It’s Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season for crying out loud!
Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season isn’t too much different than the first season that was released over a year ago. I guess the biggest change that I noticed from the first season was that this second installment contains no extras. While I was a bit disheartened to see that, I will say that with 24 episodes on this second installment things could be a lot worse. The only other bone of contention that I have is that sadly, this is one of those shows that didn’t start getting really good until the third season. In the first one, it seemed by the eighth episode they were already starting to recap the shows. Thankfully, Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season doesn’t really do that until many episodes later, it just deals with a lot of the same issues as the First season. However, like any show that has as long a run as this one did, the shows on Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season do start showing a great deal more depth.
In fact, I love how this show didn’t avoid the racial issues that might happen in a situation with two black children moving in with a wealthy white man and his daughter. In fact, it was this show’s ability to combat that stuff head on that ultimately made it the memorable TV outing that it was. Episodes like Guess Who? show racism is often learned, when Kimberly’s new boyfriend decides he doesn’t want his sister seeing Willis because of the color of his skin. Or, there is the Hot Watch episode, in which Arnold and Willis find a watch and want to return it yet they are afraid people will think they stole it. Then there is the two part Adoption episode which really handles human relations in an interesting way.
Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season reminds us that shows like this endure because while socially relevant and filled with underlying themes, they never forgot to present their issues in an entertaining way.
No Extras came with this DVD release.
1.33:1 - Full Screen. I like this season a little more than the first because A) I think the shows are better and B) it captures that time from 1979 to 1980. The 1970s were such an interesting time and the 1980s seemed more like a recovery from that. It is very interesting to see how that plays on a show like this. Yes, they dealt with social issues and they did things they probably wouldn’t try now. I just wonder if a show like this could have pushed the envelope a little bit further? The color and images of the individual episodes all seem to have held up really well, and I didn’t notice anything about the show’s compression that have had a negative effect on the discs.
Dolby Digital. If anything, seeing Gary Coleman at work here is worth the price of admission alone. Having watched a featurette from the last season, I know that they pretty much let Coleman do whatever he wanted. They just had an extra camera going at all times to capture whatever he might do. I can only imagine what a nightmare this must have been for the sound department. Honestly, all the audio is right where you might imagine it would be. The jokes are delivered with their standard build up and because of that everything seems to be leveled appropriately. I noticed no audio hits or loss of sound quality.
Purple is the color used for this cover. This cover is almost identical to the First season except that that one was red. Mr. D, Kimberly and Willis all wear smiles while Arnold has that, “I told you so” grin on his face. There is a shot of the city behind them. The back features some shots from the show (which also contain glimpses of some of the guest stars), a description of what went on in the Second season and some technical specs. All 3 discs are housed in 3, slim, digipack cases. The big difference is that Arnold, Kimberly and Willis each get a cover this time. (Last time it was only Arnold.) The back of those cases list out the episodes for those shows with a one or two line description. I am a huge fan of digipack packaging so everything about this release works for me.
I really love this show. In fact, this is one of the few shows that are part of the whole TV on DVD spectrum that I actually have a full blown history with. I remember where I was when I watched these shows for the first time. I know what I felt when Arnold pretended to be sick so that his idol, Muhammad Ali, would come and visit him. It is easy for me to recall my own fear at what might happen to Arnold at the hands of The Gooch. Another testament to how good a show this was is that even when an episode focuses on Mr. Drummond or Kimberly, I never find that I get bored with what I’m seeing.
As the show wore on, I somehow lost my connection it. Quite simply, I just stopped watching the series. I can remember a few of the much later episodes that I saw, but for some reason I didn’t feel compelled to make this show a constant part of my weekly viewing habits. I cannot express how truly happy I am that I now have the first two seasons on DVD. I look forward to connecting with all the seasons and further going through my past. If you are a fan of these shows, or just interested from a more scholarly standpoint, Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season is certainly for you.
Diff'rent Strokes was released .