That '70s Show-Season 3 (2000)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Disc 1 : Two episodes
Audio Commentary-Disc2 : One epiode
Audio Commentary-Disc 3 : One episode
Audio Commentary-Disc 4 : Two episodes
Featurette-Making Of-Season Three reflections (23:15)
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Twentieth Century Fox
Debra Jo Rupp
Lisa Robin Kelly
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Fox have recently reissued all eight seasons of this, one of the best half hour comedies of recent years, and it is my happy task here to review Season 3. After a more than promising initial season, That 70s Show lived up to expectations in Season 2, and in Season 3 the entire production was churning out first class comedy each week.
Originally aired in the United States between October 2000 and May 2001, Fox Video have collected all twenty-five of the Season Three episodes onto four discs. A very pleasing bonus is the inclusion of the original network promo for every episode, as well as many introductions by cast members, although the two male "stars", and Laura Prepon, do not contribute.Each promo is thirty-two seconds long, and the introductions range from approximately thirty to ninety seconds.The episode titles, and the introductions are :
Disc 1 : Reefer Madness : Introduction by Danny Masterson
Red Sees Red : Introduction by Debra Jo Rupp
Hyde's Father : Introduction by Danny Masterson
Too Old to Trick or Treat, Too Young to Die : Introduction by Mila Kunis
Roller Disco : Introduction by Wilmer Valderrama
Eric's Panties : Introduction by Debra Jo Rupp
Disc 2 : Baby Fever
Jackie Bags Hyde : Introduction by Kurtwood Smith
Hyde's Christmas Rager : Introduction by Danny Masterson
Ice Shock : Introduction by Mila Kunis
Who Wants It More : Introdction by Kurtwood Smith
Fez Gets the Girl : Introduction by Wilmer Valderrama
Dine and Dash : Introduction by Don Stark
Disc 3 : Radio Daze
Romantic Weekend : Introduction by Kurtwood Smith
Kitty's Birthday (That's Today?!) : Introdction by Debra Jo Rupp
The Trials of M. Kelso : Introduction by Don Stark
Eric's Naughty No-No
Disc 4 : Fez Dates Donna : Introduction by Don Stark
Eric's Drunken Tattoo
Canadian Road Trip : Introduction by Wilmer Valderrama
Backstage Pass : Introduction by Mila Kunis
The Promise Ring
I first sampled this show primarily because Ashton Kutcher was in the cast. I watched a couple of minutes, spotted the talented Topher Grace (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton) and thought it was some kind of teenage Disneyland, a mixture of sketches and Laugh-In style inserts, and promptly switched channels. Eventually I did see a complete episode, and to my suprprise I found that it was actually a very old fashioned sitcom. The sets are more elaborate than for, say, I Love Lucy or Happy Days, but it was still the basic sitcom formula of known characters in known locations faced with a new issue each week. Season Three does not have as many serious undertones as Season Two, with the emphasis here more on straight out comedy. Despite this concentration on humour, the plots continue to be primarily character driven, with gradual development of individual characters through the episodes. Donna and Eric (Laura Prepon and Topher Grace) are still the young lovebirds, but we see changes in Jackie (Mila Kunis) as she pursues Hyde (Danny Masterson), and also in Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) as he attempts to come to terms with his Laurie versus Jackie dilemma. Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) eventually lands himself a girlfriend, who turns out to be slightly demented, leading to the episode Fez Dates Donna, as he tries to escape the clutches of the crazy one.
Under the direction of David Trainer, the man who directed every single episode of the entire eight seasons, two-hundred-and-one in total, the twenty-five episodes on these four discs are of amazingly consistent quality. There is not a dud performance, the ensemble cast repeatedly displaying the most brilliant comic timing and delivery. Standout episodes are Dine and Dash, with Kelso at his most demented, in a hilarious performance by Kutcher. This talented young actor has never been better than he is in this series. Romantic Weekend has Eric and Donna as well as Eric's parents, Red and Kitty (Kurtwood Smith and Jo Ann Rupp) in adjoining rooms for a "secret" bed and breakfast naughty getaway, and there is a marvellous Hitchcock homage, Too Old to Trick or Treat, Too Young to Die which will have you laughing out loud. There is, in fact, not one dud episode on the four discs. Wilmer Valderrama continues to make Fez a superb comic creation, and steals almost every scene in which he appears. His disco turn in Roller Disco is truly memorable. Happily we continue to get the flashback or flashforward sequences, as in Baby Fever, in which we see Eric and Donna coping with parenthood. Possibly the best episode is Canadian Road Trip, which follows the "boys" as they cross the border into Canada in order to legally buy beer, and find themselves in conflict with the mounties.
There is little variation in my reviews of this series, because it is just so consistently first rate. Scripts, direction, performances and technical execution are all nigh flawless. This is one of the best comedies of recent years, and I am eagerly looking forward to reviewing Season Four.
If you have only ever seen this series on pay TV you are in for a pleasant experience when viewing it on DVD. The image is considerably sharper and brighter than on subscription telecasts, with very little evidence of MPEG artefacts.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 in a 4x3 transfer.
The transfer quality throughout all episodes is extremely sharp, clear and clean, resulting in an extremely bright and attractive image. Naturally this does not apply to the sequences which are designed to look like old film or black and white flashbacks to the past.
Shadow detail is hardly an issue with almost all scenes brightly lit, as is the norm for tv sitcoms. The occasional darker sequence, such as night scenes in the car and the "round table" basement sequences, look very satisfactory, with dark solid blacks.
There is no low level noise and very little grain.
Colour is bright and vibrant highlighting the fashions and decor of the period. There is very little variation in colour quality and skin tones are excellent.
MPEG artefacts are limited to minor compression issues, and there were no film artefacts.
The English for the Hearing Impaired titles were generously sampled, in the episodes themselves as well as the promos, introductions and commentaries. As an ex-teacher of hearing impaired students, I can vouch that the subtitles are excellent.
The four discs are dual layered with layer changes between episodes.
The audio is excellent throughout these four discs, for the episodes, promos, introductions and commentaries. As is the norm for TV sitcoms, there is virtually no movement across the fronts, and the surrounds are used almost exclusively for the audience reactions.
There are two audio streams, both in English Dolby Digital 2.0, Surround Encoded at 192 Kbps.The second stream contains the commentaries.
Every syllable of the frequently brilliant dialogue is crystal clear.
There were no drop-outs and no sync problems.
The reproduction of music of the period is always bright and attractively recorded and reproduced.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|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)|