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The Golden Girls - The Complete Third Season


TITLE: THE GOLDEN GIRLS - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Color
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25 (counting an double length episode as two episodes)
Running Time: 614 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 26 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English subtitles; closed-captioned
Special Features: Golden Girls Moments (2:32); "Golden Girls' Scrapbook" (approximately 23 minutes total)


Introduction:

Get out the support hoses and Metamucil! America's favorite girls (or the more appropriate term would be senior citizens) are back for their 3rd season on DVD! The third season continues the trend set in previous seasons of the show (in other words, the overall plot stays consistent, which is pretty rare for a sitcom), and during the original run, earned three Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe. But who cares about what awards it won? It is just a great season of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time!

The three-disc DVD set (available on DVD on 11/22/05 from Buena Vista Home Entertainment) includes three discs with all 25 episodes from the third season and is… well it wouldn't be honest to say "loaded," but it has a few special features. But most importantly, just as with the first two releases, it is full of the versions of The Golden Girls that most fans crave: the unedited versions!


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The third season of the show kicks off with "Old Friends," where Sophia becomes friends a man that she meets on the boardwalk. But when he begins to demonstrate some bizarre behavior, Sophia learns that he has a disease that can never be cured. Parley Baer (who has appeared as a guest in so many shows, yet you probably have no clue who he is) makes a guest appearance as Rose is left with custody of a "baby" in "Bringing Up Baby," but there is more to this baby than the girls expected! All of the girls have to get over their fears on a plane ride to a funeral in "Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself." Rose writes a letter to Gorbachev on behalf of her cadet troop in "Letter to Gorbachev," except Rose is not the person that they believe wrote the letter! McLean Stevenson plays Stan's brother Ted, and perhaps Dorothy's new love interest, in "Brotherly Love." In "Three on a Couch," the girls learn the hard truth from a psychologist—they were not meant to live together—but is he just a quack? Dorothy becomes friends with a novelist (and the girls become jealous) in "Dorothy's New Friend." The girls get a chance to go on a game show in "Grab That Dough," but end up competing against each other rather than with each other! Sophia's newest boyfriend (played by Mickey Rooney) is a mobster in "Larceny and Old Lace." In "Mixed Blessing," Michael comes home with big news—that he is getting married—to an older woman. But there's more, it is an older black woman! Finally, the season ends with "Mother's Day," where each girl remembers a special Mother's Day from the past (don't worry this is NOT a clip show!)…look for Alice Ghostley playing Stan's mother!


Packaging:

Consistency is always a good thing, and every season of The Golden Girls is pretty much consistent with regards to the way episodes are written and produced. But not only are the episodes consistent… so far, the packaging for each DVD release has also been consistent, and the third season is no exception. We begin with the packaging: season one had a golden color scheme, season two had a blue color scheme, and this time, we have a pink color scheme. The cover art contains individual photos of each of the girls in a diamond, which for some reason, I kind of think it looks nice. Inside, we have a digipak that has three panels, with the first panel containing a list of the episodes, the second panel containing Discs 1 and 2, and the third panel containing Disc 3. All of this is exactly the same as the first two releases. Each disc is pink, and Disc 1 has a picture of Rose, Disc 2 has a picture of Sophia and Dorothy, and Disc 3 has a picture of Blanche. The only thing I really don't like about the packaging is the overlapping of disc 1 and 2, but since three seasons have been released this way, I suppose it is better to be consistent and keep things this way for the remainder of the series. The episode breakdown is as follows: episodes 1-8 on Disc 1, 9-17 on Disc 2, and 18-25 on Disc 3 (or episodes 18-24 if you count 18 and 19 as one episode).


Menu Design and Navigation:

Well, here we go again with consistency… the menus are virtually the same once again (although we have a pink color scheme this time). But just as a recap for those that have forgotten (or those that never purchased season 1 or 2), when you load each disc (and wait for all of the filler, such as FBI warnings and Buena Vista logos), you are greeted with a main menu (the closing music plays in the background) that has options of Play All, Episode Selection, Sneak Peeks (Disc 1 only), Setup, Golden Girl Moments (Disc 1 only), and The Golden Girls Scrapbook (Disc 3 only). Play All does its obvious function. Episode Selection takes you to a basic (but adequate) menu that allows you to, well, select which episode you want to watch. Setup allows you to turn on English subtitles and gives you information on how to register your DVD set. The other menu options take you to their respective special features.

There is no scene selection menu, but the good news is that the chapters are back for this season. They were present on the first season, but mysteriously disappeared for the second season, but now they have returned for the third season. I'm not sure what happened with the second season, but regardless, it is good to see that these are back, with chapters placed at every place where a commercial break would be placed.


Video and Audio Quality:

Having been the reviewer for every release of the show thus far, I've noticed some improvement in these sets in regards to audio and video quality. The video is a little bit blurry, but it is nothing to be overly concerned with. The audio (which is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo) is nicer this season as well, with the annoying "tin can" effect seemingly gone this time around. The volume level is still a little low, but it is not as significant as it is in some DVD sets. The hearing-impaired will have no trouble with the set, since it is closed-captioned and includes English subtitles. And finally, yes, the episodes are uncut. What would be the point in purchasing these DVDs if they weren't? Most episodes run at roughly 24:40, although a few run at 24:10. Still, I'd assume these are unedited.


Special Features:

The special features get more and more disappointing with each and every season that is released unfortunately. Well, technically, special features have never been good on these DVD sets, but honestly, I feel like this one is even worse than the first two. On Disc 1, we have Golden Girls Moments (2:32), which is nothing more than a bunch of clips from the third season of the show with a little background music. There is a Golden Girls' Scrapbook on Disc 3, which is, once again, just a bunch of clips that are about each character. For Dorothy, we have "Down on Dating (3:33) and "If Wit Could Kill" (3:12); for Rose, we have "Blissful Ignorance" (2:37) and "What Was I Saying?" (3:06); for Blanche, we have "Blanche's Come Ons" (2:42) and "Pillow Talk" (3:35); and finally, for Sophia, we have "The Joke's On…"(2:41) and "Sassy Sophia" (2:45). The creative folks at Buena Vista have decided to consider the unedited version of the "Golden Moments" episode a special feature as well, but that is just absurd, the only special thing about it on this DVD set besides the fact that it is unedited is that it is being presented in the original format (as one continuous episode).

So there you have it—bonus features that are nothing more than clips. I'm not sure why anybody would buy a DVD set just so that they can see a rehashing of episodes that can be seen in their complete form on the DVD set anyway, so why are they even bothering with special features like these? Give us what we want—bloopers, commentaries, or interviews would be a nice start (and please, please, we beg of you, NO MORE FASHION COMMENTARY BY JOAN AND MELISSA RIVERS!).

There are some sneak peeks available on Disc 1, for "The Shaggy Dog," "Home Improvement Season Four," "TV on DVD" (just a general BV TV-on-DVD promo), "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "The Golden Girls," and "Desperate Housewives." But that isn't all… read this carefully… there is also a sneak peek for "The Golden Girls 4th Season."


Final Comments:

Three down, four more to go—and if you carefully read above (like I told you to), you'd know that one of the "four more to go" is on the way! No date is available yet for this, but I'd imagine it would be within a few months. I believe that these DVD sets are a worthwhile investment for any fan of The Golden Girls, mainly because it presents the show in a way that seems much different than the form seen on Lifetime (which makes many edits to the show that are obvious even to those that may have never even seen the original unedited versions). But the only thing fans want (and are being denied) is worthwhile special features! The only thing (and it is a big thing) that is keeping this from being the perfect set is the lack thereof—but even if the set isn't perfect, it is more than worth it just for the episodes.


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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 11/07/2005.

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000AJJNJK/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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