thirtysomething: The Complete Second Season

thirtysomething: The Complete Second Season
Despite only being around for four seasons, thirtysomething had an impact on both the viewing public and many other television shows that stole shamelessly from it. Its appearance on DVD was delayed for some time because of issues with licensing music, but now Shout! Factory is pushing ahead with a release schedule that will have the entire series released by the end of 2010. The second season is a lot more of the same, and that isn't necessarily the insult it initially appears to be. It is still a fine show where only the clothes have dated badly, but the problem is that much of what was innovative about the series at the time has been used again and again since. Thankfully, the strong writing and convincing performances help keep thirtysomething fresher than it should be after more than 20 years. The plots are still caught up in the littler things, something the show always did incredibly well, but the main arcs of Michael and Hope's pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage, and the failure of Michael and Elliot's business, with all of its repercussions, drive the show along for at least the four main characters. Unfortunately Ellyn and Melissa are mostly left on the sidelines with fairly inconsequential things to do, but again, the strength of the entire ensemble helps cover any weaknesses. The biggest additions to the cast are Miles Drenton (David Clennon), Michael and Elliot's new boss when their advertising agency goes under, and Susannah Hart (Patricia Kalember), Gary's new girlfriend, whom everyone else hates but happens to get pregnant, so she sticks around. Both were added to cause friction and conflict amongst the original seven characters, and in that sense, they succeeded, but in different ways: Susannah was just plain annoying, albeit deliberately so, while Miles was at least entertaining when pushing Elliot's buttons. In fact, Miles was popular enough to be resurrected for thirtysomething creators Herskovitz and Zwick's later show, Once And Again, almost ten years later. Miles's popularity is reflected in the extras included on the final DVD. There are two 15-minute featurettes about him ("Mad Ad Man: Miles Drentell" and "The Metamorphosis of Miles"), which illustrate how the character changed from his first incarnation and went on to become a fan favourite. The other two featurettes are "Inside The Outsider: Susannah Hart" and "W.G. Snuffy Walden On The Music Of thirtysomething," with the latter being the more interesting of the two. In addition, there are commentaries on six of the 17 episodes to round out another solid, satisfying set. (Shout! Factory)