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HTF REVIEW: Grey's Anatomy - Season Three

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#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 07 2007 - 12:14 AM


Grey’s Anatomy - Season Three
Directed by Jeff Melman et al

Studio: Touchstone
Year: 2006-2007
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 1105 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
MSRP: $59.99

Release Date: September 11, 2007
Review Date: September 7, 2007


The Series

4.5/5

The first two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy were among the most perfectly realized dramatic hours in the history of television. An unbeatable blend of humor, romance, drama, and pathos, the series captured the fancy of the American public and grew into one of television’s most widely watched and hotly discussed programs. The set-up is simple: five surgical interns at Seattle Grace Hospital learn professional and personal life lessons from their superiors, their patients, and each other during the early years of their careers as doctors where they often find truth in the sometimes terrible and sometimes wonderful stories patients bring with them into the OR.

Created by Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy is a show that scaled the heights of popularity and creative accomplishment so quickly (less than two years) that the only question was when it would reach its apex and begin its descent. For some, that happened near the middle of season three followed by an ignominious sense of fumbling around with the things that made the show great in order to ratchet up the drama or keep things stirred up and hopefully interesting for the audience. Instead, a large number of audience members got frustrated as the writers manipulated the characters into unsatisfying couplings and kept people who seemed destined to be together separated by less than believable circumstances. The drama in the hospital continued to be sensational, but several of the characters were irritatingly stymied by a writing staff not wishing to ever let anyone stay too happy for too long.

As the season began, the characters continued to deal with fallout from the past season. Izzie (Katherine Heigl) was devastated by the loss of her beloved Denny whose new heart ceased to function in the last episode of season two. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) realized that their love was too strong to deny despite her still being emotionally involved with an appealing vet (Chris O’Donnell). Dr. Burke (Isaiah Washington) who was shot near the end of season two had sustained a hand injury that required delicate surgery and which might impair his ability to ever be a surgeon again. George (T.R. Knight) attempted to deal with feelings for resident orthopedic surgeon Callie (Sara Ramirez). And Addison (Kate Walsh) began to realize that her marriage to Derek was truly over. All of the other regulars from the past season were around to continue with their stories or to begin new ones with guest stars or with the one new cast addition: Eric Dane as plastic surgeon extraordinaire Mark Sloan, the man who had come between Addison and Derek back in New York when all three were the best of friends (Dane had guest starred on a memorable episode the season before which introduced his character). Dane’s addition to the regular cast, beginning with a memorable moment near the end of episode two, proved a wise idea adding additional sexy firepower to an already strong line-up of beefcake.

A three episode story arc where Meredith almost dies is the point in the season where the writing seemed to begin going awry with the momentum for the series waffling for the rest of the season and becoming downright infuriating by season end. The series reached a point of such gloom and doom in its season ending cliffhangers that many viewers expressed outrage over where the series was headed. Not helping matters any were headline-making behind the scenes brouhahas among some cast members and a spin-off pilot for Addison (the upcoming Private Practice) that was slipped into a two hour special episode (represented in this set as two one hour episodes #22, #23) much to the irritation of many Grey’s faithfuls.

At its best, however, the series can still be fall down funny and yet emotionally devastating, the writers having an uncanny knack of melding the stories of the patients into themes that can relate to the lives of the doctors treating them. One can forgive a lot when the acting is this good, the stories this involving, and the memories so lingering. Among the most affecting of this season’s stories involved several episodes with George’s father and his deteriorating health, Alex (Justin Chambers) becoming emotionally involved with a facially scarred Jane Doe (Elizabeth Reaser), and the emotional fallout caused by Burke’s hand tremor and Christina’s (Sandra Oh) elaborate machinations to hide his infirmity.

Here’s the line-up of the season’s 25 episodes. A single asterisk (*) notes episodes which are extended from their broadcast versions. A double asterisk (**) marks episodes which contain a running commentary with the participants.

*1 - Time Has Come Today ** (Kate Walsh, Chandra Wilson)
2 - I Am a Tree
3 - Sometimes a Fantasy
4 - What I Am
5 - Oh, the Guilt
6 - Let the Angels Commit
*7 - Where the Boys Are
8 - Staring at the Sun
9 - From a Whisper to a Scream
10 - Don’t Stand So Close to Me
11 - Six Days - Part One
12 - Six Days - Part Two
*13 - Great Expectations
*14 - Wishin’ and Hopin’** (Ellen Pompeo, Kate Burton)
15 - Walk on Water
16 - Drowning on Dry Land
17 - Some Kind of Miracle
18 - Scars and Souvenirs
19 - My Favorite Mistake
20 - Time After Time
21 - Desire** (Sandra Oh)
22 - The Other Side of Life - Part One
23 - The Other Side of Life - Part Two
24 - Testing 1 - 2 - 3
25 - Didn’t We Almost Have It All

Video Quality

4.5/5

The show is broadcast on ABC in 720p, and this down converted 480p anamorphic transfer is the best the show is going to look in standard definition. That said, there are crushed blacks in those flying passovers of Seattle between scenes, and some edge enhancement is present,. Sharpness in medium and long shots isn’t exemplary though close-ups come close to achieving that razor-sharp three dimensional look that distinguishes high definition material. Flesh tones are exceptionally accurate, and color on the whole is rich. Each episode has been divided into 9 chapters.

Audio Quality

4/5

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track doesn’t get the most out of all available channels, but with dialog placed squarely in the center channel and the others used for ambient sounds and the often haunting music, the audio track is above average without being outstanding.

Special Features

4.5/5

The audio commentaries on three episodes (see chart above for specific episodes and commentators) are not particularly strong. Kate Burton does the best job in attempting to discuss the making of the episode and her prior working relationships with members of the cast. The other two commentaries are quiet for much of the time and contain little of interest.

“Making Rounds with Patrick Dempsey” actually has nothing to do with Dempsey’s work on the show but rather concentrates on his strong interest in stock car racing. This 10½ -minute feature does allow us to see another side of the popular actor which some fans might not be aware of. The featurette is presented in anamorphic video.

“One on One with Ellen Pompeo” is an 8½ -minute anamorphic featurette with the star of the show discussing the journey of her character during season three. The feature shows her doing her own stunt work during her fall off the dock and spills some secrets about how she withstood the intense hours of CPR that had to be performed on her during her rescue.

“Making Jane Doe a Star” focuses its 8½ minutes on guest actor (and Emmy nominee) Elizabeth Reaser’s arduous make-up regimen for her bruised and battered character who emerges as a beautiful woman by the end of the season. The featurette is also presented in anamorphic video.

Disc seven also offers 11 unaired scenes in anamorphic video. There is no commentary provided explaining why the scenes were deleted though one scene does have a title card in front of it explaining why it was dropped. While most of these moments are interesting, only one would have been of great benefit to the episode it was pulled from: a confrontation between Derek and Mark that gives a deeper understanding into the complex relationship the two former best friends share. This is one scene that should have been retained in the broadcast version of the episode.

Producer Shonda Rhimes and selected cast and crew members choose their favorite scenes from season three. This 9-minute collection of scenes is presented in non-anamorphic letterbox.

4 minutes of outtakes (a couple of really funny ones) are likewise presented in non-anamorphic letterbox.

This Buena Vista release also contains trailers for, among other shows, The Game Plan, Brothers and Sisters, Ugly Betty, What About Brian? Lost, and Desperate Housewives.


In Conclusion

4.5/5 (not an average)

In spite of a few plot missteps that occurred late in the season, Grey’s Anatomy remains one of the finest shows on television, rich in humor, drama, and human interest as its ten Emmy nominations for this season attest. This excellent DVD set preserves the season’s best moments and makes one all the more anxious for the beginning of a new season.



Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   Andrew Radke

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Posted September 07 2007 - 12:59 AM

I am definitely looking forward to getting this. I personally thought season three was excellent. I know people thought the quality dropped somewhat at the start of the 3 episode story arc, but when Meredith pulled through at the end, my mom was literally in TEARS, tears of joy of course. But I'd never seen her shed a tear while watching a television show before. As for the cliffhangers at the end of the season, they accomplished what they set out to do, which was leave the audience wondering what was going to happen next. I know I'm waiting with baited breath for the 27th to roll around so I can find out.

Anyway, I'm definitely picking this up on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to the extended episodes. Great review!
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#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Firebee

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Posted September 07 2007 - 09:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Radke
I am definitely looking forward to getting this. I personally thought season three was excellent. I know people thought the quality dropped somewhat at the start of the 3 episode story arc, but when Meredith pulled through at the end, my mom was literally in TEARS, tears of joy of course. But I'd never seen her shed a tear while watching a television show before. As for the cliffhangers at the end of the season, they accomplished what they set out to do, which was leave the audience wondering what was going to happen next. I know I'm waiting with baited breath for the 27th to roll around so I can find out.

Anyway, I'm definitely picking this up on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to the extended episodes. Great review!

Count me in, too...mine has been pre-ordered since May! Posted Image
Real name: Dan Hart, Big Time TV Fan.

I also have not enough time to watch all of these DVDS:

http://www.invelos.c....aspx/fire26bee

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   JakeLip

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Posted September 07 2007 - 09:56 AM

Thanks for the review; this is the first one I've seen which actulally noted the episodes that are extended and have commentaries. As a huge fan of the show, of course I was going to buy the DVD regardless of what reviews say, so this is what I really wanted to know. Thanks.

Question: Is "The Other Side of This Life" presented in a continuous block, or split up into two parts? Since it was originally aired as a two-hour block, I hope the DVD retains it as such.

Secondly, "From a Whisper to a Scream" and "Didn't We Almost Have It All" ran overtime in their original network broadcasts and then were edited down for repeats. "Scream," for example, included an additional scene with Dr. Hahn talking to Christina. I would assume that the DVD retains the longer versions of these episodes?

Thanks.
 

 


#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 07 2007 - 03:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeLip
Thanks for the review; this is the first one I've seen which actulally noted the episodes that are extended and have commentaries. As a huge fan of the show, of course I was going to buy the DVD regardless of what reviews say, so this is what I really wanted to know. Thanks.

Question: Is "The Other Side of This Life" presented in a continuous block, or split up into two parts? Since it was originally aired as a two-hour block, I hope the DVD retains it as such.

Secondly, "From a Whisper to a Scream" and "Didn't We Almost Have It All" ran overtime in their original network broadcasts and then were edited down for repeats. "Scream," for example, included an additional scene with Dr. Hahn talking to Christina. I would assume that the DVD retains the longer versions of these episodes?

Thanks.

"The Other Side of This Life" is not presented as it aired (a two hour episode) but rather as separate one hour episodes.

Yes, the longer versions of the other episodes you mentioned are presented as aired.

#6 of 8 OFFLINE   JakeLip

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Posted September 07 2007 - 04:04 PM

Thanks. The news about The Other Side of This Life is a major misstep for the set, although hopefully they are at least on the same disc? I don't understand the value of splitting it in half; since it was aired as a block, the only reason to ever split it up would be for TV reruns in one-hour timeslots (like when season three eventually makes its way over to Lifetime.) Then again, as long as there is a play-all function this isn't much of an issue, but it is an annoyance and I don't understand why this route was taken. The two-hour finale episode of season is listed as two seperate ones in the booklet but presented continuiously on disc, and I'm curious as to why this same method was not employed again. Oh well. Of course I am still going to buy the set, but I can't say I'm not a little bit upset over the choice to not present this as the original broadcast did.
 

 


#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 08 2007 - 02:42 AM

Yes, the two episodes are on the same disc, so at least that came out right.

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   JakeLip

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Posted September 08 2007 - 05:44 AM

Good. When watching it, I will probably always watch them back-to-back anyway, which eases the issue but still. Thanks.
 

 






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