NCIS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
NCIS is just about my favorite series currently on television and is about the only show that I go out of my way to watch while its being broadcast, leaving everything else to the VCR or the DVR. I really get a kick out of watching this police procedural because the characters are well defined and genuinely interesting. Of course, it doesn't hurt that there is a good deal of character based humor interspersed throughout the episodes, making the show as much fun to watch as it’s mysteries are interesting. Although every crime is generally solved within the show's hour long time slot, bits of individual episodes continues a critical story arc that was begun in season one, one which will not conclude until the beginning of season three.
For the uninitiated, NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, whose primary mission is to prevent and solve crimes that threaten the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, as well as prevent terrorism. Although the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has a worldwide presence, the NCIS television series is based out of the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters and follows the investigative team headed up by Special Agent (Mark Harmon), a former Marine sniper with a no nonsense approach, who absolutely will not quit until the case is solved. Special Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd (Sasha Alexander) is a straight laced and disciplined agent who comes to NCIS by the way of the Secret Service. Special Agent Anthony Dinozzo (Michael Weatherly) is a "veteran" of three separate civilian police departments, and is Gibbs’ right hand man, not to mention consummate skirt chaser. Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) is a computer expert and newest member of the team, who spends much of his time assisting with the technological aspects of investigations. Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) is the quirky Goth girl responsible for analyzing the physical evidence coming into NCIS. Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum) is the NCIS Chief Medical Examiner, a man of the world, who just happens to have a story or anecdote for every occasion. Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) is Dr. Mallard's assistant, who becomes a more tangible presence as the series progresses.
NCIS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($65) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features the following twenty-three episodes that were aired in the show’s sophomore year: See No Evil , The Good Wives Club, Vanished, Lt. Jane Doe, The Bone Yard, Terminal Leave, Call Of Silence, Heart Break, Forced Entry, Chained, Black Water, Doppelgänger, The Meat Puzzle, Witness, Caught On Tape, Pop Life, An Eye For An Eye, Bikini Wax, Conspiracy Theory, Red Cell, Hometown Hero, SWAK and Twilight.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all of the episodes that comprise NCIS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that feature the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. In general, the episodes look really good, delivering a fairly sharp and reasonably well-defined image. Sure, none of the episodes are at the level of a theatrical production, but they all hold up real well for a television series. Colors are nicely saturated and the flesh tones are appealing. Blacks appear accurate, whites are stable and contrast goes somewhat beyond the typical broadcast level. The film elements from which the episodes are transferred appear clean, although one will notice a grain structure across the episodes. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.
All the episodes that comprise NCIS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. As always, my preference is for 5.1 channel soundtracks, and I think the episodes would have sounded better in that format. However, the sound quality is solid for a broadcast television production, which is clearly evident in the sound mixes. As expected, the forward soundstage dominates, while the rear channels provide some mild reinforcement, musical fill and occasional active effects. Musical fidelity is rather good, with the theme musical always sounding just fine. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and completely understandable. A Spanish language track has also been encoded on the DVD, but no subtitles are provided.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus, which 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: The Bone Yard with Chas. Floyd Johnson and Twilight with Pauley Perrette, John C. Kelley, and Michael Weatherly. Four featurettes are also included on the set. Investigating Season 2 is a nearly eighteen-minute program that features interviews with various cast and crewmembers. The Real NCIS clocks in at six minutes and looks at the real agency, as well as the impact of the series on the agency. What's New In Season 2 runs fourteen minutes and features more interviews with the production crew and what differentiates the second season from the first. Lab Tour With Pauley Perrette is a four-minute program that features the actress giving fans a run down of her character's domain.
As I stated above, I am a huge fan of NCIS and love having the series available on DVD- I can't wait for season three. Paramount has done their usual fine job on the DVD collection. If you are a fan, NCIS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON comes very highly recommended.
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