TITLE: ALICE - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON (WBSHOP.COM) (AMAZON.COM)
Release Date: March 12, 2013 (Warner Archive Collection)
Packaging: Viva Case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 580 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
It's time to do some more "grit kissing" over at Mel's Diner as Warner Archive releases Alice - The Complete Third Season on DVD! The three disc set compiles all 24 episodes of the 1978-1979 season into one collection. By this point, the series had established itself as a hit for CBS, enjoying a regular slot in the top 20 in the ratings. And few probably realized at this point that this was far from the end of the series (there are still six more after this one), although the third season was the last full season with Polly Holliday in her role as Flo, as she went on to her own (not-so-successful) spinoff in the following season... and didn't return to Alice after the cancelation of that series. But until then, we have 24 more classic episodes to enjoy with the entire original cast in Alice - The Complete Third Season.
The season kicks off with "Take Him, He's Yours," where Mel makes a bet with Alice that he can raise Tommy better than she can. Alice, Flo, and Vera decide to buy Mel's car in "Car Wars." In "Citizen Mel," Mel begins to become concerned about his own safety after he identifies a crook. Vera has a new boyfriend in "Vera's Popcorn Romance," but everybody else is trying to figure out why she doesn't want anybody to meet him. Everybody is working on breaking their bad habits in "Block Those Kicks." Flo goes back to school to get something that she never got (her diploma) in "Whatever Happened to the Class of '78?" Mel's Diner is robbed with Alice at the register in "Better Late Than Never." Alice invites Mel to dinner in "Mel's in a Family Way," but Mel is convinced that there is more to it.
Corey Feldman and Nancy McKeon play orphans in the episode "Who Ordered the Hot Turkey?," where Mel buys turkeys that are hot (and not from being cooked). Alice's second job may soon leave her with none in "The Happy Hoofers." Vera has some special powers in "A Slight Case of ESP," but things get a little eerie when they predict Mel's death. Alice dates Tommy's principal (Gary Collins) in "The Principal of the Thing." It's New Year's Eve in "What're You Doing New Year's Eve?," but Flo is in a funk because she doesn't have a date. Alice has extra tickets to a celebrity ball in "Sweet Charity." In "The Fourth Time Around," Flo may be marching down the aisle once again... with Mel's brother! Tommy is in love, but Alice would just like to be able to get him off of the phone for a minute in "Tommy's First Love."
Mel's mother is back in Phoenix for the winter in "Mel Grows Up." In "Vera's Broken Heart," Vera's boyfriend is engaged, but not to Vera. Alice may be getting a chance to have her big break in "Alice's Decision," but how can she go on the road with Tommy? Mel sells the diner in the two-part episode "The Last Stow It," and the waitresses are the first ones to go... so can he get the diner back? Alice and Vera compete for the same part in a play in "If the Shoe Fits." In "My Fair Vera," Vera gets to be in a commercial. The season ends with "Flo Finds Her Father," where Alice attempts to reunite Flow with her estranged father (Forrest Tucker).
Once again, it seems that the episodes are unedited, although many do run a bit shorter than in the previous seasons at around 24 minutes per episode. Of course, this is likely due to the fact that the episodes naturally become shorter over the years. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Take Him, He's Yours" (25:01)
2. "Car Wars" (24:53)
3. "Citizen Mel" (25:05)
4. "Vera's Popcorn Romance" (23:54)
5. "Block Those Kicks" (24:57)
6. "Whatever Happened to the Class of '78?" (24:17)
7. "Better Never Than Late" (24:05)
8. "Mel's in a Family Way" (24:05)
9. "Who Ordered the Hot Turkey?" (24:14)
10. "The Happy Hoofers" (24:00)
11. "A Slight Case of ESP" (23:55)
12. "The Principal of the Thing" (24:11)
13. "What're You Doing New Year's Eve?" (24:15)
14. "Sweet Charity" (24:22)
15. "Fourth Time Around" (24:17)
16. "Tommy's First Love" (24:09)
17. "Mel Grows Up" (24:14)
18. "Vera's Broken Heart" (24:15)
19. "Alice's Decision" (24:17)
20. "The Last Stow It (Part 1)" (24:34)
21. "The Last Stow It (Part 2)" (24:35)
22. "If the Shoe Fits" (24:34)
23. "My Fair Vera" (24:35)
24. "Flo Finds Her Father" (24:35)
The packaging for this set is consistent with the previous two releases. The cover art features a photo of Flo, Alice, and Vera, with the series title in purple, right above the photo. On the back, there is a large photo of Flo, a few episode snapshots, and a brief description of the series. The disc artwork is similar to the previous releases, with each disc representing a plate. Episode titles are printed on each disc. Also, it is
Menu Design and Navigation:
Once again, we've just got one menu (the main menu), but it is still very nicely done and consistent with the previous two releases. All of the episodes on the disc, along with a play all option, appear on a "Guest Check" for the diner. Once an episode is selected, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed at all of the appropriate places throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
Once again, there is a bit of variance in the quality from one episode to the next on the set. Although nothing on the set jumps out as being of poor quality, it is only fair to say that some of the episodes could look a little better. Like many videotaped series of the same era, the issues mostly seem to be related to the brightness level of the episodes (it varies a lot) and some of the colors seem a bit unnatural... but really, that isn't all too uncommon for a 70s sitcom. The audio is a standard mono track, so while it isn't spectacular, it does the job. There are a few audio defects here and there though, including a few very brief audio dropouts. The episodes are not closed-captioned, nor are they subtitled.
Like most Warner Archive releases, there are no special features on this set.
I certainly do wish that we could get some special features for this series, but at least Warner Archive is finally bringing us this long-awaited series, and they're not doing a bad job either. Three releases in less than a year is pretty impressive, but there are still six more seasons left to be released. I'm hopeful that we'll see those seasons on DVD as soon as possible. In the meantime, we've got three full seasons with the first 72 episodes on DVD in unedited form, and we're very close to finishing out the Flo episodes on DVD (she left in the fourth season). I'd love to see the entire series make it to DVD, but I hope that we get that far at the very least.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 03/31/13
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