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The Paper Chase: Season 2

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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(Dec 15, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

School is back in session. Based on the 1973 film The Paper Chase, the TV series features John Houseman (who won an Academy Award for his portrayal in the original film) as Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr. the almighty voice of law and order on the Ivy League campus. He presides over second year student James T. Hart (James Stephens) and a class of driven, intelligent, and morally challenged students who always seem to rise through the pressures of life and law in the pursuit of truth and justice. They will be challenged and you will be riveted. For the first time on DVD, this second season box features 19 one-hour episodes.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: John Houseman, James Stephens
  • Directors: Jack Bender
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: December 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 1050 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002NS5HPA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,665 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Several years after its initial run on CBS, THE PAPER CHASE was revived on the Showtime cable channel. John Houseman returned in the role of Professor Kingsfield, along with James Stephens as Hart, Tom Fitzsimmons as Ford and James Keane as Bell. The characters of Logan and Anderson disappeared and were replaced by an assortment of new faces, most notably Jane Kaczmarek as Hart's girlfriend.
Those who never saw the episodes produced for Showtime in the early 80's are probably wondering how they compare to the first-year CBS segments. Actually the producers did an excellent job of continuing the series in the same spirit while making logical changes to mirror the progress of the students as they advanced through law school. The biggest surprise (or disappointment) about the episodes produced for cable is that while they were quite well done, the stories weren't significantly more dramatic or insightful than those done for CBS. One would have thought that the writers, freed from the constraints of network television, would have become more bold and produced some truly daring and thought-provoking scripts. Unfortunately, they more often than not focused on the romantic relationships of the characters (been there, done that) rather than exploring some of the more intriguing aspects of law and legal education.
The good news, though, is that when the Showtime productions were good, they were outstanding. A couple of the second season episodes, in fact, stand as two of the all-time best of the series. "Hart Goes Home" is an excellent story about Hart making a trip back to Minnesota for his sister's wedding, only to find that he can't escape his responsibilities back at school.
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In England the first 8 episodes of this, the second season, were shown on the BBC in the '80s, the remaining 11 episodes being relegated to an afternoon timeslot, which was a shame because the episodes - many of which were written by John Jay Osborne Jr, the creator of the original source novel - were great television. It was later shown on Satellite channel Sky 1, but edited in order to fit ads in. Another shame.

I only hope that if seasons 3 and 4 are released by Shout Factory (soon, please!) they will be in a combined 2-season box, because season 3 consisted of only 12 episodes and season 4 only 6. There are 19 season 2 episodes here, however.

This show really is something special. I've been quoting it as my all-time favourite series for years... but so few people seem to remember it outside of the US.

At a time when the World saw most '80s American TV as "chewing gum for the eyes" this proved that quality was possible.
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By Lotte on December 16, 2009
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Imo, (Disk 1) of the 2nd season lacked all the sparkle of Season 1. I was disappointed to find that since the 1L's Study Group never finished their first season, nor said goodbye, there was no ending. Season 2 just began with three former students from 1L already moved into 2L's. At least 2 members of the study group, Logan and Anderson were permanently gone, no goodbyes, and were never spoken of again which was a big disappointment to me, and rather curious. Hart and Ford moved into an apartment, Bell was still living in the dorm as an organizer for the new 1L students. (The last student you would think of.) But he has matured some what and his part was interesting.

Hart has a girlfriend, whom I've seen before. She struck me as a Soap Opera character, (in fact the whole story line between Hart and Connie was like a Soap Opera) but Hart fell in love with her. She was having problems with Contracts and tried to borrow Hart's outlines. He loaned them to her, but after doing so, Hart caught her trying to copy them. She returned them to Hart, angrily. She apologized with a note, he forgave her, and unfortunately, they became lovers. She appeared quite a bit older than other 1L's. No doubt, she hung around Hart mainly because of his significant reputation, his apartment, and Hart's having made Law Review and gotten an A from Kingsfield, unheard of. She was also very manipulative, trying all her sweet sexy ways to get what she wanted, among practically living in Ford and Hart's apartment, (she hated the dorms) using his TV whenever she felt like it, and getting rid of Ford, by eating his food and interrupting Ford's time with his date.
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The Paper Chase TV series' history is pretty well known. CBS ran the excellent first season in 1978, didn't know what to do with it and cancelled it. In April of 1983 the cable network Showtime revived the series and was able to reconstitute it with much of the old cast, and creators of the first season. As a Paper Chase fan from it's inception being able to see season two is like visiting old friends.

As the start of a new year of law school must be, some students don't return and others do. Logan and Anderson (Francine Tacker, Robert Ginty) are gone. Season two finds Hart (James Stephens), Ford (Tom Fitzsimmons), and Willis Bell (James Keane) now starting their second year of law school. Hart and Ford are roommates. As 2L's Hart and Ford's main conflict is no longer with Professor Kingsfield (John Houseman) the main conflict is the law itself. As second year students they're moving away from the idealistic academic study of the law to its actual implementation, in real life they struggle with their idealism vs. real world practical applications of the law. Hart is a member of the prestigious Law Review magazine of which Kingsfield is the faculty advisor. Michael Tucci plays Law Review president Golden. Bell has become the dorm advisor for the new batch of 1L's, and there are some new additions to the cast and to the story lines. Jane Kaczmarek as Connie Lehman, Clare Kirkconnell plays Rita Harriman, Hart's Law Review rival, Andra Millian as Laura, a new 1L whom Bell has a crush on.

The quality of the writing is still there from the first season. The Paper Chase author John Jay Osborn Jr., wrote seven of the nineteen episodes. There must have been some disagreement about which direction to take the show because there are two distinct halves of the season.
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Topic From this Discussion
What would they be doing now?
I would really like to see another "Paper Chase" series with James Stephens playing the professor of contract law. Who would have better credentials than James Hart, one of the very few to receive an A from Professor Kingsfield while a 1L. It would also provide continuity with the old... Read More
Dec 2, 2010 by Michael R Johnson |  See all 5 posts
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