Charmed - The Complete Third Season Studio: Paramount Year: 2000 - 2001 Rated: NR Length: 15 hours, 52 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Audio: Dolby Digital English / French Stereo Closed Captioned Special Features: None Suggested Retail Price: $49.99 USD Release Date: November 15, 2005 With every passing season, Charmed becomes more charming. I’ve never really paid much attention to this show during its original airings. I always thought of the show as a Buffy wannabe. While I haven’t quite undergone a full conversion from the Buffy-verse, Charmed is a compelling concoction of drama, angst, magic and demons. It is hard not to notice the similarities between the two shows - and with Buffy the Vampire Slayer having a more hardcore cult following, it is difficult to talk about Charmed without putting it into the same space as Buffy. Buffy came along about a half-season earlier than the charmed ones. While one could argue that Buffy may have taken on some of it’s magical qualities due to the success of Charmed, one would also have to argue that Charmed became a much more physical show due to the success of Buffy. In earlier seasons, the slayer’s friend hadn’t learned of her Wiccan side - but neither had the charmed ones learned to fight hand-to-hand. Both shows advanced the notion of the meta-story after their freshman seasons. Buffy began in mid-season two, while Charmed really approached the threaded plots in season three. Both shows even have a club hangout for the series’ regulars. Buffy and friends hung out at The Bronze. In Charmed, the hangout - P3 - is owned by the charmed ones. Prue + Piper + Phoebe = P3. In both series, the gathering place served as a means for the appearance of some musical guests and interludes relating to the story. Season three of Charmed advances the relationship between Piper and Leo as a running thread. It also explores the “is he bad or isn’t he” idea seen in Buffy - this time in the guise of Phoebe’s love for a half-demon. All the while, the three witches protect the innocent and ward off evil. What would a good show about demons and witches be without a cliffhanger? In season three, the show ends with the well-being of all three sisters in question. And we all know that one of the actresses chose not to return for another season. Being a virgin to this series, I’ll have to be sure to tune in to season four for the resolution. The Transfers The transfers of season three are virtually the same as season two. Displayed in its native aspect ratio of 1.33:1, Charmed delivers a nice, if only slightly imperfect presentation on DVD. The offers up excellent contrast. Black levels are very good, while maintaining good detail in the shadows. Whites are bright, clean and neutral - and never bloom. Colors are well rendered, with accurate values and saturation. The episodes could be a bit sharper, but they have an acceptable level of detail for television product. Unlike season one, seasons two and three present less in the way of digital noise, aliasing and moire, which I found detrimental in freshman season. The Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack offers up excellent frequency response and good channel separation across the front soundstage. The Pro-Logic mode on your Dolby amplifier will produce some ambient sounds in the rear channels, but mostly music reverb. Bass response in the music is nice. Overall, a solid bunch of transfers for a program of the era. Special Features Unfortunately, there are no special features. Final Thoughts Charmed is an excellent show - and this season is truly enjoyable form start to finish. Solid transfers give the set high marks, but the lack of extras is a disappointment.