ABC’s China Beach only lasted four seasons in its original broadcasts. But in that short span of time, the military medical drama became a favorite among viewers, critics, and even Vietnam veterans alike. The series’ second season proves even more than its debut season just why it was (and still is today) a favorite among its audiences. That is first and foremost because of the show’s writing. Audiences will see in this season that the writing is even more character driven than before. Now that it has been released to the masses on DVD, audiences will appreciate the bonus featurette “Voices of the War: The Real China Beach.” This piece goes into some depth explaining why the series was especially a favorite not just among general audiences but vets, too. And making the recently released DVD set complete is its packaging. StarVista and Warner Home Video are to be commended for the set’s packaging. Together with the writing and the bonus featurette, the three factors come together to make China Beach Season 2 another must have for any of the show’s original audience base.
The very first aspect of China Beach’s second season that makes it work is its writing. The series’ first season spent most of its time setting the scene for the series. It spent much of its time introducing the characters and their chemistry, as well as the series’ backdrop. To the defense of the series’ heads, there’s not a thing wrong with that. That early establishment was solid in its own right. Now in its second season, the series’ writers have begun to delve more into the characters themselves. They begin to show how working in Vietnam is affecting them personally and in their interactions with one another. Most interesting about this is that the stories of the doctors and nurses at China Beach are in fact based on stories collected from those that actually served and worked in Vietnam. That explains why the stories are so gripping. This leads to the second aspect of the success of Season Two’s recently released box set. That aspect is the bonus featurette, “Voices of the War: The Real China Beach.”
The recently released DVD box set of China Beach Season 2 includes as an extra, a bonus featurette titled “Voices of War: The Real China Beach.” This featurette takes viewers behind the writing that comprised Season Two. It does so by presenting interviews with the show’s heads and cast. Spliced into the cast and crew interviews are interviews with nurses that actually worked at the medical camps in Vietnam. The combined interviews display in full detail just what made the series work so well for so long. Audiences will laugh along as one of the series’ heads tells an anecdote of how one veteran told him something in one episode didn’t happen a certain way but then did a full 180 the following week, asking how in the world the crew knew that said situation had happened. On another level, audiences will be moved seeing lead cast member Dana Delaney brought to tears in recalling her interactions with the nurses on whom the series was based. These are just a couple examples of what makes this featurette so important. Perhaps the most important part of the whole featurette is the recurring sentiment among the cast and crew that the intent with the show was to honor those that served. They wanted the memory of those that served to be properly honored especially considering how soldiers at the time had been treated by their fellow Americans upon returning from the front lines. Such sentiment is difficult to find among cast and crew of any of today’s shows. Audiences don’t hear the cast and crew of any medical and crime dramas sharing such sentiment towards the police officers or EMTs that put themselves on the line every day. It makes this sentiment all the more powerful. And in the bigger picture, it makes Season Two even more worth the watch.
The writing and the bonus featurette included in China Beach Season Two are equally important to the overall enjoyment of this recently released box set. There is one more aspect of this set that audiences will appreciate, making it complete. That aspect is its packaging. StarVista and Warner Home Video have given proper respect to audiences with the set’s packaging. Each of the set’s five discs have been given their own spot inside the standard DVD case. Four of the set’s discs are placed on their own spot on either side of two “leafs” inside the case. The fifth disc gets its own spot on the back of the case on its own spindle. This protects each of the discs from one another and from themselves. The result is the capability of watching this season for a long time. It is the final touch on an already impressive box set from a show that proves especially in its second season that it is deserving of more respect from a whole new generation. China Beach Season 2 is available in stores and online now. It can be ordered online now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GLT2TR6/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1VZVGYAGEKD2Q93H5722&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846. More information on this and other releases from StarVista is available online at http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS and http://www.timelife.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.