, What’s Happening is probably under that umbrella.

Finally, this set is good. The episodes are very funny and worth watching. If you have Season one, then of course please buy this set. We need season three (the final season) to be released as soon as possible, so we can complete our complete series set. After that, I’m hoping the follow-up series “What’s Happening Now!!” is also released. That also is hiding in syndication now, with only one local or so currently playing it. Earth to TV Land or any other cable network ­ pick up both series and air it! I hope season three and the follow-up series do come out on DVD so we can have the entire collection in our home theater.

--Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/17/04 (Happy Birthday to John Ritter! We miss you.)

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