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Featured TV on DVD Review: Episodes: Season One and Two

January 5th, 2013

Episodes: Season One and Two - Buy from Amazon

I previously reviewed Season One of Episodes and while I thought it got off to a slow start and I thought some of the humor was repetitive, I gave the show an overall positive review. On the other hand, I thought the DVD was overpriced considering the short running time and the lack of real extras. This week, Season Two comes out, but only as a two-season pack. Does it maintain its quality? Are there better extras? Is the price-per-minute improved?

The Show

Short review: Yes. No. No.

The season begins with the show-within-a-show, Pucks! filming. It is just about to air and Sean and Beverly know it will be a disaster. Network interference has turned their clever and witty show into a bad sitcom filled with 1990s clichés. Hollywood has destroyed their show almost as much as it destroyed their marriage. Beverly had an affair with Matt last season and at the start of this season, Beverly and Sean are separated. They are trying to work it out, but not really. Sean in fact starts a relationship with Morning and Beverly goes on a date with Morning's brother, Rob.

Theirs is not the only marriage on the rocks. The head of programing for the network, Merc, is having an affair with the executive producer of Puck, Carol. This is even worse, as Merc's wife, Jamie, is a saint. ... And blind. However, we quickly learn she's not entirely a saint, after she starts an affair with Matt LeBlanc. In her defense, she does know about her husband's affair, so it's not like she's ruining a healthy marriage.

As for the show, the reviews are terrible. Beyond terrible. However, its debut is fantastic and it is a surprise ratings hit. ... That is until a show about a talking dog debuts the next week and the competition begins to kill them. To make matters worse, Carol developed the show for the network, but Merc passed on it and let it be sold to a rival network. Because of this, he's under pressure to make sure Pucked! ratings turns around, and if he doesn't, it could cost him his job.

That's the basic plot, but there are some other side plots that happen throughout the season. For instance, Matt has a stalker... who is named Labia (Sophie Rundle).

The second season had better consistency than the first season did in a number of areas. First of all, it doesn't start as slowly as the first season did. We know the setup, we know the characters, we know the situation they find themselves in, so it can jump right into the plot and get to the humor right away. Secondly, there's plenty of humor that is balanced between the character based ones, and ones that are based on the inside the industry jokes. The characters are given more depth, which helps. For example, while the fictionalized version of Matt LeBlanc is still selfish most of the time, he does have better depth and actually shows remorse for some of the things he did in season one. Also, I think the industry jokes are more open this time around and there's less "inside baseball" humor. You don't have to have experience in TV, film, etc. to understand many of the jokes, you just have to pay attention to trends. (The "Where's our vampire show?" scene was fun. I kept hoping someone in the brainstorming session would mention Cthulhu.)

The show isn't perfect and we have to deal with a few clichés here and there and not all of the subplots pay off, but overall it is still absolutely worth checking out.

The Extras

Sadly, there are no real extras on DVD. There are some text based biographies.

The Verdict

Season Two of Episodes is better than Season One, but I can't understand why they would release a two-season pack when they released the first season by itself. The price-per-minute is too high and there are no real extras on the DVD. This takes what should have been a strong purchase to just the rental level. Hopefully they won't screw-up the season three release.

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Filed under: Video Review, Matt LeBlanc, Stephen Mangan, Mircea Monroe, John Pankow, James Purefoy, Tamsin Greig, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Genevieve O'Reilly