MTV has taken some hits over the past few years for the channel's change in focus from music videos to reality television. However, the channel's reality programming has reached new lows recently with shows like "My Super Sweet 16" and "Yo Momma" (as for the later, nothing against star Wilmer Valderrama, but when a channel devotes entire half hours to "Yo Momma" jokes, it leads one to believe that they've run out of ideas.)
"Two-A-Days" doesn't turn its focus on something that we haven't seen before recently in films ("Varsity Blues", more recently in the film and TV versions of "Friday Night Lights"), but its look at Hoover - a small town in Alabama whose entire focus (we see stores close up as everyone heads to the game) is on the local football team - is honest, occasionally tough and usually, pretty engaging.
"Two-A-Days" (named because players have to go through intense practices both before and after school) focuses on Alex, Ross, Max, "Repete", Goose and other members of the team, who have to constantly deal with pressures from all sides: their grades have to stay up, they have to try to make time for a social life with their girlfriends and also, face demanding parents. Beyond all that, their coaches - Rush, Terry and Jeremy - are willing to let them know in no uncertain terms when they're screwing up on the field.
The series is refreshing in that it's an MTV show that focuses on relatively normal, non-spoiled (money for college is a worry and not assured) kids working hard to try and succeed. Given the success of the Hoover football team, it is a favorite for college scouts, any of whom could be the one to offer these kids a scholarship. As the Hoover Buccaneers make their way towards the championships, some players are injured and quickly see their hopes fading.
A couple of the kids in focus on the show are a bit lacking in personality, but the fact that the show seems much less staged than most MTV reality fare does make up for it. It's also refreshing that, unlike some other MTV fare, the show is not wall-to-wall pop tunes and the editing isn't the usual MTV rapid-fire style.
Overall, "Two-A-Days" doesn't have much drama and the conflicts are fairly slight, but the series provides an engaging look at the players who give it their all on the field in the hopes that football will a stepping stone towards college and future success.
The set includes all 9 60-minute episodes, with "play all" options on each disc.
1 Kickoff 8/23/2006
- Alex tries to make time for his relationship with Kristin while also focusing on the team, who has a 23-game winning streak going.
2 Rivals 8/30/2006
- Alex tries to make-up with Kristin, but she's being comforted by another player on the team. The team then has to prepare for a game against cross-town rivals.
3 Any Given Friday 9/6/2006
- The team tries to impress visiting scouts, but it's an uphill battle, as they prepare to face off against a top rival.
4 Perseverance 9/13/2006
- Ross is sidelined with a concussion, while Kristin wonders if Alex will take her to Homecoming.
5 Homecoming Week 9/20/2006
- During Homecoming week, the girls take the field for a powder puff game and Alex and Kirstin get close to making up.
6 The Rematch 9/27/2006
- The team has made the playoffs, but "Repete"'s mouth gets them in trouble as they prepare to take on the one team that beat them.
7 Thanksgiving 10/4/2006
- Kirstin and Alex are at another crossroads as she leaves for Thanksgiving break.
8 One Last Game 10/11/2006
- The team makes it to the championship game.
9 What Next? 10/18/2006
- After the season ends, Alex faces a serious injury which make end his chances for an athletic scholarship.
VIDEO: "Two-A-Days" is presented by Paramount Home Entertainment in 1.33:1 full-frame. While not flawless, the presentation was generally terrific, with superb sharpness and detail throughout the show. Some minor shimmering and occasional slight artifacting are spotted, but the majority of the show looked crisp and clean, with no concerns. Colors remain bright and natural, with excellent saturation, no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack presents crisp, punchy music and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: MTV Overdrive featurettes that were previously available online. These featurettes, which run for a total of about 90 minutes, are largely promotional and heavily integrate clips from the show. They might interest fans once, but they are not likely something that will get a lot of repeat viewing. These featurettes are the only item on the third disc.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Two-A-Days" may not have as much personality as most reality shows, but it is refreshing to see a fairly toned-down show about real kids dealing with the same issues that many kids are dealing with today as they try to take the big step towards college and the future. The DVD set provides fine audio/video quality, but little in the way of extras. Recommended.