Scrubs is one of the more intelligent and entertaining comedy shows around these days. It’s fast paced, well scripted, and delightfully acted. Despite the farcical style, the show still manages to get you emotionally involved with the characters which is a compliment to how well it combines dimensions of humor and storytelling into an unusually potent mix. If you’ve never watched Scrubs but enjoy wit-based comedies like Seinfeld and Will & Grace, you should definitely give Scrubs a try. Be sure to start with Season One as the show needs to introduce you to the characters and their interpersonal storylines before you “ease into” Season two which takes much of this back-story for granted.
Scrubs is on the top of my list for quality comedy programming. If you’ve never seen this show before please see my review of Season One for a more detailed discussion of this great program:
|Packaging and Presentation...|
Similar to Season 1, we have a cardboard fold-out package with “overlapping” discs (which annoys me personally). The cover is embossed which gives a 3-D look to the image which is a nice touch. Menus are creatively done…it looks and feels like the guys/gals who worked on this DVD presentation loved the show as much as the fans.
The image just lacks “snap” on my system (BenQ 8700+ DLP projector) and before you assume that it’s because this is a "TV Show on a projector" so we shouldn't expect better, let me assure you that there are TV shows…even ones recorded direct to video (Muppet Show)…that do have snap when projected big-screen. What robs this image from satisfying the wide-angle viewer is the lack of small object detail and restricted contrast range which give the image a slightly dull appearance when viewed big. I’m sure that viewers on smaller sets (or seated more than 2 screen widths away) will find the image reasonably sharp, but given how good I’ve seen some other “TV” program material look when well mastered, it would have been nice to see Scrubs take better advantage of the image quality obtainable in the Standard-Definition format. Keep in mind my comments are coming from the perspective of viewing on a 106” screen…so don’t be dismayed and adjust your expectations accordingly (also, it seems to my eyes that the image quality of season 2 may be slightly improved over the first season so if you were happy with the first you’ll be happy with the second).
Picture Quality: 3 / 5
In the past I think I've been too ambiguous with my scoring or at least haven't applied it consistently from title to title, so I've endeavored to define my rating system more clearly to help make the scoring more meaningful (for all titles reviewed December 2004 and later):
|1-2||An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch. Think "Outland" (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl)-- truly horrid.|
|2-3||Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Cold Mountain.|
|3-4||Good or at least "acceptable" on a big-screen, but not winning any awards and definitely room for improvement if you view the image wide-angle (though smaller-screen viewers may be quite content). Think the first extended cut of Fellowship of the Ring...decent picture but still some HF filtering and some edge-halos.|
|4-5||A reference picture that really makes the most of the DVD medium and shows extraordinary transparency to the film-source elements. Non-videophile observers can't help but remark "WOW". Think The Empire Strikes Back or the Fifth Element Superbit (full “5” would be sans EE) or the new Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition.|
Currently running DVDs on my OPPO DVD player (Faroudja deinterlacing) which scales to 720P, feeding my BenQ 8700+ PJ via DVI, projecting onto a 106” 16x9 Dalite HiPower screen, viewed from approximately 1.6 screen-widths distance. Well mastered DVDs produce a stunningly film-like image in this scenario, and lesser-mastered material quickly shows its flaws.
It says “5.1”on the box but the general character of the mix is “fat mono”. It doesn’t sound bad, but it rarely grabs the 5.1 format with any noticeable “I am 5.1 hear me roar” attitude either. But then again it’s not really supposed to, and I would have found it jarring to be distracted with wiz-bang mixing on a show like this, though I will say that it could have been nice to have more atmospheric use of the surrounds to simulate “hospital background noise”. Thumbs up to the audio quality of the songs mixed into the show…they do sound great and don’t have that “degraded for TV” effect you might be fearing.
Sound Quality: 3.5 / 5
Most of the bonus features are on disc 3 of the set but a few appear on other discs as well (like the commentary). These bonus feature are really enjoyable. I was seduced into watching them through completely which isn’t the norm…usually I take a “highlights” approach to wading through piles of bonus features but I really got into the special features here. I found that watching the bonus features really added to my appreciation for the show, it’s actors, and the creative talent responsible for making it happen—which translates into increased enjoyment when watching the episodes. I highly recommend fans and casual viewers alike give the bonus content a look.
- [*]Johnny C. Keeps Talking: This is a great one-on-one conversation with John, C. McGinley (Dr. Cox). Gosh, he’s such a nice guy in real life and so darn cute too. It’s great to hear him talk about his character, how his own input actually helped change the writers’ direction a bit with the character’s development, and his stories of beind-the-scenes mischief on the set…
[*]Secrets and Lies: Go in-depth with the story behind several characters and their development.
[*]Musical Stylings: Some cool stuff on how the writers pick songs to meld into the show and how they go about using them to enhance the storytelling. Also find out how the network, writers, and viewing public sometimes have different ideas about what’s worth watching.
[*]Outtakes:Lots of fun.
[*]Imagination Gone Wild: This feature details the “fantasy” sequences which, IMO, make this show such fun to watch. Learn some of the trivia behind what makes these sequences come together…including ordering 20-something “Re-Run” (What’s Happenin’) costumes…
[*]Scrubbed Out – Deleted Scenes: These are nicely grouped by episode in addition to the welcome “play all” option.
[*]Alternate Lines: Similar to deleted scenes, you can see alternate lines that weren’t used for the final versions. The Ad-lib talent of the actors is impressive…as is considering that each final scene we enjoy probably started out with multiple takes similar to what you see here.
[*][b]A Rare Condition: Behind the scenes on sets, costume design, and stunts. Lots of fun.
[*][b]Stunt Casting: Get some details about various stunts (like the bungee –jumping) and see some of the look-alikes who play them.
[*][b]J.D.’s Mojo: Insight into the sexual tension brought to life by the talented cast…
[*][b]Audio Commentaries: A healthy helping of episodes have commentary with the creator and various cast members (I can post back particulars if needed). In all cases the commentary is relaxed, informal, conversational, and fun. Fans will probably enjoy this more than casual viewers but anyone interested should take a peak.
It’s a great show, and the DVD looks and sounds as good as the source material will allow…which won’t set a reference standard in your AV system but will supply you with hours of Scrubs satisfaction. Extras are plentiful and make the DVD purchase an easy recommendation for anyone who loves this show. Go forth!