Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em-Volume 2 (1973)
|Year Of Production||1973|
|Running Time||182:46 (Case: 170)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (89:36)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||None Given|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Final visual gags play throughout the end credits|
Frank Spencer (Michael Crawford) returns for more trouble-making and destruction in the second season of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, which the ABC have seen fit to release on DVD at the same time as season 1.
Once again I'll use the episode summaries from the back of the DVD case, since they offer as good a rundown as you can give about what is basically 30 minutes of our favourite walking wrecking-ball causing havoc in different circumstances/locations. The 6 episodes are as follows:
As you can see from the summaries, "more of the same" would be the quickest way to compare this to the first season. However, things aren't exactly the same, with Crawford's physical appearance being less skinny and comical, which is interesting considering both the first and second season were released in the same year (1973). Frank's wife Betty (Michele Dotrice) also has a little more to do this time round.
There also seems to be a shift to more verbal humour, and less of the physical stuff. In some ways this is a shame, since you can never have too much of Frank's death-defying stunts, but it also showcases what excellent comic timing Crawford has. Despite some of the increased dependency on low-brow double entendre, the timing of some of the lines combined with Frank's voice and facial expressions is often priceless. Some of the dialogue is also quite clever, and apparently Crawford made up so many of the lines himself that he was later credited as a writer.
There's still a fairly decent selection of physical gags that will leave you gasping in amazement, including an incredible sequence with an out-of-control Frank on roller-skates ducking under moving trucks, but there just aren't as many as the first season.
There's even a few touching scenes in this season, as Frank tries to come to grips with having a baby on the way, and all the responsibilities he has as the father. You can't help feeling sorry for the poor child, but I also found myself really wanting things to work out for the hapless main character.
Another interesting thing about watching these old programmes is noting all the actors playing small characters that you've seen in other British Television shows. There's a lot of "hey-there's-that-guy" moments, including actors from Fawlty Towers episodes, Desmond Llewelyn of James Bond fame, and a very young Christopher Timothy (who later played James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small) as a summer camp "bluecoat".
Like the first season, I couldn't watch too many of these episodes in a row, due to how painful it could be watching some of the chaos being created. However, drip-fed at regular intervals this is just what the doctor ordered. If you're a fan of the show then I imagine you don't need me to tell you to buy this DVD, and if you're new to the series I recommend that you check out at least one season, with it not being necessary to see the first to enjoy the second. So take your pick.
The video quality is pretty much the same as the first volume; not anything for showing off your home theatre, but about as good as you'll probably ever see a 1973 TV show looking.
This disc is presented in a full screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1. This is the aspect ratio of the original broadcasts.
Sharpness during the indoor scenes is surprisingly good, but is let down by the outdoor scenes shot on film. These exhibit lots of grain and some decidedly blurry images (16:14 and 128:23 for example). Fortunately the majority of shots are indoors, but it's a shame more work couldn't have been done on the film stock. There is one interior scene in episode 6 where Frank is badly out of focus in the foreground (170:51), but it's a lonely mistake. Shadow detail is adequate if not excellent, and I didn't see any low-level noise. There are the occasional examples of over-contrasted shots which are a little painful, such as the closing credits at 60:51, but this is a rarity.
Colours are your standard paler-than-life video colours, with the outdoor scenes being duller than the videotaped material. Colour is generally surprisingly solid, though, for something of this age, with little chroma noise visible. There is the very occasional shot with problems, such as 122:17 where some of the red causes bleeding, combined with a little chroma noise. These colour problems are unusual though.
It's nigh on impossible to get a transfer of an old TV show without some artefacts rearing their ugly heads, but this one isn't too bad. Aliasing is pleasantly absent for the most part, and there's no edge enhancement to be seen either. There's a bit of moire visible throughout though; mainly on the patterned clothing, and there was the very occasional film artefact in some of the outdoor scenes.
There are no subtitles whatsoever on the DVD. I'm not too sure why, but combined with the lack of any extras this could suggest they've released these discs on a tight time budget.
This is an RSDL disc, and once again the DVD authors have inexplicably put the layer change within one of the episodes instead of between them. This occurs at 89:36 and is noticeable, but is not too horrible.
The audio isn't excellent, but it is an improvement over the first season's, with dialogue volumes much improved.
There is only one audio track on this disc; English Dolby Digital 2.0, recorded at 192 Kbps.
Dialogue is acceptably clear, and doesn't exhibit the level of problems that are present on the first season's disc. There are still some issues with volumes changing occasionally, such as the obvious drop at 48:25, but in general you can pretty clearly hear all the lines of dialogue. There is also studio audience laughter that often threatens to drown out some of the actors, but thanks to Michael Crawford's ability to stretch the moment, he usually manages to avoid competing with the noise. There are no problems with audio sync.
The theme music hasn't improved from the first season, and it still hasn't grown on me. If anything, I find it more annoying the more I listen to it. It usually only appears at each end of the show though, during the credits.
There was no sound coming from my surround speakers.
The subwoofer had nothing to do either.
|Surround Channel Use|
I do hope they get some extras onto DVD before they finish the whole series (there was only one more season, and some Christmas specials made). I think these discs are crying out for some interviews/documentaries on the creation of Frank Spencer, and the stunts that Michael Crawford put himself through. Nothing to see here, though.
The menus are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with looping music on the main menu and sound cues on the episode selection screens.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Like the first volume, there appears to be no Region 1 version of this DVD as of yet. The Region 2 version looks to be exactly the same, so stick with the local release.
More Frank Spencer antics, with a little bit of the emphasis shifting to verbal rather than physical humour. Still well worth your time if you're a fan of British comedy.
The video is as good as could be expected, taking the age of the source into account.
The audio does its job, with clearer dialogue than the first volume.
Yet again there are no extras, unfortunately.
|DVD||Omni 3600, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Accusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer|