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The White Shadow: Season 2

4.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(Mar 21, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When professional basketball player Ken Reeves sustains a career-ending injury, he accepts a job as basketball coach at a Los Angeles inner-city high school. Now, in his second year at Carver High, he realizes he's become more than just a basketball coach. He's the person his players can turn to when things go wrong at home, or when things get tough out on the street. Clashes still arise highlighting the differences between the world Coach Reeves knows and the tough neighborhoods where his players live, but ultimately the bond between coach and player is strengthened—and the daily hardships they face become a true learning experience for all.

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The White Shadow's sophomore year, its last with the series' original roster, is a winning season as the inner city Carver High School basketball team, led by former Chicago Bulls forward Ken Reeves (Ken Howard), further share "the unique joys and sorrows experienced in organized sport." To quote an aspiring sportswriter in the season opener, "On the Line," it's the "blending of friendship, teamwork, discipline, and trust that makes this unit what it is." The Carver team will be tested on and off the court in their run for the city championship. Several episodes take an authentically gritty look at such hot-button issues as sports betting ("On the Line"), race ("Albert Hodges," "Links"), child abuse ("The Hitter"), sexually transmitted diseases ("Me?"), inappropriate teacher-student extracurricular activities ("Salami's Affair"), and the scourge of drugs ("Gonna Fly Now"). But it is the hard-earned life lessons that put The White Shadow in a class by itself. In "Globetrotters," a good team goes astray with bad sportsmanship after a winning streak, prompting Reeves to recruit an incognito Harlem Globetrotters to give his players a much-needed comeuppance. Tragedy strikes in two of the season's most memorable episodes. In "Sudden Death," Reeves is guilt-stricken after a promising player he encouraged to join the team suffers a fatal aneurysm during practice ("I hope very much this burdens you for the rest of your life," the boy's unforgiving mother tells him). And in "The Death of Me Yet," jubilation over the team's Cinderella story is short-lived after one of the team's (and series') most valuable players is slain during a liquor store robbery.

The White Shadow was never a ratings slam-dunk, but, especially, if you were on a high school basketball team, it was must-see viewing. Some more prurient episodes find The White Shadow off its game (in "The Stripper," Reeves is stunned to discover his new girlfriend, a Carver chemistry teacher, moonlights as an exotic dancer), but overall, it still scores with its real-world tone that often leaves conflicts and crises unresolved by the final freeze frame. Now available for replay on DVD, The White Shadow should find a new generation of fans. --Donald Liebenson


Special Features

  • "The Shadow of Bruce Paltrow" featurette
  • "Director's Debut" featurette
  • "A Series of Memories" preview

Product Details

  • Actors: Ken Howard, Kevin Hooks, Byron Stewart, Timothy Van Patten, Joan Pringle
  • Directors: Thomas Carter, Betty Goldberg, Bruce Paltrow, Jackie Cooper, LeRoy McDonald
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 1173 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CNE0SI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,457 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The White Shadow: Season 2" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ken Reeves (Ken Howard) and the basketball team of Carver High School returned for a second season of antics on and off the court. In this season, a lot more personal issues were dealt with, such as Gomez dealing with a father who when he wasn't gambling was physically abusing his family, Thorpe dealing with VD because he and Coolidge were both physically involved with the same girl, and Jackson learning his dropped out ex girlfriend became a prostitute. The series reaches its climax in the end as several team members are about to graduate just after winning the city championship, one will not live to see his cap and gown (I'll be nice and not give any more away). A few changes were made to the cast, Ken's sister and brother in law, the Donahues were slowly moved on. Russell Phillip Robinson joined up as team equipment manager Phil Jeffers, and John Mengatti in the occasional role of Salami's (Tim Van Patten) cousin from New York (and new player) Nick Vitaglia (he will join the opening credits in the final season which will hopefully be out soon after this one). As I said before in my review of season 1, this was a series I grew up with during Junior High (and it helped prepare me for the life of a high school kid). I am looking forward for this set (and when it comes out season 3 as well) to arrive in my DVD library.:-)
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I loved The White Shadow when it had its TV run when I was a teenager in the late 70s. The storylines were pretty interesting and the cast, which contained a mix of decent actors (Thomas Carter as Hayward, Kevin Hooks as Thorpe, Ken Howard as Reeves) and lousy actors (pretty much everybody else) but nonetheless had great chemistry together. That's probably why people are so upset over the use of the 3rd season cast as the cover of the 2nd season discs. The cast from Seasons 1 and 2 are the one that fans remember the most. The Season 3 cast ended up bringing the show down in a huge hurry.

But I'll overlook this huge mistake as I believe these 24 episodes from Season 2 were some riveting television. I watched all the episodes in less than a week (if I didn't have a job, I would have probably done it in about 2 to 3 days). There was hardly a clunker in the bunch. Personal favorites are the episodes where Hayward considers avenging the death of a cousin from a drug overdose, the episode where Salami was seduced by his teacher (which seems ahead of its time considering there are a lot more stories about this happening today than way back when this show came out) and the death of Curtis Jackson during the teams prep for the city championship.

The funny thing about watching these episodes in a short amount of time is how out of sequence things are. For example, in the first episode of Season 2 you see the new character "New York" Vitalgia in game action with Coach Reeves yelling at him. A few episodes later, Salami introduces "New York" Vitalgia to Coach Reeves and asks him if he can try out for the team. A couple of episodes later Reeves asks Vitalgia how he pronounces his name. Plus it seemed like Carver played "South" about 4 or 5 times that season.
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A wonderful show and a real time capsule of my high school experience. The makeup of the team and some of the stories mirror my high school team.
Our high school yearbook team photo could be the cover to season one of The White Shadow. Creator Bruce Paltrow had a short walk from the CBS Studios
to the high school for ideas and to watch some good basketball. Clearly, my thoughts on the show are biased. My daughter sometimes would ask me about
my high school experiences, to which I would answer, "go watch a little White Shadow". The basketball scenes are dated and not very good, but the subject
matter of many of the stories are really good. A special mention to Ken Howard as Coach Reeves. A wonderful actor and athletic enough to pull off the ex pro
role.
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In the CBS drama "The White Shadow," Ken Reeves (Ken Howard) is a former Chicago Bulls player who retired due to a knee injury. He accepts a basketball coaching job at a predominantly minority high school in Los Angeles where his college friend Jim Willis (Ed Bernard) is the principal.

Coach Reeves turns the team into winners as he gives his players guidance both on and off the court, but the team goes through some difficult times during the school year. Some of the themes explored in the 24 episodes of Season Two include gambling, racism, venereal diseases, illiteracy, prostitution, illicit student-teacher affairs, abuse of both illegal and prescription drugs, and even early death. An episode on visiting Russian players fortuitously aired the Tuesday after the U.S. beat the Soviet Union in the Miracle on Ice.

The actors who comprised the basketball team were for the most part pretty good as well, and had great chemistry on the show. Despite all their troubles, the team had a successful season and the show really portrays the sense of camaraderie that comes with playing high school sports. Basketball fans would love the show, but "The White Shadow" is also about a lot more than basketball.
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