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Saturday Night Live - The Complete Third Season



Release Date: May 13, 2008 (Universal Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $69.98
Number of Discs: 7
Number of Episodes: 20
Running Time: 1353 minutes
Audio: English 2.0
Language and Subtitles: English; English SDH (Subtitled for the deaf and hard-of-hearing); Closed Captioned
Special Features:
*Additional Feature: Things We Did Last Summer
*John Belushi & Howard Shore: Wardrobe Test

Live from New York, itís Saturday Night! For over three decades, Saturday Night Live has been a source of young comedic talent that has helped to launch the careers of countless performers, making them household names. Still considered iconic for their live performances from Studio 8H in New York, the original case of SNL set the tone for years to come with their irreverent, edgy humor. They combined anti-establishment political satire with rock-and-roll attitude for a show that spoke to the youth of the 1970s, turning it into an instant sensation. The third season is considered by many to be the apex of the classic Ď70s years. Nearly every episode this season has at least one sketch thatís still fondly remembered by fans and casual viewers to this date, and several episodes (particularly the ones hosted by Steve Martin) are widely held as classics from top to bottom.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Please note the following text is a boilerplate portion of the review, repeated for this section of each SNL review: As stated in previous SNL reviews, Iím going to do this section differently given the nature of this show. Normally you see the ďEpisodes x, y, and z were pretty good, and look out for guest appearances by a, b, and cĒ spiel in these reviews, but with the nature of SNL - where sketches can be great and episodes horrible, and vice versa, and also where you have a regular guest host, plus musical guests, plus special guests. For this set and all season SNL DVD releases in general, Iím going to simply go through the season, and if I think a sketch is particularly note-worthy, Iíll mention it. In at least a couple cases Iíll still recommend the entire episode. For guests, I will NOT be listing the hosts and primary musical guests. Those will be listed in the runtimes section for those curious. Any other special guests - at least the ones I think thereís a chance that SOMEONE reading this will get - I WILL mention.

In terms of sketches and episodes to pay close attention to:
The first, ninth, and eighteenth episodes of the season are all hosted by Steve Martin. Immediately you should highlight these three episodes as must-watch. He has a comedic chemistry with the cast unlike most other hosts, and pretty much wherever Steve Martin goes, and whatever he does -- itís funny. The Festrunks (Two wild and crazy guys...) show up in all three episodes hosted by Steve. The third episode hosted by Steve, in particular, features an absolutely classic musical bit: King Tut.

The seasonís third episode overall is hosted by an unlikely fellow...Hugh Hefner (If I have to explain who he is, either youíre reading this in 2149 or else you just have been living under a rock the last fifty years). The episode is funny, though not legendarily hysterical -- but the hosting choice is such that I feel the need to point it out. Two episodes this season, the sixth and twentieth, are hosted by Buck Henry. For those who donít know who HE is -- he co-created/wrote Get Smart alongside Mel Brooks. Buckís episodes are always hilarious, and these two episodes are no exception. Meanwhile, the 11th episode of the season with host Chevy Chase is infamous for a fistfight that occurred immediately prior to the show involving Chevy and Bill Murray. The final segment of the eighth episode of the season, featuring musical guest Elvis Costello, generated some controversy at the time. Elvis was told not to perform a song of his, ďRadio RadioĒ due to pressure from his record label. A few bars into his second song of the night, ďLess than ZeroĒ; Elvis stopped his band, told the audience ďthereís no reason to do [Less than Zero] here,Ē then went into ďRadio Radio.Ē Elvis wasnít invited back to the show for twelve years after this.

Special Guests/Cameos
Episode 2: Dame Edna (Barry Humphries)
Episode 3: Andy Kaufman
Episode 4: Art Garfunkel
Episode 5: Buck Henry
Episode 7: Andy Kaufman
Episode 8: Buck Henry
Episode 13: Andy Kaufman
Episode 15: Richard Belzer


As with the first runs of the two prior DVD sets, the initial run of the third season is once again in a book-style box. Honestly, the style of the box reminds me of a *cigar box*, only with the artwork oriented vertically instead of horizontally. Inside the box is a photo of the cast on the inner panel, with the Digipak in the space on the right. The front artwork of the box features Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd as the two wild and crazy guys/Festrunk Bros. The front cover of the inner Digipak features Gilda Radner in-makeup as Roseanne Rosannadanna. The packaging features the same style as the previous sets, with the disc breakdowns being posted in the panels when the Digipak is halfway unfolded. There are seven discs in total, with disc one occupying a solo disc holder, and each of the next 3 pairs of discs sharing (2/3, 4/5, 6/7).

Each disc except the final one contains 3 episodes -- the final disc contains the final two plus the bonus features. The discs use a still image from what appear to be the opening credits; though Iíll be honest the pictures are so generic that I canít say for sure. No cast members on the discs this season.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu design is the same as before. Iíll be honest; I feel that not every DVD set needs bizarre animations to be good. The menus for this DVD set are simple, but theyíre well done. They follow the same style as the previous set -- host name/airdate on the left side, with a photo from the credits (same photos as the disc art) on the right, and the show logo at the top. A long, looping version of the theme plays in the background. You can choose to watch the whole episode or select scenes. If this text seems similar to my season two review, thatís because itís nearly identical -- changes in the menus were kept to a minimum, so changes to the review also were minimized.

Video and Audio Quality:

The problem with sets like SNL, where so much effort goes into the other aspects of the set, is that the video quality can let you down due solely to the programís age. Ladies and gentlemen, this show was shot LIVE in 1977/78. Itís NOT going to look as good as a modern show. That said the show looks even in places, and worse in places, than other shows from the era. As a general rule of thumb, any footage shot live looks pretty decent, and easily comparable to the video from other shows of the time. No worries. Itís the stuff that was filmed for later that, quite frankly, looks pitiful. Youíve even been able to see it in the reruns -- filmed material, particularly in THIS season, looks like garbage half the time -- even the opening credits! Audio sounds good -- itís not high definition 5.1 sound, but it does the job well. Chapter stops occur at the locations of scene selections. There is no Play All feature.

Runtimes (Host/Musical Guest(s):
Disc 1:
1) Steve Martin / Jackson Browne: 1:08:55
2) Madeline Kahn / Taj Mahal: 1:06:44
3) Hugh Hefner / Libby Titus: 1:07:02
Disc 2:
4) Charles Grodin / Paul Simon: 1:06:29
5) Ray Charles: 1:06:39
6) Buck Henry / Leon Redbone: 1:06:28
Disc 3:
7) Mary Kay Place / Willie Nelson: 1:06:46
8) Miskel Spillman / Elvis Costello: 1:06:10
9) Steve Martin / The Dirt Band, Randy Newman: 1:06:28
Disc 4:
10) Robert Klein / Bonnie Raitt: 1:06:57
11) Chevy Chase / Billy Joel: 1:06:40
12) O.J. Simpson / Ashford & Simpson: 1:06:15
Disc 5:
13) Art Garfunkel / Steven Bishop: 1:06:45
14) Jill Clayburgh / Eddie Money: 1:06:19
15) Christopher Lee / Meat Loaf: 1:06:30
Disc 6:
16) Michael Palin / Eugene Record: 1:06:36
17) Michael Sarrazin / Keith Jarrett & Gravity: 1:06:23
18) Steve Martin / The Blues Brothers: 1:06:15
Disc 7:
19) Richard Dreyfuss / Jimmy Buffett & Gary Tigerman: 1:07:38
20) Buck Henry / Sun Ra: 1:06:48

Special Features:

Things We Did Last Summer (42:28): One of the most out-of-left-field yet brilliant special feature additions Iíve ever seen. This was a 1 hour program that aired in mid 1977 showing, with great hilarity, what crazy things the cast members were up to that summer. Iíd NEVER heard of this and had to look it up.

John Belushi & Howard Shore Wardrobe Test (2:19): Itís a wardrobe test. Featuring John Belushi and Howard Shore. Always striving to be interesting and informative!

We also get Postcards inserted inside the packaging! Four of them, each one features a different black and white image from the season. The one on the far left is a still image of the Nerds sketch from the Robert Klein showt. The second image is of The Blues Brothers. Third card features one of the many characters of Gilda Radner, while the fourth features Steve Martin as...King Tut. The reverse side of each postcard features brief details on that episode.

Final Comments:

Iím not worried about the video -- I knew going in that this season was going to have the worst video of the various seasons. From here itís uphill on that front. What *Iíd* like to see for future DVD sets is, quite simply...COMMENTARY! The majority of the cast and crew are still VERY living, so why not get them together to reflect on these episodes. Itíd be GREAT. This season is comedy gold, though, and I highly recommend it.

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

Video Quality: 4/5 (live stuff); 3/5 (filmed stuff)
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Final Score: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/08/08

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