The Golden Girls return for a second season, and while the actresses are all more comfortable in the way their characters have developed, overall, it's not as strong a season as the first.
This time around, Blanche hits menopause, Rose's daughter and Dorothy's son hook up, and the Girls share the first of only 2 Christmas episodes they'd have together in their long run. There are TWO faux-flashback episodes (new footage is filmed and presented in flashback form). Dorothy's daughter Kate, who was married in one of the first episodes of the series, comes back, played by a different actress, as does Blanche's Big Daddy, played by a different actor. There are a good number of recognizable faces in cameos and guest appearances: Burt Reynolds, Paul Rodriguez, a young George Clooney, and Nancy Walker as Sophia's sister.
It's nice to finally see individual seasons clustered together instead of in one continuous, mixed up order on Lifetime. It's easier to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each this way. While season two includes a couple of my all-time favorites, including the episode when Dorothy's lesbian friend visits, and the episode in which Rose thinks she killed a neighbor, there isn't much development of the characters lives and relationships yet, as in later seasons. There is however, more of the primetime line-crossing the show would continue to do during its run.
My biggest disappointment with this season is the final episode. It's basically a prototype for what would become the sitcom Empty Nest a few years later. It uses the characters of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia to introduce new characters, who then become the focus of the remainder of the episode. So, we suffer through what is basically a pilot starring Rita Moreno, who is admittedly coping with "empty nest syndrome." She and her husband, a doctor, live in the same set that would become Dr. Harry Weston's home, and even have a familiar face as their obnoxious neighbor. Good thing the show was rethought and revamped, because this was guaranteed to flop.
One last negative to make note of…I was shocked at the amount of times the boom mike got caught on camera this season. Having said all that, we are treated to the full versions of each episode, not the syndicated episodes. Also, there are still some classic, funny, groundbreaking TV moments, and every fan of the Girls will want to pick this set up.
Full frame presentation as originally shown on TV. The picture looks much better than season 1, with rich color, a sharper image and none of the noticeable grain from the first season. However, there is one BIG issue that may have to do with the source material. Episode 5 on Disc 3 suffers from HUGE tint shifts during scene changes. It goes from natural skin tones to a pale yellow in the blink of an eye, beginning half way through the episode and carrying on until the end.
2.0 mono that does its job. Sound is clean, crisp and clear.
You have the option to "play all" on each disc, or choose an episode. There are no in-episode chapter breaks. You can also turn on captions for the hearing impaired. The only extra, on disc 1, is a trivia challenge. Unfortunately, any fan of the show could have written better questions. You are presented with a clip from the show, told to watch closely, then asked a multiple choice question. It's either something specific about the clip, or something ridiculous like, "how many senior citizens are currently in prison?" I played the game through twice—and all they did was change the order of the ten clips and questions. But, to be optimistic, it's still better than having a repeat performance by Joan Rivers and her daughter from the season 1 set.
The Golden Girls: Complete Season 2 DVD features some more groundbreaking jokes, a couple of guest appearances, a few standout episodes, and an uninspired trivia game. It's not as funny as season one, but is still a must have for Golden Girls fans.