Starring Zachary Quinto, Ashleigh Cummings, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson
Written by Joe Hill, Jami O’Brien
Synopsis: NOS4A2 Season 2 picks up eight years after the events of season one. Vic McQueen remains more determined than ever to destroy Charlie Manx. Charlie, having faced his own mortality, emerges desperate for revenge against Vic. This time, he sets his sights on the person who means most to Vic – her eight-year-old son Wayne. The race for Wayne’s soul sends Vic and Charlie on a high-speed collision course, forcing both to confront the mistakes of their pasts in order to secure a hold on Wayne’s future.
For fans of Joe Hill’s Christmas vampire epic novel, the second season of NOS4A2 definitely takes some twists and turns to keep those of us who have read the book on our toes. What wound up being the final season of the cult AMC series also introduces us to the backstory of the mysterious child ‘napper Charlie Manx (Quinto) who promises kids a Christmas Day that never ends. The Blu-ray release, available October 20th, is fairly straight forward boasting pristine transfers of all ten episodes and a number of fun, informative Special Features on the third disk. For Joe Hill and Stephen King completists, it’s a release you’ll probably want to pick up. Showrunner Jami O’Brien and the entire team definitely tapped into the magic of the book throughout the all too short run of the series but, even though a third season is set up in the final episode “Bats,” it may be a good thing that the show wrapped when it did.
SEASON 2 STANDOUT EPISODES
We left Charlie Manx burned and laid out on a slab at the end of Season 1 and the first couple of episodes in season 2 show just how tied his immortality is to the Rolls-Royce Wraith he travels in. These opening episodes really owe a lot to the accompanying graphic novel Wraith written by Joe Hill, Jay Fotos and Robbie Robbins with haunting illustrations from Charles P. Wilson III. Episode 3, “The Night Road,” is really the first standout episode of season 2 especially for horror fans of the eighties. Special effects makeup legend Tom Savini appears as Old Snake, a part human reptilian hybrid that has every vice you can imagine. Manx encounters him when he once again enters the nightmare bar Parnassus seen in season 1. The bar has countless references from the Kingverse and, seeing how it’s established as a haven for Strong Creatives, could have a spinoff graphic novel of its very own.
Episode 5 entitled “Bruce Wayne McQueen” almost serves as a Roshomon tale describing the abduction of Vic McQueen’s (Cummings) son from multiple points of view. It’s exquisitely well executed by director Hanelle Culpepper and is probably the most cinematic entry in the entire series. It really feels like a movie unto itself.
The penultimate episode “Welcome to Christmasland” is really the finale of the series and has the showdown between Vic and Manx that the entire show has been building to. It doesn’t disappoint for the most part but does feel a little rushed at times just because there is so much snowy ground to cover. The episode does focus on all the creepy, demon-fanged kids of Christmasland showing just how lost they’ve really become and how beholden they are to the magical world Manx and his Hot Topic goth daughter Millie (Conforti) have manifested. The kids are really the stars of the second season and Jason David as Wayne McQueen, in particular, shines in the final two episodes.
As mentioned above, there are some pretty interesting special features on Disc 3, including:
· A Look at Season 2
· Catching Up with the Characters
· The Origin of Charlie Manx
· Comic-Con@Home Panel
All three featurettes actually do set the tone and establish the backstory for the world of NOS4A2 with Zachary Quinto doing most of the heavy lifting with exposition and the usual character studies. The real standout is the Comic-Con@Home Panel hosted by Entertainment Weekly Senior Reporter Clark Collis. Having hosted the in person panel of Season 1 in San Diego, Collis is a true horror fan and a genuine supporter of the show. Ashleigh Cummings is M.I.A. for the Zoom panel but showrunner Jami O’Brien, Zachary Quinto and Joe Hill have plenty to talk about. Hill, especially, has a great story about Tom Savini as his babysitter on the set of Creepshow that should have you smiling.
NOS4A2 Season 2 Blu-ray is available October 20th.
<The season 2 Blu-ray of NOS4A2 doesn’t offer any episode commentaries or extensive special features but fans of the AMC cult series and the Stephen King/Joe Hill multiverse may still want to add this to the collection.