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Sometimes actors are lucky to be associated with one great television show during their careers and that is the show that is destined to be their legacy. For the longest time, it appeared that MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN would be Ed O'Neill’s legacy. While Al Bundy will always be one of the great sitcom characters of all time, I think that O'Neill’s association with the marvelous ensemble comedy MODERN FAMILY that will be remembered as an even more important part of his legacy. While O'Neill is terrific in his role on the series, he is just one of the many phenomenal cogs in the multi-award winning machine that is MODERN FAMILY. Taking home the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for both its first and second seasons, as well as Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series for both years say a lot about the kind of show MODERN FAMILY is, in addition to the series being downright hilarious.

MODERN FAMILY is wonderful, character-based comedy at its absolute best. Presented mockumentary style, MODERN FAMILY is very much an ensemble piece that follows the lives of different generations of a single family. Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill) is the patriarch of the clan, who lives in the suburban Los Angeles, California area with his second wife Gloria (Sofía Vergara) and her pre-teen son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Residing nearby are Jay’s adult children from his first marriage, who live with their own families. Jay’s daughter Claire (Julie Bowen) is married to real estate salesman Phil (Ty Burrell) and the couple have three children self-absorbed teen daughter Haley (Sarah Hyland), brainiac daughter Alex (Ariel Winter), and slightly off center son Luke (Nolan Gould). Jay’s son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) lives with his partner Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), and the couple have adopted a Vietnamese baby named Lily. To say the very least MODERN FAMILY is a perfectly cast comedy series, especially when one considers that it has won a 2011 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance By An Ensemble In A Comedy Series, plus individual Supporting Actor/Actress Emmys in 2010 (for Eric Stonestreet) and 2011 (for Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell).

MODERN FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($60) comes to Blu-ray in a three-disc set that features the following twenty-four episodes that were aired during year two: The Old Wagon, The Kiss, Earthquake, Strangers On A Treadmill, Unplugged, Halloween, Chirp, Manny Get Your Gun, Mother Tucker, Dance Dance Revelation, Slow Down Your Neighbors, Our Children, Ourselves, Caught In The Act, Bixby's Back, Princess Party, Regrets Only, Two Monkeys And A Panda, Boys' Night, The Musical Man, Someone To Watch Over Lily, Mother's Day, Good Cop Bad Dog, See You Next Fall and The One That Got Away.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made all twenty-four episodes that comprise MODERN FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The first thing one will notice about this Blu-ray set is that the 1080p presentations offer marked improvements over the 720p ABC broadcast versions of the show. Thusly, all of the artifacting and other peculiarities associated with the over-compressed network feeds are nowhere to be seen on the Blu-ray collection. MODERN FAMILY looks more like a dramatic series than a traditional sitcom and boasts a strong high definition appearance. The image is usually quite sharp and provides strong levels of detail, texturing and dimensionality. Colors come across at a slightly amplified, but otherwise realistic level of saturation. Flesh tones are generally highly attractive looking. Blacks are deep and whites are completely stable. Contrast and shadow detail are strong performers, which is just what one should expect from this type of high definition television production. There are no noticeable defects in the source materials. Grain/noise is minimal.

All of the episodes that comprise MODERN FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. Unlike the look of the series, the MODERN FAMILY episodes come with fairly standard sitcom sound designs. As MODERN FAMILY is mixed like a talky sitcom, so the sound it prioritized to the front, and more often than not, to the center. There are some channel separations across the front, but there isn’t an overwhelming amount of information beyond the theme music. Ambience and musical fill fall to the rear channels, as do an occasional effect. Dialogue is very cleanly rendered and the actors' voices maintain a natural timbre. The lossless encode enhances the musical component. No other language tracks have been included on the discs, but English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Featurettes and other programs include: Strangers On A Treadmill Table Read (thirty seven minutes), Mitch’s Flash Mob (three minutes), Modern Family Holidays (thirteen minutes), Waiting For Oprah (four minutes), Chatting With Steve Levitan (four minutes) and At Home With Modern Family (six minutes). The collection also contains Deleted/Extended Scenes, Deleted Family Interviews, a Music Video for Imagine Me Naked and a Gag Reel.

Multi-award winning and hilarious, MODERN FAMILY is one of the best comedies out there. The Blu-ray presentations look terrific and sound just fine. Recommended.


Modern Family: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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