Released in tandem with the first season Blu-ray, the second season of NBC’s Friends displays the same level of quality, from its high definition presentation to its extras. The extended episodes are still absent, however, making it another non-starter for the majority of fans and collectors.
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DD, Spanish 2.0 DD, French 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 9 Hr. 4 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraViolet
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 04/30/2013
The second season of NBC’s “must see” sitcom Friends features multi-episode story arcs involving Ross and Rachel’s, will-they-or-won’t-they relationship (played to perfection by David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston), a May-December romance for Monica (Courtney Cox), an unexpected career turn for Joey (Matt LeBlanc), and the not-so surprising inability for Chandler (Matthew Perry) to quit ex-girlfriend Janice (Maggie Wheeler).
The Production Rating: 4.5/5
By comparison Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe seems to get shortchanged, but then the season also provided her with the legendary “Smelly Cat” song and more of her crazy family backstory. Kudrow's consistently brilliant delivery of the more nonsensical lines and situations also makes her the MVP of the season, if not the series.
If there’s one nagging problem with the year, it’s the more obvious contrivances in the plot, mostly having to do with the misunderstandings and miscommunications in the Ross and Rachel romance (see “The One with the List” in particular). Still, the show handily avoided a sophomore slump by providing phenomenal moments both sentimental and hilarious, cementing the series’ status in TV sitcom history.
Friends: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray includes all 24 episodes that aired in the 1995-1996 TV season. The episodes are spread across two Blu-ray discs, with most episodes running just under 23 minutes in length. As with the first season, the release does not include the extended episodes that are found on the 2002 DVD edition.
The episodes have been re-composed at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (from the original 35mm negatives), and encoded at 1080p with the AVC codec. The more refined appearance found in the later episodes of the first year continues into the second, with generally pleasing color depth, blacks and contrast. Grain levels continue to vary from episode to episode, with occasional attempts to minimize the effect. Overall sharpness and clarity are again the transfer’s most noticeable problems, with the image looking quite crisp in some shots and episodes, but in others remarkably hazy.
Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The mix in 640 kbps 5.1 Dolby Digital track is still too over-the-top for my tastes (laugh track routed to the surrounds and especially boomy bass), but dialogue continues to be crisp, clear and intelligible.
Audio Rating: 3/5
While the bonus material is on the meager side, it also mirrors what was included in the series collection Blu-ray and the individual season DVD from 2002, with the addition of a digital copy format.
Special Features Rating: 1.5/5
Friends of Friends (11:12, SD): Clips of cameos and guest stars from the season.
What’s Up With Your Friends? (7:50, SD): Character related highlights from the first two seasons.
“Smelly Cat” Music Video (1:49, SD)
Ultraviolet Digital Copy: Redeem by April 30, 2015.
For Friends’ second season Blu-ray, Warner Home Video delivers the same level of high definition quality as it did for the first - not great, but not horrible. The bonus material is again rather limited, but the absence of the extended episodes continues to set the tone for the release, making it a deal breaker for most. But those who weren’t so particular with the first release should have no problems picking up the second one as well.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Cameron Yee
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