The Hills are back! Hank, Peggy, Bobby and Luanne have returned for more down home shenanigans. After a successful first season that followed in the footsteps of the Simpsons, King of the Hill was a surprising hit from the creative mind of Mike Judge, formerly responsible for the heavy metal antics of Beavis and Butthead. The second series picks up where series one left off albeit with improved writing and further exploration of the characters. I particularly like the characterization of Hank as a true redneck – … particularly sexually inhibited redneck at that.
There are some great moments in the second season that continued to define the pathological relationships between the Hill family – from the twisted father/son relationship that blossoms due to Bobby’s uncanny accuracy at shooting things which then allows us some insight into Hank’s own poor relationship with his war-vet father. There are some classic digs into American life as one episode gives us a little more background into Luanne as she is returned to the trailer park from whence she came, in time for the trailer park to be hit by a tornado. While this is happening, Dale’s wife, Nancy the TV weather girl, comments on air, “Why is it that tornado’s always hit trailer parks?”
In the first season we are only introduced to Dale’s paranoia, Boomhauers’ muttered mumbling and Bill’s patheticness. Season two gives us a heaping helping off all of these traits and more. Dale’s paranoia and concerns about government conspiracies are so fast paced and witty, he really makes the second season worth watching. Even watching with the subtitles on doesn’t help to interpret what Boomhauer is saying. And they couldn’t demean Bill enough, I mean it was explained that he was a sergeant in the Reserves (and not the regular army) but also that he was the reserve’s barber. Poor Bill.
The stories, while not meant to follow one another temporally, do provide the viewer with the opportunity to get to know the characters very well in order to set them up with the shocking season finale and actually worry about Peggy’s well-being.
King of the Hill Season 2 is presented in 4:3 aspect ratio. The transfer is good. So good that it shows a lot of defects in the animation (This was a similar problem for the Simpsons creative team). The actual animation looks grainy at times, but this was what it looked like when it was originally broadcast on TV. The colors are not particularly bright, but once again the show was not broadcast in bright colors.
The disc is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround and has very good sound. There is good separation of sound and the dialogue is very clean. There is decent use of the bass effects.
This boxed is loaded with extras, starting with audio commentaries on selected episodes which while informative are still quite funny. There is also some never-seen-before animated director intros to the episodes created by the directors. Some deleted and extras scenes are included however, some are unfinished with rough audio tracks included. The cut scenes don’t add much to the episodes. “Music Inspired by the Hills” contains a few music videos like “the Manger Babies” by Luanne and “The Turtle Song” by Peggy. A couple of songs from the series are included with audio only – my favorite was “Halloween Flashback” which is an homage to the Peanuts piano accompaniments.
My absolute favorite special feature is that a few episodes feature commentary by Peggy, Luanne and Bobby in character watching the episodes. Very funny stuff. I thought that this was a brilliant idea when I first saw it on the Spinal Tap DVD where the “director’s commentary” was actually the band’s commentary watching the movie 20 years later – absolutely hilarious. The menus are top notch as well with character animation and voice-overs which are quite entertaining,
I was a fan of the show but didn’t watch it religiously as I did the Simpsons, but watching the DVD set really made me appreciate King of the Hill more. Fox has done an excellent job on the box set with great extras. Highly recommended.
Special Features List
- Commentary on selected episodes
- Deleted scenes
- Director introductions