Cheers - The Complete Second Season
Paramount Home Entertainment -
1983 - 539
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Originally to have been set in Barstow, California, and star Fred Dryer as a retired football player, Cheers was reworked when Ted Danson was hired for the role of Sam Malone. Finishing last in the Nielsen ratings the week it debuted and almost being canceled in it's first season, the show gained fans and momentum as it rolled into season two. After a stint of seven guest spots in the first season, know-it-all Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) became a series regular and was added to the opening credits. He, along with all the other regulars, really hit their stride during this year and their comic timing became precise and utterly funny. The Sam and Diane love-hate relationship was sharply writen and added driving fuel to the show's plot lines. While not quite the piece of Americana that it would eventually become, Cheers had nonetheless become regular viewing to the television public.
"Where everybody knows your name."
Episode 1: "Power Play"
The regular gang finds Sam and Diane's romance hard to believe, a view apparently shared by Diane, who throws Sam out of her apartment after only five minutes.
Episode 2: "Little Sister Don't Cha"
Carla goes on a maternity leave and is replaced by her supposedly shy and innocent sister.
Episode 3: "Personal Business"
Diane, angry at the implication that she couldn't hold a job anywhere but Cheers, leaves for better position and Norm leaves Vera.
Episode 4: "Homicidal Ham"
Andy, the ex-con Sam arranged as a blind date for Diane, returns to Cheers to show off his acting ability.
Episode 5: "Sumner's Return"
Diane's intellectual former fiance returns to reclaim her and puts Sam into an anxiety attack when he tries to measure up by reading Tolstoy.
Episode 6: "Affairs of the Heart"
Carla rejects a man interested in her romantically, convinced that he must have some "fatal flaw" to find her attractive.
Episode 7: "Old Flames"
Sam's old buddy Dave Richards bets Sam he can break up his romance with Diane within 24 hours and it looks like a sure thing when Diane learns he still has his little black book.
Episode 8: "Manager Coach"
Coach becomes a slave driver when he's put in charge of Little League team.
Episode 9: "They Called Me Mayday"
Sam and Diane go to work after Dick Cavett suggests that Sam's autobiography might sell and Norm confronts an old flame of Vera's who's interested in her again.
Episode 10: "How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Call You Back"
Sam casually tells Diane he loves her and sends her deep into an introspective analysis of their relationship.
Episode 11: "Just Three Friends"
Diane is at first incredulous then furious when it becomes apparent that Sam and her old school chum find each other very attractive.
Episode 12: "Where There's a Will"
Sam lets a dying man tend bar just for fun, but the man leaves the bar patrons $100,000 in a paper napkin will.
Episode 13: "Battle of the Exes"
Carla asks Sam to escort her to her ex-husband Nick's wedding ceremony.
Episode 14: "No Help Wanted"
Sam regrets asking Norm to do his taxes when the out of work accountant comes up with a five figure refund.
Episode 15: "And Coachie Makes Three"
Sam and Diane try to fix the Coach up with a girl friend so they can have some time alone.
Episode 16: "Cliff's Rocky Moment"
Cliff's know-it-all attitude finally gets him into a fight with another patron.
Episode 17: "Fortune and Men's Weight"
The Coach buys an old scale whose fortune cards seem to coming true.
Episode 18: "Snow Job"
Sam lies to Diane about the weekend he has planned chasing snow bunnies in Vermont.
Episode 19: "Coach Buries a Grudge"
Coach has to give a eulogy for an old friend after learning the man once had an affair with Coach's late wife.
Episode 20: "Norman's Conquest"
The regulars push Norm into pursuing an attractive new client who seems to be interested in him.
Episode 21 & 22: "I'll Be Seeing You"
Sam commissions a portrait of Diane from an artist so obnoxious that he soon forbids Diane to continue posing for him, an order Diane won't accept.
The second season of Cheers is presented in the television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is surprisingly good. The color palette and saturation are mostly well done. Black levels could have been better but with this being a studio audience sitcom they are few and far between. There is no compression artifacts and very few nicks and specks. Paramount Home Entertainment has done a wonderful job with this set. This is the best Cheers has ever looked.
Being a dialogue driven show, the audio won't wow you. The episodes are presented in Dolby 2.0 surround and the sound has a slightly boxed, centric feeling to it. The dialogue is clean and crisp, and the audience keeps the rears active. Virtually no low frequency effects are present but I wasn't really expecting much in that category. Overall, for what it is, a decent audio track.
This set comes with a fairly standard cache of supplements which includes four featurettes and a gag reel. The featurettes don't offer too much insight to show and are basically past interview footage pieced together with clips from the show. My favorite of the lot was the "Carla The Comeback Queen: Insults for Every Occasion," which looks at the extremely funny (and extremely insulting) waitress played by the excellent Rhea Perlman. The gag reel was also quite funny but only lasts for a few minutes. Nothing earth shattering here (no commentaries!) but fans of the show should enjoy the special features.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The second season of Cheers brought an air of promise to it's growing number of fans. Smartly written and well acted, this series would continue to grow and get better and better. Very nice video, decent audio and a sufficent number of supplements make this set an easy recommendation.
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