"Two and a Half Men" has never demonstrated itself as a particularly original series over its now 11 season run, but the series has managed to be not only successful, but delightfully entertaining thanks to quality writing and acting. While the series should have called it a day after the cast change in the seventh season, it certainly is visibly trying to "make things work" with the new cast addition - the revamp even included changes to the set.
The series also benefited from its supporting players, such as Conchata Ferrell as no-nonsense housekeeper Berta and the wonderful Holland Taylor as Charlie and Alan's cold mother, who Charlie described as the devil. Melanie Lynskey, who left the show and came back, is also perfect as the neighbor who was obsessed with Charlie. There's a certain way that Lorre plays the characters off one another that gives the show a certain charm - the characters spend much of the time irritated with one another, but underneath the one-liners there's a sense that they do care about one another.
After the seventh season of the series (as many are well aware) star Charlie Sheen had something of a meltdown, verbally going after series creator Chuck Lorre and even going on a ridiculous tour. The catchphrase "Winning!" even had about 5 minutes of fame. Sheen soon decided to leave the series, which probably should have seen the show go out on a high note (creatively, not the high note of Sheen's meltdown.) Still, the decision was made to continue on, with Cryer coming back as Alan and Jones coming back in a somewhat lesser role as son Jake. Brought in to replace Sheen was Ashton Kutcher, playing a tech mogul with a broken heart.
It is more than a little difficult to get used to the significant shift in tone in the series, with Sheen's deadpan humor replaced by the more subdued and very different character Kutcher plays. While I've gotten used to Kutcher on the series and think the show still offers some good laughs at times, it's not the same dynamic as Cryer/Sheen/Jones, who were oil and water enough to be really entertaining playing off one another.
Lorre has said that the series has become "more mature", but its immaturity and the sleazy one-liner's of Sheen's character were a core part of the humor and fun. There was also the fact that the Cryer and Sheen characters were brothers - this time around, it's a little awkward and off with Alan (Cryer) trying to convince someone new to let him stay in the mansion after it's sold and the character's flaws have become a bit too pronounced. Kutcher/Cryer/Jones are supposed to become something of a "family unit", but it's just never entirely believable.
The 10th season of the series saw the show's long-time producer Lee Aronsohn leave the series, replaced by executive producers Don Reo and Jim Patterson. Jones also pulled something of a Sheen, going on a lengthy rant about how upset he had become about the material and being on the series. While he later apologized, the actor was seen less and less on the show. By season 11, he is now only a recurring character and has been essentially replaced by Amber Tamblyn, who portrays Jenny, the illegitimate, lesbian daughter of Charlie Harper. One supporting cast disappointment is Holland Taylor (Charlie/Alan's mother), who is only seen very briefly. I do like that they've figured out something for Rose (Lynskey) to do - namely, continue spying (er, "watching over") the main characters ("That's Not What They Call It In Amsterdam", where Walden meets Rose and Alan thinks she has her sights set on him.) Guest stars this season are a bit of a mixed bag, although Michael Bolton and Hilary Duff are entertaining.
Season 10 still sees more of the same from the new trio on the series, which isn't up to earlier seasons but still brings some good laughs at times. The finale, "Cows, Prepare for Tipping" is a highlight, as Jake and Alan have a sweet, funny father/son trip to the Grand Canyon after Jake finds out that he is going to be stationed in Japan. "That's Not What They Call It in Amsterdam" is certainly a highlight, as Lynskey continues to make her stalker-ish character sweet and charming. "A Big Bag of Dog" (after breaking up with Zoey, Walden has a breakdown) also entertains, as does "Ferrets, Attack", where Rose is not entirely understanding about Walden wanting to possibly get back with Zoey.
"Two and a Half" isn't what it was, but the series does really seem to be trying to make things work with Kutcher in the role.
202 10-01 27/Sep/12 I Changed My Mind About the Milk
203 10-02 04/Oct/12 A Big Bag of Dog
204 10-03 11/Oct/12 Four Balls, Two Bats and One Mitt
205 10-04 18/Oct/12 You Do Know What The Lollipop Is For
206 10-05 25/Oct/12 That's Not What They Call It In Amsterdam
207 10-06 01/Nov/12 Ferrets, Attack!
208 10-07 08/Nov/12 Avoid the Chinese Mustard
209 10-08 15/Nov/12 Something My Gynecologist Said
210 10-09 29/Nov/12 I Scream When I Pee
211 10-10 06/Dec/12 One Nut Johnson
212 10-11 13/Dec/12 Give Santa A Tail-Hole
213 10-12 03/Jan/13 Welcome to Alancrest
214 10-13 10/Jan/13 Grab A Feather And Get In Line
215 10-14 31/Jan/13 Run, Steven Staven! Run!
216 10-15 07/Feb/13 Paint It, Pierce It or Plug It
217 10-16 14/Feb/13 Advantage: Fat, Flying Baby
218 10-17 21/Feb/13 Throgwarten Middle School Mysteries
219 10-18 07/Mar/13 The 9:04 From Pemberton
220 10-19 14/Mar/13 Big Episode. Someone Stole A Spoon
221 10-20 04/Apr/13 Bazinga! That's From A TV Show
222 10-21 25/Apr/13 Another Night With Neil Diamond
223 10-22 02/May/13 My Bodacious Vidalia
224 10-23 09/May/13 Cows, Prepare To Be Tipped
Video/Audio: "Two and a Half Men" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Picture quality can seem rather inconsistent, but even the lesser moments still look very good for a TV show. Sharpness and detail were often a bit better than basic broadcast quality, but the picture could look softer at times. Mild noise was also visible in some scenes, as well. No edge enhancement was seen, nor were any instances of wear spotted. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. At worst, the picture looks around broadcast quality, but it often stayed a bit above that level.
SOUND: The show is offered with a stereo soundtrack that offers a fairly basic presentation, but good audio quality.
Extras: Gag reel and featurette on a musical number this season.
Final Thoughts: "Two and a Half" isn't what it was, but the series does really seem to be trying to make things work with Kutcher in the role. There are some amusing episodes throughout this season and the cast seems more comfortable. The DVD offers very nice audio/video quality, but next-to-no supplements. Recommended for fans.