Lionsgate // 1994 // 529 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // September 29th, 2010
Cory: "I got an A, Shawn" Shawn: "I got a D! I'm riding your coattails!"
Like any grown man too old for shows about high school and teenage romance, I have a lot of affection for ABC's 1990s TGIF staple Boy Meets World. It was a show that was always just a little smarter, a little funnier and a little more honest than it had any right to be. It was also often corny and predictable and, in its later seasons, way overwrought with manufactured drama. But in the early-to-middle years, it was a show that was about the fun of being young and figuring things out for yourself (with the help of some incredibly dedicated and involved teachers and sitcom-perfect parents, of course). Season Two of Boy Meets World is one of the better seasons in the show's run, probably because it exists somewhere in the middle ground of Season One's inconsequential kid stuff and the romantic angst of later years. There's a good mix of those elements that make Boy Meets World work.
In Boy Meets World's second season, Cory (Ben Savage, Little Monsters) and Shawn (Rider Strong, Cabin Fever) have graduated from jr. high to high school, becoming little fish in a big pond and struggling to distinguish themselves. Their former teacher, Mr. Feeny (William Daniels, Blades of Glory), has been promoted to high school principal and now it's a new teacher -- the long-haired, motorcycle-riding Jonathan Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn, Silent Venom) -- who's stuck showing the boys the ropes. Cory and Topanga (Danielle Fishel, National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2: College @ Sea) inch that much closer towards being a real couple. A trio of bullies (including Ethan Suplee of The Fountain and future Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett) terrorize Cory and Shawn, requiring the intervention of Cory's older brother Eric (Will Friedle, The Trojan War) on more than one occasion.
The episodes that make up Boy Meets World: The Complete Second Season
"Back to School"
"Me and Mr. Joad"
"Who's Afraid of Cory Wolf?"
"Wake Up, Little Cory"
"Band on the Run"
"Fear Strikes Out"
"Fear Strikes Out"
"I Am Not a Crook"
"Breaking Up is Really, Really Hard to Do"
"On the Air"
"By Hook or By Crook"
"Wrong Side of the Tracks"
"The Thrila' in Phila'"
There are several big changes in store for Boy Meets World: The Complete Second Season. For starters, that terrible and interminably long opening title sequence is gone (it really was terrible, and so, so long), replaced by a quick graphic and it's on with the show. It's the move to high school that makes for the show's biggest change, though; not only is it now a show about navigating new territory (beyond just "the world," which as we already know the Boy met in the first season), but has evolved into a show that's more about first dates and first loves than it had been before. Cory and Shawn are really noticing the opposite sex now, and that becomes the driving dynamic of Season Two. Making Mr. Feeny the principal of the high school is a cheap and obvious move to keep the character as a major player, but I don't even mind so much as I still really like Daniels in the part. Season Two also sees the addition of new teacher Jonathan Turner, and he's a character I'm much less interested in. He exists as some kind of middle-man between the boys and Feeny in that most of their interactions are with him and his interactions are with Feeny. He's the young, "cool" teacher -- the one that the kids can relate to (he's teaching them X-Men comics!) but who still has a lot to learn about life himself. The formula is set early on: Turner gives an assignment that's a little unusual, Feeny questions his methods and warns him that it could lead to trouble, Turner says he trusts the kids, things go bad before fixing themselves and both the kids and Turner learn a lesson. Repeat. Turner takes on a new role at the end of the second season, setting up a more interesting arc for Season Three, but he's still never going to be my favorite character.
Season Two is almost identically comparable to Boy Meets World: The Complete First Season in terms of its technical specifications. The 23 episodes are spread out over three discs and presented in their original full-frame broadcast format, looking about as good as a 16-year old sitcom shot on video can look. In other words, it's far from perfect but also shouldn't distract fans from enjoying the series the way they remember it. The 2.0 stereo audio track is fine, too, keeping the dialogue up front and filling in the rest of the speakers from time to time with canned laughter. There are episode commentaries on five shows from the grown-up cast that are a lot of fun to listen to, as well as a video commentary on one show. The only advantage to this feature is that you can see what the cast looks like now (or, at least in 2004 when this was actually recorded), but let's not pretend like that's not worthwhile.
Keep in mind that this is just a re-release of the out-of-print set that Buena Vista put out a few years ago. If you've already got that, you're not going to find anything new here.
Boy Meets World continues to be a very entertaining show, one which often exceeds the limitations and expectations of its genre and which has aged pretty well. A few dated pop culture references aside, the series' mix of absurd humor and honest coming-of-age themes serve it well. That's what you get for not talking down to your audience, I guess.
Review content copyright © 2010 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 529 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Audio/Video Commentaries