I think one of the main reasons I was interested in reviewing the second season of "Martin" was to see how the series has held up over the years. In the years since, I've always remembered the series as a product of its time period - very 90's. "Martin", for those not familiar, was a series in the early days of Fox the show ran from 1992-1997) that starred popular stand-up comedian Martin Lawrence as Martin Payne, a radio show DJ on station WZUP.
The plot of the series isn't anything out of the ordinary. Martin hung out with pals like Cole (Carl Anthony Payne) and Tommy (Thomas Mikal Ford), as well as girlfriend Gina (Tisha Campbell). Conflict is provided in the form of Pam (Tichina Arnold), Gina's friend who hates Martin and serves as his nemesis.
Most episodes have Martin getting into trouble, whether professionally or personally with Gina. Despite boasting that he knows all about women, it's usually Gina who ends up teaching him a lesson or two and when Martin gets into trouble otherwise, he's usually faced with having to fast talk his way out of it.
It's Lawrence's rapid-fire delivery and often over-the-top physical comedy that powered the series, and the rest of the cast plays off of Lawrence's riffing quite nicely, especially Ford and Payne, whose somewhat more straightforward styles compliment Lawrence well. Although there were some rumors that Campbell and Lawrence didn't get along, it doesn't show on-screen, as the two have fine chemistry with one another and she stands up to his force-of-nature delivery well. Garrett Morris also gets some great lines as Martin's boss at the radio station. Lawrence also makes up some of the "supporting cast", playing several other characters, including Bob, Gina's oddball co-worker, and bizarre neighbor Sheneneh.
As for seeming "dated", the series does look its age, with sets and costumes that look their age. Otherwise, the series holds up fairly well, as the jokes still connect fairly often and Lawrence's performance manages to sell some of the bits that wouldn't have otherwise worked.
Highlights from this season include: "Do You Remember The Time?" (looking for a topic to discuss on his show, Gina comes up with the time they first met, and the group discuss their memories of the occasion), "Really, Gina is Not My Lover" (Gina has an allergic reaction and her face puffs up right before Martin's HS reunion, where he'd planned to show her off), "Control" (Gina loses Martin's basketball tickets and finds getting another pair tough when Sheneneh's willing to part with a pair of tickets - for a steep price), "Hollywood Swinging" (when he realizes his job is going nowhere, Martin heads to Hollywood in this 2-parter), "Holiday Blues" (Martin and Gina have a nightmare of a trip when Martin decides to take the bus instead of flying to see Gina's parents), "No Love Lost" (Snoop Dogg crashes Martin and Gina's engagement party and "Martin's on the Move" (Martin decides to pack it up and go off to find himself after not dealing well with the station's change to country music.)
28. 2- 1 22 Aug 93 Do You Remember The Time?
29. 2- 2 29 Aug 93 Really, Gina Is Not My Lover
30. 2- 3 5 Sep 93 Got To Be There
31. 2- 4 12 Sep 93 Beat It
32. 2- 5 19 Sep 93 Baby, It's You
33. 2- 6 26 Sep 93 Workin' Day & Night
34. 2- 7 3 Oct 93 Control
35. 2- 8 10 Oct 93 You've Got a Friend
36. 2- 9 17 Oct 93 To Kill a Talking Bird
37. 2-10 24 Oct 93 Fat Like Dat
38. 2-11 7 Nov 93 Hollywood Swinging (1)
39. 2-12 14 Nov 93 Hollywood Swinging (2)
40. 2-13 21 Nov 93 Thanks for Nothing
41. 2-14 12 Dec 93 Whoop There It Ain't
42. 2-15 19 Dec 93 Holiday Blues
43. 2-16 9 Jan 94 No Justice, No Peace
44. 2-17 16 Jan 94 Suspicious Minds
45. 2-18 6 Feb 94 Love is in Your Face (1)
46. 2-19 13 Feb 94 Love is in Your Face (2)
47. 2-20 20 Feb 94 Arms are for Hugging
48. 2-21 27 Feb 94 Guard Your Grill
49. 2-22 13 Mar 94 Yours, Mine and Ours
50. 2-23 27 Mar 94 I Don't Have the Heart
51. 2-24 17 Apr 94 Crunchy Drawers
52. 2-25 1 May 94 No Love Lost
53. 2-26 8 May 94 The Hoedown in Motown
54. 2-27 15 May 94 Martin's on the Move
VIDEO: "Martin" is presented by HBO Home Entertainment in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. The series is pure 90's and looks to have been shot on video, but the episodes look pretty good, considering. Sharpness and detail aren't exceptional, but at least the presentations appear crisp and in good shape, with no visible wear. There's some slight artifacting, but no edge enhancement or other issues. Colors appear bright and loud, with nice saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack boasts clear dialogue, music and a fairly loud laugh track.
Final Thoughts: "Martin"'s look seems stuck in the 90's, but the comedy still goes over well today, as Lawrence (especially in recent years) hasn't always been as funny as he is here. The DVD set doesn't offer any supplements, but audio/video quality is a bit better than one would expect. Recommended for fans.