JAG: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
After a less than auspicious start on NBC, which lasted only a single season, the military drama JAG jumped ship to CBS, where the series was retooled, recast (except for its leading man), and went on to enjoy its glory days as a top gun for its new network. For those who have never seen JAG, the series title is an acronym for the office of the Judge Advocate General, which serves to investigate, and if necessary, defend and prosecute crimes involving military personnel.
JAG combines elements of mystery, action/adventure, courtroom drama, espionage, romance, a bit of comedy and the police procedural to create a highly enjoyable hour-long television drama. David James Elliott stars in JAG as former Navy aviator and current JAG lawyer Lieutenant Commander Harmon 'Harm' Rabb Jr.. Season two adds of JAG adds new cast members that include Catherine Bell as USMC Major Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie, Patrick Labyorteaux as Navy Lieutenant JG Bud Roberts, John M. Jackson as the Judge Advocate General- Admiral A.J. Chegwidden, and on a reoccurring basis, Steven Culp as Special Agent Clayton Webb.
JAG: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($65) comes to DVD in a four-disc set, which features all fifteen episodes that were aired during the series sophomore year. The episodes are as follows: We The People, Secrets, Jinx, Heroes, Crossing The Line, Trinity, Ghosts, Full Engagement, Washington Holiday, The Game of Go, Force Recon, The Guardian, Code Blue, Cowboys And Cossacks and Rendezvous. Season two's episodes layout the ground work for the series new direction, as well as establishing the characters and their relationship, not to mention the good-natured camaraderie that greatly enhanced the series sense of humor, which made JAG more universally appealing to audiences.
CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment has made all fifteen episodes from JAG: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Image quality for the episodes contained in JAG: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON is pretty consistent with what one should expect from a mid 1990s television production. The episodes appear reasonably crisp and deliver more than respectable definition. Sure, there are some soft looking shots, as well as some rather obvious military stock footage, but nothing is too out of sorts. Colors appear fairly natural, as do the flesh tones. Blacks are just fine and the whites are stable. Contrast remains at the television level, but sitcom flatness isnít too prevalent. There are some mild blemishes that crop up across the episodes, but the film elements are generally in good shape. Grain is noticeable, but is never bothersome. Digital compression artifacts are reasonably well concealed.
All the episodes that comprise JAG: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON feature Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. For the most part, JAG is very much a dialogue driven show, but 5.1 channel encoding might have added a bit of oomph to the occasional action sequences. Most of the sound is localized to the forward soundstage, with the rear channels adding mild reinforcement to the music, as well as a bit of ambiance and an occasional active effect. Fidelity is respectable, with the music and sound effects sounding more than adequate. Voices are crisp and the dialogue is easy to understand. No other language tracks or subtitles are provided.
The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Running Audio Commentaries have been provided for the following episodes: We The People with Catherine Bell; Crossing The Line with David Bellisario and Avery C. Drewe, and Washington Holiday with Karri Turner and Patrick Labyorteaux. Two supplemental programs are also included. Setting Sail On Season 2 is a seventeen-minute look at the changes the series underwent during the second season, and features interviews with members of the cast and crew. Inside The Real JAG Corps clocks in at eight minutes and features interviews with real members of the JAG Corps.
The change of networks and retooling of the series changed the whole dynamic of the show and allowed JAG to become a highly popular fixture on CBS for nine seasons. CBS/Paramount's presentations certainly best syndication and very appear solid, but then again, these episodes aren't demo material either. If you are a long time fan, then JAG: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON is an absolute must have.
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