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What's Happening!! - The Complete Third Season


TITLE: WHAT'S HAPPENING - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 23, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 542 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Closed Captioned
Special Features: None, just Previews for Sony DVDs.


Introduction:

The coolest comedy of the ‘70s is back on DVD for one final time! What’s Happening!! - The Complete 3rd Season is full of laughs with 22 outrageous episodes! As we last saw in the second season finale, Raj and Rerun are now living on their own in their own apartment. Shirley is now living in the Thomas house with Dee, as Mama is away. And get ready for a brand new look to the opening credits! Different shots of Raj, Rerun, Dwayne and the rest of the cast are featured with even a funkier theme song.

What’s Happening!! stars Ernest Lee Thomas as Roger “Raj” Thomas, Haywood Nelson as Dwyane Nelson, Fred Berry as Freddy “Rerun” Stubbs, Danielle Spencer as Dee Thomas and Shirley Hemphill as Shirley Wilson.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Some say season three is the weakest season of the three seasons, but I think it is pretty good. It may not be better than the first two seasons but it is still very funny! Can Rerun win the disco contest in “Disco Dollar Disaster,” can Shirley make big “dough” with her cookies in “Shirley’s Cookies,” Raj is up to his crazy ideas of moving out in “Raj Moves Out” and taking a nude artist model job in “No Clothes Make the Man,” is Dee good enough to be a cheerleader in “Dee The Cheerleader,” will Rerun sue Rob’s Place for food poisoning in (ironically) “Food Poisoning,” see Rerun as The Fonz, Jack Tripper, and Mork from Ork as he gets a job at ABC as a page in “The Last Page,” and in the series finale the gang do something nice in “The Benefit Show.”

Guest stars include John Ritter’s then wife Nancy Morgan in “No Clothes Make the Man,” Kim Fields’ mother Chip Fields in “Food Poisoning,” the great Hal Williams in “The Eviction,” Todd Bridges’ mother Betty Bridges in “The Debate,” Leave it to Beaver’s Richard Deacon in “A Present for Dee” and the durable Helen Martin in “The Benefit Show.” Fritzi Burr returns in “The Debate” as Miss Collins and Earl Billings returns in various episodes as Rob. Joining the cast in recurring roles this season are Leland Smith as Snake, David Hollander as Little Earl and John Welsh as Big Earl.


Packaging:

The packaging for this set is nice and consistent from the previous two sets. The box cover has Dwayne, Rerun and Raj from left to right. The background is in two shades of a blue color with the title in red with a white border. The back of the box is in two shades of a red type color and has a long synopsis to what to expect in season three. There are two snapshots from show, too, both of the trio. There is also a nice color photo of the cast (Shirley, Dwayne, Rerun, Raj, and Dee).

The case cover is the same as the box cover. The back of the case has another nice photo of the cast – Shirley, Dwayne, Raj, Dee and Rerun. When you open the case once, you get nice color photos – a huge photo of Shirley along with a few snapshots are on the left, and a huge photo of Raj along with a few snapshots are on the right. When you open the case another time, you get to the discs. There are four sides to it. The first side holds the episode synopsis booklet and a booklet of Sony’s TV DVD titles. The episode booklet has the same cover as the box and case. It has a disc by disc breakdown of episodes, with episode number, titles and the synopsis for the episode.

All the discs this season have the same color scheme. The color is blue. Disc one has Raj on it and holds episodes 1-7 of season three. Disc two has Dwayne on it and holds episodes 8-14. Disc three has Rerun on it and holds episodes 15-22.


What's Happening!! - Season 3 DVD Menu What's Happening!! - Season 3 DVD Menu

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen is fairly easy to navigate and I think better looking than any of the other menus from previous seasons. The main menu is in a blue color scheme with a photo of the trio (2 are different from the box and case cover). The menu screens are shown above. This set has chapters that have about 4 or 5 place marks. There are only two options on discs two and three. Play All Episodes and Episode Selection. The episode selection screen has different photos for each disc and is in a green type color. Disc one has the same two options but also a Bonus Previews section. There are a lot of previews, such as Urban TV, Classic TV, Bewitched (TV), Partridge Family and some movies, too.


What's Happening!! - Season 3 DVD Menu What's Happening!! - Season 3 DVD Menu

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio are about the same as they were on previous sets. There is a new opening credit video and it looks great quality wise. The audio is on par with the first seasons, too. No complaints from me at all on the video and audio. As for the episode timings, most of them are between 25:00 to 25:15 or so. There are two episodes that are 24:40 or so, but that is because the 40 second opening credits is used rather than the full one minute opening credits. Episodes that have that are: “Making Out” and “Dee, The Cheerleader.” Now, there are about 4 episodes that are in the 23:50 range and HAVE the full one minute theme, too. 3 of those 4 episodes have no tag scene and have an awkward clap at the end, but I think it was like that originally and they had no tag scenes for those episodes. The three episodes are: “Dwyane’s Dream,” “Shirley’s Fired” and “Food Poisoning.” The other episode under 24 minutes is “The Eviction.” That episode has the 40 second shortened theme but DOES have a tag scene. Basically every episode after “Dwayne’s Dream” is in the 24 minute range (24:10-24:50 or so), so I guess they shortened the episodes up a bit. Those episodes are: “The Thomas Treasure,” “The Last Page,” “First Class Coach,” “Dwayne’s Debate,” “Dwayne’s Debate,” and “The Benefit Show.” Those are all on disc three. There is one more episode, but on disc one, “Basketball Brains” that falls in that category.

The episodes are not syndicated prints, or we would see them in the 22:00 or 22:30 range. The 3 episodes that have an awkward clap at the end and no tag scenes are suspicious, but they could have been like that originally. Do not let this stop you from buying this set, because Sony has done an admirable job (yes, they have, lol) with the episodes for each season of this series. I’ve been heavily researching this and I really think there were no tags on those three episodes originally.


Special Features:

Staying consistent with the first two seasons, we get no special features. All we get are previews for other Sony DVD products. If the follow-up series What’s Happening Now!! is released on DVD, that is a good time to start some special features. But let’s just first hope we get that series on DVD at all. Sony’s urban comedies, such as Good Times, Sanford & Son, That’s My Mama and The Jeffersons seem to not be getting any special features. Yet 227 got special features but has yet to go past season one, so maybe not having special features is a good thing?


Final Comments:

So we are now finished with What’s Happening!! on DVD. But I think we are just actually HALF finished. We need to get What’s Happening Now!! on DVD, too, to make it feel complete. I really hope Sony has the plans in the works for that series on DVD. It also had three seasons and was quiet popular in first run syndication. Both shows are coming to TV Land in November 2005, so if you have never seen the follow-up series, please watch it. It is pretty good and worth watching. So, obviously please buy this set if you have the first two seasons, and if you have not bought those yet, but them now and buy this one, too. So what is happening ‘now’ Sony? We hope What’s Happening Now!! is what is happening now!


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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 08/19/05

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0009X7BF0/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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