After a highly successful first season, the pair behind Flight of the Conchords returned for a second helping with ten more episodes in January of this year. With strong critical and fan acclaim, the show has become another great success for HBO, although whether a third season will happen largely depends on if the stars want to continue with the story. In the mean time HBO Home Entertainment has released the second (maybe final?) season on DVD, complete with a dosage of special features just for this release.
A couple of years ago, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie moved to New York City to capitalize on their popularity as New Zealand’s “4th Most Popular Folk Parody Duo.” Unfortunately, despite living as Big Apple bohemians for over a year, they remain as hopelessly out of place in Manhattan as a kiwi in a pigeon nest. Will Bret and Jemaine ever find excitement, romance, and the elusive paying music gig?
Flight of the Conchords was one of the big breakout hits during its first season and despite haring endlessly good things about it, I never saw the first season. The second season felt a bit awkward at first, not knowing how they got where they were, but it ultimately didn’t matter; within minutes I was adapted to the shows humor style and laughing my head off at the scenarios and characters in general for this show. Without a doubt it’s one of the more original things to creep across television and feels almost as fresh as something Ricky Gervais popped out (although considering he’s only done two shows, it’s kind of hard to compliment it that much, I suppose).
While the series is certainly funny within the confines of the characters, it’s the musical pieces that really drive this series home. Jermaine and Bret act nothing like themselves once they start going into their songs and as a result the series takes on a completely different air about it. The music is really what turns this series into a lighthearted and enjoyable little frolic into something genuinely entertaining and hilarious. Some of the songs are more understated than others, but such early performances as the sugar lumps, the mid-season performance of the men on the dance floor and the near season finale bit with Bret being more daring really stand out as some of the most brilliant pieces of the show, as well as just truly hilarious songs in of themselves.
So does the series work all the time? Not really. Although I found myself barreling through the set, it quickly became evident that the series works best in bursts (i.e., one episode a week definitely works to its advantage). For once thing the characters themselves, as hilarious as they are sometimes, just aren’t enjoyable for long bursts at a time. Their manager, Murray (Rhys Darby), quickly grates on ones nerves after awhile and even the main characters themselves can get old after awhile. Granted the show probably wasn’t made to be watched in weekend binges, but I found myself getting slightly agitated over the storylines and characters midway into the set. And these are only twenty some minute episodes…of which there are only ten. So while it’s definitely a fresh and entertaining show to be sure, it is best taken (for me, at least) in small doses. I’ll still pick up the first season and give it a viewing because I genuinely enjoyed the series, but the show really isn’t a laugh-a-riot outing. Nor is it meant to be; it’s very subtle in its humor sometimes and it’s in these moments that it works best.
Overall Flight of the Conchords second season is definitely a delight, but the show isn’t without its issues. The second season brings the cast into some delightfully awkward and funny situations (usually fueled by Kristen Schaal’s sometimes scary, always creepy Mel) and boasts a solid number of guest stars (including a couple 24 alumni) as well. It’s definitely a Recommended series, but it may be best to go into it with lowered expectations as it is a very indie style series and isn’t quite as hilarious as the previews and reviews would lead you to believe (but that’s not a giant surprise, is it?).
Arriving in a package that looks like a combination of Juno and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Flight of the Conchords – Season Two boasts a crystal clear o-ring that features the stars of the film on the front, some stars and lightning bolts on the back as well as the UPC. So if you lose the slip cover, you lose the UPC…which is slightly strange, but whatever. Inside the dual disc, clear plastic Amaray case is a double sided inserts that denotes the episodes found on each disc as well as the extras that accompany the second disc.
Video is what you’ve come to expect from modern shows and it looks fine for what it is; some compression and edge enhancement is visible in certain cases, but for the most part it looks good. What is a mixed bag, however, is the audio track. A DD5.1 mix, the audio itself for the series is crystal clear, but whenever the musical numbers kick in the track becomes deftly quiet. I have to turn the sound up on the speakers just to really hear the lyrics and then I’m blasted out again once the musical bit ends. It’s not so bad on a full surround system where the change isn’t as noticeable, but on a PC I found it to be quite disorienting.
Extras for this set include:
On Air Documentary Feature (25:01)
Deleted Scenes (25:03)
Dave’s Pawn Shop Commercials (3:05)
New Zealand Consulate Meeting with Murray & Greg (3:34)
Easter Egg (1:26)
All of the extras are pretty by-the-numbers and the lack of commentary tracks is pretty depressing. The outtakes seem to be focused around Jermaine Clement’s unique laugh, as it is mostly him messing up for the majority of it. The Easter Egg is the full video shown of the artists in the season premiere.
Overall a decent set for the season, but if this is the absolute final set we ever see for the series then it will no doubt be a bit of a disappointment for fans. Still, what’s here is worth checking out if you’re a fan of the series and as a result this season comes Recommended.
Flight of the Conchords – The Complete Second Season is now available on DVD.