Magnum, P.I.-Season 3 (1980)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 12-Jul-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 1066:24 (Case: 1053)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Corey Allen
Ray Austin
Donald P. Bellisario
Burt Brinckerhoff

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Tom Selleck
John Hillerman
Roger E. Mosley
Larry Manetti
Gillian Dobb
Kwan Hi Lim
Jeff MacKay
Kathleen Lloyd
Glenn Cannon
Case ?
RPI $49.95 Music Velton Ray Bunch
John Cacavas
Pete Carpenter

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    There are very few shows from the 80s that have stood the test of time. Magnum P.I. is one of them. Lasting a full eight seasons in its own right, this was one of the few shows of the era that had true character development and an ongoing plotline. It was also one of the few shows that successfully managed to blend action, drama, comedy, intrigue and suspense. That's a fairly broad list of genres to get across, but this show does it admirably.

    For those of you who missed the show during its original release, it follows the adventures of an ex-Vietnam war veteran, Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck), formerly of Naval Intelligence, who resigns from the Navy in disgust and becomes a private investigator. Together with his veteran friends Theodore “T.C.” Calvin (Roger E. Mosley) and Orville “Rick” Wright (Larry Manetti), and the minder of the estate where Magnum lives, former Brigadier Commander Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman), Magnum gets himself into all sorts of trouble in the beautiful locales of Hawaii while investigating some of the strangest cases.

    I am not going to spoil the fun with a full episode breakdown. If you want a full season rundown you can find one at amongst other places. The third season is split across its 6 discs as follows:

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 3

Disc 4

Disc 5

Disc 6

    Unlike a lot of shows of this period, Magnum P.I. is not played camp. And it tries very hard with its limited budget to deliver appropriate thrills and live action sequences that would have caused many a stuntman some serious anxiety. Sure, Thomas gives the odd nod to the camera, and his deadpan smile here and there, but even these aren't quite enough to ruin the show and drag it into the realm of farce. In essence, it mixes the best of the realist and the surreal.

    The third season is a landmark in the Magnum opus (only part of a pun intended there), with some of the show's most impressive episodes. The opening two-parter Have You Seen The Sunrise? is an extremely impressive start, particularly after some of the more corny episodes of the second season, and then there are the other great episodes of the season – Flashback, Mr. White Death (with Ernest Borgnine), The Arrow That is Not Aimed, and Two Birds Of A Feather.

    I grew up with this show, so I have some nostalgia bias, but even so it holds up very well from an objective perspective. Most people who have never seen Magnum P.I. before tend to get sucked in, a testament to its great writing. If you are a fan of this show, you probably already own it. If you have never come across this before, I highly recommend it.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, this is the original aspect ratio for the series.

    The transfer is well detailed and sharp and has a definite ‘film’ feel about it, although this includes the inherent graininess thereof, particularly in darker scenes.

    Colour is strong in this season, an improvement over previous seasons. While still not reaching the digitally enhanced colour tones of more recent shows (for example Stargate SG-1: Season 9) it still works well.

    There are no MPEG artefacts, and film-to-video artefacts are minimal. There is less aliasing here than the previous two seasons, though how much of that is merely phased out by my new equipment I’m not entirely sure.

    There is still a fair bit of dirt on the print, but nothing horrendous

    Sadly, there are no subtitles, which is a bit of a major oversight by Universal. I would have thought by now that all DVDs would come with subtitles for use by the Hearing Impaired, but sadly, no such subtitles are available here.

    The dual-layer pauses occur in between the second and third episodes on each disc. None were visible.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Audio is available in English, French and German in 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, though some of the scenes shot outside were sometimes prone to a little distortion, either as a result of using a microphone in windy conditions, or some less than perfect post-production ADR.

    There is still some mono background “hissing” to the track, a problem with a mono source trying to reproduce too much on stereo equipment that this show was never designed to be seen on. That said, having seen the remaster of Miami Vice, I am a little disappointed that further effort was not made for Magnum P.I..

    Unfortunately, there is no surround use and no subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    All menus are in 1.33:1 Full Frame. The disc home menus have various clips from the credits with a 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack of that well known theme. All other menus are static and silent.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Content-wise, R1 and R4 are largely identical, although R1 has subtitle options whereas R4 has no subtitles. I’m giving this one to R1, as I think all DVDs should have subtitles as mandatory for the hearing impaired.


    Magnum P.I. – Season 3 has some outstanding episodes, and it is the strong writing that makes this show persevere.

    Video is pretty good for a series of this age, but there is definitely room for improvement, and the lack of subtitles is very disappointing.

    Audio is good, but I’m still hoping someone will take the time to do a full remaster at some point.

    Sadly, there are no extras at all.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS92, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 WXGA 3LCD Cineza Projector (10:000 contrast) with 100" Longhom Pro-Series Micro-Textured White Matte PVC 1.78:1 16:9 Fixed Mount Screen with Black Velour Trim. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersJensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE