by Paula R. Stiles
Kripke, Eric, et al. Supernatural Season Two [DVD]. Burbank [CA]: Warner Bros., 2007. 903 min. US $59.98/CAN $74.98.
The massive cliffhanger at the end of season one has left Dean on life support in a hospital, with brother Sam and father John fighting each other on how to save him. The fallout from John’s solution turns Dean into an emotional mess and forces Sam to go searching for other psykids like him. This all comes together at the end of the season when Dean makes a terrible decision that will change his relationship with Sam forever.
Like season one, season two has six disks in dual-layer (single-side), widescreen format. The DVD is about an hour shorter due to budget cuts in season two, which forced episodes to be shorter than in season one (also expect the classic rock to start being toned down from this point onward). But the cinematography remains as dark as ever. This isn’t a show you’ll want to watch on a dark computer monitor or television with a fading tube.
Extras include three episode commentaries, cut scenes, an interactive U.S. road map of MOTWs called “The Devil’s Road Map”, Jared Padalecki’s (Sam) original screen test (Jensen Ackles’ (Dean) test for Sam, which he did first, has never surfaced), a documentary (“The Episode from Hell: The Making of ‘All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2′”), another gag reel, and another photo gallery. While it’s great to get so many commentaries, the flip side is fewer cut scenes and other features, so that Disks Four and Five have none at all. You also don’t get the easter eggs that you could find on the season one DVD from fooling around in the Special Features section on Disk Six.
The commentaries are for episodes “In My Time of Dying” with Director Kim Manners, Padalecki and Ackles; “What Is and What Should Never Be” with series creator Eric Kripke, who directed the episode; and “All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1” with Kripke, Director Robert Singer and Writer Sera Gamble. Of the three, “In My Time of Dying” is the best. It really demonstrates the easy-going synergy between Manners, Padalecki and Ackles as they geek out over everything ranging from camera shots and angles to Ackles’ wardrobe for the episode. No wonder Manners will be missed.
“What Is and What Should Never Be” is also good, with Kripke giving some very interesting insights into his choices for the episode, which is now a fan favourite. The one for “All Hell Breaks Loose” (which is really about the whole two-parter) and the documentary are rather forgettable, aside from some interesting discussion of how the crew settled on the B.C. ghost town that they picked for their location and how they managed the devil’s graveyard shots at the end of part two.
There are cut scenes for “In My Time of Dying”, “Bloodlust”, “The Usual Suspects”, and “Hunted”. Most worth checking out are those for “In My Time of Dying”, which show more of Dean’s wanderings around the hospital (including a scary sequence with a badly injured man). These scenes probably would have worked fine, but appear to have been cut mostly for considerations of time (though Manners indicated in his commentary that he didn’t feel the injured-man scenes were entirely necessary). It’s an interesting contrast with the cut scenes in season one’s “Home”, which were more graphic versions of Dean being shot and the stepmother being stabbed through the eye. In those cases, the less-graphic version was creepier. Just goes to show the power of suggestion. I think that the injured-man scenes in “In My Time of Dying” would have worked fine, but considering that they were extraneous to the plot (and over the allowed time limit), I can see why Manners ultimately decided they were unnecessary and left them on the cutting room floor.
The Road Map is fun, but a bit confusing to use (it’s very stuffed, even at this point in the show). Padalecki’s screen test is interesting for getting an idea of how he sold the showrunners on his approach to Sam, but it would have been nice to get Ackles’ as well for comparison (maybe that one didn’t survive). The gallery is good if you like concept drawings and the like, though not something I’d buy the DVD for.
And, of course, there’s the gag reel. This one is more sarcastic than season one’s, perhaps reflecting the exhaustion of the two leads or the much darker tone of season two. Still, it has its moments, especially an extended bit where Padalecki and Ackles snark at each other over recalcitrant props.
Those dissatisfied with the lack of English subtitles on the season one DVD will be happy to find that season two has subtitles for: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese (even some of the commentaries appear with Chinese versions), but again, not for other bonus material.
As with season one, most fans of the show will already have this or have plans to buy it, no persuasion necessary. For someone thinking of getting into the show, this is a good season to start with if you’re interested in Sam’s demon storyline. You definitely need at least the last few episodes to understand the dynamics of season three.
Want to buy the Supernatural Season Two DVD? Find it on Amazon.com. Please consider buying it via the link on our site.