'Happy Days - The Complete Second Season'
(Scott Baio, Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (1974) 2007 / Paramount)
Overview: Richie Cunningham and his friend Potsie face life at Jefferson High in Milwaukee Wisconsin in the 1950s. Originally fifth-billed Fonzie moved up steadily, finally into first billing in 1980, as the thumbs-up, "Heyyy!" biker increased his own and show's popularity. Lots of changes over time as kids come and go, new series spin off, Richie and pals go to college then the army. Even marriage.
DVD Verdict: I'm sorry, but this HAS to be said: The magic of the first two seasons of 'Happy Days' was the opening of "Rock Around The Clock" and all the great rock and roll songs of the fifties. Season 2 has been totally altered and the excitement is lost. Shame on Paramount for dumping the great music in favor of generic instrumentals. What an injustice to a great TV show.
Why mess with something as sacred as the Fonz and his music?! They shelled out the music royalties for season one, why not here? It really is a crime though because these shows were some of the best on television ever, both funny and also full of heart, very human. Removing the original background music, as Paramount chose to do, destroys the whole feel of the show.
The music was very critical in creating the atmosphere and emotion of the show. In another really cool move, Paramount also replaced the opening theme song "Rock Around The Clock" with the later, very lame, "Happy Days" song used from the third season on. The theme song change seems very weird and stupid when you have been used to hearing and seeing it the other way for thirty years. The images just don't go with the music. They also changed the closing credits, removing all the music titles and replacing the images you remember, most notably the family eating dinner, with the picture of a jukebox used in much later episodes.
The video quality for the first episode of the season is awful and the fact that it's out of sequence just makes it even worse. Granted, it may have aired this way, but why not correct the sequence on the DVD? In addition, this is also a very stripped down bare-to-the-bones release. You won't find any extras here, not even closed captioning. Not a very nice way to treat the hearing impaired 'Happy Days' fan. There are also very long blank pauses where the commercials were, which seems totally ridiculous. Paramount didn't spend one penny more then they had to on these discs. This DVD set is truly a disappointment, especially after the excellent job they did with Season 1. This will definitely not get an "Ayyyy" from the Fonz. When he sees what Paramount has done to his Happy Days he is probably going to want to "pound" these nerds!
Oh yeah, and as for this Second Season rundown, well, the stories themselves rate 5 stars, as do Potsie and Ralph. Some say they are the last great run of quality episodes until they went live. When they went live in the third season, the actors hammed it up and had to practically shout so the audience could hear them; overacting was abundant as well. But this season and the first are the best, where the stories and acting were believable, funny and relevant to the times. Also, you get to drool over Richie's girlfriends: Arlene (Laurette Spang) and Gloria (Linda Purl) ... hubba hubba!
This season also has the "new" Chuck, Randolph Roberts. He ain't as good as Chuck #1, (Gavan O'Herlihy) but he still does a decent job before the character of Chuck disappeared into the Twilight Zone for the remainder of the series. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but does not come with any Special Features.