Season 2: It is still good and looks better than season 1 but is not as consistently engaging and imaginative across all the episodes
The continuation of the adventures of activist Huey Freeman, his little brother and his grandfather in the mostly white and affluent suburbs shows the main changes from season one very quickly and, I'm afraid to say, these are not as much of an improvement as I would have liked. If anything a lot of the changes are either neutral or disappointments. The best episodes in season 1 were like the comic strip funny attacks and challenges on aspects of the African-American community and the culture that has grown up from it. I say this second part because I do not think that show is only an attack on the black community simply because of how influential African-American culture is, some of the things the show challenges go beyond race. These stronger episodes were pretty frequent in season 1 and of course the most famous one was Return of the King, which was a brilliantly creative way of making strong points.
The thing is, this appears to have been forgotten in season 2 because too many of the episodes are big, exaggerated stories that seem to be more about getting some martial arts action into play rather than having the core of commentary and criticism that made the strip so appealing to me. Episodes doing this include the possession episode, the basketball one, the crazy myspace woman and so on. All of these were slightly amusing and looked good but ultimately were not strong enough to make the show really appeal. Without that sharp edge, the show is rather exposed as not being as funny or engaging as it normally seems. There is not any single episode that gets close to the King one but there are quite a few that do at least have a base of commentary. These seem to come later in the season and I particularly liked the BET episodes (the Ruckus Show being the best), the N-word one and the Gangstalicious one, because all of them have interesting things to say and say them in a funny and imaginative way. It is a shame that the season cannot get more consistency in this area.
The animation is obviously improved and this is a bit of a mixed blessing. The really clean presentation of the characters with their more angular faces does rather detract from the ever so slightly rougher feel that they had in the first season. The action though, is much better and does feel cooler and "bigger" although again I'm not sure how much I wanted it to be that way. It niggled me but somehow the show stopped feeling like it was being influenced by Japanese animation and had become Japanese animation. To some the difference will be petty but it did make a difference to me because it felt like it had stepped away from being Boondocks. It is hard to criticise Madhouse for their work because it does look good but it does take something from the soul of the strip and the first season. It probably doesn't help that I got it into my head that the frequent and extended action sequences had been stepped up while the commentary had been scaled back not related perhaps but it felt that way to me.
Season 2 is still very good though and it does help that it finishes on its strongest episodes but, while it does look better, it does feel like a bit of a step down from season 1. There are an increased number of episodes that are just stories without any social meaning or commentary and this weakens the show, robbing it of the very reason fans love it. Season 3 is being worked on and I hope that it can deliver more edgy and interesting episodes and fewer more generic, action-based ones.
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