23 October 2015

TV DVD Review: "Diagnosis Murder": The Second Season

Rated: PG (Canada)
Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke, Scott Baio, Victoria Rowell, and Michael Tucci
Released: 1994 - 1995 (original TV premieres) / 2007 (DVD)
Synopsis: Dr. Sloan and the staff of Community General Hospital are back to solve more murders in this second season! With murders happening all around them, pretty much anyone could be a suspect; it's up to Dr. Sloan to deduce the mystery and, with the help of his son, a police officer, put them away! With guest stars such as Staney Kamel (Monk), Dyan Cannon, Holland Taylor, sports star Bo Jackson, screen legend Betty White, and the cast of The Young and the Restless, this is one packed season!

The Good: Pretty much everybody loves a good whodunit, and, for the most part, this season delivers on that front.  Dr. Sloan and his friends use some rather brilliant deduction skills to figure out who did it and why.  The violence is rather restrained, as it is only slightly bloody at worst, and the writers keep things lighthearted by adding in dashes of humor.

The Bad: As fun as this is, I did take issue with some parts.  The biggest problem I had was with the sordid cast of characters in every episode; not Dr. Sloan and his staff, but the various suspects.  While that was probably meant to show that anyone could be guilty of the murder, the characters often talk about tawdry affairs and smoke, drink, etc.  Another serious issue was with one episode that features an actual vampire; if I wanted that kind of story, I'd go read Twilight, not watch a mystery show.  Also, this season seems to sprinkle in a higher dose of profanity than the first season.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Illicit affairs are discussed fairly often; passionate kissing and flirting is also seen. Sexual references about working in the medical field are made a few times. 2/5
  • Nudity: Women are seen in everything from low-cut tops to bare-midriff outfits to bikinis and underwear; such dress is seen in several episodes.  Less common, though still present, are shirtless guys.  One scene features a woman who takes her towel off; the top part of her chest is seen. 2/5
  • Language: D-words and h-words, as well as misuses of God's name, are heard as many as seven or eight times total per episode.  B-words and other crude terms are also present, but only occasionally. 2/5
  • Violence: Someone is murdered in pretty much every episode...hence the title of the show.  The scenes are only occasionally bloody and never graphic, though it is disturbing to see a vampire character impaled. 3/5
  • Drugs: Characters smoke and drink from time to time; one episode features medication in a needle used as a weapon. 3/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Dr. Sloan and friends have numerous close calls; the vampire character is a bit creepy; emotional intensity is also present in several episodes. 2/5
  • Other: An episode features a vampire in an otherwise realistic series. 4/5
Conclusion: Though I mostly enjoyed this second season of the classic mystery show, I did find it to be a bit edgier than I remembered as a kid.  I would caution parents of younger viewers about watching this, though it should be okay for most teens and adults.  Still, the kid in me is unsure about whether or not to continue on with the third season.

Score: 3/5

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