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The King of Queens - The Complete Third Season



DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005 (Columbia Tri-star Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: Approx 600 Minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English Only, No Subtitles, Closed Captioned.
Special Features: Bonus Trailers

The King of Queens - The Complete Third Season back cover

My Thoughts:

The third season of The King of Queens is on DVD! Considered by some to be the best season of the show, the show really burns on all comedic cylinders this season. The King of Queens stars Kevin James as Doug Heffernan, an employee of delivery service IPS. His wife Carrie is played by Leah Remini. Half of the purpose of the show is to try to solve the age old sitcom question: How did someone like him wind up with a wife THAT attractive?? Anyway, Carrie’s dad is played by none other than Jerry Stiller (Ben’s dad). Also starring in the show’s third season are Victor Williams as Deacon Palmer, Patton Oswalt as Spence, and Larry Romano (brother of Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano) as Richie.

The first really memorable episode from season three is the third show from that season, “Fatty McButterpants.” After Doug finds out that Carrie buys all his clothes at a big and tall clothing store, Doug begins to realize he might have a weight problem. He, in turn, starts to pick apart all of Carrie’s flaws one by one. Starting with the fifth episode of the season is a multiple episode arc about a worker’s strike at IPS. Obviously, that’s only a device to aid each episode’s plot, but it proves interesting nonetheless. Right before the strike starts, Doug buys a new SUV, and they’re left to try to find ways to pay for it. In the next episode, Doug finds work as a substitute teacher at his sister’s school ­ unaware of the terror awaiting him. Meanwhile, Carrie does some extra work at the office ­ only it’s for a pro bono case, meaning no extra overtime.

The next episode is the all-too-common flashback episode, going back to Doug and Carrie’s first Thanksgiving together in 1993. In the next episode, Carrie and Doug are asked to baby-sit Deacon and Kelly’s child Kirby ­ who happens to walk in while Carrie and Doug are making love. The 11th episode of the season is an interesting Christmas episode. Doug buys Carrie a camera, but her boss buys her a better one. So, Carrie ultimately gives Doug’s camera to Kelly as a gift, only to have Deacon give her one too ­ a camera far cheaper than Doug’s. The 17th episode of season three is certainly an interesting one for TV fans…Doug lies to Carrie about having to work late, so that he can get in a game of mud football. Later, he falls asleep while watching TV, which leads to Doug finding himself in episodes of The Honeymooners, Wheel of Fortune, and The Young and the Restless ­ plus the movie Brian’s Song. Finally, the final episode of the season is the episode in which we discover that Carrie is pregnant.

King of Queens season three is fairly well-packed with guest stars. In five episodes of the season, talk show host Ricki Lake guests as Doug’s sister Stephanie. Florence Henderson (Mrs. Brady!) guests in episode 58, Dark Meet. Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), guests as himself in three episodes. Episode 63 finds Dick Enberg playing himself. The next show has Eric Roberts (Less than Perfect, “Julia Roberts’ Brother”) as Jack. Episode 67, Inner Tube, has several stars from (as of 2001) The Young and the Restless (Melody Thomas Scott, Peter Bergman, and Scott Reeves) playing their Y&R characters in part of Doug’s dream. Also appearing in that episode are Pat Sajak and Vanna White, host and hostess of Wheel of Fortune, in THAT part of Doug’s dream. Jenny O’Hara (My Sister Sam, Facts of Life) debuts her recurring character of Doug’s mother Janet in two episodes this season. Bryan Cranston ­ the dad on Malcolm in the Middle ­ guests in episode 72. Finally, Gavin McLeod of Love Boat fame guests in the next episode after that.

As far as the packaging goes, there was a cover change shortly before release date. The cover now features an extreme close-up of Carrie and Dough, with Arthur in the background, in front of the animated version of their house with the logo at the top of the packaging. The reverse just has a photo of Doug in IPG gear. As is the case for the majority of full-season (20+ Episode) DVD releases, packaging is Digipak. However, the art on the interior packaging is unusually creative. The entire interior case is setup like one big package ­ while still maintaining the Digipak style. The front has the King of Queens logo. The panels and back cover are all just various pieces of the packaging, with various stamps (urgent, fragile, etc.) on them. Between the 2nd and third disc holders, they drew in Doug’s IPS ID. In the lower right corner of the background of the disc 3 holder is a drawn-on 20-cent stamp of Doug that says “KQueens.”

There are a total of three discs with the set. Disc 1 has episodes 1-9, Disc 2 has episodes 10-18, and Disc 3 has episodes 19-24 (24 is a one hour show). Each episode is unedited and runs 22-23 minutes. The discs themselves have a rather simple design, but the design itself is consistent with the art for the interior packaging, so it works quite well. Each disc follows the packaging theme. Disc one has a stamp of Doug at the left, and First Class stamped on bottom. Disc two has the Carrie stamp, with an URGENT stamp on bottom, while disc three has a stamp of ole’ Arthur, and a “Fragile” stamp on the bottom of the disc.

The menus for all three discs are the same. The main menu, sans-audio, is of Doug holding a package in front of a house. The episode selection menu is the window of the house, with a still image of each episode in one corner of the window. The Previews menu (disc 3 only) is practically the exact same as the main menu, only with Carrie holding the box.

Sony decided to cram nine episodes onto a disc on the first two discs of the release, meaning compression artifacting on the first episode 18 shows of the season. The six shows (5 thirty minute episodes + one hour episode) on the third disc look somewhat better. Essentially the typical video quality for a Columbia Tristar release for a 2000-01 show. The audio is the same Dolby Digital Stereo that was used for the show’s original broadcast -- it sounds nice, but if you’re expecting jaw-dropping sound, you’re looking at the wrong DVD release.

Sony once again decided to label the trailers for other Columbia Tri-star releases as Special Features ­ quite annoying if you ask me. Total, the four trailers run seven minutes. There’s a trailer for the two Seinfeld releases, a trailer for the King of Queens first season release, a trailer for the movie Christmas with the Kranks, and the same general CTS TV-DVD trailer that’s been on every release of a Sony-owned show in the last two years. Wow, impressive (End Sarcasm)!

First and foremost: Memo to Sony executives: the reason that a lot of your releases aren’t thought highly of is that they have this general feeling of just being another DVD release. There’s nothing SPECIAL about some of them (hint hint). Other production companies do releases with a certain degree of PRIDE (Warner Brothers consistently has at LEAST thirty minutes of special features for virtually ALL of it’s releases, usually more). The best releases have almost as many special features as they do actual show. You got it right on the money with the three Seinfeld sets. The things you find on THAT set are what people want on their TV DVD sets. We WANT bloopers, we WANT commentary tracks out the yin-yang, we WANT all the old promos from when the show first aired -- we WANT stuff like that. By and large, the Columbia-Tristar releases are just, flat. PLEASE start including fresh features on your releases ­ that’s a main selling point of TV DVDs. Though, I praise CTS for bringing out a lot of shows on DVD.

With that out of the way, the only other flaw of the set was the nine episodes per disc. Really, after about 4 hours of content on any given release, the quality starts to nosedive. The goal for future sets should be no more than 4 hours on any given disc ­ even if it means an extra disc and an extra 23 cents in production costs.

Really, the things above are the only things I can think to improve upon for the future. The episodes themselves are certainly funny, and if you’re new to the series, the third season is probably the best season you’re going to find of the show. The show itself definitely has my recommendation ­ just don’t expect anything to really write home about with features. There just aren’t any.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.3/5
Special Features: N/A
Menu Navigation/Design: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 02/22/05

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