Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Paper Chase Season Two|
Actors: John Houseman, James Stephens
Director: Jack Bender
Genres: Drama, Television
School is back in session. Based on the 1973 film The Paper Chase, the TV series features John Houseman (who won an Academy Award for his portrayal in the original film) as Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr. the almighty... more »
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The Second Year: Love vs. Law
Kert Conrad | DENVER, CO United States | 12/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Several years after its initial run on CBS, THE PAPER CHASE was revived on the Showtime cable channel. John Houseman returned in the role of Professor Kingsfield, along with James Stephens as Hart, Tom Fitzsimmons as Ford and James Keane as Bell. The characters of Logan and Anderson disappeared and were replaced by an assortment of new faces, most notably Jane Kaczmarek as Hart's girlfriend.
Those who never saw the episodes produced for Showtime in the early 80's are probably wondering how they compare to the first-year CBS segments. Actually the producers did an excellent job of continuing the series in the same spirit while making logical changes to mirror the progress of the students as they advanced through law school. The biggest surprise (or disappointment) about the episodes produced for cable is that while they were quite well done, the stories weren't significantly more dramatic or insightful than those done for CBS. One would have thought that the writers, freed from the constraints of network television, would have become more bold and produced some truly daring and thought-provoking scripts. Unfortunately, they more often than not focused on the romantic relationships of the characters (been there, done that) rather than exploring some of the more intriguing aspects of law and legal education.
The good news, though, is that when the Showtime productions were good, they were outstanding. A couple of the second season episodes, in fact, stand as two of the all-time best of the series. "Hart Goes Home" is an excellent story about Hart making a trip back to Minnesota for his sister's wedding, only to find that he can't escape his responsibilities back at school. Equally great is "My Dinner With Kingsfield", in which the professor gets stranded at Hart's apartment during a storm. The episode features some marvelous dialogue and gives new and fascinating insight into the two main characters.
As for Shout Factory's DVD presentation of the second year, the set is nicely packaged and the picture quality is excellent. The box states that four of the episodes are "edited" because the original Showtime presentations could not be "sourced". However, I compared the running times of the four segments with recordings made from the old Showtime airings, and the length is just the same, so I'm not exactly sure what is missing or altered. In any case, it's great to see THE PAPER CHASE - THE SECOND YEAR finally out on DVD. It's a superb drama and a welcome addition to anyone's collection of classic TV.
Marty Hopkirk | GB | 10/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In England the first 8 episodes of this, the second season, were shown on the BBC in the '80s, the remaining 11 episodes being relegated to an afternoon timeslot, which was a shame because the episodes - many of which were written by John Jay Osborne Jr, the creator of the original source novel - were great television. It was later shown on Satellite channel Sky 1, but edited in order to fit ads in. Another shame.
I only hope that if seasons 3 and 4 are released by Shout Factory (soon, please!) they will be in a combined 2-season box, because season 3 consisted of only 12 episodes and season 4 only 6. There are 19 season 2 episodes here, however.
This show really is something special. I've been quoting it as my all-time favourite series for years... but so few people seem to remember it outside of the US.
At a time when the World saw most '80s American TV as "chewing gum for the eyes" this proved that quality was possible.
Lotte | Baltimore, MD USA | 12/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first four (Disk 1) segments in 2nd season lacked all the sparkle of Season 1. I was disappointed to find that since the 1L's study group never finished their first season, nor said goodbye, there was no ending to Season I. Season 2 just began with three former students from 1L's already moved into 2L's. At least 2 members of the study group, Logan and Anderson were permanently gone, no goodbyes, and were never spoken of again which was a big disappointment to me. Hart and Ford moved into an apartment, Bell was still living in the dorm as an organizer for the new 1L students. The last student you would think of. Bell's comedy seems to have vanished as well as his weight.
Hart has a girlfriend, whom I've seen before. Nothing special. I can't remember where. I didn't care for her in the part, but Hart obviously did. She tried, off the bat, to borrow his outlines with her sweet ways, so he loaned them to her, as she was a poor student, but Hart caught her trying to copy them and she had to give them back, leaving him a loving note of apology. He forgave her and they became lovers. She seemed and looked much older than Hart and the other students in 1L. I felt she hung around Hart because of his significant reputation having made Law Review as a 1L, and having gotten an A from Kingsfield, unheard of. She didn't have any of Logan's great personality, in fact she had no personality at all. She was just boring.
Also missed Anderson and Ernie. Bell has matured far too much for one year, and I missed his comedy, therefore, imo all the characters, in one year had changed far too much. Even Hart has left most of his beloved innocence behind, though Ford seems a bit less serious. Instead of students being the main characters, much older characters stepped in, and they, not the students seemed to be taking over the story line. But that was just the first 4 segments. Maybe it will get better. If not, I probably won't order anymore if they come out. I assumed, incorrectly that the cast would stay the same.
Added later - I did watch the 2nd segment (Disk 2) of the Paper Chase Part II later this afternoon, and found a tremendous improvement in the story lines, the writing and each of the characters. Couldn't stop to eat."
Second Season Returning Quality
Jym Cherry | Wheaton, IL United States | 12/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Paper Chase TV series' history is pretty well known. CBS ran the excellent first season in 1978, didn't know what to do with it and cancelled it. In April of 1983 the cable network Showtime revived the series and was able to reconstitute it with much of the old cast, and creators of the first season. As a Paper Chase fan from it's inception being able to see season two is like visiting old friends.
As the start of a new year of law school must be, some students don't return and others do. Logan and Anderson (Francine Tacker, Robert Ginty) are gone. Season two finds Hart (James Stephens), Ford (Tom Fitzsimmons), and Willis Bell (James Keane) now starting their second year of law school. Hart and Ford are roommates. As 2L's Hart and Ford's main conflict is no longer with Professor Kingsfield (John Houseman) the main conflict is the law itself. As second year students they're moving away from the idealistic academic study of the law to its actual implementation, in real life they struggle with their idealism vs. real world practical applications of the law. Hart is a member of the prestigious Law Review magazine of which Kingsfield is the faculty advisor. Michael Tucci plays Law Review president Golden. Bell has become the dorm advisor for the new batch of 1L's, and there are some new additions to the cast and to the story lines. Jane Kaczmarek as Connie Lehman, Clare Kirkconnell plays Rita Harriman, Hart's Law Review rival, Andra Millian as Laura, a new 1L whom Bell has a crush on.
The quality of the writing is still there from the first season. The Paper Chase author John Jay Osborn Jr., wrote seven of the nineteen episodes. There must have been some disagreement about which direction to take the show because there are two distinct halves of the season. The first half follows Hart as he romances new 1L, Connie Lehman (Jane Kaczmarek), as Hart tries to balance the paper chase he is involved in with love and Connie's ambition. The second half of the season goes back to it's roots and focuses on, and follows the lives of the new 1L's.
The excellent story lines and plots is a hold over from the first season, not only involving us in the students lives but including themes that surprisingly still hold up today. One of the episodes penned by Osborn is War of the Wonks, which is about the invasion of technology into Law Review and the students lives, a subject that is still timely today as we become more and more reliant technology that further invades our lives. Ford struggles with his father and his idealism in Plague of Locusts, when he discovers his father is using money and influence to get insider information. In Burden of Proof, Hart interning for the public defenders office is torn between defending a suspect who had his rights violated, and not defending him after he discovers he mugged Kingsfield. A couple other standout episodes are Hart Goes Home, My Dinner with Kingsfield, and Not Prince Hamlet.
Some of the stories revisit the original theme of the movie and first season of The Paper Chase. In Labor of Love, Golden is torn between having a girlfriend and the demands of Law Review and Kingsfield. In the first season they could afford to reiterate the themes of movie (and they did) but in the second season it seems to be relying on the plot a little too much, but it is only one episode and other similarities to previous plot lines is only incidental.
In old TV shows it's always fun to see people who later went onto bigger things perhaps getting their first roles. David Caruso skulks about in one episode, Timothy Busfield, Jon Lovitz, David Paymer, Brent Spinner as well as other actors you`ll recognize as soon as you see them.
A couple minor technical problem exists with the DVD's. The first is the video quality looks second generation and it looks grainy. The second problem is the audio is inconsistent it goes from being at a good level then suffers some drop-off or goes up in volume. One thing I think is missing are bonus features. I would love to see where the actors are today and/or their thoughts on being part of The Paper Chase. Or maybe some behind the scenes things, this is one area entirely lacking in The Paper Chase boxed sets. These are extremely minor considerations and you shouldn't let them override your enjoyment of the shows.
If you were a fan when the show was originally on the air, as I am you'll enjoy seeing the shows again and visiting with old friends. If you've never seen the shows before I think you'll discover a quality show with thought provoking plots and well acted shows."