Cleveland Show, The: Season 2 (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus catches up with an old friend in Cleveland's second season on DVD...
The second season of the Family Guy spin off with the ever loving Cleveland Brown and his new family arrives (or is that arrived? I got these review discs a bit after the release date - so apologies for the delay) with more songs, more guest stars and more of the Seth MacFarlane humour that seems to be going from strength to strength.
I'll admit right here, despite enjoying what I saw of season one of The Cleveland Show, this animated series fell by the wayside for me. It just sort of dropped out of my TV watching schedule and over the last two seasons I've only caught a handful of episodes, so catching up with it here with this boxset was a nice way of seeing how the spin off was faring.
Out of the MacFarlane empire, it's always been Family Guy that I've stuck to. Sure I like American Dad, even though I've not really stuck religiously to that either but I think I'm one of the few that feels Family Guy has gotten better (or at very least stayed consistent) as opposed to worse, which seems to be against what the general consensus feel about the Griffins. Anyway, The Cleveland Show falls into a close third place ranking when it comes to MacFarlane's animated projects, even though I like Cleveland as a character more than most of the American Dad clan. It's not that the show is badly put together, far from it, it's just a touch too familiar in its set up and even though it's very easy to label it 'The Black Family Guy', the show does very little to avoid that label.
That said this second season has more than its fair share of moments that I found funnier than a lot of what was in the last couple of Family Guy boxsets, even if it's not quite as consistent as its big brother. The Kanye (or Kenny) West episode was a very strong opener and much of the more risqué jokes across the season very much fed my appetite for MacFarlane's sense of humour. What I do really like about the show now is that it seems a lot quicker in its plot structures. We pretty much hit the ground running now, rather than taking time to find this week's spin and it works well for the pace of the show as a whole, enabling a lot more gags and less set up to get to them.
Well there's not much to say about this bright, crisp and generally great looking modern animated show. Those who get Family Guy or American Dad, know what they're in for. Colours are bold and bright, edges are nice and sharp and other than a Blu-ray release, there's not much more a DVD is going to be able to do better. Every episode looks great in its widescreen presentation - something that felt even better as I'd just been watching some of my latest Simpsons Blu-ray boxset not long before viewing this which is still in old washy 4:3 - and all in all The Cleveland Show does all it needs to in order to impress in the video department.
This Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn't out to blow us away. It's got good strong dialogue, great speaker filling musical numbers and the odd sound effect that comes with a surprising bit of thump but really this keeps it simple, with a front heavy mix that keeps it TV show simple.
So not to get repetitive, I'll try to keep this a broad overview of what this boxset has to offer as a lot of it is quite similar. Each episode across the four discs comes with at least one of the following extras: 'Commentary', 'Deleted Scenes' or an 'Original Televised Version' of the episode. Most of the time it's just a deleted scenes reel (all of which are finished animation) but the five commentary tracks on selected episodes across the boxset are a whole lot of fun with the creators (and even Robert Rodriguez on his episode) having a good time and chuckling their way through most of the tracks.
The meat and potatoes of the extras are on disc four and that starts with 'Cleveland Jr's Worry Journal' (01:29) showing all of the character's worries in a book, all of which are hilarious.
'Guest Star Showcase' (15:22) starts as a mini making of, or at least a 'what's happened since season 1 finished' overview but soon heads into a thorough look into the show's famous faces that popped up this season (including Kayne West, Justin Timberlake, Will.I.Am, and Robert Rodriguez).
'Hot Cocoa Bang Bang' (01:03) is the blaxplotation trailer featured in one of the episodes. 'Cleveland at Comic Con 2010' (31:03) has the cast and crew at the convention and we get them doing a read through of an episode for the crowd. That stuff is always fun to watch.
As I mentioned before, the 'Hot Cocoa Bang Bang' commentary features Robert Rodriguez on the track and 'Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School With Mike Henry' (21:44) has three film students popping questions to Mike Henry, covering his career and his path to The Cleveland show.
The Cleveland Show Season Two is a whole lot of fun. It's certainly not as addictive as its friend over in Quahog and sometimes the plots can feel a little tired but when it's working The Cleveland Show is a funny 22 odd minutes with its crude sense of humour, playful routes to being offensive and a cast of characters that are very easy to like. The disc falls into familiar territory with the same style of features and disc designs as Family Guy and video and audio presentations that are all put together the same way as well. All in all it's a good boxset for the fans and anyone wanting to give the spin off show a spin, this season is a good indicator of the show's strengths (and weaknesses).
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 30th January 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Extras: Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Original Televised Episodes, Featurettes,
Easter Egg: No
Cast: Mike Henry, Sanaa Lathan, Kevin Michael Richardson, Seth MacFarlane, Jason Sudeikis,
Genre: Animation and Comedy
Length: 480 minutes
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