DVD Review: 3rd Rock From the Sun - Season 3
Release Date: February 21, 2006
Distributor: Anchor Bay
· John Lithgow
· Kristen Johnston
· French Stewart
· Joseph Gordon-Levitt
· Jane Curtin
· Simbi Khali
· Elmarie Wendel
· Wayne Knight
· Season 1 DVD Review
· Season 2 DVD Review
· Season 4 DVD Review
by Chad Maddux
Published: March 20, 2006
3rd Rock From the Sun is the story of four aliens who have come to Earth to learn about humans. The average, every day family (or so they think) of Dick, Sally, Tommy, and Harry Solomon is still on a mission for a third season. The series lasted for six seasons, which featured a 139 new episodes. The third season consisted of 27 of those episodes. They originally aired from September 24, 1997 through May 20, 1998.
I was a fan of 3rd Rock from very early on in its history. Before they began releasing the series on DVD, I used my DVR to record repeats of the show. The reason I love the series so much is the unique gimmick of the show is one of those rare gimmicks that is insanely funny but doesn't get old too quickly. There have been many other shows with a gimmick, and, while funny, audiences tired of the gimmick quickly. I loved it then, and I love it now.
Obviously, aliens taking human form is quite a gimmick and was probably a huge risk for NBC executives. The reason it succeeded is that it avoided the typical alien stereotypes that were likely to cause its downfall. They weren't green (on their own planet, they were tubular shaped and purple). They weren't probing people (well, at least not in THAT way). They were just here to observe and learn.
And learning brings up a key aspect that gives the show its humor. The aliens are always learning, usually with a few bumps along the way. The writers ensured that the aliens had to learn everything with nothing taken for granted. Since they have never been humans before, even the most basic details (which might have been overlooked) were covered by the stellar writing staff. In one memorable episode from this season, the aliens go camping. However, since they've never been humans before, Dick was unaware that you "go" camping. He proclaimed, "We're doing camping."
The third season is another terrific season. It includes some of my favorite episodes. However, it also includes some of my least-favorite episodes. The camping episode, "When Aliens Camp," is a terrific episode. "Dick and the Other Guy" is probably one of my top-five favorite episodes of the entire series. It guest stars John Cleese as the guy who is just like Dick...only better in every way. On the other end of the spectrum, I've never really liked the two-part episode, "36! 24! 36!" In that episode, some beautiful women set out to destroy the Earth. The clip show, "Seven Deadly Clips," is also not one of the best. And the season opens with the trashy Roseanne as a guest.
Starting off the bonus material were the bloopers. I absolutely love bloopers and wish there were really long blooper segments included on these sets. First of all, the quality of the transfer in the blooper segment was absolutely horrible. It was presented in widescreen but was blurry, grainy, and just generally pathetic. Second, there were only 10 minutes worth. Third, parts of the background in certain scenes were intentionally blurred (as if you were watching an episode of COPS and the suspects face was blurred). Anchor Bay seems to do this a lot (as they did in the second season release of 3rd Rock) and I really, really hate it. If there is a reason for it, I'd really like to know. It just looks stupid.
The French Stewart interview includes the actor discussing his character and the other actors on the show along with clips from the show. He discusses "the squint" and Harry's intelligence before moving on to commenting on his fellow cast. At 10 minutes, 31 seconds long, the interview is a good length to inform but not bore. "Wild About Harry" is just over six minutes long and is a series of clips of Harry from the show. There is no commentary so we don't know exactly who decided these were the "best" moments.
Continuing on, we enounter more interviews. This round, all of the main cast members discuss the "superest two-part episode ever!" They are referring to the episode entitled "36! 24! 36!" As with the bloopers, parts of the background scenes have been blurred. While John Lithgow is talking, he is almost fully surrounded by a blurred screen, which made my eyes water. Anchor Bay likes to do this for some reason, and I find it highly irritating.
"Season Three Highlights" is self-explanatory. There are over nine minutes worth of clips from the season. Since you've probably just finished watching the season, these are all repeats. However, you will find one difference from the first time you watched it: more blurring. This might be done by other studios but I don't remember ever seeing it on any release except those from Anchor Bay. Come on, Anchor Bay: it looks awful.
Although they are included in the bonus section, I do NOT consider these to be bonus features. There are two "Also on DVD" promotions for Roseanne - Season 1 and Grounded for Life - Season 1. This season comes on four single-sided discs that come in a single fold-out case. It also comes with a booklet containing still shots from the season and a disc guide with episodes and summaries.
The problems with some of the bonus features are annoying but the series is still one of the all-time best comedies. With an average online price not too far above $20, this is a must-have set. If you still need convincing, the box actually talks! You'll have to buy it to see.
Also available for purchase: Season 1 | Season 2
|Disc Guide for Season Three
Fun with Dick and Janet - Part 1
Fun with Dick and Janet - Part 2
Eleven Angry Men and One Dick
A Friend in Dick
Tom, Dick and Mary
Seven Deadly Clips
Dick on a Roll*
The Great Dickdater
36! 24! 36! Dick! - Part 1
36! 24! 36! Dick! - Part 2
Pickles and Ice Cream
Portrait of Tommy as an Old Man
Stuck with Dick
My Daddy's Little Girl
The Physics of Being Dick
Just Your Average Dick
Dick and the Other Guy*
Sally and Don's First Kiss
When Aliens Camp
The Tooth Harry
Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary*
French Stewart Interview (10:31)
Wild About Harry (6:05)
Interviews with the Cast (4:53)
Season Three Highlights (9:21)
* Episodes denoted with an asterisk feature additional audio commentary tracks.