TITLE: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010 (Warner Home Video - WBshop.com Exclusive)
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 10
Running Time: approx. 220 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: n/a
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English
Special Features: none
Being a full-time mom, business owner and relationship juggler sets Christine Campbell spinning every which way in the 10-Episode, 2-Disc Season 3 Collection of the hit series starring two-time Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the title role. From her promising relationship with her son's teacher to a blind date that unravels badly to ex-dates (one very memorable, the other a bit hazy) who turn up unexpectedly to a doctor's diagnosis that puts her on hormone alert, Christine hilariously manages to stay in one piece. Wanda Sykes (as best friend Barb), Clark Gregg (ex-husband Richard), Hamish Linklater (brother Matthew), Trevor Gagnon (son Ritchie), Emily Rutherfurd (Richard's girlfriend), Tricia O'Kelley (Marly) and Alex Kapp (Lindsay) also star. Guest stars include Blair Underwood, Andy Richter, Dave Foley and Jason Alexander.
Season three premiered on February 4, 2008 with "The Big Bang," in which Christine and Mr. Harris try to establish a relationship before having sex, but Barb gives her pause. Insecurity over a waitress flirting with Daniel sends Christine to a plastic surgeon's office in "Beauty Is Only Spanx Deep." Roles reverse when Christine's dubbed a "meanie mom" by a father at Ritchie's school who finds Marly and Lindsay to be to his liking in "Popular." Ritchie's soccer match leaves Christine running late for an event she's supposed to be attending with Mr. Harris in "Traffic." Christine tries to get over breaking up with Daniel in "Between a Rock and a Hard Place." Christine hesitantly allows New Christine to arrange a blind date for her and finds her intuition against the idea was spot on in "New Adventures of Old Christine." Christine finds herself forced to feign happiness when she covets the house Richard and New Christine have purchased in "House." Christine hopes acting a bit more wild will stop Barb thinking she's uncool in "Burning Down the House." Christine tries to forbid Barb and Matthew from letting a night of passion bloom into a full-blown relationship in "The Happy Couple." Christine tries to control her hormones when her gynecologist says she may be entering perimenopause in "One and a Half Men." Episode summaries courtesy of TV.com .
Notable guest stars included Blair Underwood in the recurring role of Mr. Harris. Andy Richter returns as Stan (Sad Dad) in "Beauty Is Only Spanx Deep." Tom Papa returns as Mike Gay in "Popular." Gigi Rice appears as Shelley in "New Adventures of Old Christine." Dave Foley returns as Tom in "Burning Down the House."
Jason Alexander guest stars as Dr. Palmer in "One a Half Men."
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of 21-22 minutes. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that any music was changed. They are presented in their original broadcast order. Here is the breakdown by disc, including the exact runtimes:
The Big Bang (21:59)
Beauty Is Only Spanx Deep (21:59)
Between a Rock and a Hard Place (22:00)
The New Adventures of Old Christine (21:57)
Burning Down the House (22:00)
The Happy Couple (21:40)
One a Half Men (21:58)
This 2-disc set includes all 10 episodes from the third season (2008). It comes in an Amaray clear snapcase.
The cover art features a sexy photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus standing on a coffee table in a Marilyn Monroe-type pose with her dress moving up and papers flying in the air. The show logo is at the top. On the back of the snapcase, there is a photo of Julia ironing and three smaller shots from the episodes: Wanda Sykes and Hamish Linklater; guest star Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus; Alex Kapp, Tricia O'Kelley, Hamish Linklarer, Clark Gregg and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. A synopsis of the show, a listing of the episodes and the DVD specs are provided. Inside the snapcase, there is just blank white space. It would have been nice if they had included some episode summaries or additional photos here. There is a plastic flip holder that holds Disc One in the center of the case, while Disc Two is an embedded holder on the back of the case. The same shot of Julia on the cover art is used on the DVD-Rs. They have the show logo vertically on the right side and the episodes numbers below that. Disc One has episodes 1-5. Disc Two contains episodes 6-10.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very simple and easy to navigate. They feature the same photo of Julia in her Marilyn Monroe-type pose, although the photo is a bit cropped from the cover art. The show logo is at the top and there is a blue patterned background at the top and bottom of the screen. The episode titles are listed vertically in white against a black background to the left of the photo of Julia. There is a "Play All" button. A small orange rectangle is next to the option you highlight that turns white upon your selection. Chapter stops are placed at the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
According to the WBshop.com order page, "this film has been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and has not been remastered or restored specifically for this DVD and Digital Download release." These episodes really look the same as they did when they were originally broadcast in 2008. They look and sound outstanding. They are presented in their original anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1/16x9 format. The "matted" widescreen
format preserves the aspect ratio of its original television exhibition and is enhanced
for widescreen TVs. The colors are bright and the picture is sharp. They use a fair amount
of outdoor and on location shooting, so those scenes all look excellent. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for the "Kari's Logo Here" production company and for Warner Bros. Television.
The audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to understand. There is a minimal amount of music score or songs used in the episodes, so there isn't a lot of use for the speakers. Unfortunately, there are no additional language tracks like the previous seasons. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that the episodes are closed-captioned. There are also no foreign subtitles available.
Seasons one and two offered some nice special features like interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, unaired scenes and gag reels. Unfortunately, this third season only offers the episodes. Maybe we'll see some extras on the fourth and fifth season releases, if and when they become available.
This release really came out of nowhere, with little advance notice or fanfare. It has been over two years since the second season was released, so I'm sure fans were anxious for more seasons. This release is a little different from the previous seasons. It's only available to order at WBshop.com. These sets are manfactured through their disc-on-demand service, so they are on DVD-Rs and not traditional DVDs. That's not a big deal. You probably won't notice any difference in the quality of the episodes. These DVD-Rs should play in almost all DVD players (except for some older models). According to their website, they only ship to U.S. addresses. It would have been nice if these were also available on Amazon.com to take advantage of their free shipping offers. Unfortunately, there are no special features on this release and the packaging and menus are very basic looking compared to the previous seasons. These episodes have been available on iTunes and Amazon's On Demand service for a while now, but it's nice for fans who prefer to have them in this format.
Season three was a shortened season. They were a midseason replacement and produced only 10 episodes, due to the writer's strike that year. It was nice to see the return of some guest stars like Blair Underwood, Andy Richter and Dave Foley plus the mini-Seinfeld reunion with Jason Alexander in the season finale. Following season three, they were moved to Wednesdays for two more seasons. CBS canceled the series in May after the fifth season. The show always seemed to be on the bubble. There were rumors that ABC was interested in picking up the series, but that never happened. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and company had a pretty successful run for 5 seasons and 88 episodes. It will continue to live on DVD and will be seen everywhere this fall in syndication. It will be shown on Lifetime, WGN America and in local markets this fall. I'm sure that we will see the remaining two seasons released through the same website or possibly as retail releases like the first two seasons at some point.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
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