TITLE: THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO - SEASON THREE
DVD Release Date: August 2nd, 2005 (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
color/approx. 620 minutes
Number of discs: 4
Number of episodes: 13
Languages and subtitles: English, Closed Captioned
Special features: 8 page booklet with liner notes
by the shows prop maker
It's the third and final season for reluctant superhero Ralph Hinkley (William Katt),
his lawyer girlfriend Pam Davidson (Connie Sellecca) and by-the-book FBI agent
Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp), but the high-flying fun is far from over! In this
season, Ralph is reunited with the 'green guys' from space, stumbles into danger
at his high school reunion, fumbles his way to his and Pam's wedding, and tangles
with doomed rockers, ruthless ranchers, strange gamers, killer magicians, the KGB,
Central American revolutionaries, a genetic Nazi monster and more. Believe it
or not, he's still walking on air as The Greatest American Hero!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Season 3 (1982-1983) had a total of 13 episodes. 9 episodes aired from October 1982 to
February 1983. The remaining 4 episodes were not seen in the U.S. until the
series went into syndication. Some fans think the show had really slipped by the 3rd
season, but there were still a handful of memorable episodes. Ralph is critically
wounded when he rescues agent Maxwell from a band of neo-Nazis, which leads to an
eerie highspeed chase into the desert where his alien protectors save his life and reveal
the secret of operating his super-powered suit - in a dramatic face-to-face confrontation
in "Divorce Verusian Style." Ralph and Maxwell become emroiled in a bizarre scheme
when a disgruntled news anchorman plots a terrorist takeover of a nuclear power
plant to launch his political career in "Live At Eleven." The biggest day in
the lives of Ralph and Pam - their wedding day - is made even more complicated when
the President sends Ralph on a secret mission to the North Pole in "The Newlywed Game."
Notable guest stars included David Paymer and Bob Saget in "Wizards and Warlocks." Wrestling
legend André the Giant appeared as the Monster in "Heaven Is In Your Genes." June Lockhart appeared in
"The Newlywed Game." William Zabka ("The Karate Kid") and Kene Holliday guest starred in "Space Ranger."
Rick Dees played the Announcer in "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll."
The dvd cover art has black, red, and silver foil packaging and features
a photo of Connie Sellecca, William Katt, and Connie Sellecca with The Greatest
American Hero emblem in the center. They maintained similar style packaging for
all 3 releases which I liked. The back of the box is silver and gives a brief
summary of the set and has 3 small color pohotos of the cast. There are 2
slimcases that each hold 2 discs. The first slimcase with discs 1 & 2 has a photo
of William Katt in the red suit with his hands raised. The second slimcase
holds discs 3 & 4 and has photos of William Katt in a busines suit and his red suit
separated by some type of column. The slimcases have a black background and have
various alien symbols on the bottom. Short episode summaries and the titles
are listed on the back. The inside of the cases are just plain black. It would
have been nice to have some trivia or other factoids in this space. The actual
discs are red, white, and black and feature the Greatest American Hero scissors-like
symbol. Disc 1 has 4 episodes while Discs 2-4 have 3 episodes on each.
A 8-page booklet "How I Helped The Greatest American Hero" by Richard Coyle
is included. Richard Coyle did the props for the show. He talks about the origin of the
props and various photos are shown.
A new feature of this set is that you can press the front of the packaging
and hear the theme song! The cover of only 75,000 sets will contain a push button,
sound activated chip that when pressed will play the classic theme song from the show,
"Believe it or Not," penned by TV's famed music composer Mike Post and performed
by Joey Scarbury. The clip plays for about 10 seconds.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Season 3 features some all-new menus from the first 2 releases. When you first play the
discs, they start with a recent Stephen J. Cannell logo. The main menu is black with
some red animated clouds. The Greatest American Hero emblem is in the center of the screen
with boxes on either side that have video clips playing in them. A one+ minute version
of the theme song is played in the background. The episode titles
are listed at the bottom in bars. There is a 'Play All' button available or you can
play the episodes individually. There is a sub-menu with scene selections
for the episodes when you play them individually. There are 5 scene selections per
episode. This sub-menu features a small photo of the 3 cast members in the lower
right hand side of the screen with an overall brick background. A portion of the theme
song is played in the background. There are some video clips played with a blue
animated force field type of circle as the border of the scenes. There is a 'Play Episode'
button if you just want to watch the episode from the beginning.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality is similar as the first two releases. These episodes
look as good as can be expected given their age now. There is some occasional dust
and debris that you see with shows shot on film, but there doesn't appear to be
any major problems with these discs. Some of the old stock footage looks dated and the
scenes of Ralph flying are not great quality, but
other outdoor scenes have great color and look very vibrant. The audio is in dolby digital
stereo, but it really sounds like a mono track. The track is generally clean and without
any major problems.
Episodes are presented in their original production number order.
The episodes run around 46-48 minutes in length. The first two releases
had some music replaced or some scenes with music cut slightly. It's likely there
may be some music replaced in this release, but I'm not familiar with the original airings.
If all three of these releases had some music replaced or the episodes altered
in any way, I think Anchor Bay should have
clearly stated it somewhere on the back of the packaging. For a list of alterations
on these sets, please see
The Greatest American Hero Homepage. I don't think the changes
will affect your viewing pleasure of this set if you are a new fan or don't have
a great memory of viewing the episodes. Closed-captioning is available
for all of the episodes.
After a nice lineup of features for the first two releases, it is a bit disappointing
that there are none included on this set. It would have been nice to see the original teasers and
network promos for the episodes. Some bloopers or outtakes would have been fun to watch. I'm not sure
why they didn't record commentaries for any of the episodes if they had them all
together recording interviews for the earlier releases.
There are about 5 minutes of previews for Anchor Bay TV DVD releases on the first and
third discs. They cover Silk Stalkings, 21 Jump Street, The Commish, Hunter, and Renegade.
All those shows were by Stephen J. Cannell.
All three seasons of The Greatest American Hero have now been released on DVD.
It would have been great to see a few special features on the season three release.
It's unfortunate that music licensing rights and costs have forced them to replace
some music that was used on the original episodes. If you are like me and don't remember
the original airings, it probably won't affect your viewing that much. With all
the recent superhero type movies, I think it is only a matter of time before
you see The Greatest American Hero flying on the big screen.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 08/03/05
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