With the third season of Army Wives set to premiere on Lifetime on June 7th, the DVD set for the second season really couldn’t have come at a better place. Fans and new viewers have just enough time to get caught up or give themselves a bit of a refresher course on the happenings of the second season before the third one gets going for the summer.
7 / 10 stars
Rating: movie reviewed rating
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Army Wives is a drama series that follows a number of women living on post at an American Army base. Their lives are filled with the usual challenges of being a wife and mother along with the added layer of worry and responsibility that comes with being the spouse of someone serving their country in the military.

The Army wives of the series include Claudia Joy Holden (Kim Delaney), the wife of the General Holden, the big cheese on post. Denise Sherwood (Catherine Bell), married to Frank, who divides his love between his wife and the Army. Roxy LeBlanc (Sally Pressman), mother of two and married to Trevor LeBlanc, is still sort of new to the world of Army wife-ism and spends her time chasing after her two sons and working at the local bar. Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh), former cop, now part-time Post radio show host, deals with her husband being away most of the time while she’s at home raising their kids. And then there’s Lt. Colonel Joan Burton (Wendy Davis), who’s on the other side of the spectrum as she’s serving in the Army herself, while her husband is a civilian. The last member of the tribe is of course Roland (Sterling K. Brown), the resident Army husband of the show. He’s married to Joan and serves as an example of what life can be like for a man married into the military.

The second season begins with the aftermath of the explosion that took place at Betty’s bar after a psychotic husband turned himself into a human bomb at the end of the first season. The episode, titled “Would You Know My Name,” is gut-wrenching as we see who was hurt and sadly, who didn’t make it out of the bar alive. The devastating explosion leaves its mark on all of the families living on post, many of whom were affected by the tragedy. While everyone in the series performed admirably in this extremely emotional episode, I have to give credit to Brian McNamara, who plays Michael Holden and Brigid Brannagh for their stellar performances. McNamara’s grief towards the end of the episode is what got the tears rolling for me and Brannagh’s narration as the episode progresses adds an extra layer of solemnity to the already serious mood.

Following season premiere, the season follows the army wives and their families through a series of dramas, including tragedy and attempted rape for Claudia Joy, a stalker and a bi-curious admirer for Pamela, a new motorcycle and marital separation for Denise, half a bar and an addicted husband for Roxy and a baby for Joan! The friends pull together to help each other through their drama and cope with the issues they’re having at home. Guest stars in the season include Rumer Willis, Ana Ortiz and the great Dan Lauria.

I’m not an Army wife, so I can’t say that I became a fan of this show because I was looking for a series that’s relevant to my own personal life. That said, taking a show about a bunch of women and adding Post-life and the whole Army-wife twist on it makes this show entertaining as well as interesting even from the perspective of someone who can’t fully relate with the lives these women are leading. In that sense, Army Wives stands out among all of the other chick-TV series out there because the backdrop is so unique and the struggles the characters endure aren’t your typical drama-show crisis.

While the women spend less time together as things in their lives begin to get more and more complicated, the second season of Army Wives does well as it builds on the friendships that were established in the first season of the series.
8 / 10 stars
Rating: movie reviewed rating
The Army Wives: The Complete Second Season comes complete with all 19 episodes spread out over five discs, all of which fit nicely in a regular-sized DVD case. There are three episodes that include commentaries: the season premiere, “Would You Know My Name,””The Hero Returns,” and Dan Lauria’s episode “Safe Havens.” The commentaries each include some of the actors as well as writers and directors so you get a pretty well rounded perspective on the making of those three episodes.

The last disc includes the rest of the bonus features. “Active Duty: The Cast of Army Wives At Fort Bragg” is a featurette that shows the cast as they visit Fort Bragg and see how things really work on an Army base. This includes an amusing segment as some of the cast members get hooked up to this rig thing and jump out of a tower. “Operational Intelligence: Getting the Army’s Support” shows some behind-the-scenes look at how the writers and cast work to make the show realistic in terms of the Army backdrop.

“The Tribe” is a featurette about the main characters and their relationships with one another. “Army Wives Gives Back” is a series of short videos in which the cast members surprise real Army wives with a visit and a gift of some sort. There are a bunch of deleted scenes, each of which is precluded by the episode title so you don’t have to try to figure out where the scenes fit into the series. And finally there’s the blooper reel, which proves that even on a the set of a drama series, the cast knows how to laugh at themselves and each other.

Over all they did a pretty good job with this DVD set. Between the episodes and the added features and commentaries, fans of Army Wives will surely be satisfied with the second season DVD set.

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