Home Movies: Season Two

The best thing about the second season of this wonderful animated series is the removal of those annoying squiggly lines that surrounded everything, from the characters to the backdrop. With the discovery of Flash animation, Home Movies looks and feels more confidant in its sophomore season, and with a fan base starting to be built, Brendan Small and company took their characters to a higher level. While some shows abandon their initial gimmick after a few episodes, Home Movies actually explored its premise of three children making feature films in their basement. Brendon (Small), Melissa (Melissa Galsky) and Jason (H. Jon Benjamin) have their favourite pastime explored more in this season, with their films becoming larger in production and the characters becoming more involved within the plots, such as a couple of stabs at documentary filmmaking. Still, with three strong leads, it's the verbally abusive Coach McGuirk that steals every scene he's in. The school soccer coach's inability to relate to people his own age often leads to him bonding with Brendon in a twisted father-son relationship that always delivers the biggest laughs. Whether the two are identifying a dead body or bickering over whether or not McGuirk is allowed to join Brendon's pizza club, the pairing is brilliant. This collection is superior to the first season in terms of extras, with the usual cast interviews and commentaries, but there are also new tidbits, including a montage of the other voices behind Home Movies, such as Janine Ditullio, who effortlessly replaced Paula Poundstone as the voice of Paula. We finally get to see what Melissa Galsky looks like through a couple of interviews, including a very flirtatious exchange with Small, as well as a crash course in how to play the theme song on piano and guitar. Even a potentially boring walk-through of how the audio anatomy of a scene is constructed fails to bore, as we see how the cast runs through a script in a dry fashion on the first take and then practically lose their marbles after several attempts, leading to the finished product. It's nice to see a series change things up on their second DVD release rather than recycling the same material — a trait we'll hopefully see continue for the final two seasons. Plus: episode commentary, animatics, winner of the "Small Shorts" contest. (Shout! Factory/SMV)