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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Paramount Studios presents
Taxi: The Complete Second Season (1979-1980)

Alex: Now, you better stop and listen. This could easily turn into an ugly mob.
Louie: I thought most of these people were just about as ugly as they could get.
Alex: I knew I shouldn't have said that.

- Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: February 08, 2005

Stars: Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Jeff Conaway, Andy Kauffman
Other Stars: Rhea Perlman, Dee Wallace-StoneSusan Sullivan, Priscilla Barnes, Carl Lumbly, Herve Villechaize, Jack Gifford, Eric Sevareid
Director: James Burrows, Ed Weinberger

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 11h:00m:00s
Release Date: February 01, 2005
UPC: 097360698145
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AC+B D-

DVD Review

When Taxi's opening season concluded in the spring of 1979, it had accomplished what few new TV sit-coms manage to achieve in their freshman year. Thanks to a cushy time slot leading out of ABC's mega-hit, Three's Company, it managed to place tenth amongst Neilsen's highest rated shows. Additionally, it made household names of a talented, chemistry-fueled cast of former unknowns, including Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Jeff Conaway, Andy Kauffman, and Danny DeVito. Together, under the guidance of budding comedy producing/directing legend, James Burrows, the show landed the 1979 Emmy Award for Best Comedy Series, an honor it would receive again in its second and third seasons, along with numerous honors for Hirsch, future cast member Carol Kane, Burrows and Christopher Lloyd, whose spaced-out Reverend Jim was originally conceived as a one-shot outing (from the memorable Season One episode, Paper Marriage).

Taxi: The Complete Second Season collects all 24 episodes from a year that rivaled its first on all levels, from the season premiere onward. Louie and the Nice Girl features an inspired pairing of DeVito and real-life wife Rhea Perlman in an wicked and surprisingly sweet story that finds supposedly full-time tyrannical dispatcher DePalma falling under the spell of the local snack machine delivery girl. Talking loudly and proudly about their after hours exploits isn't a surprise to the Sunshine Cab Company gang, but her quiet inquiry to Alex (Hirsch) about his shy demeanor is, and it leads to a classic final act that proves how unpredictable and surprising the series could be in peeling back new layers of characters you thought you had all figured out.

Other memorable outings of Season Two: The Lighter Side of Angela Matusa, which follows up a wonderful episode from a year prior when Alex is reunited with the heavy-set woman who initially attracted him via her sexy voice, only she's not as heavy, anymore which makes the lifelong cabbie one happy guy—until he finds out what motivated her weight loss. Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey inaugurates the slightly awake minister—who performed Latka (Andy Kaufman)'s first marriage—into the world of cab driving as he attempts to make a believer out of Louie and pass his driving test (in a classic scene that ranks amongst the funniest of the series). Shut It Down is a two-parter that puts Elaine (Henner) in the unenviable position of playing negotiator with Louie in the midst of a labor dispute (and I wonder what Mr. DePalma wants in return from the alluring redhead?). Alex Jumps Out of an Airplane finds its ever excitable namesake wanting to tackle all sorts of danger following a life-threatening experience (wasn't nearly getting his ear blown off last season dangerous enough?). And Fantasy Borough is a fabulous dual-episode finale that gets inside the heads of the gang, tapping into their secret desires and wishes, somehow managing to involve the eclectic likes of former CBS News commentator Eric Sevareid; future Three's Company roomie Priscilla Barnes; everybody's favorite collie, Lassie; and Fantasy Island's Herve Villechaize.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Based on the crisp, colorful transfers of the show that I've seen in reruns in the last couple of years, I was left slightly slack-jawed at these somewhat wanting, darker, and inferior prints utilized for these transfers. Not unwatchable mind you, but falling far short of the standards of other Paramount TV offerings. My guess is that the newer syndication prints were struck from pristine sources for commercial trims. Too bad full-length versions couldn't have emerged from the high quality masters as well instead of these overly sharp, grainy replications contained here.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish (Dolby Digital)yes


Audio Transfer Review: The standard two-channel mono audio fares slightly better than its visual cousin. Not anything you'll use as demo material, but it does what it has to do effectively.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 88 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Happy Days-The Complete First Season, Laverne and Shirley-The Complete First Season, Mork and Mindy-The Complete First Season
Packaging: Thinpak
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Aside from some generic previews of other classic TV shows under the Paramount label, the extras meter is only a few notches above $0.00.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Avoiding the sophomore jinx in brilliant, award-winning and audience-pleasing fashion, Taxi: The Complete Second Season is classic television comedy at its very best. Despite the transfers falling short of the spit 'n' polish quality they deserve, they're presentable enough to not hinder your enjoyment of one of the most entertaining and well written shows to emerge in the late 1970s-early 1980s. Highly recommended.

 


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