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  • 2 Audio commentary - The Kiss, Parental Discretion Advised
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Dawson's Creek - The Complete Second Season

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 925 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

When this season was originally aired, this reviewer was still in high school and enjoyed the Thursday night line-up of Dawson. Now, some years later, with the protective coating thankfully lifted, this reviewer can see into this series a little more. And boy, the second time round it's hard to watch!

While the series contains themes relevant to this reviewer’s life, it still was far too slow to take off, resulting in several hundred minutes of my life that can never be salvaged. Even this relevance made the journey rather painful and unsatisfying. Maybe it’s because this guy has now “been there, done that” and the relevance is lessened, but this series just really missed the mark. The end of the season, however, did flow a little more nicely, even if it was rather unbelievable, yet the biggest problem was provided by the fact that one episode creates a cliffhanger and the following episode just fails to fulfil. Nearly 21 here (scarily the same age as Holmes portraying a 15 year old, but that’s another story), this reviewer’s television series tastes have matured somewhat, like the first series of The Secret Life of Us. Note, the keyword there is ‘first’. Plus, would you rather hear “Daaaahwrsahn” or “mate” in your relaxation time? Yep, thought so.

Boreson Leery is a Spielberg wannabe who lives in a small town, Capeside, outside of Boston. He has a forehead the size of a drive-in movie screen, and looks like he has been hit over the head with an ugly stick, not to mention the biggest thesaurus and psychological analysis book the world has ever known with no degree required. Across the creek is his best friend Joey, played by Katie Holmes who adds depth and realism to her role, making hers a character you can actually feel for. They have been friends for years, but now Boreson is growing a bulge and Joey is growing a pair of bulges, and their friendship changed dramatically at the conclusion of Season One. Pacey is Boreson’s other best friend, and is known as the dropkick failure. He just can’t get anywhere and is slickly pervasive with his actions. Last season we met Jen, a wild-child from New York who stirred the pot in Capeside and had a brief fling with Boreson, but, quite honestly, there are much better men in Capeside than Boreson. Shudder...

This season we are introduced to Andy and Jack McPhee, two newcomers to Capeside who add another dimension to the awkward foursome developed in Season One.

OK here we go, this is Season Two – 22 episodes of immense-worded, self-infatuated, systematically diagnostic adolescents who just need to remember that they are only 15, and using simple language is OK, not to mention keeping ones hands to ones self. At that age at least. Be warned, the following synopses do contain severe major plot spoilers, so if you want to enjoy it the first time round, just skip down to the Video component of the review.

201: The Kiss
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Ali Larter
Director: David Semel
Ah yes, rewind back to episode 13 of Season One... Boreson and Joey got it on. Well, they started to before the censors went to a silhouette and then faded out. Yeah, they’re no fun. Anyhoo, not that we’d want to see Boreson and Joey naked *shudder*. Ahem, on with The Kiss. Well, being over-analytical, like most (huh?) teenagers are, Joey and Boreson are found in an awkward position with the inevitable second kiss. Meanwhile, Pacey has some fun in his dad’s car and scares Andie McPhee, played by Meredith Monroe, when he pretends to be a police officer when he runs into her car by pulling out without looking. This is when the two meet, and then later in this episode the truth is discovered as the pair meet at Capeside High. And, in the background, Gale finds out that Mitch has gone to see a divorce attorney behind her back.

202: Crossroads
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Monica Keena
Director: Dennie Gordon
With Boreson and Joey totally self obsessed, Jen is starting to feel left out, and is taken under the wing of Abby Morgan, the bitch of Capeside. Boreson steals a look at Joey’s diary and finds a rather honest entry, but his lack of privacy towards Joey doesn’t go unnoticed. Jack, Andie’s brother, is given a job at the Ice House. To add a comic tone to the episode, Boreson’s parents are becoming concerned with his sexual awakening. Who would blame them – he is 15 after all. This day, however, is Pacey’s 16th birthday, and after failing his driving exam, Boreson, his best friend, is so absorbed in his dilemma with Joey that he totally ignores every hint. Adding a splash of the millennium fever is the topic of an open relationship between Gale and Mitch – something ever so relevant for today’s age, but, in this reviewer’s opinion, it does portray a rather promiscuous attitude to young people. But anyway...

203: Alternate Lifestyles
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Monica Keena, Tamara Taylor, Leann Hunley
Direcctor: David Semel
For an economics assignment, the class are split up and given a scenario with which to work. Jen and Boreson become a married couple, along with Andie and Pacey, with Joey as a single mother. Ironic, huh? During the project, Pacey finds out more about Andie’s medical history, Abby encourages Jen to make a move on Boreson and Joey is given inspiration to go on knowing that even a single career woman can make it big.

204: Tamara’s Return
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Monica Keena, Leann Hunley, Joe Flanigan, Tamara Taylor
Director: Jesús Treviño
Joey’s new found passion for art is shared with Ice House colleague Jack, leading to the two getting closer, with jealousy forming within Boreson as for once she is thinking about herself first. Meanwhile, Tamara Jacobs, Pacey’s older woman love interest from Season One, returns to sell property in Capeside, catching Pacey and his emotions off guard, raising curiosity in Andie. Meanwhile, Andie confides her love of Pacey to Boreson. Abby’s influence on Jen continues as the pair flirt with a spunky fisherman docked at Capeside.

205: Full Moon Rising
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Monica Keena, Leann Hunley, Joe Flanigan, Caroline Kava
Director: David Semel
With the full moon superstitions in place, Pacey finds out about Andie’s home life – something rather unexpected and quite upsetting. Meanwhile, Boreson’s parents continue to have troubles in their relationship, causing conflict in his own relationship with Joey. Joey gets into some trouble of her own with Jack at the Ice House, as does Jen with the hunky Vincent who is after more than she wants.

206: The Dance
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Monica Keena, Ali Larter
Director: Lou Antonio School pep-queen Andie convinces her friends to attend the Capeside High school dance, where everyone’s relationships are tested. Joey and Jack share a close moment, forcing Boreson to fight for what he believes in, ruining a life-long friendship and horny romance, and Pacey, a solid non-dancer, is caught out dancing with the object of his boyish obsession, and breaks Andie’s heart. You gotta love the school dances.

207: The All-Nighter
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Jason Behr, Brighton Hertford
Director: David Semel
Ah, it’s the night before the English literature mid-term paper, and the teens of the Creek are having an all-night study session at the wealthy Chris Wolfe’s house. While taking a Cosmo purity test, sexual secrets are uncovered, and Jen finally gives in to absolute pleasure with the rich Wolfe. Oh and we can’t forget the bastard that Boreson is being towards Joey during this post-break up period too. C’mon guys, grow up!

208: The Reluctant Hero
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Jason Behr, Caroline Kava
Director: Joe Napolitano
Ah, the young Spielberg has won the Boston Film Festival’s junior division for his efforts on his horror film from Season One. Quite obviously elated with this news, Joey is less than enthused, resulting in disappointment from Boreson. When Jack asks Joey out on a date, Boreson feels pathetic and spends the night out with Jen, and becomes the hero when her destructive spell spirals into the makings of a teenage threesome. Andie also needs saving when her mother, too distraught by Andie's other brother Tim’s death, loses her mind in public, with Pacey stepping up to the plate and saving the day.

209: The Election
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Jason Behr, Monica Keena
Director: Patrick Norris
The student body elections are just around the corner, and Andie somehow coaxes Joey into being her offsider. Chris and Abby are too running for this title, leading to Joey and Andie fearing for some deep Potter family secrets to be uncovered. The tables get turned though when Abby takes a swipe at the McPhee family and their mental situations. Meanwhile, Boreson’s script has received some criticism from Jen, suggesting that if he lets go and lives a little he will be able to improve it. But when his parents give up on reconciliation and decide on divorce, this is when Jen’s advice really takes effect. At this point in the series with every episode having someone give someone else the cold shoulder, it makes you think that maybe they need to try switching to decaf.

210: High Risk Behaviour
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Jason Behr, Monica Keena
Director: James Whitmore Jr.
With Joey not interested in Boreson’s new film project, Jen takes the role of producer, and the pair undergo some horrific film auditions from Capeside High’s young hopefuls. The closeness between the two grows though this project as Boreson is forced to reassess their friendship situation. With Joey’s first art assignment destroyed by Jack’s goofiness, he proposes to pose for her. The catch is that it is a nude assignment, with this posing creating huge sexual steam between them. Pacey, the gentleman he is, treats Andie out to a romantic date, following the words of her ‘perfect’ date, with this reviewer giving them the nicknames Racey and Randie.

211: Sex She Wrote
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Jason Behr, Monica Keena
Director: Nick Marck
Ah, a mystery in Capeside. And sexual mystery too – that sounds just like Boreson’s Creek, horny 15 and 16 year old teenagers. Abby finds a note on the floor to a classroom which was written by someone in the class – one of the few couples – Jack and Joey, Pacey and Andie and Jen and Boreson. But who wrote the letter? After an anonymous letter is dropped to each of the ‘contestants’ describing a rendezvous, Abby and Chris concoct a plan to reveal the saucy secrets of two of Capeside’s teenagers.

212: Unchartered Waters
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, John Finn, Monica Keena
Director: Scott Paulin
A father-son fishing trip with Mitch and Boreson along with Mr. Whitter and Pacey leads to some rather large conflict as Pacey forgot to mention that the fatherless (well, absent at least) Jack would come along too – quite obviously the disdain of Boreson due to him stealing his girl. But anyway, while the guys are out fishing, Pacey tries to fight for his father’s approval and appraisal, but is unable to shake his ‘black sheep’ stereotype. Jen’s producing blood organises Andie, Abby and Joey to have a filmed discussion with Gale for her news segment about teenage issues, and of course the sparks fly, with Abby being asked to leave. After her departure, the honest truths about these girls’ lives are revealed, with a real bonding session. Ah, how sentimental. Keep the bucket handy now...

213: His Lady Leading
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Rachael Leigh Cook, Jason Behr, Eddie Mills
Director: David Semel
Boreson’s new film, funded by the Boston Film Festival prize money, is now underway, and he is still reluctant to admit that it is in fact autobiographical. Andie and Pacey’s relationship takes a turn for the worse as her mental state declines, with her pushing him away, but Pacey is not that easy to get rid of. But new love is on the horizon for Jen who meets Ty during the shoot, and what’s even better is that Grams approves of him! But he has a surprise up his sleeve for her, and just remember, Grams approved, wink wink.

214: To Be or Not To Be...
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Eddie Mills, Edmund J. Kearney
Director: Sandy Smolan
During English, Jack is forced to read his poem to the class, bearing some rather personal feelings – it was a love poem to another man. This starts the gossip of Capeside High going into overdrive, and is a subplot based on creator Kevin Williamson’s own experiences as a young man. Standing up for his mate, Pacey spits in the face of their English teacher, and himself faces suspension. But is he going to go down without a fight? Of course not – it’s Capeside, remember?! Of course, the question of ‘is Jack gay’ is going around Capeside, leaving Andie, Joey and Boreson all in shock.

215: ...That is the Question
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Eddie Mills, Edmund J. Kearney, David Dukes
Director: Greg Prange
Continuing on from the previous episode, Jack is trying to live down the rumours at Capeside High, but when the McPhee siblings’ estranged father returns, he admits his true feelings – Jack McPhee is gay. This leads to Ty and Jen having a heated discussion, including Grams, with regards to homosexuality and God, showing that however spunky, polite, sweet and charming one can be, there is no saviour to being a bigot.

216: Be Careful What You Wish For
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Eddie Mills, Monica Keena
Director: David Semel
It’s Boreson’s 16th birthday and he and Andie are following her therapist's advice – have a reckless night. So the two get drunk, as you do, while Joey is hosting a surprise party at the Leery household. But the guests at this party offer a lot of surprises, such as Jack being caught in a rather suss act in Boreson’s bedroom.

217: Psychic Friends
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Rachael Leigh Cook, Madchen Amick, Nick Stabile, Gareth Williams
Director: David Semel
Joey and Jack are at the Capeside fair together for some reason at the art display all day. Anyway, they go to a psychic and she tells Joey that a tall, dark stranger will enter her life. Predictable, eh? Anyway, that he does, and she goes off with him as he is a photographer. Ironically, he starts asking questions about Jack, and she arranges a meeting for him, however Jack gets angry at this matchmaker side of Joey, and Joey realises her mistake. Andie too approaches the psychic and receives some unwelcome advice from the psycho - uh, psychic - to do with her relationships. Dum dum dum, you can just smell disaster in the air. Boreson starts to chat to the new film teacher at Capeside High, and shows her his film, only to get rather harsh and nasty feedback on his precious baby project. And anyway, Joey’s foretelling isn’t over yet. A tall, dark stranger does enter her life. She arrives home to find a tall, dark stranger on her doorstep. Her father has returned home from prison.

218: A Perfect Wedding
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Rachael Leigh Cook, Madchen Amick, Katy Selverstone, Gareth Williams
Director: Greg Prange
With Joey’s father back in town, Bessie and him decide to expand the Ice House to cater for weddings. Joey, quite upset with this sudden decision, is quite stressed and untrusting of her father who has been absent for most of her life, but still helps out boldly at the wedding, along with Andie, Pacey and Boreson, the first of two who manage to destroy the top tier of the wedding cake. Andie then spots Jen and Abby gatecrashing and asks them to leave. The pair do leave with a bottle of champagne in tow, and a sudden disaster will shake up Capeside.

219: Abby Morgan, Rest in Peace
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Monica Keena, Michele Scarabelli, Gareth Williams
Director: David Semel
And what is with this title? This is what is plastered on the menu – a bit of a give away, don’t you think? So you’ve just been able to guess the sudden disaster just mentioned above. Oh well, no point beating around the bush. Abby Morgan drowns in the creek. Shouldn’t it be “Abby’s Creek” then? Anyway... Andie is asked by Abby’s mother to give a eulogy at the funeral as Abby had often talked about her, even though they were always bickering. We discover than Abby had a few more secrets than we had initially thought and also, quite surprisingly, did have a heart. Jen gets upset at the town’s reaction to Abby’s death and snaps out at everyone around her, including a rather offensive speech at Grams', forcing her to be kicked out. Thanks Gretel, its time to go... Jen. She is then taken in by the Leery household.

220: Reunited
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, Madchen Amick, Scott Denny
Director: Melanie Mayron
Through the stresses of Abby’s death, Andie’s condition deteriorates as she starts to see her dead brother Tim. Meanwhile, Boreson takes Joey out to a posh restaurant and finds her father with the film teacher on their own date. With Jen and Gale at home and a failed dinner, the pair head to the same restaurant with some quite obvious conflicts. But Jen and Joey play matchmaker and cause some other types of sparks to fly between Mitch and Gale.

221: Ch...Ch...Ch...Changes
Guest Stars: Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, David Dukes, Gareth Williams
Director: Lou Antonio
Everyone is going through changes. Andie’s sudden change in hair colour and her imaginations of her dead brother cause Pacey and Jack to call Mr. McPhee to help out with the situation. They don’t realise, however, that his assistance would mean taking Andy back home to Providence. Pacey and Andie are faced with a tough choice – what is more important, Andie’s mental health or being together? While Mike Potter is expanding the Ice House, Boreson interviews him as a changed man for a school project, which rehashes many painful past events in Joey’s life. But has his lifestyle really changed? Jen, knowing she must get out on her own, calls her mother to see if she could return home, however this New York wild child is not welcome there yet, forcing her to set off on her own.

222: Parental Discretion Advised
Guest Stars: Kerr Smith, John Finn, Gareth Williams
Director: Greg Prange
Boreson’s grim discovery of Mike Potter dealing drugs again is expressed to Joey, causing much anger from her. Everyone’s previous changes have affected them in some way, some being suicidal, detrimental or positive, quite a broad spectrum of change. But a fire at the Ice House while studying reveals to the police that Mike is back up to his old tricks, and risks the life of his daughter for back in the trafficking arena. Joey then has to make a tough choice that will forever change the relationship between her father and Boreson.

  Video
Contract

While Columbia’s transfer for the second series of Boreson’s Creek is a step up from Season One in some respects, there is still room for improvement, making it, overall, slightly below Season One. Presented in the initially-aired aspect of 1.33:1, quite obviously not anamorphically enhanced, portions of this transfer do really make you squeal (cr)eek with some rather nasty and totally disturbing video artefacts. These range from large, heavy washes of grain as well as nasty blemishes and film artefacts to some unsightly compression blocking artefacts. While normal dust and specks are quite minimal, there are a few screamers, including a disgustingly obvious scratch down the centre of the frame during the season finale. Luckily, and still that’s being too kind, this is the worst of the video artefacts, yet the utter lack of clarity during many of the dark scenes, admittedly of which there are many, is just rather frustrating. At least a little bit of an attempt to clean up this source print would have been nice. At times, the odd shot moves in and out of focus, altering the already softly defined image ever so slightly.

During 212: Unchartered Waters towards the end when Joey and Gale are talking in the kitchen, the camera angle on Joey seems to have a bizarre production-related artefact as if the gate on the camera wasn’t on securely, resulting in an image that jumps up and down faintly with a minor ‘folding’ appearance. While this is not terribly disturbing, it is rather noticeable yet leaves you wondering if you really did see it.

One of the weirdest issues on this multi-disc set is the bizarre occurrence of French subtitling appearing automatically, even when no subtitle track is selected. If this happens once in the entire series, one would think nothing of it, but it happens over half a dozen times on nearly all of the discs. By the final time these white letters flick on screen you’re ready to yell out “ce qui la baise”?

  Audio
Contract

Presented to us with a host of languages, all Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded tracks, English is naturally the prime listening option should that be what you speak. This track is quite sufficient for the genre of the series, with active discrete surround action and a pulsing subwoofer not required to convey the story. Bass levels are healthily buoyant, with neatly mixed treble resulting in rich effects and clean dialogue. Synch issues are nearly non-existent, except for one situation in 210: High Risk Behaviour. Here we see an example of Pacey being a ventriloquist with perfect talking yet no lip movement. No wonder he has such a pissed off look on his face – how would you feel if you had a puppeteer’s hand up your *ahem*

Surround action is heavily detailed with ambience including crowd effects, weather elements and the general hubbub of Capeside, providing a fairly shallow matrixed surround soundstage. The music, when used, is appropriate, yet quite sadly there is very little worth mentioning - Boreson’s Creek is doing for American music what The Secret Life of Us did for Australian music.

  Extras
Contract

This set of discs is totally and utterly missing anything related to anamorphic, with the Columbia tag, animated menus and feature itself all presented in a full frame aspect. Discs One and Six house the two extra features, with the first and last episodes receiving an audio commentary from producer Paul Stupin. Like Season One, these commentaries are informative with regards to the development of the show and the characters that lie within, yet hold very little for the general populous. Oh, just a word of warning though, the first commentary reveals the path for Season Two to follow so you might want to hold off listening to that commentary if you haven’t seen the series before.

  Overall  
Contract

Hmm, when this was originally aired on television, this reviewer remembers it being a really good series. Rewatching this on DVD just made this guy yawn. The series is slow to start, yet finishes in a dramatic style that just seems out of place in the town of Capeside. Transfer-wise, Columbia’s effort is, generally, equal to the previous season, however a few nasty video effects bring the mark back down. Extra features-wise, the two commentaries are great for fans but generally rather thin in content due to their relative short duration. Fans will rejoice as Season Two finds a shiny home on Region 4 DVD, but for those wanting to pass an afternoon (well, a week rather) then you may like to try something else, as this series just got a little long in the tooth.


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      And I quote...
    "Dawson, Dawson, Dawson – why do you have to be so darn Boreson? (Cr)eek!"
    - Martin Friedel
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    • DVD Player:
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    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
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          Sony SS-MSP2
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          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
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    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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