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Oz Season 2

Oz Season 2 is the second season of HBO’s acclaimed dramatic series about life behind bars of the fictional Oswald State Penitentiary. It’s only 8 episodes, each one about an hour long, so you can watch the whole season in a few days. The first season introduced you to the rising tensions of the prison staff member and inmates that culminated in a deadly riot. Season 2 is about the aftermath of the riot, about the lessons learned or ignored by the main characters. You catch up with old characters and you meet new ones that change the dynamic of the prison.

Tim McManus (Terry Kinney) reopens Emerald City, determined to make it succeed. He does this by separating the inmates into different groups (The Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Muslims, the Homeboys, the Latinos, the rejects, the homosexuals, etc.) with only four members each. Amongst this new backdrop new issues and problems arise.

There are way too many story arcs to cover, so I won’t even try. I’ll just mention a few that I enjoyed. The warden’s daughter gets raped and one of the inmates knows who is responsible. The talented Poet (who happens to be a poet) gets his poetry published and becomes a celebrity who gets his freedom, even though he’s not ready for it. Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen) and Schillinger (J.K. Simmons) wage psychological warfare on each other. And Ryan O’Reily (Dean Winters) falls in love with the prison nurse, gets his mentally challenged brother to kill her husband, and deal with the guilt when his brother gets sent to Oz for the murder. There’s another subplot involving two old inmates trying to dig their way out.

There isn’t as much as stake as in Season 1. Season 2 seems to be more of a character study. And there are a lot of interesting characters so there is a lot to explore. It’s not a tame season by any means. Remember that Oz is an HBO show about prison. You’re gonna see a lot of shocking and fucked up shit. If you liked the first season, you’ll love the second season.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Walking Dead Season 2

AMC knew it had a smash hit The Walking Dead and the show was quickly picked up and approved for a second season. The second season saw a lot of changes from the first season. Showrunner Frank Darabont was fired and replaced by Glen Mazzara, the number of episodes increased from six to thirteen, and more characters were introduced, including fan favorites like Hershel Greene (played by Scott Wilson) and his sexy and strong daughter Maggie (played by Lauren Cohan). Season 2 is about Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) and his fellow band of survivors finding refuge from the zombie apocalypse on a secluded farm while they try to find the missing Sophia.

As much as I love The Walking Dead, I have to admit that the second season is hard to get through. It’s fucking boring. And a show about the zombie apocalypse should never be boring. The problem was that the story got stuck in one place and focused on a storyline that nobody really cared about. An episode about looking for a lost member of the group makes for great television, but dedicating an entire season to searching for a minor character seems like overkill (and it is). Season 2 is stagnant. There are a lot of cool and shocking moments, but nothing really happens. A few people die, a few zombies pop up, but the show definitely entered a sophomore slump.

Luckily the sloppy writing and slow pace wasn’t enough to end the series, and the audience stuck with it and The Walking Dead was able to rise above the drudgery of the second season to remain one of the better shows on television today.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Shameless Season 2

Shameless is a Showtime series that is based on a British show with the same name. It’s about a dysfunctional family trying to survive in the ghetto. William H. Macy stars as the drunken patriarch of the Gallagher family. He spends his days in a stupor and avoiding his kids while mooching off of lonely ladies in the neighborhood. Emmy Rossum plays Fiona, the oldest daughter and the one who runs the house. Season 1 focused primarily on Frank and Fiona, getting to know the rest of the Gallaghers, and introducing a few other people from the neighborhood. Season 2 seems to generally give Lip the big storylines.

Jeremy Allen White plays Phillip “Lip” Gallagher, the oldest son and a reluctant genius. The biggest arc of the season involves his infatuation with his slutty best friend, Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins). She gets engaged and married to a tool even though she’s pregnant with Lip’s baby. Lip tries to get her to break her relationship, he has a major fight with his brother about her, he drops out of school to get a job to support his baby, Fiona kicks him out of the house because he dropped out of school… he just seems to be the driving force in a lot of episodes.

Other Season 2 highlights involve the return of two important women in Frank’s life. His mom Peg (Louise Fletcher) gets released from prison and comes back to make Frank’s life a living hell. And his absentee wife comes home for a while. Chloe Webb plays Monica Gallagher, a bipolar drug addict with a habit of abandoning her family. Her kids resent her, they can’t trust her, and they hate the fact that they can’t help but love her. As terrible as Frank is, she’s a much more destructive influence on the kids. It becomes apparent that Monica is a drug and Frank is addicted. Nothing good can happen when they are together.

Shameless is a great show on a great network. If you like quality entertainment, rich storylines, and well written characters, then you should check it out. You shan’t be disappointed. Plus it has nudity. That’s always nice.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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