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At the time of this review, CHARMED is about to enter its eight season on the air. The success of CHARMED can be attributed to the show’s bewitching witches’ brew supernatural drama, humor, a bit of action and some eye candy. Of course, supernatural television series do have the tendency to build a cult following and CHARMED is no exception. Also in the show’s favor is a certain coolness factor that is exhibited in the popular music programmed into the soundtracks of the episodes, as well as the occasional appearance of hot musicians, which is conveniently worked into plots of CHARMED, after the central characters open a club in the course of the second season.

For anyone not yet familiar with the basic premise of CHARMED, the series is concerned with the three Halliwell sisters, who became The Charmed Ones, the most powerful witches the world has ever known, upon the death of their grandmother. On a weekly basis, the Halliwell sisters use their powers to protect the innocent and fight against the forces of darkness. CHARMED stars Shannen Doherty as Prue Halliwell, the eldest sister, who has the power to move objects with her mind; Holly Marie Combs is middle sister Piper Halliwell, who can freeze time and Alyssa Milano is Phoebe Halliwell, the youngest, who has the gift of second sight. The season two cast of CHARMED also features Brian Krause, Dorian Gregory and Greg Vaughan.

  CHARMED: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($50) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features all twenty-two episodes that were aired in the show’s sophomore year.  The twenty-two featured episodes are as follows:  Witch Trial, Morality Bites, The Painted World, The Devil's Music, She's A Man, Baby, A Man!, That Old Black Magic, They're Everywhere, P3 H2O, Ms. Hellfire, Heartbreak City, Reckless Abandon, Awakened, Animal Pragmatism, Pardon My Past, Give Me A Sign, Murphy's Luck, How To Make A Quilt Out Of Americans, Chick Flick, Ex Libris, Astral Monkey, Apocalypse Not, and Be Careful What You Witch For.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-two episodes from CHARMED: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The episodes really look quite appealing on DVD, and are certainly better than a syndicated rebroadcast. Image sharpness and detail isn’t at the theatrical level, but certainly all that one could expect from a recent television series shot on film. Occasional softness creeps in here and there across the episodes, but is never bothersome. Colors are fresh and are rendered warmly with a natural level of saturation. Blacks are accurate, whites are crisp and the level of contrast is good for a television program, without too much of the inherent flatness of television lighting. The film elements from which the episodes have been transferred have a clean appearance and relatively free from noticeable flaws. Even with four episodes on a dual layer disc, digital compression artifacts are well concealed.

All the episodes that comprise CHARMED: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. I am still of the opinion that 5.1 channel encoding would have offered some benefits, especially where the show’s musical component is concerned, but the 2.0 remains satisfactory. As with a typical television production, the mix is front heavy, with the surrounds adding some ambience, light effects and musical fill. There are mild separations across the front, but nothing too flashy. Fidelity is very good, but will never replace a CD, as far as the music is concerned. Dialogue is clean and fully intelligible. No other language tracks are provided, nor have subtitles been included. While the basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection features, no additional content has been provided.

CHARMED is cool, entertaining witches’ brew of supernatural entertainment that is really easy on the eyes. This reviewer has been enjoying CHARMED since its debut on that magical appliance called television- and likes the show even better now that The Charmed Ones have vanquished those evil demons called commercials. Paramount’s DVD release looks and sounds better than a rebroadcast, plus the online price of the set is relatively low, thus making the discs the best way to keep on enjoying the show. If you are a fan, CHARMED: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON is a must have. Recommended.



Charmed - The Complete Second Season



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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