The Sopranos-Season 2 (2000)

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Released 3-Sep-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mob Main Menu Audio
Trailer-International Trailer (1:04)
Featurette-Premiere Season 2 (3:04)
Featurette-The Real Deal (4:54)
Featurette-David Chase (0:54)
Featurette-The Show (1:18)
Featurette-Nancy Marchand Tribute (1:04)
Music Video-New Season Music Video (1:34)
Music Video-Original Music Video (3:28)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 667:55
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Allen Coulter
Martin Bruestle
Tim Van Patten
John Patterson
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring James Gandolfini
Lorraine Bracco
Edie Falco
Michael Imperioli
Dominic Chianese
Vincent Pastore
Steven van Zandt
Tony Sirico
Robert Iler
Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Drea de Matteo
Nancy Marchand
David Proval
Case Gatefold
RPI $99.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

   After the relative delights of The Sopranos Series One, you have to bet that Series Two was eagerly awaited not just by me but also by a significant number of our readers. After all, this intoxicating mix of violence, humour, drama, nudity and more is certainly far, far better than most of the dross that passes for television programming nowadays. And it has to be said that the first series was such a big success that it certainly created rather large expectations for the second series. Of course, the problem with being such a success in the first season is that television shows rarely manage to live up to the expectations in the second series. The usual problem is that the stories are simply not up to the freshness of the first series, and to be honest it has to be said that The Sopranos is anything but immune to the second season syndrome. Indeed, the first half dozen episodes here certainly seemed to find the writers struggling to emulate the first season success and it was only in the second half of the season that the writers got back on track with stuff that was approaching that of the first season.

   Just to recap for those who are not familiar with the series, The Sopranos are a fairly prototypical American family: Uncle Junior tried to kill nephew Tony, mother Livia tried to kill son Tony, son Tony tried to kill mother Livia, Tony is seeing a shrink, daughter Meadow is seeking her independence through college, Tony keeps a Russian bit on the side, and so on, and that is before we consider the extended family!

   This six DVD set includes all thirteen episodes making up the second series of this highly acclaimed series. The actual episodes themselves are:

   Guy Walks Into A Psychiatrist's Office (Episode 14, 47:26) - Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) should be on top of the world. He beat the attempt to murder him orchestrated by his mother Livia (Nancy Marchand) and conducted through the aegis of Uncle Corrado a.k.a. Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) and is now the sole boss of the family as Uncle Junior is now residing in the pen awaiting trial on twelve indictments. But, nothing seems to change for Tony and the federal authorities are still hanging around and making life rather difficult for him. The good news is that the family's interests have expanded with Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) gaining a broker's licence and now running a brokerage operation. Balancing the good news is the bad news. Number one is that his dear sister Janice (Aida Turturro) has returned from Seattle to stay awhile. Supposedly only back because of the apparently declining health of mother Livia, Tony suspects that she is back to scam him and/or the family. Number two is that Sal "Big Pussy" Bompensiero (Vincent Pastore) has reappeared after his rather noted absence. He comes up with a story of having been in Puerto Rico having work done on his back, usually by a ravishing 26 year old acupuncturist. He is not really welcomed back with open arms but as far as Paulie Gaultieri (Tony Sirico) can find out, his story checks out. But the suspicion is still there so exactly how far can Tony believe him? You wanna bet that Tony still needs a shrink? Well Carmela (Edie Falco) certainly believes he does - but the problem is that Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) won't treat him.

   Do Not Resuscitate (Episode 15, 48:17) - So things really aren't going that much better for Tony, especially with Janice back in town. Whilst she might be genuine about looking after Livia, Tony does not want to know. Livia meanwhile is pretty well convinced that her children are conspiring to aid her departure from this mortal coil, which ties in with the gossip about Tony "fluffing his mother's pillows" emanating from her prior residence, Green Grove Retirement Village, courtesy of its director Freddy Capuano. That little issue is soon resolved however. Unfortunately, other issues are not so easily resolved, such as Uncle Junior now being released from the pen on medical grounds. Whilst he is under house arrest, he naturally is not that thrilled about what eventuated before he was arrested. Throw into the mix the visit of Big Pussy to his doctor for treatment, where he was driven home by none other the FBI agent Skip Lipari (Louis Lombardi). The true nature of Big Pussy's absence from the family is now slowly revealed, at least to us. Tony is still in the dark and the question to be pondered still is how far can he trust Big Pussy. Still, some things do remain constant and money is still to be made - even in the old fashioned way of stand over and "protection" services...

   Toodle-F***ing-Oo (Episode 16, 48:41) - So things really aren't going that much better for Tony, especially with Richie Aprile (David Proval) out of the pen and back in town after ten years. Richie has a rather large chip on his shoulder and is not too happy to find things have changed in Jersey during his absence. He does not like the idea of not being able to talk business with Tony direct, either at the Bada Bing! or the pork shop, but rather through either Silvio (Steven Van Zandt) or Paulie Gaultieri. Richie really does not understand how things have changed, and his attitude starts to cause problems immediately, not the least because he does not see why he has to patiently wait for Tony to give back to him what he believes is his by right. This attitude has serious repercussions for Beansie Gaeta (Paul Herman), who has a run in with Richie and his motor vehicle. Mind you, things are not all that bad for Richie as he gets a second chance with Janice Soprano, an old flame from way back when they were younger and different. A relationship between Janice and Richie might not thrill Tony, but one between Uncle Junior and Richie would thrill him even less if he knew about it. Besides, he has plenty enough problems at home with Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) who is desperate to get to college and escape the confines of home.

   Commendatori (Episode 17, 50:16) - After many years of talking about it, Tony is heading for the old country to meet the Neopolitan family of Zi Vittorio, specifically to talk about the luxury car export business. Uncle Junior last saw Zi Vittorio in the early 1960s and things have changed a tad. Far from being a feared head of the family, he is now wheelchair-bound and the family is run by his very impressive daughter Annalisa (Sofia Milos). Tony has some problems dealing with the situation but has no such problems with the way the family members work. Indeed, he is so impressed that he does a deal with Annalisa: a real good deal for the cars in exchange for a supply of manpower from Naples, with the first émigré to be head man Furio Giunta (Federico Castelluccio). Back in the new country, Carmela is dealing with the news that Angie Bompensiero (Toni Kalem) is not at all happy with the return of Big Pussy and his lack of concern for her and her brush with serious illness. Mind you, does Carmela see something in the breakdown of the Bompensiero's marriage that might relate to her own marital problems?

   Big Girls Don't Cry (Episode 18, 49:47) - The crew returns from Italy and it is not good news for Big Pussy. With the advent of the new man, dedicated to the family and not to a person, Tony takes the chance to flex some muscle and make some changes. Paulie Gaultieri and Silvio head to the top of the tree under Tony and Big Pussy is left behind with Christopher Moltisanti and Furio to report to these two gentlemen. Suffice it to say that Big Pussy ain't too happy about this state of affairs, to the extent that he might be just a little more amenable to the pushing of Agent Skip Lipari. Christopher might not be too happy either but his attentions are being diverted by his desire to get into films. In fact, diverted so much is he that he is not doing his job properly and this gives Tony the chance to set Furio loose to see what he can do to rectify the attitude of the owners of a local brothel. Tony can smile very widely over the job Furio does, but not enough to forget the problems he seems to be having with his anger. Anger that is made worse by the fact that he cannot see Jennifer Melfi, who herself is under therapy with Dr Elliott Kupferberg (Peter Bogdanovich), and has to resort to Hesh Rabkin (Jerry Adler). But out of the blue, Jennifer phones Tony and says she is willing to resume his therapy and leaves an appointment open for him. Meanwhile, Richie Aprile is getting hotter and hotter under the collar and slowly but surely he is starting to push the buttons with Junior over Tony.

   The Happy Wanderer (Episode 19, 48:54) - The Executive Game that his father and Uncle Junior started many years ago is now Tony's to run and the game is up and running again. Starting off well, Tony is in enough of a good mood to allow his old friend David Scatino (Robert Patrick) into the game, despite previously warning him off these sorts of games. Tony even advances David the cash to get him into the game. Probably not a good move by either person as David has a gambling problem and a half - and ends up well in debt to Tony. This on top of a debt to Richie Aprile, and when Richie arrives at the Executive Game he is none too happy to see David taking part in the game. We also get to see new family members Matt Bevilaqua (Lillo Brancato Jr) and Sean Gismonte (Chris Tardio) doing a few more tasks at the very bottom of the family chain. They become important later on... Meantime, Richie is getting his buttons pushed by Janice over the way he is being treated by Tony.

   D-Girl (Episode 20, 53:49) - Anthony Jr (Robert Iler) has discovered existentialism with abandon and has come to the conclusion that there is no God and life has no meaning. This comes right after he has been caught driving, and crashing, his mother's Mercedes. Tony has problems dealing with the situation, and basically gets not an awful lot of help from Jennifer Melfi. All of this is in advance of Anthony Jr's confirmation! So Big Pussy, Anthony Jr's confirmation sponsor, is handed the task of getting him back on track, which is a tad odd when Big Pussy has been forced by Agent Lipari to wear a wire for the confirmation bash or otherwise he will do the thirty years for dealing in heroin. Agent Lipari gets to hear all about how great Tony is, as Big Pussy delivers the "get Anthony Jr back on track" speech. Of course, if life were only that simple for Tony. He has another off-the-rails member of the family, this time in Christopher who still wants to get into films. Having been hanging around a film set with a rather attractive lady, Christopher's head really is turning away from his duties. So much so that not only has Christopher pushed Adriana La Cerva (Drea De Matteo) away from him, but Tony gives him ten minutes to decide where he wants to be. He must be content with his decision as he decides to ask Adriana to marry him.

   Full Leather Jacket (Episode 21, 41:08) - The push for Meadow's college choice takes a turn as Carmela enlists the aid of Jeanie Cusamano to "ask" her twin sister Joan O'Connell to write a letter of recommendation to Georgetown University. Obviously Jeanie does not realise that "ask" means tell, so Carmela resorts to the direct approach to Joan herself. Armed with all the charm in the world, Meadow's academic transcripts and some home cooking, Carmela makes it very clear that Joan will write the letter. In the meantime, Richie is trying to appease Tony and makes a huge deal out of giving to Tony the leather jacket that he won in a fight with Rocco DiMeo years ago. Trouble is, like everything about Richie, it is years out of date and Tony does not want the jacket - so gives it to his housekeeper's husband as a gift. When Richie sees it, Richie sees red. And this on top of seeing red about being told to make Beansie Gaeta's house wheelchair accessible. Others seeing red are the new boys Matt and Sean, stuck at the Bada Bing! wondering what they have done to deserve the current state of affairs. So they decide to do something about it - by murdering Christopher as a gift to Richie. Things don't go quite according to plan, and Richie is none too happy about the idea anyway and makes his displeasure very clear to the unfortunate Matt. Tony ends up at Christopher's bedside vowing to find the b****** responsible for the shooting.

   From Where To Eternity (Episode 22, 53:10) - Christopher is on the ropes and is clinically dead for a short time. He survives to tell the tale to Tony and Paulie, much to the grieving Adriana's puzzlement. His words scare the bejesus out of Paulie who starts seeking answers from just about any source he can think of. Could it be that another family member might be heading to a shrink's office? The word is out on the street regarding the person responsible for Christopher's recent shooting, and Big Pussy comes up trumps after a while. Grabbing the appropriate tools from the pork store, Tony and Bug Pussy head out to exact justice upon the hapless Matt. Meanwhile, Carmela has just about had enough of Tony's extramarital exercise and is pressuring Tony to get rid of the Russian bit on the side, Irina (Oksana Babiy), and Jennifer Melfi is having an even harder time coming to terms with dealing with Tony - a job made a tad easier by some liquid sustenance.

   Bust Out (Episode 23, 56:55) - And so the problems continue for Tony as it seems that there is a witness to the killing of Matt Bevilaqua, and he has fingered Tony along with a husky accomplice. Big Pussy gets the third degree from Agent Lipari about what will happen if that husky accomplice turns out to be Big Pussy. Lipari is definitely turning up the heat on Big Pussy to get real stuff against Tony. Tony on the other hand needs to find out who the witness is or else there could be big trouble, trouble on a scale that may require him to disappear for a while, so he starts setting things in motion with his lawyer to put money aside for Carmela. He also pushes ahead with the bankrupting of David Scatino, wherein he and Richie are ordering goods through the sporting goods store run by David and taking them in satisfaction of the debt he owes them. Whilst it means that David will be free of Tony and Richie, it also means that he will be broke, and will have lost his family too, and if the question of thirty years in jail is not enough for Tony, Janice keeps the pressure up on Richie who finally decides to enlist the aid of Uncle Junior. To top it all off, Carmela falls for the charms of David's brother in law whilst he is doing some redecorating at the Soprano mansion. Tony really does need the help of Jennifer Melfi if he is to get a mental grip on the situation.

   House Arrest (Episode 24, 55:07) - Suddenly, there is no witness and Tony has dodged one seriously sized bullet. However, that is only likely to make the Feds even more determined to get him, and so his lawyer strongly advises him to get out of the strip joint and get into one of the legitimate businesses they own: Barone Brothers Sanitation, and so Tony begins an enforced "business" arrest, an arrest that causes him even more stresses - culminating in another collapse during a get together of the bigwigs of the sanitation industry. Mind you, the sanitation industry has its problems, not the least of which is a certain Richie Aprile doing a bit of coke dealing on the routes. Tony warns him off, but since this also affects Uncle Junior that might not be terribly wise when Richie is starting to push for action against Tony. Uncle Junior is not suffering his house arrest too well at all. His overtures to his old girlfriend have gone unanswered and he is in desperate need of some more stimulating company than Bobby Baccala. During one of his visits to the hospital, he meets an old friend from school, Catherine Romano (Mary Louise Wilson), the widow of a former police officer. She might not be quite what Junior was desiring but any company is better than Bobby! Catherine might just be what Junior needs to survive house arrest, especially as she seems to be tolerant of his minor faults.

   Knight In White Satin Armor (Episode 25, 57:37) - Richie has not taken the hint on the drug selling and is also starting to muscle in on other capos' business. He continues to insist that Tony is not giving him the respect that he deserves. He decides to push the issue with Junior and Junior gives him the nod to seek the aid of the other capos. Junior knows that dealing with Tony is not going to be easy, given his previous failure, but lets Richie do what he feels he must do. However, when Richie returns without gaining the support of the other capos, Junior has some thinking to do when he dismisses Richie. Concluding that Richie does not have the respect of the other capos, whilst Tony does, he concludes that his best interests are served by siding with Tony, so Junior warns Tony of the move by Richie. Naturally Tony decides that there is no point keeping Richie around and delegates Silvio to get the job done. Unfortunately for Richie though, he manages to hit Janice to prove that all is not well with the happy couple - especially when Janice points a rather impressive piece of weaponry at him, and pulls the trigger. So basically Tony gets to kill two birds with one stone - Richie is dead at the hands of Janice and Janice heads out of town on the next available bus for Seattle. Disposal of the body is left to the ever-reliable Furio and the on track and recovered Christopher. Mind you, those two problems might be resolved but there remains the problem of Big Pussy as well as Irina, who tries to kill herself when Tony calls it quits.

   Funhouse (Episode 26, 56:48) - And it is indeed the funhouse. Richie is gone, Janice is gone, Irina is gone, business is going very well at the moment - so well that Tony indulges Carmela in a magnificent fur coat, just the sort of thing to keep the wife happy. And he might even have gotten rid of Livia with two airline tickets given to her in a fit of madness - a fit that will have serious repercussions since the tickets are part of the bounty from the David Scatino bust out. Tony is struck down by food poisoning as the result of some chicken vindaloo from an Indian restaurant. During the resultant dreams, Tony starts having a conversation with Big Pussy as a fish. So Tony, Paulie and Silvio decide to pay a visit to Big Pussy and take him for a little boat ride, a little boat ride with serious implications since Tony has found the wire tap equipment. Four left for the trip - guess how many return? Back from the trip, Tony finds himself having to face the consequences of giving those tickets to Livia, who is under detention at the airport. The consequences are a visit from the FBI with a search warrant, a warrant that has netted more tickets and guaranteed the arrest of Tony - just days before daughter Meadow's graduation. Whilst his lawyer says that they have nothing, Tony still has his doubts, but these are pushed aside as he is bailed out and gets to attend his daughter's graduation. At the celebratory party after at the Soprano mansion, Christopher gets a promotion. And so endeth the second season. Just imagine where Series Three is going to take us...

   I really cannot add anything further to my comments about Series One as far as the quality of the programme is concerned and the quality of the performances. This is essential viewing, even in slightly less impressive form than the Series One efforts, and there is no real reason to prevent a wholehearted recommendation here.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    One of several big complaints about Series One was the fact that Warners basically stiffed Region 4 consumers with the transfer - Pan and Scan as opposed to the widescreen ratio that the series was intended to be viewed in. Well, Warners must have listened to those endless complaints for Series Two sees the transfers in their proper aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and they are 16x9 enhanced to boot. Outstanding!

    Another complaint from Series One was the quality of the video transfer itself. Well, once again someone must have been listening because Series Two sees generally very good transfers. Generally quite sharp, with just a few hints of obvious edge enhancement here and there (most notably during episode 20 on DVD 4 - at 20:15 and 48:21), this is a significantly better transfer in this regard. Detail is generally improved too, although it still leaves a little to be desired in some of the darker scenes. Shadow detail is better and quite acceptable. The transfers are very clear and there is very little here in the way of grain to create any problems. There is no real indication of any significant low level noise in the transfers.

    The colour is also improved here and this is a somewhat more vibrant transfer overall. Once again, there is at times a quite obvious restraint in the colours, but this is only done to create a very believable palette. However, you sure will not be finding any bright, vibrant colours here. There is a distinct lack of depth to the darker colours at times, but nothing that seriously detracts from the overall palette. There is nothing in the way of oversaturation problems here at all and similarly colour bleed does not appear to be an issue.

    There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although I have to say that I was puzzled by the slight loss of resolution in Episode 14 around 24:21 - Tony's nose has a peculiar lack of definition to it. It should be noted that there are a couple of instances where there is a minor loss of resolution in pan shots, but I suspect that this is a source related issue. However there is a consistent and minor but noticeable problem with film-to-video artefacts throughout the transfer, most notably aliasing. It is not that much of an issue but is certainly seen in just about every episode, and afflicts most end credits. The only other issues are some moiré artefacting in Episode 16 at 20:38 and 22:24. Despite these problems, it has to be said that this is a significant improvement over Series One. There are few if any film artefacts in the transfers here. It should be noted that there is a fairly obvious video glitch at 48:22 in Episode 22, which appears to be the result of a couple of missing frames.

    The first five DVDs in the set are all presumed to be Dual Layer efforts since no layer change was noted during the episodes themselves (two per DVD). The sixth DVD in the set is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 27:57 in Episode 25 (there are three episodes on this DVD), being 83:04 overall. This is mid-scene and is a tad too noticeable for my taste, even though it is not really disruptive to the flow of things.

    After the subtitle overkill of Series One, sanity of sorts has reigned for Series Two and there are only two options available: English and English for the Hearing Impaired. They are not too bad but are hardly the most accurate since the F-word is not presented at any time and given its presence in the programme, it is obvious in its omission. Overall, they don't miss much that is really essential, but they could have been more accurate and true to the programme.

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

Audio

    Another big complaint about Series One was the lack of Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, which were on the Region 1 release. Well, the good news is that someone was listening. There is just one soundtrack on these DVDs. For the first three episodes, it is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded effort whilst thereafter it is a English Dolby Digital 5.1 effort. Quite why we have three episodes in 2.0 only I can only hazard a guess, but at least the rest is presented in accordance with the wishes of most fans.

    The dialogue comes up very well in the transfer and there is no trouble understanding what is being said. There is no problem with audio sync in the transfer.

    The original music for the series is uncredited in the episodes, the same as for Series One. Despite the lack of credit, the music for the series is quite effective and some nice songs manage to get a run here too.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is nothing to write home about at all. The lack of punch at times is quite obvious, and even the surround encoding does not amount to a whole lot. Whilst appreciating that the show is dialogue based, and that aspect of the sound is well handled, there are plenty of opportunities here for some serious punch. That lack of punch really is noticed when the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound kicks in. All of a sudden, the surround presence is noticeably improved, even though it is still not brilliant, and when you get to the gun shots in Episode 22, you really note the resonance that results. Quite impressive stuff, but really the only thing that is truly impressive in what is otherwise a fairly mundane dialogue-based 5.1 soundtrack. There are no obvious distortions or blemishes in the soundtracks.

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

Extras

    Whilst Warner Home Video might have eventually done the right thing as far as the video and audio transfers are concerned, they still need to pick up the game in the extras department. It might look impressive on paper, but something like seventeen minutes of stuff presented over six DVDs is basically a complete waste of time as far as I am concerned. Where are the commentaries? Where are the biographies? Where are the proper behind the scenes featurettes?

Menu

    Consistently themed across the whole set, the only notable here is the fact that there is some main menu audio enhancement and they are all 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer - International Trailer (1:04)

    After the unnecessary duplication of Series One, Series Two only has the one trailer included in the package and it appears only on the first DVD of the set. Presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, it is technically quite excellent. Still, artistically it does demonstrate how difficult it is to sell a whole series in just over one minute.

Featurette - Premiere Season 2 (3:04)

    Making an appearance of the second DVD of the set, this really is more of a quasi-interview extended trailer for the promotion of Season 2 on HBO. Filmed at a rather swank party done to promote Season 2 obviously, it contains interviews with various cast members as well as well-known guests at the shindig. Presented in a Full Frame format, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Nothing wrong with it from a technical point of view.

Featurette - The Real Deal (4:54)

    Basically a collection of interviews with critics, psychiatrists, former police officers and all sorts of other people with an insight into the reality of the show, this really is one part of a three part extended EPK-type promotional effort for the show that is contained on the third DVD in the set. Presented in a Full Frame format, it is again not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Very acceptable from a technical point of view.

Featurette - David Chase (0:54)

    Part two of the extended EPK-type promotional effort, this effort is basically a collection of interviews with cast members saying how good David Chase is, as well as the man himself passing comment upon the show. Another presentation in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Bit pointless in my view.

Featurette - The Show (1:18)

    Part three of the extended EPK-type promotional effort, this effort is a collection of interviews with cast members about what attracted them to the show and what is so great about it. Full Frame format once again, not 16x9 enhanced once again and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound again too. Getting even more pointless in my view.

Featurette - Tribute To Nancy Marchand (1:04)

    The extent of the extras on the fourth DVD of the set, this is some tributes from various people involved in the show about Nancy Marchand who died last year, presumably after the shooting of Series Two was completed. You can probably guess what the format here is since it is common to all extras barring one in the set.

Music Video - New Season Music Video (1:34)

    Not so much a music video as another take on the promotional activity that preceded Series Two commencing on HBO on January 16, 2000. Yes, it is presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced and is blessed with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The technical quality is very good but quite what the point of it is...

Music Video - Original Music Video (Woke Up This Morning -The Alabama 3) (3:28)

    Repeats the same video from Series One in every way including the presentation in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Decent technical quality.

R4 vs R1

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

    About the only way that Region 4 does succeed is in the fact that we have got this over a month before the Region 1 release is due. Since there appears to be no definitive information at this time of exactly what will be included in the Region 1 release when it is issued, I went to the HBO site and checked out what they say. Based upon that, it would appear that the Region 4 release misses out on:

    Once again, the entire series comes on four DVDs. So once again, fewer DVDs yet the Region 1 release manages more in the way of extras. Overall, Region 1 would remain the region of choice, unless you cannot wait until November 6.

    In broad terms the only other thing working in favour of the Region 4 release once again is the price - $100 which is effectively half the price of the superior Region 1 release.

Summary

    Despite the slight drop in quality, The Sopranos - Series Two still represents quality television viewing of the highest order and is the sort of stuff that everyone should see. There is more entertainment in one series of The Sopranos than you would find in any dozen other shows in my view. Warners have certainly come to the party with the audio and video transfers that we, the consumer, have demanded, and they are of very good quality to boot. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the decidedly underwhelming extras package that is not a patch upon what Region 1 gets on fewer DVDs. So, toss up on this one - a better overall Region 1 package as opposed to the cheaper (and to be honest technically acceptable) Region 4 package.

    A pity though that Warners is still insisting on the flimsy, cheap looking and easily damaged gatefold packaging.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Monday, September 24, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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