Sex and the City-Season 2 (1999)

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Released 11-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Synopsis-18
TV Spots-18
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Awards-Awards & Nominations
Featurette-8:32
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 461:28
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Allen Coulter
John David Coles
Victoria Hochberg
Allison Anders
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker
Kim Cattrall
Kristin Davis
Cynthia Nixon
Chris Noth
Willie Garson
Case ?
RPI $79.95 Music Douglas J. Cuomo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English 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 French
Czech
Swedish
Danish
Norwegian
Dutch
Portuguese
Greek
English
Smoking Yes, lots - Carrie chain-smokes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Warning: this show uses a lot of strong language, and it is pretty much impossible to review without following suit (have a look at the list of episode names). This is not a review to read aloud to the children...

    This is the story of four single women in New York city. They are close friends, and talk about everything, and I mean everything. The women are:

    There are a few men who show up occasionally, but there are really only two regulars: Mr Big (Chris Noth) and Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson). Stanford is gay, and one of Carrie's long-time friends - she will discuss things with him that she feels she can't talk about with the girls. Mr Big, commonly referred to as Big (I don't think we ever hear his real name), is Carrie's big love. At the start of this season she is getting over the big break-up with Big that came at the end of the first season.

    The episodes in this season are:

Episode Title Length Director  
1 Take Me Out to the Ballgame 24:39 Allen Coulter Carrie rebounds from Big with "the new Yankee"; troublesome men
2 The Awful Truth 24:34 Allen Coulter Talking dirty during sex; Carrie's birthday
3 The Freak Show 25:15 Allen Coulter Are all men freaks? Charlotte discovers the delights of Mr Pussy
4 They Shoot Single People Don't They? 25:26 John David Coles Carrie's front cover Single and Fabulous; the morality of faking it
5 Four Women and a Funeral 26:50 Allen Coulter Sam gets dropped from the A list; Charlotte picks up a man at a funeral
6 The Cheating Curve 24:21 John David Coles Charlotte's encounter with the power lesbian chic elite; quantum cheating; Miranda and the documentary filmmaker
7 The Chicken Dance 24:27 Victoria Hochberg Miranda's decorator and her house guest fall in love and marry; facing the marriage
8 The Man, The Myth, The Viagra 24:22 Victoria Hochberg Samantha and the older man; Miranda and the bartender
9 Old Dogs, New Dicks 26:09 Alan Taylor Charlotte is shocked by an uncircumcised man; drag queen bingo; looking at other women
10 The Caste System 26:53 Allison Anders Miranda and yuppie guilt; Samantha and the man with a servant
11 Evolution 26:14 Pam Thomas Charlotte and the gay straight man, or is that straight gay man?
12 La Douleur Exquise 28:14 Allison Anders Highlighting fetishes, including mild S&M, foot fetishism, cyber-sex, having sex where you can get caught
13 Games People Play 20:52 Michael Spiller Carrie tries seeing a therapist; Samantha suffers from a drought due to a sports team's losing streak
14 The F*** Buddy 24:21 Alan Taylor Can you turn a casual sex partner into a real relationship? Breaking patterns
15 Shortcomings 26:05 Dan Algrant Carrie falls for a man's family, while Miranda has problems with her man's family
16 Was It Good for You? 26:36 Dan Algrant The tantric sex workshop; are we being graded in bed?
17 20-something Girls Vs 30-something Women 24:50 Darren Star How should a woman in her thirties react to competition from a girl in her twenties?
18 The Ex and the City 31:20 Michael Patrick King Confrontations: Charlotte and a horse, Samantha and the huge cock; Carrie and an engagement party

    Why does it amuse me that the director of photography on some episodes is called John Thomas?

    These women seem to wear their bras while making love half the time (that seems rather uncomfortable). I have no idea where these women find all the men they sleep with. I guess New York is a large city, and none of these women is exactly hard to look at. They are not immoral - they have quite strong ideas about morality. About the only constant in their lives is the amount they care about each other, which is in sharp contrast to the amount they care about their lovers.

    I noticed the boom mike in shot at the top of frame around 10:32 in The Caste System.

    There is a wide variation in running time from one episode to another - if you compare it with Star Trek: The Next Generation (every episode is 43:30, plus or minus about 20 seconds), this displays a huge variance.

    I did find it funny that Charlotte decries the idea that New York is a classless society - I've always thought New York had no class. (OK, I don't, but how could I resist that line?)

    I was amazed to hear them talking about "a number two" (in reference to visiting the bathroom) - they use pretty much every word I wouldn't expect to hear, and then get coy about this subject.

    This is not about a search for sex (they don't seem to need to search for that!). It's more a quest of love, and a long-term relationship with someone. I really liked the end to this season - it's a strong ending, and an affirmation.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced. That matches the way I've always seen this show on TV.

    The image is quite grainy almost all the way through (there are a few clear shots, mostly close-ups), which makes it quite soft. The shadow detail is not good - dark colours fall off into black rapidly. This show has quite a few scenes in dimly-lit locations, so the lack of shadow detail is a problem. There is some low-level noise.

    Colour is strong, with some of the clothes in quite vivid colours. The only colour-related artefact I saw was during the opening credits to The Man, The Myth, The Viagra, at 0:32 - there's a diffraction-like rainbow on one of the mirror-finish buildings (interesting that it doesn't appear on every episode).

    There are some microscopic film artefacts, but you will probably not notice them in amongst the grain. There are a few tiny moments of aliasing, but most of it is concealed by the softness of the image. There's no shimmer, although you could be excused for thinking so, due to the grain.

    There are subtitles in nine languages, including English. I checked the English subtitles. I spotted one error: the subtitle read "...can't create a relationship with a guy because he can cock your tub...", it sounded to me like that word was meant to be "caulk".

    Each disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. Given that there are six episodes per disc, I'd have thought it should be possible to arrange things so there were three episodes per layer. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The layer changes are all rather obvious - a stall in video and audio. On the first disc, the layer change is at 12:05 in They Shoot Single People, Don't They?; on the second disc, the layer change is at 17:40 in The Caste System; on the third disc it is at 19:07 of The Ex and the City.

    One small thing annoyed me - there are no chapter stops within each episode. If you hit Chapter Skip while watching an episode you are dumped out to the menu again.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in five languages: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, all Dolby Digital 2.0.

    The dialogue is very clear, and that's very important for this comedy. There are no sync problems in any of the episodes, but there's a major sync fallout in a couple of the preview segments.

    The score for every episode is written by Douglas J. Cuomo, who also wrote the theme. Quite a bit of the incidental music draws from the theme, but there are occasional variations.

    There's no use made of the surrounds, or the subwoofer.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menus are animated with music - they are attractive, and easy to use.

Synopses

    Every episode is accessed from a menu screen which gives a synopsis of the episode, and lists the writer and the director. You can avoid these (if they annoy you) by going to the season index in the special features menu and accessing the episodes from there.

Previews

    The preview for every episode is included on each disc. These are the 20 to 30 second teasers that are shown to advertise the series on TV.

Season Index

    The complete list of episodes is included on every disc. The list links to the previews for each episode. While watching the preview, you can press Enter and jump straight to the episode (if it's on the same disc - for the others you get a message telling you which disc to insert).

Cast and Crew Bios

    We get bios for:

Awards and Nominations

    Eleven pages recounting the various awards for which the show has been nominated.

Featurette (8:32)

    This is a surprisingly short featurette. Interestingly, Kim Cattrall doesn't sound like Samantha when she's not acting.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version of this set is presented in an interesting package - it's a digi-pak design, but instead of having the transparent holders glued to card, they are glued to transparent plastic, with some printing - the package is mostly see-through. It's attractive, and seems strangely appropriate. I don't know if we'll get a similar design here, but I rather doubt it.

    The transfers are extremely similar in quality, which kills one idea I had (that the grain was induced in converting NTSC to PAL). So are the extras, except that the R1 has some DVD-ROM extras, and two thirty second promos for the DVD box-sets as well - dare I call them extra extras?

    I'd say this is another case where you could be happy with either version.

Summary

    The entire season of episodes, with all the striving and heartbreak, on three so-so DVDs.

    The video quality is fair, but there is lots and lots of grain, and inadequate shadow detail.

    The audio quality is fine.

    The extras are interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, October 07, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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