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HTF DVD REVIEW: Battlestar Galactica Season Three - Recommended

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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted March 16 2008 - 07:43 PM


Studio: Universal
Original Airing: 2006-2007
Length: 15 hours 55 mins
Genre: Science Fiction

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Color/B&W: Color

  • English Dolby Digital 5.1

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
    Rating: Unrated (Some Sci-Fi Violence and Bloodshed, Language, Sexuality)

  • Release Date: March 18, 2007

    3 ½ ½ /

    :Starring: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Jamie Bamber, Aaron Douglas, Michael Hogan, Grace Park, Tahmoh Penikett, with appearances by Mark Sheppard, Lucy Lawless and Dean Stockwell

    Executive Producers: Ronald D. Moore and David Eick
    Written by: Various
    Directed by: Various

    Battlestar Galactica: Season Three is a six disc DVD set compiling all of the episodes of the Ronald D. Moore/David Eick series’ third season, along with a battery of extras and special features. By this point in the series, the storylines have been fairly well developed and have progressed far past the point of introduction, so it may be difficult for new viewers to pick up the story here. (I would recommend watching the seasons in order, as many episodes in the third season refer back to past events from the first two years.) For viewers ready for the ride, this season is possibly the richest one yet. The story is constructed in five movements: the first completes the New Caprica storyline and gets everyone back to space, the second deals with the fallout from New Caprica and includes one standalone piece, the third brings the human and Cylon fleets to a distant algae planet that may hold a crucial clue for their search, the fourth provides the usual fleet and individual stories that tend to pop up in the second half of the season, and the final movement finds Baltar on trial and throws a lot of balls up in the air before the inevitable twist ending and cliffhanger. Not every episode succeeds, but the ones that do (the “Exodus” two parter, “The Passage”, “Maelstrom”) are not only good science fiction but also moving stories of humanity and its failings. By the end of the season, the groundwork has been laid for the coming fourth and final year, which will wrap up the multiple stories that have continued to run on the series for the past four years.

    The DVD set includes all of the episodes in anamorphic format and 5.1 sound, along with Ron Moore’s podcast commentaries from the Sci-Fi Channel website and a few minutes of deleted scenes for almost every episode. Some episodes receive additional commentaries as well. The set also includes all of David Eick’s video blogs from the Sci-Fi website, with the exception of “Peabody Madness”, and adds several more that haven’t been seen before. In addition, the set also includes the complete “Resistance” webisode series shown at the Sci-Fi website in the weeks before the Season Three premiere in the fall of 2006. As a special bonus, the set also includes a much longer cut of the episode "Unfinished Business", with 25 minutes of deleted scenes that didn't make it to the aired version, along with a new commentary by Ron Moore and the editor to explain what was going on.


    Battlestar Galactica: Season three is presented in an anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer that matches the harsh docudrama look of the series. The episodes present multiple visual environments, from the harsh and gritty exteriors of New Caprica to the clean, dark lines of the Base Star interior to the warmer looks of the Cylon “projections” and various characters’ dreams. Some episodes have moments of extreme graininess (particularly the early shows on New Caprica) but this is an intentional effect by Director of Photography Steve McNutt, as seen in his segment of the David Eick video blogs.

    AUDIO QUALITY: 3 ½/5 ½

    Battlestar Galactica: Season Three is presented in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that mostly uses the front channels. There is a little atmospheric and directional use of the rear channels, particularly for gunfights or loudspeaker effects. But the rear speakers are primarily used for music. There’s a little subwoofer work here, during the bigger moments, but the smaller scale of the series limits this.

    Rather than do a simple rating for Special Features, I think it will work better here to account for what can be found on each disc, in order. Every episode features the original Ronald D. Moore podcast as provided on the Sci-Fi website. (The Writers’ Roundtable and the bonus podcasts from the website are not included here)



    Occupation, with deleted scenes (2:11, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    Precipice, with deleted scenes (1.23, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    Exodus, Pt 1, with podcast commentary

    Exodus, Pt 2, with deleted scenes (5:21, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    The disc also contains a SNEAK PEEKS section, containing non-anamorphic previews for the DVD releases of the TV shows Knight Rider, The A Team, Magnum PI, The Incredible Hulk, The Rockford Files, Miami Vice, Saturday Night Live, Quantum Leap, Monk and House.

    When the disc is first put into the player, the viewer can see non-anamorphic trailers including a brief promo for Battlestar Galactica: Season Four, The Incredible Hulk: Seasons 3 and 4, Heroes: Season One on both DVD and HD-DVD, and the original HD-DVD promo from over a year ago.



    Collaborators, with deleted scenes (3:14, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    Torn, with deleted scenes (1:26, Non-anamoprhic) and podcast commentary

    A Measure of Salvation, with deleted scenes (10:36, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    The disc also contains:

  • ”The Resistance” Webisodes - (26:25 total, Non-anamorphic) The complete ten-part website series is included here. The events of this story lead directly into the first episode of the third season. The photography and sound match that of the regular episodes. The story mostly follows minor characters who will become more important as things get going during the season.

  • David Eick’s Video Blogs - (15:38 total, Non-anamorphic) – Five video blogs from David Eick are included on this disc. Some are from the Sci-Fi website and some have not been seen before this release. I will indicate the new blogs in italics. The full list of blogs on this disc is “Testimonials”, “Who Dies?”, “Prosthetics”, “Lucy and David”, and “Introducing Bulldog”. There’s a lot of jokey material in the blogs, but there’s also some interesting material, including a look at the makeup work done on Jamie Bamber to make him appear to have gained a lot of weight for the early episodes.



    Hero, with deleted scenes (5:38, Non-anamorphic), podcast commentary and an additional commentary with David Eick (who wrote the episode)

    Unfinished Business (aired version), with podcast commentary by Ron Moore and cast members Grace Park and Tahmoh Penikett. (The disc holder says “Pnikett”!)

    Unfinished Business (uncut version), with new commentary by Ron Moore
    (The longer version contains 25 minutes of deleted material that had to be cut for the aired version)

    The disc also contains:

  • David Eick’s Video Blogs - (20:53 total, Non-anamorphic) – Six video blogs from David Eick are included on this disc. I will indicate the one new blog with italics. The full list of blogs on this disc is “Characters”, “Adama on Adama”, “Episode 6 Read Through”, “On the Road”, “Steve McNutt Gets a Video Blog” and “The Soldier’s Code: Leave No Man Behind”. Three of the blogs here focus on the mid-season cliffhanger and the location shooting in Kamloops.



    The Passage, with deleted scenes (6:13, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    The Eye of Jupiter, with deleted scenes (2:55, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    Rapture, with deleted scenes (2:59, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    Taking a Break from All Your Worries, with deleted scenes (3:53, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary



    The Woman King, with deleted scenes (2:18, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    A Day in the Life, with deleted scenes (1:33, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    Dirty Hands, with deleted scenes (2:44, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary

    Maelstrom, with deleted scenes (8:44, Non-anamorphic) and podcast commentary



    The Son Also Rises, with deleted scenes (2:19, Non-anamorphic), podcast commentary, and a commentary with Mark Sheppard and writer Michael Angeli

    Crossroads, pt 1, with deleted scenes (2:33, Non-anamorphic), podcast commentary, and a commentary with Mark Sheppard

    Crossroads, pt 2, with deleted scenes (3:26, Non-anamorphic), podcast commentary, and a commentary with Mark Sheppard. (THE DELETED SCENES INCLUDE AN ALTERNATE ENDING TO THE SEASON, WHICH IS INTERESTING ALTHOUGH IT IS NOT AS EFFECTIVE AS THE ONE THEY ACTUALLY USED)

  • David Eick’s Video Blogs (39:39 total, Non-anamorphic) – The final eleven of Eick’s blogs for Season Three are included here. I have indicated the two blogs new to viewers with italics. The full list of blogs is “Takin’ A Break From All Your Worries”, “On the Road pt 2”, “Some Guy Named Colin”, “Building a Better Show”, “Katee’s Scrapbook”, “Shooting”, “Mr. Eddie, If You Please”, “Oceans in the Desert”, “David Who?”, “Out of Control” and “Last Episode Blues”. There is some irony here in that the unaired blogs contain a lot of comments intended to promote the episodes, but are only being seen more than a year after those shows have been on people’s televisions.

    Subtitles are available in English and Spanish for the episodes and for the special features. Standard chapter menus are included for quick reference. The webisodes and the video blogs may be played individually or through a “PLAY ALL” button.

    IN THE END...

    Battlestar Galactica: Season Three continues and expands the good work already done by this series. For those unfamiliar with the show, it may be confusing to start with this set. But for those already initiated, this should be an interesting and at times exhilarating ride. This is a no-brainer purchase for fans of the show, and a great way to whet the appetite for the upcoming fourth season, now only three weeks away.

    Kevin Koster
    March 16 2008.

  • [PG]119237601[/PG]

    #2 of 19 OFFLINE   Shawn.F


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    Posted March 17 2008 - 12:01 AM

    Three weeks...all I can say is it's about FRAAKIN' TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Posted Image

    #3 of 19 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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    Posted March 17 2008 - 01:24 AM

    I'm definitely picking this one up tomorrow....been waiting far too long to watch this. Can't wait to have the set in my hands. Posted Image
    Recently watched- The Masque Of The Red Death(1964), Sabotage(2014), Twin Peaks: Season 1, The Pit and The Pendulum(1961), Beware The Batman: Shadows Of Gotham, Scream and Scream Again, Arrow: Season 3, The Return Of Count Yorga, Count Yorga,Vampire, John Carpenter's Vampires, Burn Notice: Season 7, V For Vendetta, Halloween: Resurrection

    Currently watching- Planet Earth, True Blood: Season 3, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, Tales From The Crypt: Season 2, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1, Game Of Thrones: Season 2, Heroes: Season 2, The Pacific, Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection, Beware The Batman: Dark Justice, Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery, Scarecrow & Mrs. King: Season 2
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    #4 of 19 OFFLINE   Jason_V



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    Posted March 17 2008 - 01:57 AM

    I wish I could justify picking this up, but I just can't. Sounds like a great release, but I have to wait for BSG in BD. I'll probably be kicking myself next week, though...

    #5 of 19 OFFLINE   Ian C

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    Posted March 17 2008 - 05:03 AM

    I just recently started watching BSG. I avoided it for a long time...thinking it would be similar to the cheesy original. I'm glad I finally was convinced to watch it, because it's a truly fantastic show. I watched the entire first season via Netflix, but with Best Buy's deal currently running (all four sets for $120) I've decided to just pick it up. Glad to hear the quality doesn't drop. Posted Image

    I debated waiting for a Blu-Ray release, but figured it would be a lot more costly than what I'm about to pay for the regular DVDs. Plus, the lower resolution doesn't seem to detract too much from the dark and gritty feel to the show. Of course, I have yet to watch it in HD...so I might just not know what I'm missing.

    #6 of 19 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic


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    Posted March 17 2008 - 05:56 AM

    Having watched the series as it re-airs each episode on HD NET channels after its initial Sci-Fi channel run, it's very tough to go back to watching it non-HD. And I still think Universal will have the whole show out on Blu-ray next year. It's worth holding out for, or spending more for. That brings up the idea of a possible new thread. For those of us watching newer shows in HD (Lost, Heroes, etc.), how can you ever go back and buy non-HD versions of these shows on regular DVD? It's fine with older shows because they (for the most part) look better than we ever saw them when they originally aired. But in today's market, you don't want to go backward image-wise watching the DVD. It's a costly dilemma.

    #7 of 19 OFFLINE   TravisR


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    Posted March 17 2008 - 05:57 AM

    I don't really have a problem with it. If I like the show, I'll buy the best that's available. It'd be nice if that was a Blu Ray release but if it's just the DVD then so be it. BSG is a rare time when I came to the party real late so in this case, I am just going to wait for the BRs. If I have a burning desire to rewatch the show before that happens, I'll rent the discs.

    #8 of 19 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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    Posted March 17 2008 - 06:46 AM

    I watched Season 1 on HD-DVD and recently completed Season 2 on a friend's loaner on DVD. For me, the storyline was simply too compelling to wait for an eventual HD release; which means that I will be purchasing Season 3 on DVD tomorrow. While I wish there was an HD release pending, I believe that it will be a long time before Season 2 and later episodes are available on Bd. (I suspect that Season 1 will be re-released on Bd before later episodes ever hit Bd.) Ian, the HD-DVD release is substantially better than the DVD release of Season 1; which makes the wait for later seasons in HD even more painful. - Walter.
    Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

    #9 of 19 OFFLINE   Ian C

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    Posted March 17 2008 - 07:06 AM

    Yeah...I noticed season 1 wasn't too great in the video department, but I just started season 2 this weekend and have noticed a substantial improvement, video-wise.

    As far as the eventual HD release, I figure if there's an uber boxset with the complete series in special packaging down the road, I'll probably go for it. In the meantime, I picked up season 1 and season 2.0 yesterday, and am about to start rewatching season 1 with my son while concurrently going through 2.0 on my own (already watched half of it yesterday Posted Image ). I plan to pick up seasons 2.5 and 3 this weekend...assuming I don't get through 2.0 before then. Posted Image

    This is the first thing I've seen in a while that I'm actually eager to go ahead and rewatch it...so I figure the SD releases will certainly get their use. If ever I pick up the HD release, I'll just pass down the SD releases to my little brother.

    #10 of 19 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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    Posted March 17 2008 - 08:58 AM

    it broke my heart when I had to send back the hd dvd of s1 to amazon...but there were too many qc issues for them to keep sending me replacement sets. But after seeing the show in hd I just can't be truly satisfied with owning less. I've got the first 5 discs coming in from Netflix. I can't wait to finally see this season, but the wait to own the content on HD is just excrutiating.BTW, I was amazed and delighted at how rewatchable S1 was...just a scant 6 months after I first saw it. Couldn't watch it fast enough...just like the first time!

    #11 of 19 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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    Posted March 18 2008 - 03:30 AM

    Watch it on a Good Upconverting DVD or HD player and you won't be dissapointed in the SD Version.
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    #12 of 19 OFFLINE   Aragorn the Elfstone

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    Posted March 18 2008 - 08:59 AM

    Personally, I'm happy to not be in the HD-only crowd. I love the way my movies & shows look upconverted, so I'll be picking this up along with Season 2.5 at Best Buy as soon as I can get there (hopefully tomorrow).

    I'm really looking forward to watching the the show straight through (all 3 seasons! Posted Image ) in prep for Season 4. I love this show. Posted Image

    #13 of 19 OFFLINE   Harry-N



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    Posted March 18 2008 - 09:36 AM

    Thanks for the review, Kevin. I've been waiting a long time for this set. We watched Season 2.5 sometime last year - it seems like forever. I hope I can remember where the story left off! I picked up the DVD today at the local Target store. There was just one set left - they were selling it at the "standard" $39.99. Now I just need the time to watch it. I fear that regular television will be getting in the way as the post-strike episodes begin showing up, so I may have to wait even longer, like til this summer to get back to BG. Harry
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    #14 of 19 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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    Posted March 18 2008 - 11:46 PM

    Be sure to watch the Webisodes they fill in the start of Season 3 nicely. I watched the 1st two shows last night on the PS3 and Upconverted these disks look very nice.
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    #15 of 19 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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    Posted March 18 2008 - 11:48 PM

    You'll burn thru them rather quickly once you start them, especially the ist half of S3
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    #16 of 19 OFFLINE   dana martin

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    Posted March 19 2008 - 01:15 AM

    Damn this is a really good release so far, and yes I do watch it up converted, my only beef with this release, is that the webisodes are not anamorphic enhanced, also personally I would have thought it better if they would have taken the markers out, or given the option to play with out them, and put them on the first disc, and made it into and extended cut of the first episode. Just would have worked better. And for those who are thinking do I get this or not, let’s say that the bucket drop alone is worth it!
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    #17 of 19 OFFLINE   Don3996



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    Posted March 19 2008 - 02:18 AM

    Agreed this is a very nice release, watched the Ron Moore cut of Unfinished business last night and really enjoyed the added footage and felt it made the episode even stronger than it already was.

    #18 of 19 OFFLINE   joshEH



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    Posted March 26 2008 - 04:05 PM

    Now that you mention it, originally the plan was for "The Resistance" webisodes to have been edited together with additional extended content into one single installment, and placed as "Episode Zero" on the Disc 1 playlist. This ultimately never happened, but it would've been better than sticking them all the way over on Disc 2 (still a great set, though, otherwise).

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    #19 of 19 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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    Posted March 27 2008 - 04:44 PM

    finished the set last night. I was initially a little disappointed at the high ratio of mystical mumbo jumbo to nuts and bolts plot points this season...but it finished strong and the show was still never less than fully entertaining - when not being brilliant-again. I didn't get the chance to check out many of the special features, but what I did looked interesting. Hopefully the sets will be ported in full to Bd in 2009. Video quality seemed noisier this season than I remember with 2, but I could be wrong. For all the complaints the HD DVD of S1 got, I thought it contained some of the most beautiful HD imagery I've ever seen. Now the long wait to see S4 on disc. I just can't watch material like this with weeks between eps and distracting station bugs.

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