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The Complete Second Season
Rating: TV 14 (Dialogue, Language, Sex, Violence)
Running Time: 671 minutes
Starring: Dave Annable, Keriis Lilla Dorsey, Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty, Rachel Griffiths, Rob Lowe, Sarah Jane Morris, John Pyper Ferguson, Matthew Rhys, Ron Rifkin, Emily VanCamp, Patricia Wettig
Retail Price: $59.99
Features: Audio Commentaries, Guest Book, TV Dinners: Food From Season 2, Open House: Designing The Brothers & Sisters Set, Bloopers & Outtakes, Deleted Scenes
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scenes (8 per episode), Five-Disc Set
Released: September 23rd, 2008
All the episodes of the second season are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. These are good transfers, but are a bit on the flawed side. I'll get the bad out of the way first: the episodes often look a bit grainy and a little soft, plus there are edge halos and noise to contend with. Other than that though, things are pretty good: color saturation is warm and inviting, fleshtones are accurate and detail looks nice. Definitely quite watchable, overall.
All the episodes features English Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, which are quite suitable. Since this is a show with an emphasis on dialogue, the talking is important, and all of it comes in very clear and crisp on these tracks. Sound effects are more on the subtle side but can be discrete, while the musical selections do have a nice sense of power and sharpness to them. Dyanmics are pretty good for what's here, fidelity is fine but there isn't much subwoofer use. Apt mixes for a series like this.
Every episode also has subtitles available in English, French and Spanish, plus English closed captions through your television.
There are three Audio Commentaries included on this set: "Home Front" on the first disc features executive producer/director Ken Olin and actors Patricia Wettig and Matthew Rhys; "36 Hours" features actors Dave Annable, Sarah Jane Morris and Emily VanCamp while "Prior Commitments" has Executive Producer Monica Owasa-Breen, and actors Matthew Rhys and Luke MacFarlane. I listened to bits of each commentary, and the strongest from what I gathered is "36 Hours" - which has some pretty fine anecdotes by the actors, which go into their process and life on the set. Annable also shows a nice sense of humor (and oddly, Morris speaks on the track even though she isn't in the episode). The first commentary with Rhys, Olin and Wettig has dead spots, and while there are a few stories, the comments are obvious and rudimentary. I suppose striking a middle ground is the "36 Hours" one. Quiet moments too, and obvious comments, but I heard some decent anecdotes. In all, these commentaries are best suited for die-hard viewers of the series.
Everything else is on the fifth disc. There are seven Deleted Scenes, plus 4 minutes and 21 seconds worth of Bloopers & Outtakes in non-anamorphic widescreen. That leaves three video-based supplements. First up is Guest Book (14 minutes), that highlights the second season's array of guest stars. Ken Olin and some of the cast guides us through the memorable ones, which include Chevy Chase, Rob Lowe, Steven Weber.TV Dinners: Food From Season 2 focuses on the work of "food stylist" Jessie Sieben, who admits to not being a professional chef and actually having a biology major from Minnesota (talk about a career change!). Here we learn some of what's on the show is actually written into scripts. Other than that, we get an up-close look at some of the delicacies. If that doesn't whet your appetite, then an included envelope filled with Nora's recepies in the package just might. This piece runs a bit over 6 minutes.
Finally, Open House: Designing The Brothers & Sisters Set features production designer Denny Dugally. Dugally talks about her process, and how there is on average 700 sets (!) in a season. Dugally and set decorator Bryan John Venegas guides us through the Walker home and all its nuances, plus another key set. Dugally also talks about her favorite set. Pretty interesting.
The drama certainly gets juicier on the second season of "Brothers and Sisters," and it's all-star cast even expands a little with some choice actors in recurring roles. The set should please fans of the series, or those looking to catch up on the Walker clan, with some decent supplements and good presentations of the episodes. Worth checking out if you're interested.