Parenthood-Season 3 (2011)
|Category||TV Family Drama||
Deleted Scenes-(10:17) Same format, but quality slightly inferior.
Deleted Scenes-(07:42) Deleted Storyline (related scenes).
|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (5)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Craig T. Nelson
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes, Dramatically in character.|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Maybe the Apple computer.|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, After recap, new action pre credits.|
Universal are about to locally release Season Three of the American comedy/drama Parenthood, while in the US production of the fourth season has just begun, with Ray Romano added to the cast. I only recently discovered this show, and devoured the first two seasons in a couple of weeks. Rarely have I had more pleasure from a TV series. This is the sort of entertainment that used to be called "heart warming", a term that always put me off. But don't let that deter you. The show was developed by Jason Katims, the man largely responsible for Roswell and Friday Night Lights, and with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer as executive producers, with apparently no expense spared, this is the best family drama on television, with Season Three even better than its predecessors.
The Braverman clan reside in and around present day San Francisco. The heads of the clan, Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), live in a "modest" rustic home, which appears to be in the Sausalito area just across the Golden Gate. Zeek and Camille have been married forty-six years, and have raised four offspring. The aging couple had some infidelity issues in the first two seasons, but in this season that plot thread is abandoned and the two, particularly Zeek, have become more stereotypical heads of family. Their eldest son, Adam (Peter Krause), had been managing a shoe business, but the season opening continues with him unemployed and desperately seeking work. Adam has the support of a devoted wife, Kristina (Monica Potter), and the responsibility of two children, teenager Haddie (Sarah Ramos), the first episode here finding her still in an inter-racial relationship with Alex (Michael B. Jordan), and a younger son Max (Max Burkholder), who has been diagnosed as having Asperger's syndrome. Next eldest of the Bravermans is Sarah (Lauren Graham), unstable after a marital break-up from Seth (John Corbett), and back living with her parents, along with rebellious daughter Amber (Mae Whitman) and sensitive adolescent son Drew (Miles Heizer). Next in line is Crosby (Dax Shepard), the devil-may-care "cool" son. Crosby has sold his houseboat and bought a small fixer-upper to win back Jasmine (Joy Bryant), along with his newly discovered son, Jabbar (Tyree Brown). Last in line - maybe that's why she is so competitive - is Julia (Erika Christensen), a successful lawyer, whose hunky and decent husband Joel (Sam Jaeger) is an unemployed stay-at-home dad, looking after young daughter Sydney (Savannah Paige-Rae).
In season three Adam and Kristina have their third child, and the unemployed Adam joins Crosby in a business venture. An attractive receptionist causes a major rupture in Adam's household, with Kristina returning to work to reaffirm herself. Crosby is distressed at the developing relationship between Jasmine and "Dr Joe", seeing his role as Jabbar's dad being usurped. Meanwhile Kristina gets Amber a job working for political wannabe Bob Little (Jonathan Tucker), but is alarmed at developments between Amber and her boss. Julia and Joel have turned to adoption as the solution to their desire for a second child, and this brings new complications which involve Julia's workplace unwed and pregnant coffee "lady", Zoe (Rosa Salazar). With Seth in rehab, Sarah continues her romance with younger school teacher, Mark (Jason Ritter) which impacts upon her kids, especially Drew. However soon Drew finds his first romance . There are sibling rivalries, disagreements, betrayal, loyalties, disappointments and joys - everyday human experiences that we can all relate to. At season end, there is a wedding and we are left longing for Season Four.
All of the above may make this show sound like a character-laden soapy, but this is far from the truth. With direction of the series primarily in the sensitive hands of Lawrence Trilling (Pushing Daisies / Invasion), what really counts here are the performances from the best cast on TV, and I am not forgetting Breaking Bad or Dexter. Probably the "stars" must be considered to be Peter Krause (Six Feet Under) and Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), and they are both superb, but there is not one weak link in the enormous ensemble cast. Mae Whitman (In Treatment) must give one of the best depictions of teenage angst ever seen on the screen, large or small. She is heartbreaking. Erika Christensen (Traffic) and Sam Jaeger ( Eli Stone) are the most convincing married "couple" at present on TV. Then there is the glorious Bonny Bedelia (Die Hard), with the formidable Craig T. Nelson (Coach) at her side, grounding the entire family. In fact the entire ensemble is faultless, with some of the best performances you will see from children. Young Tyree Brown as Jabbar is amazingly gifted and natural. I think there has not been one episode that has not had me both laughing and in tears, often simultaneously, within the forty minutes.
As far as the production values are concerned, this is top-drawer TV. Sets, decor, costumes are all faultless. I will admit to occasional concerns with camerawork that draws attention to itself. Most of the photography is smooth and unobtrusive, employing a multi-camera technique that does add to the fluidity and spontaneity of many scenes. However, I do object to the see-sawing between faces in conversation and then panning down to hands only. That has become repetitive and obtrusive. But that's a small criticism, being a total of mere seconds in hours of excellence. There has been more San Francisco location shooting for this season, adding flavour to the whole. There even was a road trip, eventually involving the whole clan, down Highway 1 in California. This was the episode which featured a guest appearance by Frances Sternhagen as Blanche Braverman, Zeek's mother - one of the many memorable episodes.
I cannot praise this series too highly. Our world seems to be dominated by cynicism and alienation and those aspects of society are brilliantly explored elsewhere on television. Breaking Bad and Dexter, for two, are TV dramas that have taken us into the deepest and darkest of corners, and they continue to do it brilliantly. How refreshing it is to have an entertainment that is as equally accomplished while presenting more positive aspects of society. Parenthood is great entertainment, and the kind of show you want everyone that you love to experience. Give Parenthood to someone - everyone - you love for Christmas .
This is another excellent quality DVD release. So many standard DVD releases of TV product look almost as good as Blu-ray, part of this no doubt due to the extensive use of close-up in most TV drama. As with the previous seasons, Season Three of Parenthood delivers an outstanding image.
The feature is presented at the original ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The image is extremely sharp and clear throughout, with excellent detail in close-ups, interiors and locations.
Colours are warm, with a Norman Rockwell feel to many scenes. There is a tendency at times for skin tones to be a little orange, but generally they are excellent.
I could see no sign of video artefacts.
This is a nigh flawless presentation of over twelve hours of first rate comedy/drama.
There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired. These are very good, and are presented in white only, centred at the foot of the image.
These discs contains one audio stream, English Dolby Digital 5.1, 48 kHz.
Dialogue is crystal clear, with no sync problems. There are flashes of obvious post-dubbing in some location scenes, but this is not considered a "problem" as such.
As is the case with most TV productions, dialogue is front and centred with the surrounds only really being used for ambience in crowd and location scenes.
The music from Jon Ehrlich (White Collar) and Jason Derlatka (House), an attractive feature of the show, is also given full surround reproduction. Mention should also be made of the catchy main title theme, written and performed by Lucy Schwartz.
The sound is rich and solid, although there is no obvious specific employment of the sub-woofer.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are limited to a few deleted scenes.
The menu is the same on all five discs, presented with strips of half a dozen small screen inserts, which come to life one at a time, backed by music from the series. There are four episodes each on Discs 1 to 3, and three each on 4 and 5.
Most discs contain only one short deleted scene from an episode on that disc. The quality is not quite as good as the episode itself.
This is a series of scenes all part of a storyline dropped from Episode 9, Mr Honesty.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 release misses out on audio commentaries on two episodes.
Midst the current fare of TV drama with its serial killers, drug dealers, violence and vampires there is Parenthood. Just released is Season Three, five discs of great TV drama - and there's comedy too. Depending on everyday incidents in a family consisting of senior parents, four siblings, their partners - at times changing partners - and offspring, the makers weave a story of one family that is touchingly real and moving. The performances are exceptional - with Peter Krause and Lauren Graham unjustly outstanding. Unjust, because the others are so wonderful. The quality of the disc is top rate, but there are only a few deleted scenes for extras. Family drama/comedy has never been better.
|DVD||SONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|