The Second Season
3rd Rock From the Sun is one of the richest and hilarious television comedies to air. The series first aired in 1996 and lasted for a total of six seasons. The show molds science fiction into a sitcom and the results are a blast. A team of aliens from Mars take on human form in Rutherford, Ohio and integrate themselves into the local populace. Their goal is to learn everything they can about humans in a couple of days. Of course, it turns out humans are much more complex than expected and the team of aliens decide to stay a while longer. The strongest aspect of this show is its cast. They are remarkable together. Within minutes of any episode, it is apparent how well they interact and play off of each other. The show's writing is also top notch and delivers one great joke after another. For more details about this series and its cast, please refer to my review of the first season.
I had a lot of fun watching season one and I'm wasn't really surprised I had an even better time with season two. All of the actors and actresses give stunning performances. The season two writing is clever, witty, and most importantly, funny. I think Lithgow says it best in the interview featurette included as an extra with this set. He makes a couple of comments regarding just how good the show was and his evidence is the cast, the writing, and the unique and very absurd situations they were allowed to get away with. And the truth is that Lithgow was right on every level. 3rd Rock From the Sun is one hell of a funny show and this second season speaks wonders.
The second season picks up where the first season ended. In "See Dick Run - Part I", the season one finale, Dick was replaced by Evil Dick after the Big Giant Head decided he was failing his duties as high commander. The second season concludes the story with "See Dick Continue to Run - Part II" and "See Dick Continue to Run, Continued - Part III". In this three part episode Lithgow gives a stellar performance playing both his normal character and an evil diabolic version of himself. There are also some stunning performances with Lithgow and Stewart doing physical comedy. These episodes set a great tone for the rest of the season.
The episode "World's Greatest Dick" is perhaps the funniest this season has to offer. Sally goes into a gay bar and meets a really great guy named Glenn. Unfortunately, he thinks Sally is a man. Of course it takes her the entire episode to realize what's going on in his mind. What makes this funny is not that it takes the common stereotypical gay guy, but rather that Sally as an alien doesn't understand the stereotype. She just thinks Glenn is the perfect guy. "Proud Dick" is another episode that will leave you chuckling. As we've come to know the high commander, he's a bit of an egotist. In this episode Mary gets a better parking space and Dick is furious he didn't get it. So he goes to the university president and quits his job over the matter. Dick ends up working at a fast food joint. What makes this a funny episode is simply how Dick carries himself and the way the other cast members respond to his situation. Another fun part about this episode is getting to see Harry in a different light. He hits his head and undergoes amnesia. After spending some time with the family, he begins to believe the world is being taken over by aliens.
The two holiday episodes, "Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick" and "Jolly Old St. Dick", which respectively cover Thanksgiving and Christmas are also worth noting. The Solomon family having arrived on Earth in January, they haven't experienced America's two biggest holidays. Their inexperience makes both of these episodes a riot. In the Thanksgiving episode, Sally rushes home after going to the grocery store on Thanksgiving. Now think about the last minute crowds at the grocery, grabbing up turkeys, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and just about everything imaginable. So naturally when Sally runs into these crowds, she thinks something bad is on the horizon, like the end of the world. Of course the Solomon's find out what is really going on and trying to keep their human facade going, invite Mary, Mrs. Dubcek and her daughter over for an authentic Thanksgiving dinner. The Christmas episode is also full of laughs. They all learn what the Christmas spirit is all about, which includes the truth about old Saint Nick. I'm not sure if there is anything quite as funny as a grown man, err... Harry, learning that Santa isn't real.
The remaining season episodes are a blast. Our friend Wayne Knight best known for his role as Newman in Seinfeld appears in his reoccurring role as Don Orville, the cop who make san odd match for the beautiful Sally. He shows up in a number of episodes and the ridiculous and overzealous way he handles his character makes him a perfect match for the rest of the cast. This season also has a couple of big names as guests. In "Hotel Dick", the Solomon's go to a science-fiction movie about killer aliens and fear the general public has the wrong idea about them. In order to get the good word out, they go to a science fiction convention, where George Takei from Star Trek: The Original Series guest stars. In "Fifteen Minutes of Dick", Sally punches out Star Wars' Mark Hamill and becomes a local celebrity in Rutherford. The amount of attention she receives leaves Dick jealous beyond belief. In both episodes Hamill and Takei are portrayed in "I'm a washed up actor striving for attention" and damn it's funny.
Some other fun things that happen in this season include Sally coming to terms with being a virgin, Harry is pushed into running for city council, Dick learns what being a sports fanatic is like, Dick takes a sensitivity class, Dick tries to replace Nina with Harry, Harry gets a girlfriend, Tommy falls for glee club teacher, Sally finds out what it's like to be a mother, Mary and Dick take the next step in their relationship, and plenty more. Overall this season promises to deliver even funnier and racier content than the first season. I repeatedly found myself laughing hysterical until it hurt and then rewinding the last scene to laugh just as hard again. Season two of 3rd Rock From the Sun is a must buy.
1. See Dick Continue to Run - Part II
2. See Dick Continue to Run - Part III
3. Hotel Dick
4. Big Angry Virgin From Outer Space
5. Much Ado About Dick
6. Dick The Vote
7. Fourth And Dick
8. World's Greatest Dick
9. My Mother The Alien
10. Gobble, Gobble, Dick Dick
11. Dick Jokes
12. Jolly Old St. Dick
13. Proud Dick
14. Romeo, Juliet & Dick
15. Guilty As Dick
16. A Dick On One Knee
17. Same Old Song And Dick
18. I Brake For Dick
19. Dick Behaving Badly
21. Sensitive Dick
22. Will Work For Dick
23. Fifteen Minutes Of Dick
24. Dick And The Single Girl
25. Nightmare On Dick Street - Part I
26. Nightmare On Dick Street - Part II
This DVD box set comes with 4 discs in a standard cardboard foldout case. The outer cardboard shell has a pressure sensor that when activated plays a message with Dick's voice. Each disc comes with a play all command and also allows you to access the episodes individually. If you do access the episodes individually, you can read an episode synopsis and even watch an optional 32 second preview before playing the actual episode.
The video format is given in its original aspect ratio 1.33:1 full frame color. The overall quality is fairly good. There are some noticeable of compression artifacts and ghosting during heavy movement. In addition there is also a slight roughness in the picture as a result of edge enhancement. As for colors, the picture tends to represent them well. However darker tones tend to highlight the picture's imperfections. Overall, while not outstanding, the visual representation is still quite good.
The audio track is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The sound quality is good and like most TV on DVD releases, it is dialogue driven and incorporates a laugh track during the funnier moments. The laugh track does not interfere with the audibility of spoken dialogue. As for channel separation, there is very little distinction between left and right channels, but on occasion a sound effect will utilize it.
The extras included are a lot like the first season. I was hoping for some episode commentaries with Lithgow, Stewart, etc., but there are none. Instead we have several featurettes.
The first is "John Lithgow Interview", which runs for almost ten minutes. In this candid interview, Lithgow talks about the show's characters, how he got involved with 3rd Rock, season two, physical comedy, the writing, and various generalities about the series. The interview also has several clips from season two that accent the topic at hand.
Next we have "Season Two Highlights", which is a montage of clips from season two and it runs for a little over ten minutes. There are a lot of good punchlines included. "Season Two Bloopers" has ten minutes of mistakes and goofs.
The last two extras are behind the scenes and bloopers for "Nightmare On Dick Street". The behind the scenes featurette is three and a half minutes of the cast and crew talking about the episode and the bloopers contains almost three minutes of additional goofs not included in the other bloopers reel.
There is also a pair of 3D glasses for the 3D two-part season finale and a 16 page booklet that has excerpts from 3rd Rock From the Sun - The Official Report on Earth by High Commander Dick Solomon and episode synopsis's. Overall the extras are worth sitting through and highlights and bloopers are funny enough that they have some replay value.
What can I say? 3rd Rock From the Sun makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. The first season got off to a great start and this second season continues with episodes that are hilarious, riveting, amusing, ridiculous, and just a lot of fun. The characters are all handled extremely well in how they interact with each other, deliver dialogue, and use body language to the fullest. This season should make you laugh, cry, and leave you wanting more. Highly recommended.