Magnum, P.I.-Season 2 (1980)

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Released 19-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Bonus Episode-A-Team-Season 2: Diamonds 'N' Dust
Bonus Episode-Knight Rider-Season 2: Brother's Keeper
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 1021:52 (Case: 1017)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Corey Allen
Ray Austin
Donald P. Bellisario
Burt Brinckerhoff

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Tom Selleck
John Hillerman
Roger E. Mosley
Larry Manetti
Gillian Dobb
Kwan Hi Lim
Jeff MacKay
Kathleen Lloyd
Glenn Cannon
Case ?
RPI $59.95 Music Velton Ray Bunch
John Cacavas
Pete Carpenter

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (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
Smoking Yes, particularly cigars.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Sun, sand, surf and spying – Magnum P.I. is back in force with this solid second season.

    For those who missed the 80s, Magnum P.I. follows the life of former Naval Intelligence Officer Lt. Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck), who quit the navy to become a private investigator. Magnum lives in the guest house on the Hawaiian estate of celebrated author Robin Masters, along with the estate’s chief of security, former Brigadier Commander Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman). Hawaii is also the retirement spot for Magnum’s Vietnam War buddies, including ex-Navy helicopter pilot Theodore “T.C.” Calvin (Roger E. Mosley), and Orville “Rick” Wright (Larry Manetti).

    A complete episode breakdown is beyond the scope of this review. If you want a full season rundown you can find one at amongst other places. The second season is split across its six discs as follows:

Disc 1

2.1 Billy Joe Bob (46:28)     2.2 Dead Man’s Channel (46:24)

Disc 2

2.3 The Woman On The Beach (46:29)     2.4 From Moscow To Maui (45:30)     2.5 & 2.6 Memories Are Forever: Part I & Part II (92:51)

Disc 3

2.7 Tropical Madness (46:20)     2.8 Wave Goodbye (46:29)     2.9 Mad Buck Gibson (47:27)     2.10 The Taking Of Dick Williams (46:26)

Disc 4

2.11 The Sixth Position (46:26)     2.12 Ghost Writer (46:29)     2.13 The Jororo Kill (46:27)     2.14 Computer Date (46:24)

Disc 5

2.15 Try To Remember (46:28)     2.16 Italian Ice (46:28)     2.17 One More Summer (46:25)     2.18 Texas Lightning (46:28)

Disc 6

2.19 Double Jeopardy (46:30)     2.20 The Last Page (46:26)     2.21 The Elmo Ziller Story (46:29)     2.22 Three Minus Two (46:27)

    I am still surprised by how well Magnum P.I. has stood the test of time. Firmly located in time and place, the show uses these limits to its own advantage, often parodying its own conventions. It also uses its characters very well, although Magnum’s voice-overs are a little tiresome in the early episodes.

    This season is not, on the whole, quite as strong as the first season, although there are some definite stand out episodes such as the double episode Memories Are Forever and the gender bending The Jororo Kill. Its attempts at humour sometimes don’t come off quite as well as they did in the first season, and the more philosophical and dark Magnum had yet to evolve as the he did in its later seasons. Still, definitely something to whet your appetite here.

    I am a fan of Magnum P.I.. It has a definite nostalgic quality to it for those who grew up during the 80s like me. Despite the oft amusing fashions, it is hard not to like it, and its creators knew they were onto a winner. While it may be a touch dated these days, particularly in terms of production values, the stories alone should keep you in there. They certainly kept me entertained for another run through.

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Transfer Quality


    Presented in 1.33:1, full frame, this is the original aspect ratio for the series.

    The transfer is well detailed and sharp and has a definite ‘film’ feel about it, that so many other contemporary shows lack having been transferred to video for broadcast. The film feel comes with its own film grain, but you can kind of forgive it given its vintage.

    Colour is a little washed out, but I still haven’t seen this show look better. Shadow detail still leaves a little to be desired and it’s obvious when they have filmed a night scene at night, and a night scene through a filter to make it look like it is night. With those night shots done at night, like at the start of The Woman On The Beach, it’s often hard to make out any detail.

    There are no MPEG artefacts and film-to-video artefacts are minimal, although there is definitely still some noticeable aliasing, indicative of a less-than-stellar NTSC to PAL transfer.

    There is also lot of dirt and dust on the print, although not to the level of being horrendous. It’s noticeable if you turn your mind to it, but it’s amazing how, when your brain knows how old the show is, you can just filter it out. Some people may find it distracting, but I had no real issue with it.

    Subtitles are available in several different languages as listed above. I left the English for the Hearing Impaired track on. These subtitles were pretty good and I was able to follow the show quite well if I turned the sound down.

    The dual-layer pauses occur between the second and third episodes on each disc. None were visible.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Audio is available in English, French and German in 2.0 Dolby Digital mono.

    I had no trouble discerning dialogue and there were no shocking sync issues that weren’t clearly a process of post-production ADR for outdoor scenes where using a boom microphone would have been impossible.

    There is, however, some faintly annoying background ‘hissing’ during a fair number of the episodes. This occurs far too often for me to attempt to catalogue all the incidences, suffice to say nearly all episodes exhibit it at some point.

    The mono-aural field still displays a decent range, with the theme song and soundtrack nicely balanced throughout and never obscuring what is being said.

    Unfortunately, there is no surround use and no subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    All menus are in 1.33:1 full frame. The disc home menus have various clips from the credits with a 2.0 Dolby stereo soundtrack of the well known theme. All other menus are static and silent.

Disc 1: Bonus Episode – The A-Team: “Diamonds 'n' Dust” (46:02)

    Presented in 1.33:1, full frame, 2.0 Dolby mono.

Disc 1: Bonus Episode – Knight Rider: “Brother’s Keeper” (46:06)

    Presented in 1.33:1, full frame, 2.0 Dolby mono.

R4 vs R1

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

    Content wise, Region 1 and Region 4 are largely identical, although Region 4 has more subtitle options. We seem to have received a better set here, with the episodes split on six discs, rather than on three dual sided discs as they are in Region 1. Without a Region 1 copy, I cannot do a direct video-to-video comparison for you.


    Magnum P.I. – Season 2 is the very model of what was good about 80s TV. There was plenty of garbage, to be sure, but this one has really stood the test of time.

    Video is pretty good for a series of this age, but I think some more work could still have been done to clean it up a little.

    The sound is good, although the ‘hissing’ problem gets a bit distracting.

    The bonus episodes were welcome, but come on guys – where are the retrospective documentaries or the episode commentaries?

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 LCD Cineza Projector with HP 80" Widescreen (16:9) HDTV Mobile Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

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