TITLE: COACH - THE THIRD SEASON
DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008 (Universal Home Video)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: approx. 512 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Special Features: Mary Hart goes one-on-one with Coach!
Go the whole nine yards with Emmy Award winner Craig T. Nelson as he returns to his beloved role as Hayden Fox in Season Three of Coach from Universal Home Video! This three-disc set includes all 22 hilarious episodes chronicling the professional and private life of the curmudgeonly coach of the Minnesota State Screaming Eagles football team. By his side are Assistant coach Luther Van Dam (Jerry Van Dyke) and the devoted Christine Armstrong (Shelley Fabares). Nominated for an impressive four Emmy awards, Coach is the all-star series that will have you cheering.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The series is really rolling by the third season. One thing I always LOVED about Coach, as a sports fan, was watching the progression of the team through Hayden’s tenure, and hearing of the progress of the team through each season. In the third season opener, for example, the team is ranked in the top 20 for the first time ever. Unfortunately, his star player is hurt and has to be placed in the injury list. In the next episode, “Magnificent Abscession,” Hayden misses a game due to a bad tooth, forcing Luther to coach the game (via phoned-in instruction from Hayden). In “Hayden’s in the Kitchen with Dinah,” Christine is stuck in bed -- and Hayden promises to stay with her rather than attend a team victory party.
This season features an interesting plot arc -- Hayden’s breakup with, and subsequent reunion with -- Christine. Over the course of several episodes, the relationship between the two is tested, dissolved, explored, and then put back together. These episodes are some of the finer character-developing moments of the series -- though I mainly enjoy the series more for the football side of things.
In terms of guest stars this season: Richard Sanders (WKRP in Cincinnati) guests in “The Breakup.” Ernie Sabella (Mr. Twinkacetti on Perfect Strangers and the voice of Pumbaa in The Lion King) appears in “Men Don’t Heal.” Dick Martin (of Laugh-In fame) guests in the two-parter “The Marion Kind.” Rob Schneider appears as the title character in the episode “Leonard Kraleman: All-American.” Tom Poston guests as Hayden’s dentist (and later, jeweler) in the episodes “Magnificent Abscession” and “Diamonds are a Dentist’s Best Friend.”
Yet more of the incredibly, incredibly basic packaging as used previously. There is an outer box featuring a photo of Craig T. Nelson holding a football in front of a green playbook-like background, inside the box are two thick black keepcases. The front cover of each of the two cases features a different character, with Hayden being on case 1, and Christine on case 2. Case 1 holds the first disc, while case 2 holds the second and third discs. Discs are largely unchanged, with the colored rings still surrounding the white disc label, with the show logo at the top and the disc number -- this time in green lettering -- at the bottom. As I said in the previous review, this packaging style is more consistent with the bargain-basement public domain releases of shows, and not the product of a major entertainment company like Universal, and I am consistently disappointed in their use of this packaging. It would save shelf space and packaging costs to switch to slimcases, and there is no valid reason not to.
Disc 1 contains the first seven episodes. Disc 2 contains episodes eight to fifteen. Disc 3 contains episodes 16 through 22.
Menu Design and Navigation:
A simple menu, but it is effective nonetheless. The cover art is roughly the same as the menu art -- Hayden holding a football standing in front of a play diagram on a chalkboard. Show logo appears in the top left, while the options for the disc appear below it. Options selectable on disc one include Play All, Episode Index, Bonus Feature, and Subtitles. Bonus Feature is available on all three menus, but on discs 2 and 3 the option is ghosted out, preventing you from selecting it.
Video and Audio Quality:
Video is actually fairly nice for the show’s age. It also helps that Universal is no longer trying to jam ten episodes onto a single disc. The video appears slightly more pale than it possibly should, however, this is consistent with all airings of the show I’ve seen, indicating that this is the condition of the masters and the syndicated prints; as such you can’t really improve on them that much. Audio is now in stereo. Chapter stops occur after the end of the opening credits, and again at the end of each act. Episodes run in the 23:00 to 23:30 range.
”Mary Hart goes one-on-one with Coach” (46:35): After last season’s barebones set, it is nice to at least see Universal include something on their set. This is a rather unique bit -- it is a full 46:35 presentation that when Coach was an extremely popular show on TV. Mary Hart, of Entertainment Tonight fame, does a full program on Hayden Fox the character. It is really quite interesting -- a nice find by Universal!
This is a great series, undoubtedly, and is great to own on DVD. However, the generic nature of the aesthetics of the set, with particular regard to the packaging, troubles me. Are the sales of the release low enough that they are half-baking the packaging yet high enough that they are even releasing it? If so, that could be problematic for future sets. If it is just laziness on the part of the department making these sets, there is no excuse. If it is thrift, I encourage you to look to at the slimcases now used for most sets, including much of your own recent product. I also encourage you to upgrade your copy of Photoshop.
As for the rest of the set, it is pretty well done. The special feature included is extremely interesting -- I just wish there were more features besides it. The video looks decent for a show its age, and the audio sounds fairly nice. I just really wish they would work on the packaging. Overall, though, the set is an improvement, and for a show as good as Coach, I have to say Coach Season 3 is RECOMMENDED
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
Final Score: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 02/17/08
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