Californication: The Second Season (2008)

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama
Paramount || NR - 336 minutes - $42.99 || August 25, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-09-07


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Tom Kapinos (creator)
Cast: David Duchovny, Natascha McElhone


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Episode Commentary
  • Featurette
  • Interviews
  • Biographies
  • Photo Gallery


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Surround 5.1), English (Stereo 2.0), Spanish (Mono 1.0)
  • Subtitles: None

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.::THE FILM::.

Spoilers will follow, so to anyone who has yet to see the first season or doesn’t want to have anything ruined from the past one, then I suggest you skip reading the summary of the second season right now. Instead, I will tell you that the second season isn’t as good as the first one, but still has the comedic charm and hilarity that the previous did. Anyways, let’s get onto what’s going on now in the world of “Californication”.

When we last left Hank Moody (David Duchovny), his lover Karen (Natascha McElhone) who is also the mother of their daughter Becca (Madeleine Martin) was getting hitched to some jerk that Moody always hated. However, much to his surprise, at the end of the ceremony Karen jumped in his car and the couple rode off together into the sunset, which is exactly where we begin the journey yet again of the sexually precocious Moody, the always careful Karen, and the emo Becca.

Since Moody’s book was stolen by Mia (Madeline Zima), he has nothing really to go on right now and is pretty bummed about it. Mia for some reason is still around though, as her father abandoned her after finding out more about the book from the previous season. She’s still hanging around causing trouble, although nowhere near as much as the previous season for the family. Moody and Karen go out to a party one night and the couple decides to reunite through some, well, sexual ways, but it ends up going awry. Moody accidentally performs something on another girl, who happens to be the host of the party Lew Ashby’s (Callum Keith Rennie) chick and earns him a hilarious nickname that follows him through several episodes. The just recently back together couple is now fighting yet again, and on the way home Moody gets into a fight with a cop and ends up going to jail. While there though, he runs into Ashby yet again, and he asks Moody to write a book about him, his drug-addicted days, and the ex that he’s still in love with. It sounds more like Moody’s book than Ashby, but the two become great friends over the ordeal.

Elsewhere, Charlie (Evan Handler) and wife Marcy (Pamela Adlon) are back together after his stint with the goth secretary. The problem lies within their giant coke habit that is splitting them apart every day. Not only that, but Charlie befriends an up-and-coming porn star named daisy (Carla Gallo) and sinks all of their savings into a porn movie that will make her the next big thing. The problem, yet again, for the couple is money. It turns out that Marcy has blown all of their savings on coke, and is whisked away to rehab to clean up her habit. Daisy and Charlie fall in love, but the season doesn’t end on a good note for the couple or the porn star.

Moody and Ashby continue to bond as the season progresses, and we get reintroduced to some of his ex-girlfriends who have emerged for random reasons. For example, the girl who stole everything from Moody’s apartment makes two cameos, and in all honesty, I’ve been hoping that’s the girl he ends up with in the end. We all knew that Karen and Hank wouldn’t be together at the very end of the show, and this season just proves it. No matter how hard they try, Hank is always addicted to trouble, and no matter how much he tries to avoid it, it still happens to him.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

DISC 1

Commentary by Pamela Adlon: Adlon has one of the world’s worst voices to do a commentary on, and boy does it show. I literally had to turn this off after about five minutes of her mindlessly babbling about the cast. How on earth was she selected to do this? Thankfully though, she only does it for one episode.

DISC 2

Marcie’s Waxing Salon (3 minutes): The salon from the show is shown, with more talking, sadly, from Adlon. For fans of waxing, enjoy. To the other 99.99 percent of readers, skip.

Interviews (19 minutes) with David Duchovny, Natascha McElhone, Pamela Adlon, Madeline Zima, and Evan Handler: This is a great segment devoted to fans of the series as the cast gets asked questions about their characters and about other plot holes from this season. The cast isn’t that all excited to talk, as most are pretty mundane and monotone, but it’s informational so I suggest a watch if you get the chance.

There are also some additional features you can get on your PC by putting the discs in, such as the first episodes of “The United States of Tara” and “The Tudors,” as well as Biographies and Photo Galleries.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Since I have Showtime in HD, by comparison this doesn’t look all that great. Colors are drowned and are nowhere near as bright and vibrant as they were in HD. There’s also major contrast issues (that the first season suffered from as well) during the dark scenes, as the black levels clearly aren’t proper or how they should look. I was heavily disappointed as well with the flesh tones of the characters, as at some points they were slightly awash compared to other scenes or episodes. The show does have great backgrounds, especially during the final few episodes when it’s primarily in an outdoor environment, so all is not lost on this transfer. Despite my gripes, it still looks decent for a DVD release.

The audio fares evenly with the video, as the Dolby Digital 5.1 track doesn’t exactly “wow” listeners but also never falters. Dialogue is crisp and clear for the most part, and I only struggled to hear the characters in a few lines throughout the series. That’s a huge plus, as most of the time I struggle for most television shows to understand the dialogue or hear what’s going on. There was however a few issues with this being a 5.1 track, as in all honesty I never remember my surrounds being used more than a handful of times. It’s nothing bad, as I don’t expect them to be used for a drama/comedy television show, but it would have been decent to use them just a smidge more.



.::OVERALL::.

“Californication” is about to start its third season, but I’m not looking forward to it as much after watching Season 2. The show definitely took a different turn, and the direction the plot went just didn’t appeal to me as much as Season 1. This season was too befuddled with the addition of too many new characters and boring plot lines. The special features aren’t the best, with only a single commentary and some other throw-away features. The video and audio are average as well, since the show looks better in HD on Showtime than it does on DVD. Where’s the high-def release? I’d suggest a rental before purchasing this into your collection as this is one season to tread lightly towards.