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After an out-of-this-world first season that unleashed Robin Williams, as extraterrestrial Mork from Ork, on an unsuspecting universe, Mork & Mindy fell to earth. But while season 2 is not as fresh or inspired, it is still worth revisiting to marvel at Williams, a cosmic comic force. There was nothing wrong with Mork & Mindy that a little network tampering couldn't wreck, beginning with a disco-fied version of the show's theme song. Conrad Janis and Elizabeth Kerr, who portrayed Mindy's uptight father and more far-out grandmother, are out (although Janis does return for a couple of episodes, one of them being the inevitable clip show). Jay Thomas and Gina Hecht are in as the sibling owners of the New York Delicatessen. Also joining the cast is Jim Staahl as Mindy's preppy cousin, Nelson, a city councilman candidate, prompting many Mork potshots at politicians. Tom Poston, as grumpy Mr. Bickley and Robert Donner as addled cult leader Exidor enjoy expanded roles. If nothing else, Mork & Mindy was more ambitious in its second season, with hour-long episodes that veered from allegory (in the season opener, a shrunken Mork finds himself in a parallel universe where he joins a revolution against the Glums, who have outlawed humor) and high camp (Raquel Welch as Captain Nirvana--'nuff said--in "Mork vs. the Necrotons"). The better episodes are those in which extraterrestrial Mork is confounded by human behavior and curious customs. In "Stark Raving Mork," he picks a fight with Mindy (Pam Dawber, holding her own opposite the unpredictable Williams) thinking that it will add excitement to their relationship. In "Mork Learns to See," he befriends Mr. Bickley's blind son to experience life as he does. Mork & Mindy is of more than nostalgic interest. While the pop culture references and topical gags are stuck in the '70s (Mork manages a pun on Menachem Begin's name), Williams' physical shtick is timeless, and Mork's exuberance and innocent, child-like wonder as he tries to find his place in our world will resonate with a (na)new, (na)new generation.

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PA069884 Mork and Mindy 2nd Season DVD (1978) $29.98 $26.99