TITLE: CHARLES IN CHARGE - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2008 (Arts Alliance America)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 586 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Special Features: None
Charles is back in charge on DVD with the complete third season from Arts Alliance America. We got season two on DVD six months ago, which is not that long of a wait compared to nearly two years between seasons one and two (however season one was released by Universal and they abandoned it). But now the future looks bright for Charles in Charge as this new home video home is being more kind. In this third season we got all 26 episodes that feature the adventures of Charles with the Powell family. This is the second season with the Powell family.
Tag along with teen idol Scott Baio ("Happy Days") as he takes on the role of live-in helper for the Powell family. Between his college friend, Buddy (Willie Aames) and the mischievous Powell kids, Charles has his hands full! Can he keep up with his social life while keeping the household going? Even when things spiral out of control, Charles still manages to be a positive role model for his three teenage charges. We have Ellen Powell the mother of the children, Walter Powell the grandfather of the children, Jamie Powell the oldest daughter, Sarah Powell the middle child, and Adam Powell the youngest of the three children. And if that’s not enough Charles’ mother, Lillian also pops in to check on her little “doodlebug.” So join the fun with Charles and the rest of the gang at Copeland College and New Brunswick, NJ for some fun on the complete third season of Charles in Charge!
Charles in Charge season three stars: Scott Baio (Charles), Willie Aames (Buddy Lembeck), Sandra Kerns (Ellen Powell), Nicole Eggert (Jamie Powell), Josie Davis (Sarah Powell), Alexander Polinsky (Adam Powell), with Ellen Travolta (Lillian) and James T. Callahan (Walter Powell).
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
As I mentioned on the last review, the series was in first-run syndication so the episode order is usually weird, but the DVD has the right order...how it airs in reruns. Sometimes there can be continuity issues in any order of this series it seems, but what can you do? Now to the best of the best this season, we start off with the Christmas episode “Yule Laff,” where the family is snowed-in in a cabin. Charles moves into Buddy’s dorm in “Dorm Warnings.” In “Role Model,” Charles is suspicious of the modeling school Jamie is attending. In “The Extremely Odd Couple,” Lillian and Walter feud, but what will happen after that might surprise you. Special guest star Mindy Cohn drops by playing Buddy’s sister Bunny who has become an alcoholic in “Bottle Baby.” Will Charles going into the pickle business with his uncle in “The Pickle Plot.” In “Trading Papers,” Charles gets an A for Sarah’s work, but what will happen to Sarah with Charles’ paper? Jamie, Sarah and Adam purchase Charles to do whatever they want in “Where the Auction Is.” A bodybuilder is after Charles in “Barbelles.” And in “Blackboard Bungle,” Charles gets a teaching aide job...in Jamie’s class.
There were a lot of notable guest stars this season, such as Dabbs Greer, Mindy Cohn, John Astin, Ben Stein, Jack Riley, Vito Scotti, Mark Blankfield, J.D. Roth, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Adam Carl and Jerry Van Dyke.
The packaging is the same as the season two set, an Amaray movie-style snap case. The case is a thin, which is always good for our shelves. The cover art features a nice cast photo at the diner (which is strange because the diner doesn’t come until season four and also Justin Whalin doesn’t join the cast until season four). Scott Baio is in the center, like the last set...it seems it is the same photo, but another view of it. The show logo is at the top of the case. A purple and yellow tile background is used. On the back of the case, there is another cast photo that is very playful, with Charles holding on to one of Jamie’s shoes (this cast photo seems it is from season three). Then there are two Polaroid style photos featuring screenshots from the episodes, one of them again is from season four. A synopsis of the set and the DVD specs are listed. Scott Baio is on the spine of the case, once again.
When we open the case, we get to the discs. Last season we got a single sheet that had a listing of the episodes by disc, but we don’t get that this time for some reason...we do get an inset for other Arts Alliance America DVDs. Disc 1 is on the left side, while Discs 2 & 3 are overlapping each other on the right side. Each disc has the same photo of Scott Baio that is used on the cover art and the Charles in Charge logo. Disc 1 has a purple scheme and has episodes 1-9. Disc 2 has a blue scheme and has episodes 10-18. Disc 3 is yellow and has episodes 19-26.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu screen is not as cool as last time, but it is still efficient. This time we get to the main menu where the theme song is playing in the background, with a photo of Charles and four or five Polaroid style photos. Last set had more of an entertaining menu. The options are Episode Select and Play All. When we select the Episode Select option, we see a screen shots from the episode with episode numbers and titles. We have five chapter stops per episode, just as the last set. So, I’d say the menu design and navigation is better than season one, but not as good as season two.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio are both excellent once again. The episodes are in their original full screen format. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of around 22:25 in length. The times are all very consistent, give or take a few seconds. Chapter stops are placed at all the appropriate places (after opening credits, first act, second act, closing tag, and closing credits). The audio is a Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 track. The dialogue is at a good level and it easy to understand. I didn't notice any major problems. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are plenty of logos here. There is Al Burton Productions, Scholastic Productions and an old Universal logo, just like the last set.
Here are the runtimes:
1. Yule Laff (22:27)
2. Piece of Cake (22:25)
3. Dorm Warnings (22:26)
4. Speechless (22:25)
5. Infatuation (22:26)
6. Role Model (22:26)
7. Extremely Odd Couple (22:26)
8. Poppa the Sailor Man (22:26)
9. Baby Bottle (22:27)
10. Dear Charles (22:26)
11. The Pickle Plot (22:26)
12. The Buddy System (22:26)
13. Sarah Steps Out (22:25)
14. Trading Papers (22:26)
15. Five Easy Pizzas (22:26)
16. Getting In (22:24)
17. Here Today Gone Tomorrow (22:25)
18. Dutiful Dreamer (22:26)
19. Berkling Up Is Hard To Do (22:26)
20. Runaround Charles (22:26)
21. Where The Auction Is (22:26)
22. Barbelles (22:26)
23. Boy Who Loved Women (22:25)
24. Blackboard Bungle (22:27)
25. Heart Burglar (22:26)
26. May The Best Man Lose(22:25)
As I discussed in the memorable episodes section, the episodes are in rerun order, so they way you saw it on Nick at Nite and other stations is the way it airs. I suggest you visit the episode guide on this website to see how seasons 4 and 5 will look: http://www.sitcomsonline.com/charlesinchargeepisodeguide.html
Unfortunately, there are no special features included once again. It would be great to see some bloopers/outtakes, syndication promos and new cast interviews on future releases. Anything to see Nicole Eggert in something new or even the past!
Thanks to Arts Alliance once again in picking this series on DVD. We only had to wait 6 months between releases, which is not bad. I wish we had some special features, though. I wish we had like interviews or bloopers at least on this set. Maybe they will for the last two seasons? Well, anyway, Arts Alliance America did a nice job for the second straight time, even though this season had more problems (no episode listing insert, overlapping discs, wrong cast photos, and a more boring menu), it still had the episodes unedited at 22:25 or so, which is normal because this show was a first-run syndicated show. Arts Alliance has promised to release the rest of the series. They have told me a “best of” set is coming in August (delayed from June) and seasons 4 and 5 will come in September with a little twist. I can’t reveal that twist yet, but fans will be happy! It’ll speed up the process, so we won’t have to wait long for seasons 4 and 5, just four more months until that happens! But for now, Charles is in Charge on this season 3 DVD and he orders you to stop partying and click on the link below to buy this DVD! Hurry before one of the Powell kids has a problem to tell you!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4/5
-- Reviewed by pavanbadal
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