Big Love: The Complete Second Season

Big Love: The Complete Second Season

HBO has become the gold standard of quality television; unfortunately for its legions of fans, its home entertainment division is developing a reputation for slight DVD boxes that are not accompanied by a commensurately slight retail price tag. The polygamist family drama Big Love - angling to become the new big kid on the block after the conclusions of The Sopranos and Six Feet Under - is following those footsteps in both areas: the show is remarkable and getting better each year, and this second season DVD box is a sparse disappointment. While Big Love, which tells the story of Utah home hardware entrepreneur Bill Henrickson, his three wives and many children, spent most of its first season on how normal life is in the Henrickson household, season two sinks its teeth into how polygamy complicates life for many family members. Bill’s business enterprises are threatened by conflicts with his estranged, compound-dwelling family (headed with great haughty evil by Harry Dean Stanton). Internal strife and power manoeuvres dominate the Henrickson homestead, as first wife Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn) laments her choices while second and third wives Nicki and Margene (Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin) stage their own subtle campaigns for influence. It all adds up to some ridiculously juicy television that blows the barn doors off of a previously unseen "lifestyle.” It’s a meaty season of conflicts, trust issues and hard realities; oddly, this pricey DVD set doesn’t acknowledge this progress at all. Instead, DVD extras are limited to three mini "prequels” - single scenes set five years, three years and 14 months before the start of season one. Nicki suffers from post-partum depression, Bill introduces Margene as the new family babysitter and the three wives gang up on Bill to get a bigger house in these slight scenes that add up to less than ten minutes in total. It’s a terrible disappointment for fans wrapped up and invested in this Utah world that we don’t even get a little featurette about Chloe Sevigny’s awesomely stuffy wardrobe, much less her equally awesomely stuffy performance choices. (Warner)