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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Third Season


TITLE: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: February 14, 2006 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
Color
MSRP: $29.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 554 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 16 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Spanish, and French subtitles; closed-captioned Special Features: Top Ten Guest Stars of Season Four


Introduction:

Yo yo yo! The Fresh Prince is back for another season! All 24 episodes of the third season are coming to DVD from Warner Bros. Home Video in a four disc set that you’ll just have to get!

The third season includes most of the major developments in the show. The season begins with Hilary getting her first real job and Vivian announcing she is going to be having a baby! And the season ends with the baby being born and Will finally graduating from high school, although it isn’t as easy as it sounds. And one other thing to note about this season—it is the last season that includes Janet Hubert-Whitten in the role as Vivian. Basically, Hubert-Whitten was fired from the show at the end of the season because she was pregnant, and since she had just had a baby on the show, there was no way her pregnancy could be worked in to the show.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Disc 1 (and season 4) begins with “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” Gregory Sierra and Shavar Ross guest star in “Will Gets Committed,” where the whole family decides to go back to the old neighborhood to help cleanup after the riots—and we also discover that Vivian has a surprise of her own for the family! Ashley has a new fashion style that is very revealing in “That’s No Lady, That’s My Cousin.” Hilary gets a job as a weather reporter in “Hilary Gets a Job.” Lark Voorhies guest stars as Cindy, a girl that claims to have had Carlton’s baby in “Mama’s Baby, Carlton’s Maybe.” Sherman Hemsley makes his first (of three for this season) appearances as Judge Robertson in “PS I Love You…”

Disc 2 includes “A Night at the Oprah,” in which the queen of talk herself guest stars when the whole family—except for Will—is invited to be a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Vanessa Williams plays a pregnant sportswriter that Will becomes fond of in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Carlton’s girlfriend leaves him for Will in “The Cold War.” Other Disc 2 episodes include “Here Comes the Judge,” “Boyz in the Woods,” and “Asses to Ashes.”

Disc 3 includes “Winner Takes Off,” where Carlton and Will play a trick on Jeffrey… and have to come up with another scheme to bring him back after he quits as the Banks’ butler. Phil LaMarr (of Mad TV) guest stars in “Robbing the Banks.” Kim Fields plays Will’s newest girlfriend when he attempts to trick her into intimacy with in “The Best Laid Plans.” Tom Jones plays Carlton’s guardian angel when Will (but not Carlton) gets accepted to Princeton in “The Alma Matter.” Other Disc 3 episodes are “Mommy Nearest” and “Bundle of Joy”

Finally, Disc 4 begins with “Just Say Yo,” where Carlton mistakes Will’s amphetamines for his vitamins and ends up in the hospital. The big day has arrived for Vivian in “The Baby Comes Out.” Olivia Brown, Parley Baer, and heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe guest star in “You Bet Your Life.” D.L. Hughley guest stars in “Ain’t No Business like Show Business.” Will is about ready to graduate high school, except he has to do something about the fact that he is failing in music in “Six Degrees of Graduation.” Disc 4 also includes “The Way We Were.”


Packaging:

The packaging is of the same style used for season 2, which was a step down from season 1. Once again, there is the three panel digipak, with the first panel listing the episodes for Discs 1 and 2, second panel containing Discs 1 and 2, third panel containing Discs 3 and 4, and the back of the third panel containing episodes listings for Discs 3 and 4. Season 1 had a nice booklet included, why did they have to stop including these??? The episode breakdown is very even, with episodes 1-6 on Disc 1, 7-12 on Disc 2, 13-18 on Disc 3, and 19-24 on Disc 4. As far as the cover art on the discs, I have to say that it is VERY well-done… it is just a simple pose of Will listening to his Walkman (although it isn’t actually a real Walkman…), but it is a pose that is done in a way that says a lot about the show itself. It is difficult to put in words, but the bottom line is that the cover art is VERY appropriate.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are the same as they have been for the first two seasons. In fact, the background music on the main menu is still from the extended theme song from the first few episodes of the first season. The thing that bothers me about the main menu is how you have to wait for the menu to come up, because it is animated and the animation is not INCREDIBLY fast. Once it does come up, however, everything is fine. The music continues to play in the background, and the right side of the screen contains many video clips of people dancing. The left side contains all of the menu items, which are (on all four discs) Play, Episodes, Special Features, and Languages. All are pretty much self-explanatory. It should be noted that even though the Special Features option is on all four discs, they only actually exist on Disc 4. It seems odd that they included that option on all discs. While there is no scene selection menu, there are chapters placed in all of the appropriate places throughout the episodes.


Video and Audio Quality:

There aren’t too many quality problems with this set. The video seems fine, and so is the audio, though it is a little bit low. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo. And for those that need it, closed-captioning as well as English, Spanish, and French subtitles are available.

The episodes seem to be uncut, with most running at roughly 23 minutes, but I have doubts about one episode. However, “Bundle of Joy” runs at just over 20 minutes, which seems VERY short. I can’t say for sure what, if anything, is missing in the episode, but the bottom line is that the running time is pretty low there.


Special Features:

Once again, the set includes Bel-Air Bloopers (7:08)… which really isn’t worth a whole lot. All this is is basically just the bloopers that run on the closing credits compiled into one collection. So it isn’t like you are seeing anything new here. Things really don’t get MUCH better with the other special feature either, “Best of the Upper Bel-Air Crust” (8:25), but it is a little more interesting. Basically, this is just clips from the season, but at least there is some interesting trivia on the screen to go along with the clips. For example, did you know that Will Smith turned down a scholarship to MIT to pursue his rapping career? But there is some trivia that isn’t so surprising, for example, one of the pieces of trivia was that Alfonso Ribeiro was once on the show “Silver Spoons.” Why can’t they bring back more interviews like the ones that the first season had?


Final Comments:

There isn’t much to complain about here, but I am worried that the “Bundle of Joy” episode MIGHT be edited. There are some cases where it is obvious that something is edited, and I would say right away that it is edited. I can’t say that with any degree of certainty here, so it’ll be up for the consumers to decide that. The special features could be better than they are. In general, though, any fan of Will Smith or the show itself (I know there are MANY such fans out there) will be happy with this set and will want to own it.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/06/06

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BYA4JW/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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