The League of Gentlemen-Series 2 (2000)

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Released 14-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Cast and Director
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Biographies-Character
Gallery-Photo
Gallery-Poster
Isolated Musical Score
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 176:39 (Case: 225)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (92:38)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Steve Bendelack
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Mark Gatiss
Steve Pemberton
Reece Shearsmith
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $49.95 Music Joby Talbot


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Welcome to Royston Vasey. You'll never leave!

    The League of Gentlemen - Series 2 is the follow up to the outrageous black comedy following the weird happenings in the fictitious northern English town of Royston Vasey. The first series, reviewed earlier, was some of the most startlingly refreshing comedy television I have seen in years. Does the second series live up to the lofty standards of the first?

    Basically, yes it does. Whilst there are some new characters introduced in this series, you will be delighted to know that almost all of the monstrous creations make a welcome return. Tubbs and Edward, Pauline, Mr Chinnery and even Legz Akimbo are all back with a vengeance. Some of the new creations are simply outstanding, and add a welcome twist to the crazy shenanigans in Royston Vasey. Probably the most striking new character is Papa Lazarou, with his Pandemonium Carnival and his (genuinely) three-legged dog. A twisted creation indeed, his New Orleans style voodoo and travelling freak show are both scary and hilarious. Herr Lipp, a camp German tourist guide brings a group of exchange students to town for some Teutonic fun. Not all of the new characters are welcome however, and personally I found Vinnie and Reenie - the two old biddies who run the Charity Shop - to be more annoying than funny.

    The League of Gentlemen - Series 2 is presented as a two-disc set. The first disc presents all six episodes of the second series, whilst the second disc is full of bonus material. The series is even more sinister than the first, and whilst it is still uproariously funny on occasion, is rather more dramatic and slightly less humorous overall. Once again all of the major roles are played by Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith, but there are more supporting actors on hand this time, to provide a bit more variation to the faces. Foul-mouthed English comedian Roy "Chubby" Brown makes an appearance as the foul-mouthed Mayor - wittily enough, Royston Vasey is actually Brown's real name.

    The first disc provides the six episodes of the second series:

    The League of Gentlemen - Series 2 is possibly slightly less funny than the first. I suppose that this series does not carry the same shock value as the first, as the main characters and their weird foibles are already known to the viewer, however, it remains a highly enjoyable, top quality piece of work. The drama has been ramped up slightly and this series is even darker than the first, often verging on the chilling. I await the third series with much anticipation. This is inspired comedy madness.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this transfer is slightly better than the first series. Again however, it is not brilliant, and it does still have some minor defects.

    The series is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. I assume that this was the original televised aspect ratio. The video transfer is once again fairly soft, with quite a significant amount of grain present in many shots. One of the special features points out that this was a post-processing effect, deliberately applied to make the series look like it was shot on grainy film rather than high quality digital videotape.

    Colours are generally well rendered and the transfer is a little brighter than the first series. Skin tones look fairly natural, except when characters are deliberately wearing heavy make-up. Colour bleeding is not a problem. Black levels are pretty deep with no significant low level noise and acceptable shadow detail.

    The transfer is free from major MPEG artefacts. Much like the first series however, there is still a noticeable problem with aliasing throughout the series. It never reaches the annoyingly bad levels seen in the earlier release, but is nonetheless mildly distracting once noticed. The usual suspects are to blame, with spectacle frames and the edges of characters and furniture commonly showing the problem. Edge enhancement is not an issue and telecine wobble is absent.

    The transfer is free from significant film (video) artefacts.

    The English subtitles (for the Hard of Hearing) are legible, well timed and true to the on-screen dialogue, albeit with minor edits for brevity.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc, with the noticeable layer change cropping up just before a scene change at 5:02 during Episode 4. It's disappointing that it wasn't placed more carefully, before the start of the episode.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The overall audio transfer is typical for a television comedy show and is clean but rather unremarkable.

    The sole English audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo encoded at 256 kbps, as was the first series. The surround flag is not enabled.

    Dialogue is always clear and there are only minor issues with audio sync (for example the dubbed singing at 15:29 in Episode 2 and a hint when the twins speak at 13:46 in Episode 6).

    The musical score is credited to Joby Talbot, and will be recognizable to viewers of the first series. The music seems to have more presence this time around - perhaps due to the more dramatic storylines. Mr Talbot is certainly a talented chap, with several diverse tunes scattered through the series.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are unused, unless you have Pro Logic enabled, in which case there is some reasonable ambience directed through to the surrounds.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Most encouragingly for a BBC television release there are some extras provided on the first disc, plus a whole second (DVD 5) disc of local goodies:

Disc 1

Menu

    The menu is a lively and spooky Blair Witch inspired affair. It contains much more animation this time around and some suitably scary sound bites. Each episode can be selected independently, or they can be played in sequence. Chapter stops can be selected from any episode and subtitles can be turned on or off. Finally, by selecting Precious Things, the following extras can be enjoyed:

Local Gossip

    As with the first series, The League (along with director Steve Bendelack) provide an entertaining commentary track for every episode. Fortunately, the sound quality is much improved this time, with the main soundtrack sufficiently muted to allow you to hear the commentary track clearly. As with the commentary from the first series, the lads are obviously film fanatics as they reveal numerous references and homage scenes to cinema classics which are scattered through the series.

Pre and Post Examples

    A very interesting, albeit short, extra. This reveals the "filmising" technique applied to the series, in which the images are deinterlaced, frames dropped and a grain effect applied. This explains why the transfer looks the way it does - with the intention of creating a "high budget yet dark and brooding film feel to the series". It uses the "angle" button to allow you to switch between the samples on the fly.

Disc 2

Menu

    The menu is a lively and sinister beast with Papa Lazarou making a creepy appearance against a grating and off-kilter accordion track. It allows the following following extras to be selected:

Behind The Scenes Documentary

    Playable in one sizeable hit (29:22), or via nine selectable chunks. Narrated by Griff Rhys-Jones (Alas Smith and Jones, Not the Nine O'Clock News) and presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 256 kbps. It covers the early history of the League, and goes into great depth regarding their writing and character generation process, as well as showing behind the scenes rehearsals. This is a great extra, with good video and sound quality throughout.

Local People

    As for Series 1, this is a collection of silent text-based screens providing a hilarious summary of the major characters seen in this series. It really is amazing how many new characters they have managed to create!

Missing

    An extensive collection of deleted and (some subtly) extended scenes from Series 2. Presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 256 kbps and presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced. All are available with English subtitles, and run for a total of 21:29:

Series II Scrapbook

    Dozens of (silent) behind the scenes photographs of the cast and crew.

Territorial Army

    A single poster advertising the Royston Vasey territorial army.

Royston Vasey Tunes

    Several tunes from the series in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 256 kbps:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This series does not appear to be available in Region 1. The Region 2 release of this series appears to be identical to our own. Buy whichever is cheapest.

Summary

    The League of Gentlemen - Series 2 is arguably a tad less funny than the first season. The drama is more edgy this time around, and whilst there are still some hilarious scenes, there is a much more tangible sense of suspense and occasional pathos in this series. For League Lovers, this will be an essential purchase. Top notch comedy with a nice selection of extras. You don't need to be local to buy this disc - it will be widely available!

    The video quality is better than the first series, but still has some minor issues with aliasing and the (deliberately added) grain.

    The audio transfer is good for a television series, and packs more impact than the first series.

    There is a whole second disc full of extras. Well done again BBC.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
Crazy pricing - Shane C (read my bio, you will)