THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ----------------------------------------------------------------- ***** FIVE STARS OUT OF FIVE ***** ----------------------------------------------------------------- This 3-Disc DVD set of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Second Season" was released by Fox Home Entertainment on July 26, 2005 -- 1,036 days (nearly three years) after the first-season boxed set came out in late September 2002. But it was worth the wait, in my opinion, because the shows look excellent on these DVDs. The first-season MTM set exhibits nearly-perfect video quality, and this follow-up second-season set looks every bit as good as that first aggregation. Rich in color and detail, the DVD picture quality of these 1971-1972 programs belies their age. The transfer of these film prints to Digital Disc was done just right. Episode numbers 25 through 48 of The MTM Show are presented in this 24-episode, three-disc collection, which comes housed in three "Slim" style plastic cases, placed inside an outer cardboard slipcase box. No booklet is included (except for a multi-page enclosure advertising other Fox TV DVDs). Episode information is outlined on the back side of each of the three "ThinPak" cases, including original CBS-TV air dates and director credits for each episode. The second season of Mary's series is highlighted by these episodes, which are among my favorites: "Some Of My Best Friends Are Rhoda", "Feeb", "The Square-Shaped Room", "Thoroughly Unmilitant Mary", "The Slaughter Affair", and "Where There's Smoke, There's Rhoda". Two of the three discs in this collection are single-sided platters (with disc art); while Disc #3 is a dual-sided disc (which means no label on that one), with the bonus material being located on Side B of Disc 3. Here's a detailed look at the Special Features that are contained within this MTM-2 boxed set............. >> Audio Commentary Tracks on three episodes, one per disc (featuring cast and crew members, including series' co-stars Ed Asner and Gavin MacLeod). The episodes with a Commentary attached are: "The Birds...And...Um...Bees", "The Six-And-A-Half-Year Itch", and "The Slaughter Affair". >> "Eight Characters In Search Of A Sitcom". .... This is a 57-minute retrospective documentary all about the MTM Show (no surprise there, eh? ). Plenty of cast and crew interviews were filmed in 2002 for this lengthy documentary program, including chats with the writers, producers, plus actors Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Valerie Harper, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and Georgia Engel. About the only star missing is, unfortunately, the main star herself, Mary, who doesn't participate in any on-camera interviews here. Ted Knight ("Ted Baxter"), sadly, passed away in August 1986, at age 62. This is very similar in style to the Season-One DVD documentary. In fact, I'm nearly certain this was filmed at the exact same time as that first-season program. Lots of video clips from the various seasons of the MTM show are sprinkled throughout this feature. Good stuff, although it would have been nice if some behind-the-camera stuff and some outtakes could have been included (but they weren't). This "Eight Characters" bonus is broken into nine chapters, that can each be accessed from a separate Chapter Menu. There's a "Play All" option, too, for uninterrupted playing of the whole documentary. There's a separate "Chapter" for each of the "8 Characters" who are "in search of a sitcom" -- Mary, Lou, Rhoda, Ted, Phyllis, Murray, Georgette, and Sue Ann. The ninth chapter is labelled "All Together Now". >> "Moore On Sunday". .... This bonus is quite interesting. It's from a local Minneapolis TV news broadcast (called "Moore On Sunday", which was hosted by Dave Moore of WCCO-TV; no relation at all to Mary Tyler Moore, however).* * = And I want to thank Minnesota's own (and HTF's own) "Casey C." for providing this information about "WCCO" and Mr. Moore and his Sunday program, via Casey's informative post (and picture) re. the matter in an earlier HTF post on another MTM-2 thread. Much obliged. More on "Moore On Sunday"........ In this 21-minute behind-the-scenes documentary (which originally aired on Minneapolis-St. Paul television in late September of 1973), we follow the MTM film crew as they prepare for and film the new Main Title opening credits for the fourth season of the series in May 1973. (Of course, this really has nothing whatsoever to do with "Season Two" specifically -- but, IMO, who cares?! It's still great old, vintage stuff. The narration throughout this nearly half-hour piece is first-rate too; narrated by Dave Moore himself.) A portion of this featurette had me laughing aloud, when Mr. Moore gets in a really nice "dig" (via irony) at the lady who owned the "119 N. Weatherly" apartment building that was used in the exterior shots of Mary Richards' TV home. This woman refused to allow the house to be re-filmed for the S.4 opening, and decided to hang "Impeach Nixon" banners all over the front of her house to dissuade the MTM filming crew. Mr. Moore's following comment is a nifty piece of commentary. (I won't give it away here; anyway, I thought it was pretty clever.) The "Moore On Sunday" piece contains many scenes of Mary Tyler Moore and co-star Valerie Harper going through the paces of filming the show's new opening. Picture quality shows its age here; but this is a really cool hunk of very rarely-seen video; a super-nice inclusion to this boxed set, IMO. Some interesting trivia is revealed in this segment too (I hadn't known it heretofore anyway) -- The man sitting with Mary in the open-air, balcony-style restaurant during the opening credits is Mary's then-husband Grant Tinker. >> Two 1972 Emmy Awards video clips. .... Ed Asner and Valerie Harper accept their well-deserved Emmy Awards in these video clips from the 1972 Emmy TV broadcast. Valerie actually tied with "All In The Family's" Sally Struthers, who we also get to see make her acceptance speech via this footage. The picture quality on these clips isn't too great; but this footage is still wonderful to see, because we get to see these actors step out of character for a moment, circa 1972. Oddly, this Emmy bonus includes a "Play All" option for just this 2-item supplement; but they didn't put a "Play All" feature for any of the episodes on these discs. Kind of odd. Total run time for both Emmy clips = approx. 5.5 minutes. >> "Newsbeat Segment DM-1509". .... This is a rather strange little bonus feature. It's an 11-minute comedy spot (or it's intended to be "comedy" at any rate); copyright date of 2002. It consists of a "fake" newscast of some kind, called "Newsbeat: In Search Of Mary Richards", which has a woman acting kind of crazy and off-the-wall as she "reports" from various Minneapolis landmarks known to be inhabitated in previous years by "Mary Richards" of The MTM Show. Footnote: There IS one hysterical moment in this thing -- when, in remembrance of "Chuckles The Clown" (who, as we all know, was crushed to death by a rogue elephant during the 6th season of the MTM series), the "reporter" asks a man on the street "What were you doing October 25, 1975?" (the night of the "Chuckles Bites The Dust" classic TV broadcast). The man paused for a moment, and then responded: "In the penitentiary". THAT had me LOL for a minute indeed. This "Newsbeat" bonus is partially redeemed by what is, IMO, a very clever ending sequence, which features "Newsbeat Reporter Nancy Sykes" (played, btw, by Kate Asner, daughter of Ed Asner) placing herself in Mary Richards' shoes during an excellent "re-creation" of the MTM opening credits (while "Fonda's" jazzed-up, and quite good, version of "Love Is All Around" plays beneath the video). A very cute ending to an otherwise really odd and mostly-unfunny supplement. >> "Mad Magazine" Parody: "The Mary Tailor-Made Show". .... This is a really funny text-only bonus feature that displays pages of an MTM Show parody from issue No. 155 of "Mad Magazine" (circa December 1972). Those "Mad" guys really let Mary have it too, in this scathing laugh-filled spoof that pokes fun at everything from Mary's clothes, to Lou's grumpiness, to Ted's ignorance, to Rhoda's Jewishness, to the lousy news-reporting performed at TV station WJM. The names of the characters were changed ("to protect the innocent", perhaps?; hehe) -- with Lou Grant becoming "Mr. Grunt" for the purposes of this "Mad" piece. While Ted is re-named "Klod", Phyllis is "Chillus", Murray is known here as "Blurry", and Rhoda's name is mangled into "Rodent Droopstern". My favorite line from this comic-book-like parody is when Mary proclaims: "Let me change into another Christian Dior original! I want to be among the world's ten best-dressed $92-a-week office flunkies!" (ROFL!) These "Mad" text screens must be advanced by the user via the remote control. Thankfully, it's an at-your-own-pace type of text-based DVD feature, without an automatic "timed" track. God help those people trying to read these text pages on a small TV screen, though. That might be kinda tough on the ol' eyeballs. >> Photo Gallery. .... Like the Season-One MTM "Gallery", this second-season batch of photos is a bit of a disappointment to this writer. There are no pictures at all from the actual Season-Two MTM set or of the cast or crew from the year this season was made. Instead, we get several "Script Pages" from Ed Asner's private collection (the covers for the scripts even show the word "Ed" in the corner); plus a few random shots of the cast and crew members preparing to do their Audio Commentary Tracks for this DVD collection. Like the "Mad Magazine" bonus, this Gallery is not on a "timed" screen-advancing track either; DVD remote keystrokes control the advancement of the Photo pages. >> "Love Is All Around" Theme Song Karaoke. .... This consists of two different versions of the MTM Show Opening Titles, with captions on screen. >> All-Star Trivia Challenge. .... Cloris Leachman ("Phyllis") introduces this "trivia" bonus; and then members of the cast and crew ask some MTM trivia questions. Then you've got to pick the correct answer among four choices on screen. After selecting an answer, a video clip from the show will provide the correct response to that question. Your "final score" is announced at the end of the quiz. Pre-release info for this set showed an "Easter Egg" for "Fake Credits" -- but I believe this to be NOT an "Egg", per se, but, instead, that's referring (I think) to the end of the "Newsbeat" bonus supplement, when Kate Asner puts herself into the "Fake Credits". And, as I said before, that's a nicely-done piece too. It mimics very well the actual MTM Main Title Minneapolis locales and mimics MTM's actions during the credits to a near tee. Anyway, I pressed the remote keys until I was blue in the face searching for any hidden goodies; but nothing surfaced; so I doubt there actually are any. ----------------------- Here's some additional info for this 3-Disc MTM-2 Set................ >> VIDEO -- Full Frame 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio (the original TV ratio). >> AUDIO -- Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono soundtracks are included in English and Spanish. (The packaging, however, incorrectly lists the audio as "1.0" Mono. But both the English and Spanish tracks are in 2-Channel Mono here, just like S.1. The three Audio Commentaries are also in DD2.0 as well. On-The-Fly audio switching is permitted, which always gets a from this writer. ... Unlike the first-season set, though, there's no French Language tracks this time 'round.) >> SUBTITLES -- English and Spanish. >> "PLAY ALL EPISODES" OPTION INCLUDED? -- No. (Unfortunately.) >> MENUS -- Non-animated; Silent (no music); Separate Episode Sub-Menus for each program. The Menus and Language Set-Up are exactly like the S.1 MTM set, including the slightly-annoying (but not overly so) mini "delay" after choosing anything from any of the Menu screens. There's that built-in "pause" that takes just an extra 'beat' to get to the next Menu choice. But the Menu design is very classy, IMO, with everything laid out in the unique "MTM-type Font/Lettering". Nice touch, to keep it all in the "MTM Spirit". >> CHAPTER BREAKS? -- Yes. 10 Chapter Stops per show. ----------------------- Season Two is another great year of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". And getting to finally see these 24 episodes via these well-polished DVDs makes Mary's sophomore campaign look even better than when the shows first aired on network television in 1971 and 1972. And with all of the Season-Two episodes combined with plentiful and really fun-to-watch bonus supplements, this 3-Disc DVD set from Fox Home Entertainment is a special treat for any fan of "Miss Richards" (aka: Mary Tyler Moore).