Blu-ray Review Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Matt Hough, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    XenForo Template Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review

    The best and the worst of its first season is carried over into the second season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time. On the wonderful side are the continuing imaginative interweavings of stories in a modern New England town featuring fairy tale characters in modern dress with tales both old and new in the land of the Enchanted Forest. But on the negative side are the increasingly repetitive scheming and manipulative vengeance plotlines that have characters bouncing between good and evil incarnations of themselves to the point of tediousness. And the audience is noticing: the ratings began sliding midseason and continued on a downward cycle through the spring.

    Posted Image


    Studio: Disney

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

    Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

    Rating: TV-PG

    Run Time: 15 Hrs. 46 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    keep case with leaves and slipcover

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: ABC

    Release Date: 08/13/2013

    MSRP: $79.99




    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    The adversarial triangle relationships in the series continued unabated in season two. Regina/the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) is more determined than ever to win her adopted son Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) back from his biological mother Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and her mother Mary Margaret/Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and when turning benign doesn’t work, enlists the aid of her wicked mother Cora (Barbara Hershey) whose plan is to simply kill everyone standing in their way by stealing the ultimate dark power from current reigning baddie Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle). This leads to a ludicrous plotline in the latter part of the season when Snow White fears a blackened heart and seeks redemption because she had felt it imperative to help kill one of the characters who was threatening to kill her and her family. (Was she supposed to die so the evil ones could get their way? Her guilt and the outrage of the evil survivor are simply absurd, there only to continue a plot that was a rather hopeless mess through the season.)Mr. Gold is likewise engaged not only in constant battles with Regina and Cora but also with the most notable and entertaining of the new introductions this season into the endless list of storybook characters – Killian Jones/Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue). We come to find out that not only has Rumplestiltskin served as a character in his own fairy story, he’s also been worked to be the Beast in Beauty and the Beast and the crocodile in Peter Pan, and Hook wants vengeance not only for the loss of his hand but also the loss of his true love at the hands of Rumple. And Rumple’s story is further compounded this season by his quests to win back Belle’s (Emilie de Ravin) affections and also to find his long lost son Baelfire/Neal Cassady (Michael Raymond-James) whose story is also a major part of the season’s second half with many engaging twists and turns.The show’s writers also this season have introduced (with differing degrees of effectiveness) Mulan (Jamie Chung), Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger), Lancelot (especially weak usage of this character), Gus the mouse from Disney’s version of Cinderella, Maleficent, the Giant (Jorge Garcia) from Jack and the Beanstalk, and fleshing out from season one the real identity of Dr. Whale (who turns out to be Viktor Frankenstein and played by David Anders). We also get more background on Pinocchio/August Booth (Eion Bailey) and additional stories of Red Riding Hood/Ruby (Meghan Ory), Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper (Raphael Sbarge), and the seven dwarfs with Grumpy (Lee Arenberg) still their most effective spokesperson. Even with some overly familiar plotlines that strain endurance and characters who turn evil on and off like a faucet, kudos are still offered to the show’s incredible production team for fashioning an elaborate television show that often takes on movie dimensions in the look and scope of the series and in the fantastic special effects which grace every episode.Here are the twenty two episodes which are contained on the set’s five Blu-ray discs. The names in parentheses are the participants in that episode’s audio commentary:1 – Broken (stars Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin)2 – We Are Both3 – Lady of the Lake4 – The Crocodile5 – The Doctor6 – Tallahassee7 – Child of the Moon8 – Into the Deep9 – Queen of Hearts (creators Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, star Lana Parrilla)10 – The Cricket Game11 – The Outsider12 – In the Name of the Brother13 – Tiny14 – Manhattan (Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, star Robert Carlyle)15 – The Queen Is Dead16 – The Miller’s Daughter (producer/writer Jane Espenson)17 – Welcome to Storybrooke (writers Ian Goldberg, Andrew Chambliss)18 – Selfless, Brave, and True19 – Lacey20 – The Evil Queen21 – Second Star to the Right22 – And Straight on ‘Til Morning (writer David Goodman and star Colin O'Donoghue)


    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The program is broadcast on ABC at 720p, and these 1080p 1.78:1 transfers look much sharper and more solid than the network broadcasts. The show has a very cinematic look, and the transfers capture the lush darkness of the fairy tale world as well as the often bright everyday look of the small town. Colors are rich and beautifully saturated, and flesh tones are true to life (except when they’re not meant to be). The Storybrooke scenes are always sharp, but the heavy use of green screen in the fantasy world segments result in images that are sometimes a bit softer, likely done deliberately to mesh more smoothly with the computer-generated backgrounds. Black levels are nicely rendered even if contrast occasionally varies from shot to shot. Each episode has been divided into 7 chapters.



    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is a sophisticated one for network television. Like its video counterpart, the sound design often seems more movie-like with sophisticated split effects in many episodes and a gorgeous use of lush Mark Isham music themes in every episode which make the most of the extended surround channels. Dialogue is always very well recorded and has been placed in the center channel. There’s more for the LFE channel to do in this series than in many other television series. The discs also offer a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround track that’s quite effective on its own.


    Special Features Rating: 4/5

    Audio Commentaries: there are six commentaries offered this season (see episode list above for the names of the participants). Apart from the season premiere track where the show’s two stars get caught up watching the show and don’t talk much, the commentaries are all quite good. Creators/producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are very good about quizzing the stars in their commentaries about their feelings, motivations, and approaches to the acting. Fans will enjoy hearing these and will welcome new cast member Colin O'Donoghue who seems a little overwhelmed with his reception on the show (he was the season’s one new addition who was promoted from guest star to series regular before the end of the season).Welcome to Storybrooke (12:10, HD): a tongue-in-cheek morning show parody featuring guests stars like Amy Acker and series regulars like Lee Arenberg, Meghan Ory, David Anders, Robert Carlyle, and Emilie de Ravin.A Fractured Family Tree (7:08, HD): narrated by Sarah Hyland and with sound bites from creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz along with other series writers, producers, and cast, this traces the very convoluted family connections between the major characters on the show using film clips from both seasons of the series to establish identities.Sincerely, Hook (5:24, HD): a get-to-know featurette on the character of Hook and the actor Colin O'Donoghue who plays him.Girl Power (13:05, HD): the show’s producer/writers and key cast members discuss the strong array of female characters on the show.The Fairest Bloopers of Them All (3:13, HD): typical outtake reelEight Deleted Scenes (10:33, HD): may be viewed individually or in one montagePromo Trailers: ABC’s Castle, Revenge, Scandal, and the upcoming Blu-ray release of The Little Mermaid.


    Overall Rating: 4/5

    An entertaining if slightly less involving season for ABC’s charming and imaginative Once Upon a Time, the second season box set continues the sterling video and audio presentations from last year’s set and contains some fanciful bonus material that fans of the show will enjoy. Recommended!


    Reviewed By: Matt Hough


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  2. sidburyjr

    sidburyjr Second Unit

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    Did you (or anyone else for that matter) do a review of Season 1? I'm interested in your opinion of the show last year. I think most of the review about season two episodes and arc are spot on.

    For me, this series became a "well I've already invested a lot of time so I might as well DVR this episode and watch it sometime this week" series rather than "oh boy, a new episode is coming on tonight and I can't wait". I might buy the seasons on Black Friday (or the equivalent) if the prices were especially attractive but I'd rather see a BF sale of Grimm, whose second season also went down but not nearly as much.
     
  3. Virgoan

    Virgoan Second Unit

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    Yes, this is a good overview. I'm particularly turned off by the "evil now/evil gone" flip-flopping for Regina's character. She has some very effective, very touching moments when she's inwardly honest about why she's alone and unloved. Rather than reach out and do something genuine, she reverts to pure evil again. She seems bereft of common sense when it comes to Henry. It never seems to occur to her that Henry will hate her forever if she ever hurts his mom or grandparents.
     
  4. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    They obviously took the Dr Whale name from the director of the original two Frankenstein movies, James Whale, nice little nod.

    As for Snow White, well she is supposed to be completely innocent and not a killer, it's a fairytale story, she kills and her heart blackens, i bought into it, doesn't matter if she had no other choice, it's her character, she didnt know the character would die, she was duped by Rumplestiltskin to do that.

    I edited to remove the spoiler.
     
  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Yes, I reviewed last season's box set. That review is here.
     
  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I understand her basic innocence and goodness, but she's also been living in the real world (under the curse) as Mary Margaret, and now that the curse has been lifted, she has aspects of BOTH Mary Margaret and Snow (they have alluded to the characters now sharing their human and storybook character traits on several occasions). Even in the Enchanted Forest, self preservation was paramount for her, and after seeing someone she dearly loved killed, I think it's expecting the audience to swallow too much that she could simply turn the other cheek and not defend herself or her loved ones.
     
  7. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    This is one of the very few current TV series I watch and it's worth owning IMO. The Disney Club currently has a very good deal on both seasons.
     
  8. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    It's $37.99 at Target if you get it right now. I doubt it will go on sale again until Black Friday.

    Yeah, the show has problems and can be irritating, but it's still more enjoyable than most of the stuff on the major networks. Every show has a sophomore slump. I hope that Season Three will kick ass and the show will last 5 or 6 years at least. Not sure what to make of "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," though. I hope that the spin-off/sister show doesn't cut the quality of the original, as sometimes happens.
     
  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    That is my fear as well. The original intention was for Wonderland to spell the original show during its winter hiatus, but I guess ABC's development slate wasn't strong enough and they called this up to series with its own time slot (and a murderous one: it is opposite The Big Bang Theory).
     

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