Melrose Place – The Second Season – DVD Review

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Creators/Executive Producers:
Darren Star and Aaron Spelling

Josie Bissett ………. Jane Mancini
Thomas Calabro ………. Dr. Michael Mancini
Doug Savant ………. Matt Fielding
Grant Show ………. Jake Hanson
Andrew Shue ………. Billy Campbell
Courtney Thorne-Smith ………. Alison Parker
Daphne Zuniga ………. Jo Reynolds

Heather Locklear ………. Amanda Woodward
Marcia Cross ………. Dr. Kimberly Shaw
Laura Leighton ………. Sydney Andrews

The Show:
Let’s be honest here – season one of Melrose Place was not exactly groundbreaking television. It was pretty much your run-of-the-mill drama, however during that first season changes were made to the cast, and a change in how the drama was presented helped things greatly.

The first changes were the jettisoning of characters Rhonda and Sandy, replacing them with Jo and Amanda. The second was making the show more like a soap opera, ramping up the stories with several “WTF” situations and reveals. This helped to make Melrose a “water cooler” show, something that people would talk about on their breaks.

The second season starts off fairly normal – Amanda buys the building and moves in, Jane hands Michael divorce papers and Michael moves into a beach house. Billy and Allison’s romance continues and annoys me, because it’s boring. Billy’s boring, Allison’s boring – put them together and you find that you could care less about them. Matt marries a Russian woman to help keep her in the U.S., and dates a bunch of closeted gay men. Amanda is, of course, a right bitch and makes it enjoyable to watch.

Things, however, really start going into WTF territory with the Michael/Jane/Kimberly/Sydney storyline. Michael has started a relationship with fellow doctor Kimberly, but has an affair with Jane’s sister Sydney, and then kills Kimberly (and paralyzes himself) after an auto accident. Sydney becomes a prostitute (or as they say on the show, starts “hooking”) and then blackmails Michael into marrying her. Which of course all leads to the (re)debut of Kimberly, who is alive, well, and rather insane… but you’ll see plenty of that in season three, where you’ll see why it’s still hard for some of us to see Marcia Cross as Bree on Desperate Housewives.

Melrose Place will probably appeal to those people who enjoy Desperate Housewives or those who are looking for a 90’s nostalgia trip. Certainly, it’s not the best show to ever grace our televisions, but it’s definitely a show that has carved out a unique place in television history. Season two is definitely a great starting point – the show really came into its own, and you’ll find yourself getting sucked in.

Disc One:
33 “Much Ado About Everything”
34 “Long Night’s Journey”
35 “Revenge”
36 “Fire Power”

Disc Two:
37 “Of Bikes and Men”
38 “Hot and Bothered”
39 “Flirting With Disaster”
40 “No Bed of Roses”

Disc Three:
41 “Married To It”
42 “The Tangled Web”
43 “Collision Course”
44 “Cold Turkey”

Disc Four:
45 “Duet For One”
46 “Strange Bedfellows”
47 “Under the Mistletoe”
48 “Reunion Blues”

Disc Five:
49 “Michael’s Game”
50 “Arousing Suspicion”
51 “The Young Men and the Sea”
52 “Parting Glances”

Disc Six:
53 “Swept Away”
54 “With This Ball and Chain”
55 “Otherwise Engaged”
56 “Love, Mancini Style”

Disc Seven:
57 “The Two Mrs. Mancinis”
58 “In Bed With the Enemy”
59 “Psycho Therapy”
60 “The Bitch is Back”

Disc Eight:
61 “Imperfect Strangers”
62 “Devil With the G-String On”
63 “Till Death Do Us Part”

The DVD:
(Presented in 4:3 Fullscreen)
It looks as if the producers didn’t bother to remaster the episodes, as everything has a grainy look to it. You may not notice it if you have an older television, but if you’ve got a LCD/Plasma television all those little grains are going to pop right out at you.

(Dolby Digital 2.0)
The audio is nice and clear, but – as with most television shows – don’t expect to give your home theatre a workout with this. The theme song is probably the highlight of the show as far as sound goes, but with only two channels going, It’s not exactly going to reach rock concert levels, y’know?

Special Features:
Audio Commentaries: Darren Star provides his thoughts for two episodes – “Collision Course” and “The Bitch is Back”. He’s not a wordy guy, but he generally interjects some interesting anecdotes into the episodes, for instance how they shoehorned Models, Inc. into the last few episodes of the season to prepare for the spinoff.

Melrose Place: Meet the Neighbors – Mini-bios of the characters. Nothing special here.

Melrose Place: The Best of the Worst – Clips of some of the “worst” moments of the show. Why they qualify as the worst moments, I don’t know, but someone decided that they were.

Melrose Place: Complex Relationships – These are narrated synopses of some of the relationships between the characters. They’re not the greatest thing ever, but they do their job in getting the pertinent details across without giving you a massive headache. We get three of these:
– Billy and Alison
– Amanda, Jake, Jo and Reed
– Michael, Jane, Kimberly, Sydney and Matt

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Melrose Place Season Two
(OUT OF 10)