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Seinfeld - Season 3


TITLE: SEINFELD - SEASON 3


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 23, 2004 (Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment)
Color/MSRP: $49.95
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: Approx. 505 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: Approx. 13 hours
Languages: English (Stereo), French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Special Features:
• Kramer vs. Kramer: Kenny to Cosmo (meet the REAL Kramer)
• Notes about Nothing (Behind the Scenes/Production Notes)
• Inside Looks (Cast talk about behind the scenes for that episode)
• In the Vault (Deleted Scenes)
• Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That (Outtakes/Bloopers)
• Yada, Yada, Yada (Commentary by Larry David and cast on x episodes)
• Master of His Domain (Never-used standup by Jerry Seinfeld)
• Sponsored by Vandelay Industries (NBC Promos)


Introduction:

The show about nothing has finally arrived on DVD. Seinfeld, which aired on NBC for nine years from 1989-1998 for 180 episodes, focused on four single friends living in New York. There was Jerry, the comedian, plus his friends Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss), George (Jason Alexander), and nutty neighbor Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). The show started slowly – only a 4 episode pickup in 1990. It would not really pick up a large amount of viewers until it was moved to Thursday nights at 9:30PM after Cheers. The show changed the landscape of TV forever, leaving the air in 1998 as the number one Nielsen-rated show -- a rare feat for a comedy in its waning years. Seinfeld was nominated for a grand total of 68 Emmy Awards, winning a total of 10. TV Guide, in May 2002, named it the #1 show of all time in its list of "50 Greatest Shows of All Time" list.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Season three is where the show really starts to hit its stride. There’s really no weak episode in the season. The Parking Garage is definitely one of the funniest episodes. The gang gets lost trying to find their car inside a mammoth parking garage and wackiness occurs. Michael Richards was actually lugging around an actual air conditioner inside the box! Also, an accidentally misfiring car causes everyone to lose it at the end. Also, the 60 minute episode, The Boyfriend, in which Jerry becomes friends with his idol, baseball player Keith Hernandez, while Elaine actually starts going out with him – much to the chagrin of Newman and Kramer, who claim to have been literally spat upon by Hernandez back in the day -- but was there a second splitter? The Red Dot is fairly good, as there’s a red dot on a discounted sweater George buys Elaine as a thank you for getting him a job. Elaine winds up giving it back to George, who gives it to the cleaning lady as a hush payment for staying quiet about them, was having sex on George’s desk. The season finale – where Kramer leaves for Los Angeles and winds up on Murphy Brown, is also quite good, but there’s really no bad episode this season. As mentioned earlier, Keith Hernandez is a guest star in the 60 minute show The Boyfriend, while Candice Bergen appears AS Murphy Brown in a scene of Murphy Brown filmed just for this episode, in which Kramer is the secretary. Other than that, there’s really no BIG “Special Guest Stars” this season.


Packaging:

The release itself is rather nice. The outer box is blue, with the Seinfeld logo over a cast photo of the gang on the front cover, while a list of special features takes up the entire reverse side of the outer box. The inner box is white, with a larger version of the same cast photo on the front. Reverse side is, again, the long list of special features, with a small photo of Jerry and Kramer on the left, some text for the release in the center, and a photo of George and Elaine on the right.

The discs themselves are held in 4 individual slimcases. A photo of Jerry is on the disc one cover, Elaine is the cover of the second disc, George is on the third and Kramer is on the 4th. The disc art features different individual photos of the cast members, in the same order as the discs: Jerry – 1, Elaine – 2, George – 3, Kramer – 4. A small booklet is also included that lists the episode title breakdown by disc with the main actor and writing credits. Episodes 1-5 are on the first disc. 6-10 can be found on the 2nd. Episodes 11-16 are on the third, while the final six episodes are on disc four.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are wildly creative – each discs’ menu’s theme designed to resemble a location from the show. During all 4 main menus, the full theme plays in the background, on a loop in case you stay there for a while. During the first few seconds, clips from the season will play, relative to their location in that menu. The clips only play the first time you load the main menu per-session. If you go to another menu then return, the clips don’t play.

On the first disc the theme is Jerry’s apartment. The episode menu is a cereal box on the counter – the episode lists replaces the standard nutritional information panel. The audio & subtitles setup menu is Jerry’s CD collection. The Special features menu is the contents of Jerry’s refrigerator. Extras is a bottle of orange juice, Inside Looks is a bottle of fruit juice, and the In the Vault and Notes About Nothing options are Chinese take-out. Disc 2 is Monk’s Café. The episode menu is the cash register. The different episodes are listed in the cash register’s LED display. The audio & subtitles setup menu is the specials card holder on a table in the restaurant. The extras menu is the panel beside the main door. Disc three is a subway car. The episodes menu for the third disc is an ad board and location display near the top of the subway car. The audio & subtitles menu is a side panel next to the doors. The route menu of the car has been converted into the extras menu. Finally, there’s disc 4 – the parking garage. Episodes is a package sitting in a vacant parking space, the setup menu for audio and subtitles is a caution sign on the wall, and the extras menu is the board beneath the “Reserved For” sign. One of the best sets of menus I’ve ever seen, and easy to navigate too.


Video and Audio Quality:

This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best Seinfeld has ever looked. All 22 episodes have been remastered in High Definition – though obviously they still retain their original 4:3 aspect ratio. Castle Rock Entertainment, which produced the show, returned to the original film elements and spent months digitally remastering the video of the episodes of the first three seasons. The original analog audio tracks underwent a conversion into full Dolby Digital stereo. Also of note, the episodes ARE the full NBC versions, rather than the heavily edited syndicated cuts. The shows are presented in their original production order, meaning some episodes may appear out of sequence compared to various episode guides, which list the series in its original airing order. You also, in addition to the obvious English audio track, have the option of listening to the show in Spanish or French. There are also subtitles available for the three languages already listed, plus Portuguese.


Special Features:

I honestly believe that one of the ultimate signs a set is well put-together is when there’s more hours of special features content than actual show. Most fans of the show would have been happy with just episodes, but the 4-disc season 3 set as special features--on top of special features. Approximately 13 hours total. The features are evenly spread out between discs, and are varied in their content. Notes About Nothing are little factoids with behind the scenes scoop and production notes that scroll on the screen as you watch the episodes. There are notes for every episode. Inside Look is information from the cast and creators about what was happening behind the scenes with each episode. In the Vault are deleted scenes, never seen before, for various episodes. Below is an episode-by-episode breakdown of the in-show features. The episode nonspecific features are all on Disc 4, and are listed at the end.

3-1. The Note. Inside Look, the behind the scenes info featurette for each episode, kicks off the season’s special features. Co-Creator Larry David, Jason Alexander, Composer Johnathan Wolff are commenting (5:05). Larry talks about conversations with network censors about what was acceptable leading to him having erotic fantasies ABOUT the censors. Johnathan Wolff talks about the switch to the weird scat version of the theme for the first show, and how it was originally on the first three, but they managed to get to the other two before air, due to negative viewer reaction. There’s also 1 deleted scene at 0:42.

3-2. The Truth. Notes About Nothing is the only special feature.

3-3. The Dog. Only 1 special feature besides Notes About Nothing. One deleted scene, approximately 2:30.

3-4. The Library. Inside Look features Writer Larry Charles in an interview, talking about how he’d like to see a Jack-Webb/Dragnet-style police monologue, in a sitcom format…which led to this (1:45) . Larry also does the commentary track for this episode.

3-5. The Pen. Inside Look features Jerry Seinfeld, Co-creator Larry David, George Shapiro & Howard West (executive producers), Casting Director Mark Hirschfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Liz Sheridan, Barney Martin, Director Tom Cherones, Jason Alexander, Castle Rock Exec Glenn Padnick are ALL interviewed (6:19). Jason mentions that he told Larry that he didn’t even want to be there if he wasn’t going to be in the episodes (this was the only show he wasn’t in). He said that “if you don’t need me here for every damn episode you write, you don’t need me here at all.” There’s also a commentary track by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.

3-6. The Parking Garage. Inside Look for this episode consists of interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Tom Cherones, Tom Azzari, Tim Kaiser, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (6:36). Michael really had an AC in the box. Also is commentary by Tom Cherones and Tom Azzari. There’s also a deleted scene (0:36).

3-7. The Café. This episode is sort of light on features. Inside Look only: Writer Tom Leopold, Brian George, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld give interviews (4:48).

3-8. The Tape. Notes About Nothing is the only special feature.

3-9. The Nose Job. Writer Peter Mehlman, Michael Richards, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss are interviewed. (3:06). There’s also a 1-minute deleted scene at the newsstand.

3-10. The Alternate Side. The only extras for this episode are (as always) Notes About Nothing, as well as 2 deleted scenes (1:50).

3-11. The Red Dot. Inside Look: Co-Creator Larry David, Jason Alexander, Castle Rock Executive Glenn Padnick are interviewed (3:01). One deleted scene (0:27) finds Dick pulling Elaine into the cubicle at the office party for a little making out.

3-12. The Suicide. Inside Look: Co-Creator Larry David, Wayne Knight, Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Richards are interviewed (4:10).

3-13. The Subway: Inside Look: Writer Larry Charles, Director Tom Cherones, Production Designer Tom Azzari, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (2:59). Julia (Elaine) mentions how she was fighting back nausea the entire show. The original subway car set was destroyed by a low overpass. Also included is a commentary track with Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.

3-14. The Pez Dispenser. Inside Look: Composer Johnathan Wolff, Jason Alexander are interviewed (1:53). Pez really took off in the 90s right after this episode aired. There’s also commentary by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld.

3-15/3-16. The Boyfriend. This is the biggie of the set in the special features. First is the option to play the episode with a special 30-second introduction from Jerry, from a previous NBC airing of the episode. Inside Look for the episode is Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Keith Hernandez, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Tom Cherones, Wayne Knight, NBC Executive Rick Ludwin, Producer Tom Kaiser, Jason Alexander, Jerry had idol worship before, and while, Keith was on the show. Supposedly, The New Friend, is an alternate title to the episode, as they referred to it as that on several occasions (10:05). But wait, there’s more! There’s also a deleted scene, and then an alternate version of the ending. Time for that is 1:19. There’s ALSO a commentary track by Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Michael Richards, and Jason Alexander. The episode also airs in its full, undivided by part, form.

3-17. The Fix-Up. Inside Look: Writer Larry Charles, Jason Alexander are interviewed. Clips are shown from the Emmy win for this episode (3:51). There are also two deleted scenes from the episode (1:46).

3-18. The Limo. Inside Look: Writer Larry Charles, Director Tom Cherones, Jason Alexander are interviewed (2:06). There’s also a commentary track with Larry Charles.

3-19. The Good Samaritan. Inside Look: Jason Alexander, Michael Richards are interviewed (1:41). There are also two deleted scenes totaling 2:45. Where we see George talking to Jerry and Elaine about whether he should commit the affair, and then it about George in bed after the affair.

3-20: The Letter. Inside Look: Executive Producers George Shapiro & Howard West, Co-creator Larry David, Michael Richards are interviewed (1:52). X deleted scenes. Two art fans are critiquing the portrait of Kramer, while Jerry is arguing about Elaine having worn the Orioles cap. Also is a scene of Jerry talking to his girlfriend – and of the art fans buying the Kramer, set near the end of the show (3:51).

3-21: The Parking Space. Inside Look: Larry David, Director Tom Cherones, Production Designer Tom Azzari are interviewed (2:09). Also included with the episode is a commentary track by Tom Cherones and Tom Azzari.

3-22: The Keys. Inside Look is the only feature on this episode. Larry Charles, Michael Richards, Tom Cherones, Jerry Seinfeld, Castle Rock Executive Glenn Padnick are all interviewed (5:52). NBC suits originally wanted Kramer on an NBC show, finally gave in to allow Murphy Brown. The people at the Murphy set were really accommodating.

Other Special Features:

Kramer vs. Kramer: Kenny to Cosmo. Rob Reiner, Larry David, Michael Richards, Kenny Kramer, Julia-Louis Dreyfuss, Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Tom Azzari, Jerry Stiller, Andy Ackerman, Estelle Harris, Tom Cherones, Wayne Knight, Danny Woodburn, talk about how Michael Richards got the part, how the two Kramers differ. Michael talks about how his “sounds” came based from a sitcom from the 1950s “My Little Margie.” Clip of Michael Richards’ Emmy win, and some clips of Michael Richards on Fridays from the 80s are included (22:35).

Not That there’s Anything Wrong with That: Bloopers! 15:16 worth of bloopers, just from Season 3! Funny stuff here!

Master of His Domain: 10 minutes and 12 seconds worth of unused filmed Jerry Seinfeld stand-up. Some of these jokes are funnier than what WAS used in the series!

Sponsored by Vandelay Industries: These are six promos used on NBC at various points during the season. This runs 2 minutes. Several of the promos use the original pilot theme.

Photo Gallery: A Slideshow of Third season photos (Publicity, Taken on the set, etc.)…Runs 4:00, the FULL Seinfeld theme plays in the background (looped) the entire time. There are Dozens of Photos.

There’s also a trailer for Spider-Man 2. This IS a Columbia Tri-Star release; I guess they HAD to promote something else, as they always like to do.


Final Comments:

My thoughts of this set can best be summed up with one word. Wow. I’ve NEVER seen a TV DVD set done this well. I’ve never even seen most MOVIE releases done this well. The first two releases (1/2 and 3) are truly a work of pride by all-involved, and it shows. My only gripe is a really minor nitpick, but the only two sets of promos we saw were for the move to Wednesdays at 9, and the promos for the 60-minute The Boyfriend episode. Perhaps they could have included a few others, but, it’s still great.

Future releases? Oh, do I hope they’re as good as these first two have been. They are the absolute pinnacle of the TV DVD genre. Even if Seinfeld isn’t your game, you HAVE to admire all the work that Columbia Tri-star put into this release. PLEASE make sure that the future sets are this good – anything inferior to this, even if it still blows away the rest of the TV DVD competition, would be considered a letdown. Honestly, the only things I’d do would be to make Inside Looks at EVERY episode, and throw in a few more promos, otherwise… wow!!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 12/19/2004

To order the Season 3 (Volume 2) DVD click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002UE1WQ/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

You might also be interested in the Seasons 1-2 (Volume 1) set:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005JLEX/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

or the Seinfeld Gift Set which features Seasons 1-3 with a limited edition script with handwritten notes from Larry David, exclusive "Monk's Diner" salt & pepper shakers and collectible playing cards.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002UE1X0/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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