TITLE: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN - THE COMPLETE SEASON TWO (MILL CREEK)
DVD Release Date: September 13, 2011 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Double-wide case with area for holding discs in sleeves
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 576 minutes
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Special Features: Candid Interview with John Lithgow, Bloopers, Best of Sally Featurette, Bloopers from the 3D Episode, Behind the Scenes from the 3D Episodes, Season Two Highlights
Here we are again, with season two of 3rd Rock From the Sun, released by Mill Creek on the same day as season one. This set was also originally released by Anchor Bay back in 2005, but to fans’ anger, they were also syndication edits. Fortunately, this time around, Mill Creek has gotten unedited episodes from Carsey-Werner, and they are hilarious. The show follows a “family” of aliens who have come to Earth to study our culture. Leader Dick (John Lithgow) is masquerading as a professor at a nearby college and in love with his co-worker Dr. Sally Albright (Jane Curtin), Sally (Kristen Johnston) is a man in a woman’s body, Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is discovering what it’s like to be a horny teenager, and Harry (French Stewart) is just strange.
In this season, the Solomon’s continue their exploration of Earth and human culture, only now they’re beginning to explore more complex human emotions.
There are a lot of classic episodes this season, as well as a lot of huge guest stars. Dennis Rodman appears in the two-part season premiere, as Dick battles his evil twin (also played by John Lithgow.) George Takei appears in “Hotel Dick,” Al Franken in “Dick the Vote,” Dick Martin in “Dick Jokes,” and Mark Hamill in “Fifteen Minutes of Dick.” And those are only a few of the big name guests. The two-part season finale “A Nightmare on Dick Street” features some 3-D dream sequences (why shouldn’t aliens dream in 3D?) as the family experiences their first dreams and want to go back home thinking they’ve gone crazy. Unfortunately, there’s no way to watch the shows in 3D. The original Anchor Bay set included special glasses, but none are included here. The episodes look fine in 2D though.
That said, the episodes are all uncut, and there are still no James Earl Jones voiceovers. I’m guessing there were none on season two episodes? The episodes are a good 20 seconds longer than what is on the Anchor Bay releases.
See Dick Continue to Run (2) (22:09)
See Dick Continue to Run, Continued (3) (22:06)
Hotel Dick (22:07)
Big Angry Virgin from Outer Space (22:08)
Much Ado About Dick (21:54)
Dick the Vote (22:09)
Fourth and Dick (22:05)
World’s Greatest Dick (22:09)
My Mother the Alien (22:09)
Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick (22:08)
Dick Jokes (22:09)
Jolly Old St. Dick (22:09)
Proud Dick (22:06)
Romeo & Juliet & Dick (22:14)
Guilty as Dick (22:08)
Dick on One Knee (22:10)
Same Old Song and Dick (22:05)
I Brake for Dick (22:08)
Dick Behaving Badly (22:08)
Sensitive Dick (22:06)
Will Work for Dick (22:10)
Fifteen Minutes of Dick (22:10)
Dick and the Single Girl (22:10)
A Nightmare on Dick Street (1) (22:11)
A Nightmare on Dick Street (2) (22:12)
The outer packaging is probably a bit more attractive than the Anchor Bay release, if a little less functional. The front of the case shows the family and Dr. Albright in the Rambler with the show’s logo below, and “The Complete Season Two” above. The rear has Kristen Johnson dressed as a waitress, serving the family in the Rambler, with a sign saying “We Brake for Aliens.” The original Anchor Bay box talked when you pushed a certain part of it, but that feature is not retained. The discs themselves have the same picture of the cast in the Rambler, with the show’s logo and a list of what episodes and features are on the disc.
The inside of the packaging is now my big source of complaint. Many Mill Creek releases in the past have the discs in sleeves, and a special sleeve-holder inside the case. The same can be said of this packaging. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again. I hate DVD packages in sleeves. It makes the discs easily damaged, they aren’t stored well in the case, and the sleeves are easy to lose (and you can’t put a disc back in the case without a sleeve or else it will slide around all over the place.) Major disadvantage over the Anchor Bay set.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu is similar to season 1. The show’s main theme plays with the show’s logo on screen and outer space pictures of planets resembling the opening title. You can choose from “PlayAll,” “Episode Select,” or “Special Features.” Clicking on episode select makes an image of the aliens on the roof pop up from which you can choose an episode. Clicking Special Features makes an image of the cast in the Rambler convertible pop up on the screen showing that disc’s special features options. Chapter stops are placed at commercial breaks.
Video and Audio Quality:
The audio quality is nice, in its original stereo sound. Not much to complain about here. The video suffers from the same digital artifacting that the first season suffers from. Mill Creek is simply trying to cram too many episodes onto too few discs in order to make the price lower. This set is three discs, whereas the original Anchor Bay one was four. After watching a few episodes in a row, it becomes easier to ignore, but the problem is still there. There must have been a way these episodes could have been released cheaply without so much compression.
Just about all of the special features from the original set have been carried over, but no new ones have been added. On disc one, a fascinating “new” (in 2005) interview with John Lithgow (9:55) is very interesting. Lithgow reveals how he was tricked into letting the creators pitch him the show, and even though he was trying to think of nice ways to get out of it, five minutes later he wanted to do it. Also French Stewart’s character was rewritten when Stewart was cast to match his personality. There are a lot of other interesting nuggets there as well. Season Two Highlights (10:38) is simply a clip reel of some of the season’s best moments.
On disc 2: The Best of Sally (10:58) is a clip reel of some of Kristen Johnston’s funniest moments as Sally from throughout the series. Season Two Bloopers (10:16) is just that, just over 10 minutes of hilarious bloopers from the second season. The extremely funny cast is even funnier when they mess up.
And on disc 3: Bloopers from the 3D Episodes (2:47) is nearly 3 minutes of bloopers just from the two-part season finale. And Behind the Scenes of the 3D Episodes (4:36) is a short behind-the-scenes piece on how the 3D episodes were made (Harry’s musical dream was supposed to be shot in one take… and it took 27 tries!)
Again, the NBC promos that were included with the first release of season two are not here, and the special booklet is not either. All the other special features from the Anchor Bay release are here, though some new ones would have been nice (commentary anyone?)
Again, it’s nice to finally have these episodes uncut on DVD, even though the older Anchor Bay release was only missing about 20 seconds per episode. The episodes here are highly compressed and are in horrible paper sleeves, but at a cheap price of about $10 or less, I would still recommend an upgrade, or picking the set up if you’ve never bought or seen the show before (get season 1 also though if you’re one of those people.) The show is extremely funny and I highly recommend it.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by Greg Brobeck on 09/18/11
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