That '70s Show-Season 3 (2000)

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Released 23-May-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Series 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)
Web Links
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 532:37
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (22:00)
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David Trainer
Terry Hughes
Tim Ryder
Studio
Distributor
Carsey Werner
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Topher Grace
Mila Kunis
Ashton Kutcher
Danny Masterson
Laura Prepon
Wilmer Valderrama
Debra Jo Rupp
Kurtwood Smith
Tanya Roberts
Tommy Chong
Don Stark
Lisa Robin Kelly
Mo Gaffney
Case ?
RPI $64.95 Music Chris Bell
Alex Chilton
Todd Griffin


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   

                       

      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
            Donna's Panties
            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
            Holy Craps!

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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   

Menu

    The Main Menu is identical on all four discs, and is dynamically colourful, with vibrant graphics, animation and full motion of the stars plus the revamped theme, In the Street,  in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 192 Kbps.
    The menu is presented 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The options offered on both discs are : Episode Selection : Screen has brightly coloured still featuring a star of the series, without audio.
                                                                                              An individual episode can be selected, or you can elect to "Play All".

                                                               Language Selection : Screen uses a character still from the series, without animation or audio. The options are :
                                                                                                  Language and Audio : English
                                                                                                                                      Commentaries
                                                                                                  Subtitles : English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles on all episodes, promos, intros and commentaries.

                                                               Special Features : A new screen without animation or audio offers:
                                                                                           Disc 1 only : Season Three Featurette 
                                                                                           All Discs : Commentaries as detailed below.                                  .
                                      
                                       
    
   

Special Features :

All Discs : 

Network Promo :
Short (thirty-two second) promo on each episode.

Introduction :
Short intro to each episode, varying from just under thirty seconds to a minute and a half, given by a cast member. There is not much content in these snippets, but it is enjoyable to see these outstanding actors as themselves, rather than as the characters in the series. This is particularly interesting for Debra Jo Rupp and Wilmer Valderrama. Quite a remarkable difference! These introductions were filmed during the production of Season Seven, after Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace had left the show. This explains their non-participation , but not the absence of Laura Prepon.



Disc 1 :

Season Three Featurette (23:15) :
Presented at 1.33:1 in a 4x3 transfer, this is an excellent featurette, with cast and production members looking back at the season. Featured are director David Trainer and actors Danny Masterson, Don Stark, Kentwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, Mila Kunis and Wilmer Valderrama. Much time is spent discussing relationships on and off screen, and is highly entertaining for any fan of the show.
Audio Commentaries:
These commentaries are fond recollections by two of the primary forces behind this series. Always entertaining and affectionate, they make enjoyable if forgettable listening.

Disc 1 : Two Old to Trick or Treat, Too Young to Die and Eric's Panties
Commentary by director David Trainer and producer Patrick Kienlen.

Disc 2 :
Audio Commentary :
Dine and Dash
Commentary by director David Trainer and  producer Patrick Kienlen.

Disc 3 :
Audio Commentary : Radio Daze :
Commentary by David Trainer.

Disc 4 :
Audio Commentary : Eric's Drunken Tattoo
and The Promise Ring
Commentary by David Trainer.

R4 vs R1

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

    There is no difference between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases.

Summary

    This comedy series has it all. Brilliant writing and direction, flawless comedy performances and top production values combine to produce twenty-two minutes of top class television, that merits multiple viewings. The transfers are sharp and vivid, and the extra packaging an improvement on the first two seasons.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung 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 DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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