Of course, it's the Monkees second season ... and we are well and truly crossing into strange places.
Strange as it might seem to modern audiences, this band was created by Hollywood, their music chosen and played by others and they acted and sang the songs. Pretty much how most popular music is made today (think of almost any recording artist, making videos and doing concerts ... they have a serious team of people pre-packaging them.) However, the Monkees were created at a time when that was very uncool. During the first year, as they worked almost constantly on their series and singing, they also started jaming and by the end of the season, recording their 3rd album entirely on their own (with Chip Douglas as producer and bass player.) That album "Headquarters" was the second biggest album of the "Summer of Love" - The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's" was the biggest. They toured, Mickey and Peter showed up at Monteray Pop Festival, hung out with all the coolest musicians, Hendrix opened for them breifly ... and returned for season 2.
This season starts out with what looks to be some left overs from season 1 and things are fairly normal ... but suddenly, Mickey has a perm, Mike is wearing dark shades, and the music is getting pretty far out. A song of Peter's, the Love In ode "For Pete's Sake" becomes the closing theme, Mike is writing in a variety of modes, including the L.A. riot inspired "Daily Nightly" and even Davey seems to have turned a bit seedy with songs like "Star Collector" (an ode to groupies.) These Monkees have grown up and taken over. The last episode is directed by Micky himself and looks as if they were trying a new direction. But, the show was cancelled. If you can, try and watch their swansong film "Head" (preferably the Criterion edition) before you take a look at the "33 1/3" special contained on the last disc.
The discs themselves are the same as the previous box sets, just a LOT cheaper and easier to put on a shelf. I'm not crazy about the fake 5.1 mix. However, the mono is perfectly clean and the image is quite sharp. A must for any fan.