NYPD Blue-Season 2 (1993)

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Released 17-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Cop Suey, Simone Says, Vishy-Vashy Vinny, Bombs Away
Audio Commentary-Boxer Rebellion, A.D.A.Sipowicz
Featurette-Season Two: A Season Of Change
Featurette-Wedding Bell Blues
Featurette-The Music Of Mike Post
Script To Screen Comparison-Simone Says
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 952:32
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Paris Barclay
Kathy Bates
Ed Begley, Jr.
Jesse Bochco
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Dennis Franz
Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Gordon Clapp
Henry Simmons
Charlotte Ross
Esai Morales
Bill Brochtrup
Garcelle Beauvais
Jacqueline Obradors
Austin Majors
Joe Spano
John F. O'Donohue
James McBride
Case ?
RPI $129.95 Music Ian Dye
Danny Lux
Atli Orvarsson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
French Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Picking up where the first season left off, NYPD Blue continues on its clean up of the rough streets of New York in the mid-1990s.

    Opening with the trial of Officer Janice Licalsi (Sherry Stringfield), where Det. John Kelly (David Caruso) is put in the position of lying to save his girlfriend and turning up the heat from Internal Affairs Division on himself, the show takes a new turn when Det. Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) joins the team after Kelly walks off the job. During this changeover, we see the relationship between Det. Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) and A.D.A. Sylvia Costas (Sharon Lawrence) grow, and the relationship between precinct secretary Donna (Gail O’Grady) and Det. Greg Medavoy (Gordon Clapp) fall apart. Lt. Arthur Fancy (James McDaniel) finds himself in difficulties with IAD and his brother. And Det. James Martinez (Nicholas Turturro) struggles with his attraction to his new partner Det. Adrianne Lesniak (Justine Micelli).

    A brief synopsis of the episodes follows:

Disc 1

1. Trials & Tribulations (45:47)

    With John’s ex-lover indicted for murder, can he lie to save her a murder conviction and a more lenient sentence on manslaughter?

2. For Whom The Skell Rolls (45:50)

    With the press around the Licalsi trial heating up, Andy finds a way to take the pressure off his partner, although IAD seems to be closing in.

3. Cop Suey (45:46)

    John works with a Chinese detective on the murder of an off-duty cop in Chinatown, and a new detective joins the precinct.

4. Dead And Gone (45:47)

    John and Andy investigate the death of a baby in a drive-by shooting. But when IAD threaten to put John on despatch duty, he quits the force.

Disc 2

5. Simone Says (45:46)

    Andy takes an immediate dislike to his new partner, but with a little coaching from Sylvia he grows to like the guy a little as they work their first case.

6. The Final Adjustment (45:45)

    When a woman is found murdered in a partly renovated apartment, Bobby and Andy suspect the husband, although all the signs point to a convicted murderer.

7. Double Abandando (45:43)

    A shooting at the school across from the precinct is confessed to by a boy whom Bobby knows. Bobby, however, suspects he is covering for another child.

8. You Bet Your Life (45:48)

    Bobby and Andy investigate the murder of a pregnant prostitute found in a burnt out warehouse.

Disc 3

9. Don We Now Our Gay Apparel (45:47)

    A murder at a gay nightclub brings up many colourful suspects. And Andy tries to help his AA sponsor with his abusive mentally ill son.

10. In The Butt, Bob (45:46)

    Andy and Bobby discover clues linking a victim of a shooting to two recent murders by an infamous New York serial killer. And an old acquaintance of Lt. Fancy tips him off to a group of robbers looking for some military arsenal.

11. Vishy-Vashy Vinny (45:44)

    While Fancy gets himself caught up with IAD and his old pal Vinnie (Joe Pantoliano), Bobby gets his crack at the only suspect in the notorious Webster killings.

12. Large-Mouth Bass (45:44)

    A brutal murder of a young woman points at the ex-husband of the woman’s mother. However, the new Commander institutes new policies that threaten to blow the case.

Disc 4

13. Travels With Andy (45:44)

    Bobby and Andy head upstate to interview a suspect in a New York triple-murder.

14. A Murder With The Teeth In It (45:43)

    The death of a pimp points towards a New York cop who Andy knows after he helped him out. When Bobby tells this to his reporter girlfriend, things go from bad to worse.

15. Bombs Away (44:48)

    A Romanian immigrant is discovered with a woman in the boot of his car and a suitcase full of explosives. When Andy digs deeper he finds a deeply troubled political activist willing to use violence to advance his warped ideologies.

16. UnAmerican Graffiti (45:17)

    The death of a Puerto Rican teenager points towards the employees of an Italian mobster.

Disc 5

17. Dirty Socks (44:26)

    The only witness in a double homicide is a mentally unstable flowershop owner with an apparent crush on Bobby.

18. Innuendo (44:47)

    A killing spree just down from the precinct leaves several officers dead and no answers when the suspect disappears.

19. Boxer Rebellion (44:48)

    The witness in one of Andy’s cases is brutally murdered and all evidence points right to the suspects in the case. Can he get them to crack? At the same time, Bobby finds himself attracted to a female undercover officer, Det. Diane Russell (Kim Delaney).

20. The Bookie And Kooky Cookie (44:48)

    Bobby’s mentally unstable witness threatens to ruin his case if Bobby does not return her affections. And Bobby and Andy search for the murderer of a small-time bookie.

Disc 6

21. The Bank Dick (44:51)

    Andy starts worrying about Diane’s tendency to drink. Meanwhile, Bobby and Andy track down a serial rapist.

22. A.D.A. Sipowicz (43:52)

    Bobby confronts Diane about her alcoholism as Andy and Sylvia prepare for their wedding day.

    NYPD Blue: Season 2 is a good follow-on from the first season, with its high points and its low points. Among its high points are Jimmy Smits, who adds a new life to the show in the wake of David Caruso’s deadpan “I’m so good” posturing, the fantastic guest stars (several leading members of the casts of West Wing and Sopranos can be seen in early appearances here), and the location – New York looks nothing like this nowadays, I can assure you, and this imbues one with a certain sense of nostalgia for the grungy past.

    Among its low points are the relationship between Donna and Greg which is just painful to watch (not in the emotional sense, but in the “This is boring, repetitive and tiresome” sense), and its sometimes methodical and predictable writing which is all too often easily resolved – not that this is bad in of itself, but for a cop show that is trying to be realistic this does undermine the effort a little.

    All up, though, with new cop shows like The Shield redefining crime drama, NYPD Blue looks a little soft, formulaic and shallow nowadays by comparison. That may seem harsh, but the depth of characterisation and storytelling just isn’t as rich as it could be and is in other shows. I found it hard to feel anything for the characters when I used to watch the show, which was why I gave up on it, and even now on repeat they all seem far too stoic and superhuman. The methodical plotlines of these stories gets to me too, and things are always too easily resolved. The unsolved pile isn’t half as big as it should be, and the long nights when the detectives are trying to crack a case and wind up sleeping at the precinct are all too absent. At the end of the day, this show is largely two-dimensional.

    That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to watch – it is. And it was certainly on the forefront in its day. It just lacks that extra emotional dynamic that makes a TV show truly great. While fans can rejoice that this has made it to DVD, and the third season is apparently on its way, I would still suggest picking up a box set of The Sopranos or The Shield sometime to see just how good TV can really be when a show goes beyond the borders of convention.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This season has been transferred in its original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1, Full Frame. While later seasons of the show have made it to TV in 1.78:1, as far as I can tell these early seasons were only ever produced in 1.33:1, so don’t hold your breath for a widescreen transfer at a later date.

    Overall, the image is a little grainy, but overall pretty good. It is for the most part fairly clear, with good shadow detail. Colours are well saturated.

    The only really annoying fact about this transfer is the cross-colouration issue. This crops up a lot in this show, as if it were poorly transferred from an NTSC master. The tweed jackets favoured by many of the cast tend to exhibit this artefact, as do the chicken-wire cages at the precinct house.

    There are no glaring MPEG artefacts, and other than the cross-colouration issue, the only film-to-video transfer artefacts are some minor aliasing and faint background dot-crawl if you re looking closely.

    Film artefacts are reasonably rare, but you can usually spot one or two per episode. These are usually just dirt or the odd stray hair.

    Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired and French. They appear as white with a grey/black border and convey the general gist of the dialogue without being a word-for-word reproduction.

    The dual-layer pause is between the episodes, with two episodes per layer.

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

Audio

    We have an unusual sound set up here with a L-C-R-S track (Left, Centre, Right, Surrounds). Despite this interesting mix, the whole thing sounds pretty monaural, and nearly everything is driven from the centre speaker. In several cases, the surrounds power down for lack of use.

    Dialogue is acceptable, but can be a strain to hear at times. You have to turn it up so loud to catch most of the dialogue that the dialogue instead winds up being drowned by the surrounding information on the centre track and lost anyway. It’s a hard one to fix, because simply bumping up the power to your centre speaker and knocking the power off the rest doesn’t fix the issue – it’s a problem in the original audio mixing where the dialogue is just drowned out by surround noise, and then at other times it is just way too loud. There were no real sync issues, however.

    Music is used relatively sparsely, and has a brashness about it when it is used. Not a terribly pleasant track, and it can sometimes be a little jarring, but it does what it is intended to do as composer Mike Post explains in his featurette (see below).

    Surround information is not abounding and most of the sound tends to be emitted from the centre speaker.

    There is no subwoofer use.

    Along with the English track, we also get audio in French and Italian in 2.0 Dolby Surround overdub. The French track is actually a little better than the English track, with clear full dialogue and a nice balanced sound overall.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame. The main menus have pieces of score and motion picture snippets from the episodes when you select each episode. The episode menus are silent.

Audio Commentaries

    There are 6 audio commentaries presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround spread across the various discs. They are accessed via the language selection menu, not via an individual episode extra features menu.

    For the most part these commentaries are pretty good, adding plenty of information about the making of the series.

Disc 6

    The 6th disc comes with a handful of extras, all presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, with 2.0 Dolby Surround audio.

Documentary – “Season 2: A Season of Change” (57:25)

    An episode by episode, blow by blow summary of the season, featuring recent interviews with the majority of the cast, although David Caruso is notably missing. Several amusing anecdotes, but oddly no real insight into the show itself, only the making of the show.

Featurette – “Wedding Bell Blues” (7:35)

    A short featurette looking at the relationship between Andy and Sylvia.

Featurette – “The Music of Mike Post” (7:25)

    A look at the score of NYPD Blue based around an interview with composer Mike Post.

Simone Says: Script to Screen

    An analysis of three scenes from the episode Simone Says:

    You can play the scene from any page of the script, or read the whole script of the scene through and play the whole scene at the end.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as I can tell, other than the Region Coding and the NTSC/PAL differential, these would appear to be identical.

Summary

    NYPD Blue – Season 2 is a decent season of television, but in light of more recent explorations of the crime drama genre I cannot readily call it brilliant TV. It holds up okay all these years on, but would not be my pick for Saturday night entertainment.

    The video is marred by cross-colouration and grain issues, but is on the whole fairly decent.

    The L-C-R-S mix is far from perfect and sometimes detracts from the overall enjoyment of the show by rendering dialogue impossible to discern.

    The extras are fairly thorough, although mostly technical.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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RRP $129.95?? - Anonymous