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Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Third Season


TITLE: EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON


Info: DVD Release Date: May 3, 2005 (HBO Home Video)
Color
MSRP: $44.98 (US)
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 780 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Feature: 2 Hours, 20 Minutes, 37 Seconds
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning:
*Audio Tracks in English, Spanish, and French
*Subtitles in English, Spanish, and French
*Closed Captioned for the Hearing Impaired
Special Features:
*Audio Commentary by Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal on 2 Episodes
*Deleted Scenes Reel
*Blooper Reel
*Museum of Television and Radio panel discussion with ELR cast and creator Phil Rosenthal


Introduction:

Everybody Loves Raymond is about a rather crazy extended family in Long Island. Starring Ray, a successful sportswriter, and husband of Debra (played by Patricia Heaton). The couple consistently deals with their young kids - a 6 year-old daughter and twin sons, as well as Ray's brother, Robert (Brad Garrett), and parents Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts), who are always coming over at unexpected times or otherwise meddling in their business.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Season Three is REALLY where Everybody Loves Raymond takes off, not only in the comedic value of the series, but in the Nielsen ratings as well, finishing 11th on the season, up from 30th the previous year. Season 3 is also home to many of the better episodes of the series.­ The first episode of the season is interesting, as Ray, Debra, and company have to move in with Ray’s parents for the week while the house is being sprayed for termites…if they thought it was bad when they were coming over all the time, imagine how nerve-wracking it is when Ray’s family shares the same house with his parents and brother! Another early episode, Halloween Candy, actually has Frank distributing condoms (chocolate coins in brightly colored wrappers) to the neighborhood kids! Frank’s Tribute, found midway through the season, is a great episode as well ­ Frank wins Man of the Year at his local lodge, and when Ray and Robert are making a video of his lodge buddies talking about him, they begin to realize that they don’t really like Frank. Finally, the season finale of the third season, How they Met, takes a look back at just how exactly Ray and Debra met years ago. Most of the other episodes are great; these are just a few of the highlights. Guest stars aren’t really abundant, but the episodes are fine regardless. Nonetheless, there ARE some noteworthy guests in season three. Katherine Helmond (Soap, Who’s the Boss) returns as Debra’s mom in two episodes: “The Visit” and “The Toaster.” Kevin James, who by this point has been spun off into his own series, The King of Queens, in three episodes (“The Lone Barone,” “Ray Home Alone,” and “Be Nice”), marking his final appearances on the show. Finally, eight of the 1969 New York Mets guest in midseason episode “Big Shots.”


Packaging:

The packaging is, like the first two sets, a molded plastic case that snaps apart to reveal the disc holders inside. Inside, the five DVDs are arranged with discs one and two seen when opening the set. Unfolding the set further reveals a disc index, and the other three discs. Disc one has episodes 1-6, disc two has episodes 7-12, disc three has episodes 13-18, disc four has episodes 19-24 and disc five has episodes 25-26. The cast photos used on the discs and packaging bears a remarkable similarity to the season two photo set, but there are minor differences...­ likely, alternate photos for the same shoot were used. Disc Art has the same characters on the same discs as last time (Ray 1, Debra 2, Robert 3, Marie 4, Frank 5), but uses new photos of them. As with last time, a word of warning…the extended pieces of plastic on the disc holders that help seal the case are fragile ­ if you drop the case with any degree of force, the plastic connectors WILL break ­ be careful.


Menu Design and Navigation:

Just like last time, the main menu features a series of scrolling video clips playing (with audio), over the main theme. Option selection in the menus is still just a simple text menu below the playing clips. The Special Features, Episode Selection, and Language menus each feature a row of cast pictures with one particular picture in the foreground. With there being several menu pages per disc, and a total of ‘five’ discs, it's just an impossibility to list ALL the pictures and clips used in the set. They did change a couple of tiny things, graphically. Menus are blue this time, to match the overall release art for the season, and the pictures were again swapped out for pictures from this season. Those of you who are curious about such things will be happy to note that they’ve included a Play All button! For those of you unfamiliar with the previous ELR sets, seasons one and two didn’t feature the button, which can hinder playback at times ­ particularly if you happen to misplace your remote. Also, Play All allows a user to click a button, and then they can just lounge in front of the TV watching episode after episode with no more work involved for hours. Many thanks to HBO for including this bit of requested menu functionality.


Video and Audio Quality:

Episodes are presented in 4:3 Aspect Ratio. Audio’s in the 1998-standard Dolby 2.0, and sounds good enough ­ it’s not the awe-inspiring 5.1 used in other arenas, and on newer shows, but it’s decent enough. The audio is available in English, French, and Spanish, with subtitles in those languages as well. HBO did a nice job with the video transfer and cleanup, the episodes look great, more or less…there’s a minor flaw here and there, but overall the video looks pretty good -­ no noticeable artifacting on any of the episodes. The only problem with the technical aspect of the discs is, once again, the chapter setup. This time, there’s not even a chapter for the opening titles, as there was on the previous sets (not all episodes use the titles this season, though). On all the episodes on the season three set, the first chapter is the opening teaser, and where applicable, the opening credits ­ previous releases had these split. The second chapter is always the main body of the show, and the third chapter is the closing credits. The chapter setup is one of the worst things to say about this set ­ it’s an issue that NEEDS to be addressed before the season four set. Pretty much every available COMMERCIAL DVD recorder allows you to set chapters somewhat-properly (higher-end models do better with this), so how can a major brand like HBO not seem to get proper chapters in?


Special Features:

Special features are similar to last season. Two episodes (#12, The Toaster and #26, How they Met) have commentary by Ray and Phil [Rosenthal]. These run the full length of the episodes, which run around 22:30 each this season for around 45 Minutes of total commentary. The deleted scenes reel runs 20:03, the blooper reel runs 11:04, and the Museum of Television & Radio panel discussion with the cast of the show and creator runs one HOUR, nine minutes, and thirty seconds. Total duration is 2:20:37 (2 hours, 20 minutes, 37 seconds on the special features).


Final Comments:

This set’s got a few problems, but it’s pretty good. They desperately need to put chapters at the start of each SCENE, rather than the way they’ve got it divided up now. The chapter problem is even worse on some episodes. The MTR discussion is an interesting find, and a nice treat to be sure ­ I hope there are more features like this in future episodes. Again, I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more appearances by Ray on Letterman for the next set (both shows ARE Worldwide Pants productions, so licensing can’t be THAT hard.) Commentary on more than two episodes would be nice ­ and possibly commentary by someone other than Ray or Phil would be nice. Finally, FIX THE CHAPTER PROBLEM. PLEASE, HBO, AT THE END OF EACH SCENE, INSERT A CHAPTER STOP. Myself, and quite a few other DVD enthusiasts, are happy that you listened to requests for the Play All functionality, and we hope you’ll fix this one other nitpick with the set. Otherwise, it’s a well done work.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend buying the set if you’re even remotely a fan of the series. As for those of you who have never seen the show, THIS is the season you want to pick up…you won’t be disappointed. And, please, watch the Series Finale of Everybody Loves Raymond on CBS on May 16!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.0/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.3/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 04/17/05

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007R4SWC/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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