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3rd Rock From the Sun - Season 3


TITLE: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN - SEASON 3


Info:

DVD Release Date: February 21, 2006 (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Color/1997-98
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 27
Running Time: 594 minutes
Total Runtime of Special Features: approx 125 minutes (including commentary)
Languages: English; No Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features:
Bloopers
Brand New French Stewart Interview
Wild About Harry ­ Favorite Harry Moments
Interviews with the Cast: The Superest 2-Part Episode EVER!
Audio Commentaries
TV Spots
Season Three Highlights
16-Page Collectible Booklet


Introduction:

The New York Daily News instantly called 3rd Rock from the Sun “by a long shot, the funniest, most original, best written, and best produced new comedy of the season,” when it debuted. For the next five years, it remained the most wildly inventive, critically acclaimed, and flat-out hilarious show on TV. Now we get to enjoy season three of 3rd Rock from the Sun on DVD!

Welcome to the most outrageous year of alien lunacy yet! Get ready for out-of-this-world and certified-classic hilarity as Dick Solomon (John Lithgow) and his “family” Sally (Kiristen Johnston), Harry (French Stewart), Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Dr. Albright (Jane Curtin) experience the insanity of human behavior like no other comedy in television history! Wayne Knight, Simbi Khali, Elmarie Wendel and Jan Hooks co-star in this acclaimed third season that was nominated for 8 Emmy Awards.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

This season is one of the best of the series IMO. Almost every episode in the season is a gem. A few recommendations:

Fun with Dick and Janet - Dick receives an unpleasant order from the home planet on the third-season opener: he must marry the Big Giant Head’s niece Janet. As Sally, Harry, and Tommy escort Janet on the rocket to Earth, the bride-to-be sets out to prove that she’s a true domestic goddess, brushing up on her skills by reading The Joy of Cooking, The Joy of Sex, and The Joy of Yiddish. Then, in Part 2, a defiant Dick is still reluctant to marry Janet and is sticking by Mary: whether Mary will stick by Dick is another question. Meanwhile, Janet’s arrival in Rutherford becomes anything but quiet. Officer Don suspects that aliens have landed.

Tricky Dick: Dick and Mary take out their frustrations about their broken engagement on each other, and begin an elaborate game of practical joke one-upsmanship, while Sally eyes her disinterested yoga instructor and Tommy reluctantly joins a garage band, with Harry as his Roadie.

A Friend in Dick: Dick, friendless after his breakup with Albright, tries to shoehorn Officer Don into his life as best friend and constant companion…with mixed results. Sally shanghais the slickly popular dancer Peter Connelly, the “King of the Dance” to Johnny Foam’s Café as a sacrificial lamb for her moody artist boyfriend Seth, and is horrified to learn that rather than the dork and tortured soul she fell for, Seth is a poseur…and a jig fan. Harry tries to get a job so he can buy Tommy some roller blades, but lacking the required diploma, he must first weather the indignities of night school

36! 24! 36! Dick!. Another two-parter. This is “The Super Bowl Episode”. Venusians disguised as gorgeous babes plot to plunder Earth of it’s riches in an uproarious episode that climaxes at the Super Bowl in San Diego. When hordes of beautiful women start showing up in sleepy Rutherford, Ohio ­ and seem enthusiastic about dating average Joes like Dick, Harry, Tommy, and Officer Dan ­ Sally suspects that something’s amiss. Later, the Solomon men embark on a country-wide search for Sally that ends at the Super Bowl, where the lethal livelies have planned to unleash their most devastating weapon yet, the ultimate beer commercial, designed to enslave mankind into coughing up the rest of their pricey consumer goods. Phil Hartman fans, prepare to wretch however, as Brynn Hartman, the woman who just 4 months later would kill Phil before taking her own life, is in this episode. If you can get past that, you’ll probably HAVE to take pause at Phil himself guests in an episode that aired just 8 days before his death.

There are many more good episodes to this season, but I’ll let you discover them on your own.

And now for the one part of my review that makes ANY sense:

THE NOT AS LONG AS LAST TIME LIST OF GUEST STARS, 3rd ROCK SEASON THREE EDITION:

Roseanne: Fun With Dick and Janet
Pat Finn (game show host): The Great Dickdator
Brynn Hartman (AKA: Phil Hartman’s wife/murderer): 36! 24! 36! Dick!
Greg Gumbel (Sportscaster): 36! 24! 36! Dick!
Cindy Crawford (…): 36! 24! 36! Dick!
Dom DeLuise: Auto Erodicka.
John Cleese (Monty Python!): Just Your Average Dick, Dick and the Other Guy
Phil Hartman: Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary.

8 Days after this episode aired, Brynn Hartman shot and killed her husband Phil Hartman before taking her own life. The fact that both guest starred on the same show within a relatively short time span, in hindsight, is just weird.


Packaging:

The packaging is your standard 4-disc Digipak…except it talks. All those The Critic “Buy My Book” references I made during the review for Action! would probably be appropriate here. And unlike the copies I received for seasons 1 and 2: THIS ONE ACTUALLY TALKS!. The sound clip IS: “Oh my GOD…You’re…GORGEOUS” (Voice: Dick). As before, the mechanism is hidden in a compartment behind the cover, resulting in the packaging being thicker than normal. The front cover features the main cast (sans Dr. Albright playing pool in front of a light-reflective blue-ish background, with a yellow/green 3rd Rock logo at the top. Reverse cover has the introduction on the top, while, underneath a “ring” the cast stands there. They are in front of the female symbol. For the interior panels, Dick is in a leather jacket, Harry is in his “ORCA” uniform, and Sally and Tommy (each on their own panel) are dressed as Sonny and Cher. Dr. Albright is made up to look like a 60s-style hippie. The artwork behind the discs is a panoramic shot of the five main cast members in front of the sun in the Rambler, similar to what was on the back cover of season 2’s box. Part 3 of “A Guide to Living on Earth”, which I again remind you is not new material, but is reprinted from 3rd Rock From the Sun ­ The Official Report on Earth by High Commander Dick Solomon (Complete book available from Harper-Collins Publishers and finer bookstores everywhere!). Even though none of it’s new, it’s still just as funny. Section 1 is some medical advice from Harry that no one tells you above (Example: “Do not insist that there is such thing as recreational enemas and you want one “right now!”). Next is a guide on holidays and special days. After that is…uh…some random pictures, and then followed by episode details. Wow that was sparse. Running out of material already, eh?

Unlike last time, the discs are NOT related to the background art. This time, Dick, standing in front of a Saturn-like blue planet, is on Disc 1 (episodes 1-7). Sally, wearing something you’ve just gotta see to believe is featured in front of a Neptune-like planet on Disc Two ­ containing shows 8-14. Harry, in his costume from the Halloween show, is on disc 3 (in front of some blue-green rings). Episodes 15-21 are on the third disc. On disc 4 (22-27) you will find Tommy just…standing there and smiling, it is nothing unusual, he is just standing there.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are incredibly well done…except they’ve already been done. The main menu animations, while great, are essentially just the same bouncing planets used in the first two seasons’ menus, just without the cast being used anywhere in the menus. The episode selection menu is the same as the previous release ­ selectable text below 4 planets. Clicking the episode title presents you with a screen with info about the episode ­ the episode synopsis, a photo for the episode, as well as two “Play” options…you can either play the episode, or choose to view an episode preview for each episode. Each preview runs 0:30.


Video and Audio Quality:

I’ll cover the runtimes…in the runtimes subsection. This part I want to talk about the VQ and AQ of these episodes. By talk I mean say roughly exactly what I said about seasons 1 and 2, as they video is in identical shape. The video quality is fairly good. Most episodes are bright and vivid with minimal compression. Some of the later episodes appear slightly faded, but still look good. Audio is your basic 2.0 English. The sound is spread evenly among both channels. The audio is loud and clear. There are no detectable muffled spots. Essentially it’s the same as season 1’s review as well as season 2’s. VQ on the previews appears to have gotten noticeably better, while AQ stays good. Chapter stop is placed only after the end of the main credits. Better than nothing…

Syndication cuts, BE GONE. Carsey-Werner, and as a result Anchor Bay (who licenses most of the C-W library for DVD purposes) have listened to the fans, and the episodes on this and future sets ARE ORIGINAL BROADCAST PRINTS. And with the dropping of the James Earl Jones intro for this season, adds a whopping 15 seconds to the runtime. I like to complain about edits as much as anyone, but seriously, 15-20 seconds. Obviously, it’s more important for shows that due to when they aired run longer ­ for example Roseanne. That being said, for those who don’t believe me, here are the runtimes. 21:50 to 22:00 was the “magic number” for Carsey-Werner syndication cuts, so….

Fun With Dick and Janet (1): 22:11
Fun with Dick and Janet (2): 22:12
Tricky Dick: 22:10
Dick-in-Law: 22:12
Scaredy Dick: 22:11
Moby Dick: 22:11
Eleven Angry Men and One Dick: 22:11
A Friend in Dick: 22:11
Tom Dick and Mary: 22:11
Seven Deadly Clips: 22:11
Jailhouse Dick: 22:11
Dick on a Roll: 22:11
The Great Dickdater: 22:11
36! 24! 36! Dick!: 22:11
36! 24! 36! Dick!: 22:11
Pickles and Ice Cream: 22:11
Auto Erodicka: 22:11
Portrait of Tommy as an Old Man: 22:12
Stuck with Dick: 22:11
My Daddy's Little Girl: 22:12
The Physics of Being Dick: 22:11
Just Your Average Dick: 22:11
Dick and the Other Guy: 22:11
Sally and Don's First Kiss: 22:11
When Aliens Camp: 22:11
The Tooth Harry: 22:11
Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary: 22:11


Special Features:

Season Three Highlights: The funnier moments of season three condensed into 9:23.

Interviews with the Cast: The Superest Two-Part Episode Ever: Interesting thing that was filmed on the set of the episode. The parts filmed in the evil lair in the various pictures are blurred out. 4:54

French Stewart Interview: French was cast on 3rd Rock after getting fired from another show. First thing he thought when reading the audition script was that the show was great, the 2nd that it would never get on TV. What kind of character is Harry? Harry is an idiot. French's words, not mine. French loved that Harry was a traditional "sidekick idiot". 10:32 of French's opinions on Harry and the show.

Wild About Harry: Favorite Harry Moments. 6:07. Various Harry clips from season three. All clips are from the third season.

Bloopers: 10:11 worth of bloopers. Dinnertime!

Commentary:
Tricky Dick: 22:10. Commentary By: Executive Producers Mike Schiff and Bill Martin, and Actor French Stewart. All 4 commentaries for season three will be these guys, so sit down and be comfortable, you're getting 90 minutes of the same commentary team. Mike and Bill had become the show runners (main people) behind the scenes at that point. Essentially, this episode is the burn off of all the post-breakup angst of Mary and Dick.

Dick on a Roll: Mike Schiff, Bill Martin, and French Stewart: Lithgow hurt himself, so they come up with an idea to have Dick hurt himself on-the-show. 22:11. Want to know more: Buy/Rent the DVD and listen!

Dick and the Other Guy: Mike Schiff, Bill Martin, French Stewart. Basic reflective commentary. Proof that French Stewart is NOT like Harry. 22:11

Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary: Mike, Bill, and French. More of the Same. 22:11

Runtime of Special Features: Roughly 125 Minutes


Final Comments:

I’m going to reprint this in every 3rd Rock review until the point gets made:

Seth’s Guide to Placing Chapter Stops (abridged):
Step One: Every time show fades to black, insert stop there
Step Two: Repeat.

It’s a simple thing, and I seriously do NOT know why some releases don’t have them. Now, that being said, this is a good set. Special features seem a bit thinner, but all things considered (we’re at season three now) it’s not that bad. There’s still a wide array of special features here -­ more than you’ll find on most other sets. Those out there that wouldn’t purchase previous releases due TO that lost 20 seconds of actual content (plus the James Earl Jones intro, admittedly), it’s now safe to buy this set. It’s fixed now.

Recommended for purchase. It’s a good show, and should keep you laughing for many hours on end. Can’t wait for season four.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 02/20/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CEXF6A/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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