August 25, 2005

DVD Review: The Brady Bunch - The Complete Second Season

You know, I actually have fond memories of watching Brady Bunch reruns when I was young. I would take that lunch that my mom prepared for me and sit down to watch some afternoon reruns of old sitcoms and such. Oh, they were good times. Well, after revisiting the series with this set, it has become painfully clear that times have changed. The show has not aged well in my eyes.

How to start this, I have no real desire to rip it apart. It still seems to hold onto a special place in some fans hearts, it's cold boney death grip hanging on for dear life. Oh how I kid. After watching about half of the season I realized just how annoying these people are, how whitewashed the world they lived in was.

To willingly spend extended periods of time with this makeshift family makes my head hurt. Everything is always wrapped up with a nice little bow at the end of each half hour. Fights that never last, situations that aren't terribly well explored, and a family that seems to have very little depth. Granted, this is geared towards safe family viewing, an attempt at injecting some wholesome viewing into our lives, but this sometimes feels like it's too much.

For such a non-standard family, there never seems to be any mention of the missing parents, or what life was like prior to Brady and the Mrs. got together. They all refer to each other as brother and sister, although they really aren't. Watching this just really got under my skin in a way that I didn't think possible.

I know, I know, I'm trying to look too deep into what amounts to a fluffy little diversion that aims to be inoffensive to everybody. Maybe I am, but sometimes these things just get to me. In the end I think the biggest problem is the repetitive nature of the series. It is predictable from start to finish, the only thing that changes is the source of conflict.

This DVD set is fine for those who just want the show, but for those hoping for some other information about the show would do best to look elsewhere. There are no featurettes, commentaries, interviews, bloopers, nothing. But we do get the series in it's original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and the original mono audio. They are both decent enough, representing a show that is over 30 years old. The colors seem a bit faded, but that is most likely due to the age.

I do have a complaint over how the disks were encoded. As most DVD fans know disk space, and how much is used for the video, is of keen interest to those looking for quality. The problem here is that the episodes are all encoded twice on the disk, essentially the 6 episodes per disk becomes 12. Each episode is on their individually, but they are also on there all together for the play all option. To me there must be a better way of doing it, I mean, it has been done without double encoding on other disks, so why not here?

Bottomline. I can't with a good heart recommend this, due to my unexpected reaction to the series. But, for those legions of Brady fans out there, you could do much worse, there are other series with worse representation on DVD, or no representation at all. The lack of extras is certainly a drawback, I can't believe that they couldn't get anyone to participate, or that there isn't any old behind the scenes type footage.

Not Recommended (unless you're a fan, of course).

Also at Blogcritics.


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