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HTF REVIEW: Scrubs Season Two

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#1 of 14 DaViD Boulet

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Posted November 14 2005 - 09:55 AM

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SCRUBS

the complete 2nd season

Studio:Buena Vista
Year:2005
RunTime:479 minutes total
Rating:TV-14
Aspect Ratio:4x3 encoded 1.33:1 (OAR)
Audio:5.1 DD English
SpecialFeatures:Lots…
ReleaseDate:November 15, 2005







The Show...



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:

http://www.hometheat....hreadid=233685


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.



Picture...



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

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Rating Rationale...

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):

Rating Key:

SCORE Description
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.




Viewing Equipment:
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.






Sound...



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

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Special Features...



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.

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    [*]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.

    [/list]



    [b]All Together...



    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!


    [b]RECOMMENDED









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#2 of 14 Scott Kimball

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Posted November 14 2005 - 11:03 AM

Excellent... I'll be picking this up tomorrow.

-Scott

#3 of 14 ChrisBEA

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Posted November 14 2005 - 12:35 PM

Can't wait!

Now if they would only hurry up and get S5 started!

#4 of 14 ElijahS

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Posted November 14 2005 - 01:16 PM

It's started...in production. Mandy Moore will guest in two episodes.

Can't wait for my copy tomorrow.
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#5 of 14 Lee Jamilkowski

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Posted November 14 2005 - 04:10 PM

Someone was going to ask it eventually: Any changes music on this set? I believe this was the set that they promised would have all the original music intact, but - I'm not really holding my breath.
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#6 of 14 DaViD Boulet

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Posted November 15 2005 - 01:42 AM

Lee,

so far the episodes I've seen appear to have the original music...but I haven't seen them all. Any specific shows I should check out that are "at risk"?
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#7 of 14 ravma

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Posted November 15 2005 - 06:48 AM

It says on the back of the s2 box that ALL original music is UNCHANGED!

#8 of 14 ClaytonMG

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Posted November 15 2005 - 09:53 AM

On season one was there music changed? I never watched the show on TV, I only stumbled across season one when a friend recommended it to me and I gotta say I love this show. Just got my copy and will spend the next few days watching it.

#9 of 14 Daniel-M

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Posted November 15 2005 - 10:00 AM

I am buying this, this and Arrested Development is the only comedies i can handle without any problems these days, i tolerate Joey, but only barely

#10 of 14 Jesse Blacklow

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Posted November 16 2005 - 01:53 AM

Quote:
On season one was there music changed?
There was some music changes, but they were acknowledged in the commentaries (where, oddly enough, you could hear the original music). It sounded as if Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff were about as pissed about it as we were. Personally, I wouldn't hold off buying the set because of it.
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#11 of 14 John Carr

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Posted November 16 2005 - 08:00 AM

Just picked up this Season II set, yesterday. Highly recommend; along with Arrested Development the best comedy on the air today -- and maybe ever!

Love this show. Bought Season I as a blind buy and can't say enough good things about the stellar cast, great characters and excellent plots! I don't remember laughing outloud this much since the first season of Frasier.

If you haven't picked up on this show yet, treat yourself to the first 2 seasons. You won't regret it!


#12 of 14 Ravi K

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Posted November 17 2005 - 04:25 AM

I agree, its a very good show. It's no Arrested Development, but its well-written and funny. I didn't rush out to buy the first season DVD because of the reviews on the picture quality, but there might not be another edition, so what the hell, might as well pick it up.
 

#13 of 14 ElijahS

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Posted November 17 2005 - 06:00 AM

I think I read somewhere (don't ask where) that Season 3 at least should be out next year. Since the show will be going into its fifth season next year, I think we will get two or three season sets next year.
- Elijah

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#14 of 14 Will_B

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Posted November 17 2005 - 10:54 AM

Anyone with the Best Buy bonus disc who can say if the bonus disc is something that one can live without?
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