I will be reviewing the three-disc set of "Sex and the City" disc-by-disc to keep the reviews readable and organized. The discs are not available separately, just as a set.
The episodes on disc three are:
* Episode 25: "Games People Play"
Written by Jenny Bicks; Directed by Michael Spiller
Notes: Carrie finds herself seeing a shrink after her friends are tired of hearing about her ex; do people need to play games to make a relationship work?
* Episode 26: "The F--- Buddy"
Written by Darren Star; Directed by Alan Taylor
Notes: The girls wonder if they're really dating the same person over and over.
* Episode 27: "Shortcomings"
Written by Terri Minsky; Directed by Dan Algrant
Notes: Carrie dates a writer and finds herself involved with her whole family.
* Episode 28: "Was It Good For You?"
Written by Michael Patrick King; Directed by Dan Algrant
Notes: Carrie dates an alcoholic and wonders if she's a substitute.
* Episode 29: "Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women"
Written and Directed by Darren Star
Notes: Carrie and the girls take a vacation in the Hamptons; she discovers that Mr. Big is dating a new woman named Natasha.
* Episode 30: "Ex and the City"
Written and Directed by Michael Patrick King
Notes: Carrie wonders is she can be friends as Mr. Big is now engaged to another woman.
I have to say that I'd never really been that much of a fan of "Sex and the City" on cable; having to review the first season on DVD, the episodes were smart, funny and well-acted, but I didn't really feel that it was quite groundbreaking. Even watching the early episodes of this second season shows that the series has changed for the better. Still focusing on the sexploits and adventures of Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Samantha (Kim Catrall), these episodes not only are even more sharply written, but they seem to give the characters even more detail and personality. The actresses have also gotten further into their characters. I really enjoyed watching the entire second season and look forward to future DVDs of the series.
The only problem that I had with the way that the series was presented was that there are no chapter stops within the epsiodes - hit "skip forward" and the show's over and back to the menu.
VIDEO: The first season of "Sex and the City" was presented in full-frame, but received complaints due to an inconsistent looking presentation from episode-to-episode, with some of the shows looking grainy and showing some additional problems. This second season still does show some flaws, but in comparison, the picture looks better overall.
The picture is still full_frame, but sharpness and detail look quite solid. Even the darker scenes on the streets of NYC seemed crisp and well-defined. The daylight scenes looked excellent - there was a very good level of depth to the image at times. Still, I saw some problems. A little bit of grain and a couple of slight traces of pixelation appeared during these third disc episodes, but these episodes seemed to be the least problematic.
Colors looked terrific, especially during the daylight scenes on the NYC streets - colors looked bold, natural and bright, capturing the wide color palette that's always a part of any big city.
SOUND: The episodes are presented in Dolby Surround. Although the episodes aren't particularly active, I was at least pleased with how the 2.0 presentation sounded. Although the focus remains dialogue & music, at least the ambient sounds of the city are captured well during all of the outdoor sequences. Dialogue and Parker's voiceover are both well-captured and clean.
MENUS:: Similar to the menus for the season one discs, there are animated main menus with film-themed images. There is a separate menu that has text information about the episode. You can also watch a preview of that particular episode - while you are watching the episode, you can hit enter and start the show.
EXTRAS:: Featurette, season 1/2 spot, previews of episodes, web-link.
Final Thoughts: I generally liked what HBO has done again here with the second edition of "Sex". The image quality still shows some minor flaws, but less frequently than the first season discs did. I still would like more in the way of features - a commentary from the four stars would certainly provide a lot of gossip - but, the price is right for the three-disc set. I liked this second season more; although the episodes on the second disc were a bit more dramatic overall, the comedy of one and third were very entertaining. Recommended.