Secret Life of Us, The-Series 2-Episodes 1-7 (2002)

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Released 7-Nov-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 323:25 (Case: 322)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lynn-Maree Danzey
Kate Dennis
Declan Eames
Roger Hodgman
Studio
Distributor
Southern Star
Liberation Music
Starring Claudia Karvan
Samuel Johnson
Deborah Mailman
Abi Tucker
Joel Edgerton
Sibylla Budd
Damian De Montemas
Spencer McLaren
David Tredinnick
Michael Dorman
Nina Liu
Dan Spielman
Gigi Edgley
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Martin Armiger
Abby Dobson
Chris Pettifer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 None Smoking Yes, in various episodes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Secret Life Of Us is a well regarded TV series that started in 2001. This disc contains Season 2 Volume 1, or episodes #1-#7. The TV series won Logie Awards for "Most Outstanding Drama Series" in both 2001 and 2002, and developed a cult following in its first two seasons. The series is about a group of twentysomething friends and flatmates in an apartment block in St. Kilda, and comes across as Friends meets Sex In The City meets Beverly Hills 90210.

Disc One

Episode #1 (46:12) (A New World Order)

    There's a new world order in the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001, and the shifting sands affect the lives of the characters.

    Gabrielle (Sibylla Budd) returns from overseas, and gives Alex (Claudia Karvan) a video tape that Evan (Samuel Johnson) made "specially for her." The tape disappoints Alex since she gets no clear indication of whether Evan still has any feelings for her.

    Frustrated, Alex decides to re-enter the social scene and soon she starts befriending Rex (Vince Colosimo), not realising who he is.

    Meanwhile, Richie (Spencer McLaren), is living with Simon (David Tredinnick). Richie is also starring in a soap opera on TV and his producer wants him to do an interview with Dolly magazine but he is uncomfortable with lying about his sexuality.

    Will (Joel Edgerton) and Miranda (Abi Tucker) play a game where each person predicts the sort of person the other is attracted to, without much success.

    Jason (Damian De Montemas) is trying to settle down with a new girlfriend, Caitlin (Alice Garner), a new job, a new house, and hopefully a new baby ...

    Lastly, Nathan (Todd MacDonald) has moved in with Kelly (Deborah Mailman) and Kelly finally feels she is balancing different aspects of her life in the new world order ...

Episode #2 (47:01) (Free Will)

    It seems all is not normal with Will. He narrowly avoids a near-fatal accident at work, and faints on the street. When he recovers, he picks up a yellow flyer with the words "You're Free" on it, and he takes this as a sign that he's no longer inhibited by his guilt, and even starts feeling a bit invincible. He tries various reckless acts, such as crossing a busy street without looking and diving from the highest platform at the swimming pool, even jumping off from the construction site. Both Miranda and Alex are a bit worried by his behaviour.

    Will also starts going out with Julie, which doesn't really please Miranda. However, the next day, everything changes ..

    Rex and Alex gets closer as Rex explains the significance of the Fibonacci sequence and also confides he gets an erection at the hospital every day at 2.45pm.

    Richie claims his TV producers want him to wax his chest and is a bit apprehensive. His friends wonder why - until he reveals how hirsute he is.

    Kelly is thinking of quitting her job at Fubar and starting a course at TAFE. Problem is, how does she tell Simon ...?

Episode #3 (45:52) (The Dance)

    Evan has returned from New York, and is not very pleased about Alex's relationship with Rex. However, the two rivals in love become friends during the moving out party for Nathan. But Evan can't quite let go, and is soon hatching a devious scheme to try and win back Alex ...

    Will and Miranda have a fling, and after that Will isn't sure how far he wants to go in the relationship. Things become embarrassing when Richie shows up unannounced ...

    Gabrielle goes for a job interview and to her surprise gets it. But does her new boss have an ulterior motive?

    Jason and Caitlin start having doubts about their relationship since they have very little in common, and different moral values.

Episode #4 (45:34) (An Ill Wind)

    An ill wind appears to be blowing through. Secrets are revealed, and our friends are starting to question their bonds and relationships.

    Richie confesses his sexuality to his dad one night drinking at the pub. At first, his dad appears to take it quite well, which makes Richie feel really good. But you never know ...

    Meanwhile, Rex tells Alex he loves her, and she doesn't really know how to respond. It makes her question her choice between Rex and Evan ...

    Gabrielle starts her new job, and soon she starts noticing a sexual tension between her and her new boss, even though he is happily married with three kids ...

    Jason and Caitlin can't agree on names for their impending baby ...

    Will and Miranda's relationship deepens as they go out on their very first date ...

Disc Two

Episode #5 (45:36) (A Grand Delusion)

    Evan is still jealous of Alex's relationship with Rex. In retaliation, he invites his publicist Lauren for a date. Later on, he invites Rex and Alex for a double date and a dinner party to "show off" his new girlfriend. At the dinner, Rex realises that Alex and Evan may still have a thing or two going between them ...

    Gabrielle is obsessed with her new boss, despite the fact that he is married with three kids, and about 15 years older than her ..

    Kelly is worried that her relationship with Nathan appears to have cooled down ever since he moved out of the apartment ...

    Miranda suspects Julie is maliciously trying to sabotage her acting performance. Little things, like missing stage props and Julie batting her eyelids and making Miranda forget her lines ..

    Jason tries very hard to be a good father to his new baby, but work pressures are building up ...

Episode #6 (47:16) (It's Not Easy)

    Evan is really annoyed by the sound of a bird chirping outside his window and tries his best to get rid of the bird. He is also doing some last minute rewrites to his novel because his publisher has objected to Sasha's "loose moral values." He seeks Alex for help ... In the process, they discover they still have feelings for each other ...

   Kelly decides to apply for a job as the personal assistant to a top events organiser ...

   Kelly drags Nathan to a party featuring a reunion of her schoolmates. He is a bit annoyed at missing out on watching the big game on TV, plus being shown like a trophy to Kelly's old friends. So, when he is bored out of his mind at the party, he decided to leave. This brings about the first big fight between Kelly and Nathan. Will they make up?

    Caitlin is starting to suffer from post-natal depression, and nothing Jason says seem to help ...

    Miranda wonders why Will and Richie don't seem to go out together anymore. Will tries to approach Richie, but it seems there is now an invisible barrier between them ...

Episode #7 (45:54) (A Fine Line )

    Rex breaks up with Alex, which leaves her very confused and vulnerable. In return, she lashes out at what she believes to be Jennifer's incompetence.

    Evan has finally finished writing his first novel, Fitzroy Street Kisses, and invites all his friends to the book launch. He is a bit disappointed when Alex leaves in the middle of his book reading.

    Gabrielle investigates a case involving a young apprentice being bullied by his co-workers at a car repair shop. Unfortunately, she may have crossed the line during a heated interview ...

    Our friends decide to play a game of lawn bowls. Evan is disgusted when Alex flirts with him, suspecting that she is using him.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is in widescreen 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I assume this is the intended aspect ratio, since the series was produced after the commencement of widescreen Digital TV broadcasts in Australia on 1 January 2001.

    Four 45 minute episodes are packed onto Disc 1, and three onto Disc 2, so some compression artefacts are inevitable. On Disc 1, these mainly consist of macro-blocking, minor posterization (particularly noticeable on facial close-ups), and occasional aliasing.

    The episodes look like they come from an interlaced video source, as the overall quality is a bit soft. Colours are nicely rendered. Given that the episodes were probably filmed directly onto digital video, CCD artefacts such as speckle and noise are evident on low-lit scenes.

    The overall quality of the transfers is probably a notch or two over Season One, and comparable to the quality of SD Digital TV, but not as good as blockbuster DVDs.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitle tracks.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs in between episodes #2 and #3 on Disc 1, and Episode #6 Chapter 3 at 24:04 in Disc 2 during a slight natural pause (so is not too noticeable).

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track on the disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    The soundtrack has obviously been "blanded down" for TV broadcast, since it sounds quite heavily dynamically compressed, with all the life taken out of it and extreme low and high frequencies rolled off.

    I'm not sure whether the soundtrack is surround encoded, but engaging Dolby Pro Logic II decoding steered ambience from background music towards the rear speakers. However, I did not notice any significant usage of the surround channels for Foley effects, and dialogue was centred on the front at all times.

    At least the dialogue is clear and relatively easy to understand, except for a few instances where the characters are mumbling or speaking too fast.

    The background music is familiar if you have seen Season One. A lot of Cuban music is featured in Episode 3, no doubt to coincide with Evan's return to Melbourne, and Episode 4 has a vaguely Mediterranean soundtrack.

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

Extras

    There are no special features on the disc, not even "scene selection menus."

Menu

    The menus are static but 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title has yet to be released in other regions.

Summary

    The Secret Life Of Us Series 2, Volume 1 features the first seven episodes of Season 2 (Episodes #1-#7) of the cult TV series about a group of twentysomethings living in an apartment block in St. Kilda, Melbourne.

    The video transfer is okay, and compression artefacts are fairly minor.

    The audio transfer is broadcast TV quality.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (NTSC).
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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