TITLE: COMMUNITY - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
Release Date: August 14, 2012 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 465 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 60 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles and Captioning: English Subtitles
Special Features: Commentaries on Every Episode; Outtakes; Deleted Scenes; "A Glee-ful Community Christmas" featurette; "This is War: Pillows vs. Blankets" featurette
Community college is a place where many students go to spend a year or two before advancing on to a university. But that isn't the case at Greendale Community College, where Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) and the rest of the gang of the NBC sitcom Community are back for their third year in Community - The Complete Third Season. The three disc set contains all 22 episodes of the 2011-2012 season of the series which follows Winger, his classmates, Dean Pelton, and Spanish instructor turned student turned security guard Chang as they make it through their scenic tour at Greendale.
Season three begins with "Biology 101," where Jeff will do anything to prevent Pierce from rejoining the study group. Meanwhile, Dean Pelton is fighting for control of Greendale against Vice Dean Laybourne (guest star John Goodman). Annie competes in a Model UN competition in "Geography of Global Conflict." Everybody faces complications over pizza in "Remedial Chaos Theory." In "Competitive Ecology," the group struggles with who'll be the "odd man out" when dividing up into pairs for biology lab. One of the study group members is a homicidal maniac in "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps." In "Advanced Gay," a drag queen comes between Pierce and his father. A blanket fort is the ideal place to live in "Studies in Modern Movement." Dean Pelton is working on updating a commercial for Greendale in "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux," and it is probably pretty clear who'll be involved in this endeavor.
Shirley agrees to coach Jeff in foosball in "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism," but Annie has bigger problems on her hands after she breaks one of Abed's DVDs. The study group gets to become the glee club, just in time for the holidays, in "Regional Holiday Music." French Stewart guest stars in "Contemporary Impressionists," where the group has to work as celebrity impersonators at a bar mitzvah to pay off one of Abed's debts. In "Urban Matrimony and Sandwich Arts," Shirley remarries her Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), but it may have some consequences for a dream that she shares with Pierce. Britta takes Subway a bit too far in "Digital Exploration of Interior Design." In "Pillows and Blankets," the entire campus is drawn into an epic pillow fight, thanks to Troy and Abed. It's carnival time at Greendale in "Origins of Vampire Mythology." In "Virtual Systems Analysis," Annie keeps Abed company in his Dreamatorium while Troy and Britta are out on a date.
Troy and Abed are on the case of a dead yam in "Basic Lupine Urology." A classmate suddenly dies in "Course Listing Unavailable." In "Curriculum Unavailable," the entire group visits a psychiatrist after Abed is caught trespassing on campus. A video game may determine the fate of Pierce's father's fortune in "Digital Estate Planning." An elaborate heist is planned on Greendale after Chang loses control in "The First Chang Dynasty." The season ends with "Introduction to Finality," which was designed to wrap up the series... well, except of course for the fact that it was renewed for another season after this episode.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Biology 101" (21:23)
2. "Geography of Global Conflict" (21:23)
3. "Remedial Chaos Theory" (21:22)
4. Competitive Ecology" (21:27)
5. "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps" (21:06)
6. "Advanced Gay" (21:23)
7. "Studies in Modern Movement" (21:18)
8. "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" (21:26)
9. "Football and Nocturnal Vigilantism" (21:22)
10. "Regional Holiday Music" (21:18)
11. "Contemporary Impressionists" (21:22)
12. "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts" (21:22)
13. "Digital Exploration of Interior Design" (21:20)
14. "Pillows and Blankets" (21:22)
15. "Origins of Vampire Mythology" (21:11)
16. "Virtual Systems Analysis" (21:13)
17. "Basic Lupine Urology" (20:50)
18. "Course Listing Unavailable" (20:52)
19. "Curriculum Unavailable" (21:14)
20. "Digital Estate Planning" (21:08)
21. "The First Change Dynasty" (21:18)
22. "Introduction to Finality" (21:26)
Remember those really nice slimcases that were used on every DVD set a few years ago, where you had two or three cases with one or two discs inside of each one housed inside of a cardboard box? They're rare these days, but amazingly, this series still uses that style of packaging... and I'm glad that they do. The cover art for the set contains the heads of all of the cast members attached to Sharpie-style stick figure bodies (poor Shirley is more full bodied), and on the back, we have a brief description of the season along with several episode snapshots. Inside, we have the two slimcases, the first one which contains two discs and the second one which contains one disc. The first one, containing Discs 1 and 2, is designed like a campus life book, complete with the happenings of the biology study group for the 2011-2012 year, and the second one, which contains Disc 3, is Dean Pelton's private log with notes on all of the students (including permanent records of the students) inside. It is very nice and creative packaging, as usual. On the back of each case, there is a listing of the episodes on the discs, along with descriptions for the episodes. They didn't even skimp on the disc artwork. Each one is designed like a chalkboard with photos (from the episodes) and a sheet of notebook paper attached to it... with the sheet of notebook paper having the series title and the numbers of the episodes contained on the disc. And speaking of those numbers, we've got episodes 1-8 on Disc 1, episodes 9-16 on Disc 2, and episodes 17-22 on Disc 3 (notice that we only have three discs instead of four this time).
Menu Design and Navigation:
It seems that they've found the right menus for this set beginning with the first season and haven't really made changes as new seasons have been released... and that is fine with me, because I like the menus. The main menu features cutouts of the cast members as was presented on the main menu of the previous releases, and is done a lot like the opening credits. From the main menu, you have choices of Play All Episodes, Episode Selections, Subtitles, and Special Features. Each one of those options takes you to a menu screen that appears to be handwritten on notebook paper (but it isn't really). Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed at all of the commercial break points.
Video and Audio Quality:
Given that this is a current series being released on DVD, it should come as no surprise that there aren't really any video or audio quality issues of concern on this set. For the most part, the episodes look about as well as they did when they were originally broadcast. The video is presented in 16x9 widescreen, and the audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Each episode contains English subtitles, as well as English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
For the third time now, we have a set where every single episode contains audio commentaries... literally, all of them. I'm assuming that these were done while the season was being produced, because Dan Harmon (who was unceremoniously fired from his own creation once the season ended) does participate in many of them. Donald Glover and Chevy Chase, on the other hand, are nowhere to be found... but the rest of the cast is here. While I do like commentaries for every episode, I kind of have a feeling that they were running out of things to say by now. In any event, commentaries are as follows:
1. "Biology 101" - Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown
2. "Geography of Global Conflict" - Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, and Andy Bobrow
3. "Remedial Chaos Theory" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Chris McKenna
4. Competitive Ecology" - Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Maggie Bandur
5. "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Jim Rash
6. "Advanced Gay" - Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Matt Murray
7. "Studies in Modern Movement" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, and Jim Rash
8. "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Jim Rash
9. "Football and Nocturnal Vigilantism" - Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Chris Kula
10. "Regional Holiday Music" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Steve Basilone, and Anne Mebane
11. "Contemporary Impressionists" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alex Cooley, and Kyle Newacheck
12. "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts" - Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner
13. "Digital Exploration of Interior Design" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Dan Eckman, and Chris McKenna
14. "Pillows and Blankets" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Andy Bobrow
15. "Origins of Vampire Mythology" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, and Jim Rash
16. "Virtual Systems Analysis" - Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, and Matt Murray
17. "Basic Lupine Urology" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Rob Schrab
18. "Course Listing Unavailable" - Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Dino Stamatopoulos, and Tim Saccardo
19. "Curriculum Unavailable" - Joel McHale, Gilligan Jacobs, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Andy Bobrow, and Adam Countee
20. "Digital Estate Planning" - Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, and Yvette Nicole Brown
21. "The First Change Dynasty" - Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jay Chandrasekhar, Nick Cuthbertson, and Matt Fusfeld
22. "Introduction to Finality" - Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Steve Basilone, and Annie Mebane
Each disc also contains outtakes from the episodes, which can be accessed from the special features menu. These are pretty straight forward for the most part. The runtimes for the outtakes are as follows: Disc 1 (6:42), Disc 2 (7:16), and Disc 3 (2:45). But before we move on, there are more outtakes to be found on Disc 3... some which you may not want to watch if you are a bit squeamish. Here, you'll also find a series of outtakes involving, well, bodily functions (2:45).
There are deleted scenes on each disc as well, and you'll find them from several different episodes scattered throughout the set. These are also accessed from the special features menu. The runtimes for these by disc are as follows: Disc 1 (6:11), Disc 2 (2:37), and Disc 3 (3:50).
The remaining special features can both be found on Disc 2. These begin with "Glee-ful Community Christmas" (6:21). This featurette is all about the "Regional Holiday Music" episode, and has interviews with the cast members and their experiences with doing this Glee inspired episode... complete in their lavish costumes.
Finally, "This is War: Pillows vs. Blankets" (13:25) is an interesting mockumentary about the making of the series... and a lot of stuff in this mockumentary is true to life, about the series being "over budget" and "over produced." Another great thing about this feature is that it is one of the only places where you'll get a chance to see Chevy Chase and Donald Glover talking about the series... even if it isn't quite as direct as commentaries.
They really did cut down on special features from the previous two releases this time, but I think it is great that we still got the commentaries on every episode, deleted scenes, and outtakes. I think that these special features go above and beyond the absolute minimum, and I really hope that the fact that Harmon has been nixed from the series doesn't mean that we'll be shortchanged for next season.
I have to say, the third season of this series has made it even more bizarre and quirkier than ever before, but I really do enjoy the series, and I think that this has been one of the best seasons of it so far. I can't help but to wonder what the future of the series holds, though. With Dan Harmon out of the picture and the series not being given a full season order for the upcoming season, the future is uncertain... but at least it did get a bit of a reprieve to come back and either go on to gain a bit more success or (more likely) wrap up the series properly (four years is an awfully long time to be spending in community college, after all). It is still unclear what direction the series will take in the new season, but for now, I think fans will enjoy this set of episodes on DVD.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 08/13/12
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