We critics may have overstated things a little when we proclaimed that "Desperate Housewives" completely fallen apart in its second season. But the game-changing ABC series certainly did stumble some.
Watching the show in bulk on the "Housewives" season two DVD set, those weaknesses tend to pile up some. Most notably, you get the sense of just how little time the four principal characters spend together, as each housewife is wrapped up in her own story: Bree's (Marcia Cross) battles with booze and her son, Susan's (Teri Hatcher) ongoing romantic issues, Gabrielle's (Eva Longoria) baby drama and Lynette's (Felicity Huffman) continuing struggle to balance work and family.
Some of the perceived troubles may also just be that now that we're familiar with the series, it doesn't have quite the satiric snap it did when it was new. And the season's new mystery, involving Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard) and her sons, feels a little detached too -- it's a curiosity for the characters we've already come to know, but save for Gabrielle's encounter with Caleb, it's in the background too much of the time.
For fans of the show, though, the DVD set does offer a sizable cache of extras, including two full, unaired storylines involving Hatcher and Huffman that were shot for air but later cut for time or other reasons. "Housewives" creator Marc Cherry offers insightful commentary on both, as well as on some other deleted scenes.
Also included are featurettes on the show's costumes and the effort it takes to direct an episode, an interview with Cherry and his mom, who inspired the series and the creator's favorite scenes, also with commentary. The best of the bunch, though, is a piece called "Desperate Role Models," in which past TV housewives from Jane Wyatt to Marion Ross to Joanna Kerns discuss the ladies of Wisteria Lane and how the portrayal of women on television has changed over the years.
And there is still some very good stuff within the episodes themselves. Longoria has one of the funniest fight scenes in recent TV history with the nun who's trying to steal her husband, and Huffman continues to walk the line between drama and comedy expertly. For all the talk about the decline of "Desperate Housewives," there's a reason it's still one of the most popular shows on TV.
STUDIO: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: Aug. 29
TIME: 19 hours, 16 minutes
DVD EXTRAS: Deleted scenes and unaired storylines with commentary from creator Marc Cherry; Marc Cherry's favorite scenes; featurettes "Fashion & Couture," "Desperate Role Models," "Marc & Mom," "Juicy Bites," "Directing 'Desperate Housewives'"; videogame promo