Moonlighting-Complete Season 3 (1986)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Atomic Shakespeare
Audio Commentary-Big Man On Mulberry Street
Audio Commentary-Sam & Dave
Audio Commentary-The Straight Poop
|Year Of Production||1986|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Christian I. Nyby II
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Richard Lewis Warren
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (112Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (112Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (112Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (112Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (128Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Widely regarded as one of the most innovative TV series of the 1980s, Moonlighting launched the career of Bruce Willis before Die Hard made him a household name, and gave Cybill Shepherd the traction to have her own show.
Those of you who missed this show when it was on TV, or are completely unfamiliar with its phenomenon, Moonlighting, is the story of an ex-model, Madelyn “Maddie” Hayes (Cybill Shepherd), who is left with nothing but a detective agency as a financial investment after her money is embezzled by an unscrupulous accountant. Intent on liquidating the business, Maddie is persuaded by the private investigator running the agency, David Addison (Bruce Willis), to keep the agency open to see how it pans out. With its quirky employees and even quirkier cases, Maddie finds that she enjoys being a P.I. more than a model – though this could have more to do with an underlying attraction to her chief investigator...
An amusing mix of the surreal, the self-effacing and the plain bizarre, Moonlighting was a surprise hit that garnered many Emmy Awards, though (as intimated in that opening sequence of this season) never won Best Drama Series, largely because this does not fit cleanly in the drama section, or the comedy section for that matter (though Willis got an Emmy in 1988 for best actor in a dramatic series for this show). Moonlighting is, instead, that odd mix of the comedic and the dramatic that so few shows ever get right – Rescue Me being the only other great contender of recent years, and that show is far darker than Moonlighting ever was.
All 15 episodes of the third season are spread across these 4 discs. I do not intend to give you a full run down of each episode, mostly to avoid spoilers. You can get complete summaries at TV.com amongst other places:
Certainly, this is the series where what you knew was going to happen from the start of the series finally does happen, and many contend that the show was all downhill after that. I disagree, but do concede that the fourth season has fewer innovative ideas that had nothing to do with the aforementioned inevitable happenings. Partly that was the idea well running a little dry, which is sort of inevitable when you cram all your great ideas into 3 years’ worth of TV. And there were apparently several off-screen personality clashes that slowed overall production, resulting in only 15 episodes in the third season, and some serious conflicts off-set in the fourth that probably had more of an impact on storytelling than anything else.
However, for purists, this season contains pretty much the best of the best, and perhaps also the worst of the worst – the former evinced by the brilliant Atomic Shakespeare and the spectacular three-parter Blonde on Blonde, Sam & Dave and Maddie's Turn to Cry; the latter evinced by the less-than-stellar Poltergeist III - Dipesto Nothing (skip that one, by all means). All-in-all, this is one season that you do not want to pass up if you’re a fan.
For this reviewer, this series is certainly tainted with a tinge of nostalgia that perhaps colours my view of the show and dampens my objectivity. However, having watched this series side-by-side with others who missed it during its first airing, I am pleased to say that even newcomers to this show find it daringly entertaining and way out there on a scale that few shows have successfully managed to emulate since. If you have never had the pleasure, introduce yourself to the Blue Moon Investigation Agency and the wild and hilarious lives of Maddie and David...
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, this is the original broadcast aspect ratio of the series. I watched several episodes upscaled by a Sony PlayStation 3 running firmware version 1.82 at 1080p/50Hz by front-projection at 100” on a VPL-VW50 and the remainder scaled at 1080i via Sony DVP-NS92V on an E-Series 720p rear-projection 42” screen.
It looks as if Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has actually taken the time to go back to the source master film to put this release together, and the effort certainly shows.
The image is relatively sharp, but not as sharp as some other recent releases of 80s TV series (e.g. Airwolf), although a lot of that is due to the fact that Moonlighting appears to have been shot with various soft-filters – particularly when Cybill Shepherd is in shot.
Colour is surprisingly well saturated and nicely balanced. Certainly, there’s an 80s colour palette here, an lots of 80s clothing straight out of a Bret Easton Ellis novel, but the colour saturation is definitely better than other recent transfers of contemporary shows.
There are no MPEG artefacts, and no glaring film-to-video transfer artefacts.
A little bit of dirt is still present on the print if you go looking for it, usually limited to the odd white dot.
Subtitles are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish. The English titles are white with a black/grey border and quite accurate, which is good because you want the jokes to come across.
All four discs are dual layered with the dual-layer pauses falling between the episodes.
Audio is available in English, French, German and Spanish in 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono encoded at 112Kb/s. I listened to the English transfer. It’s a decent dialogue-driven soundtrack, but the mono-aural soundfield is a bit thin.
Dialogue is nicely rendered and any sync faults are usually post-production issues where a mic could not be placed.
No surround or subwoofer information here.
|Surround Channel Use|
All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with clips from the episodes and the theme in 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, the following episodes have commentaries by cast and crew:
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
I do not have an R1 copy for an exact comparison, but from what I can tell the content is the same though we have more language options (the R1 release only has English for audio and subtitles). The difference is only in the NTSC picture format and the region coding. Buy whichever is cheapest.
Moonlighting is a milestone of 1980s TV, and I’m surprised so few people have even heard of it these days. Perhaps I’m just showing my age. But when a show completely redefines the “private eye” genre you’d think more people would remember. Highly recommended.
The DVD set is excellent, with very good image reproduction, but it would have been nice to have a remastered audio.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW50 SXRD Projector with 100" Longhorn Pro-Series White Matt 16:9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Jensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer|