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Buy from Amazon

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Warner Home Video presents
Supernatural: The Complete Second Season (2006-2007)

Dean: What part of 'vampires' don’t you understand, Sam? If it's supernatural, we kill it. End of story. That's our job.
Sam: No, Dean, that's not our job. Our job is hunting evil. And if these things aren't killing people, then they're not evil!

- (Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: September 12, 2007

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
Other Stars: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jim Beaver, Fredric Lehne, Samantha Ferris, Alec Willows, Chad Lindberg, Alona Tal, Ty Olsson, Sterling K. Brown, Amber Benson, Stephen Aberle, Linda Blair, Jason Gedrick, Katharine Isabelle, Chris Gauthier, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Gary Cole, Don Stark, Charles Malik Whitfield, Mackenzie Gray, Samantha Smith
Director: Kim Manners, Phil Sgriccia, Robert Singer, Tim Iacofano, Mike Rohl, Steve Boyum, Rachel Talalay, Charles Beeson, J. Miller Tobin, Bradford May, Eric Kripke

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (horror violence)
Run Time: 15h:03m:00s
Release Date: September 11, 2007
UPC: 085391126232
Genre: television


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

DVD Review

There's always been a woeful shortage of tolerable monsters and demons on episodic television, at least as far as I'm concerned. And that just ain't right.

This six-disc, 22-episode second season of Supernatural provides more than its fair share of these geeky requirements, filtered with an even mix of blood, suspense and frequent gobs of dark humor. It's the story of two brothers who are continuing the family business, in this case traveling the country in a black hot rod while battling supernatural evil (hence the title), just like daddy did. There are someone obvious shortcomings, such as the fact that because of the show being shot outside of Vancouver that nearly every town—whether it's supposed to be the Midwest or the East coast—has the same damp grey look and feel to it, is a minor quibble.

It's all about the Winchester brothers—Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles)—picking up after the big bang of a cliffhanger from season one, with lives and fates in the balance, all driven by the search for a particularly nasty yellow-eyed demon (Fredric Lehne) and the following up the work of their legendary evil-hunting father John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). This principle story arc plays out across this block of episodes, building on some themes from season one, that eventually leads to a satisfying climax with the two-part season finale All Hell Breaks Loose. As was done with The X-Files and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, this primary trajectory of the Winchesters is interrupted by a set of standalone stories that take them all over the U.S.. hunting killer clowns (Everybody Loves A Clown), vampires (Bloodlust), angels (Houses Of The Holy) and even the deadly spirit of America's first serial killer, H.H. Holmes (No Exit).

The level and quality of these standalones is much improved over the odd clunker of the generally solid season one, driven by darker, more interesting creatures and even more gruesome scenarios. Sam's ill-fated encounter with a werewolf (Heart) ends with a properly downbeat payoff, avoiding the usual trite happy crap conclusions most series television seems content with. Ditto for Nightshifter, where Chris Gauthier portrays one of season two's most memorable secondary characters and is given the opportunity to stand on equal ground with the leads, even if it's just for one ep. Guest appearances along the way by horror vets Linda Blair (as a hard-nosed detective) and Katharine Isabelle (part of the yellow-eyed demons evil plans) are nice additions, brief as they are.

No one will confuse this being anything close to perfect, because it's not. Like the Buffyverse, there are plot holes and that nagging "convenience" factor so main characters happen to show up at the right place at the right time. But that doesn't mean it isn't a lot of fun. Late in the season there's What Is And What Should Never Be, which offers up a malicious djinn that provides Dean an alternate reality of a Winchester life minus the monsters that ranks as one of the best of the standalones, and one that plays just before the big two-part season ender.

The tone of the series is creepy and dark—something that I really welcome on a weekly basis—so it's possible to look past these gaps and take it for what it is. There are monsters and ghosts and demons at every turn, some supporting characters don't survive, all balanced by a main story arc that moves along to a multi-layered payoff that gives creator/writer Eric Kripke plenty of wiggle room to evolve for season three.

I don't like much television, but I love this show.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: As before, all 22 eps are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Some light grain (most evident in night shots) is the biggest knock, and that's relatively minor. Black levels are solid, so none of those aforementioned night shots end up being unnecessarily muddy or thick, and colors—while slightly metallic—appear consistent across the season.

Nice.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: A big improvement over the season one set is that audio for season two has been upgraded to Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, and gone for good is the previous 2.0 option. I had no measurable beefs with the way the first season sounded, as it seemed to make the most of its moderate limitations, but this time around the wider stance of the 5.1 mix is certainly noticeable. More pronounced usage of rear channels, and more defined placement of ambient cues gives this series a full-bodied feature film feel in spots. Bass is deep and frequent, while voice clarity is clear throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 132 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Chinese with remote access
7 Deleted Scenes
6 Featurette(s)
3 Feature/Episode commentaries by Kim Manners, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Cyrus Yavneh, Eric Kripke, Robert Singer, Sera Gamble
Packaging: Four-fold case
Picture Disc
6 Discs
6-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: This six-disc set is packaged in a four-fold case, the type where two discs are overlapped on one another per panel. The other panels have episode titles, writer/director info, original airdates and a two sentence plot summary.

Cover art mentions The Episode From Hell: The Making of All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2, but it was nowhere to be found on my set.

In an attempt to one up Season One, there's now three commentaries for season two, available for In My Time Of Dying (director Kim Manners, actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), What Is and What Should Never Be (head writer/director Eric Kripke) and All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1 (director Robert Singer, head writer Eric Kripke and writer Sera Gamble). Strongest of the three is Kripke's solo track on the alternate reality ep, because it seems like there's less room for random asides. Legit revelations such as how directors are booked at the beginning of the year, without being assigned to a certain episode was of more interest than hearing Singer, Kripke and Gamble chuckling about fake blood and the fate of day players.

Four episodes feature a total of seven rather short extended scenes—In My Time of Dying (2), Bloodlust (1), Usual Suspects (2) and Hunted (2). Most appear to have been clearly chopped for time, though Hunted does include some extra enjoyable screentime for mullet-headed tech wiz Ash.

The rest of the bonus material is packed onto disc six, beginning with another dreaded timewaster of a Gag Reel (09m:16s), followed by Jared's Original Screen Test (07m:44s), which is mildly curious for a couple of minutes but ranks down there with the gag reel concept.

Somewhat more interesting is The Devil's Road Map, an interactive segment where you click on a U.S. map that is marked with locations relevant to each episode. A click will reveal either notes from the production team or actual video segments discussing the origins of the particular demon/creature or some other relatable tidbit. The Webisode Gallery section consists of three short behind-the-scenes bits that originally appeared online, in the form of The Inside Scoop With Ivan Hayden/VFX Supervisor (02m:5s), Inside The Writer's Room (07m:08s) and The Inside Scoop With Christopher Cooper/Prop Master (03m:03s). The content is fairly self-explanatory, none of it is terribly revealing, but the segments are easy to absorb and hearing that all of the things that Sam and Dean battle are based of real folklore lends a wee bit of background to things.

Every ep is available with an optional "Previously on Supernatural..." recap, and each show is cut into six chapters, as well featuring optional subtitles in English, French, Spanish or Chinese.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

It takes a lot for me to fall hard for a television series, and in these thin post-X-Files/Buffy days Supernatural has filled the void nicely. A strong set of 22 episodes continue the main story arc carried over from the first season as well as the freak-of-the-week storyline, and the obligatory setup for season three is played out well.

There's enough recapping to probably fill in the cracks if you're new to this, but I suggest you pick up both seasons—it's ideal fall viewing.

Highly recommended.

 


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