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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
Supernatural: The Complete Third Season (2007-2008)

"Just listen to me for a second! Last time Lilith snapped her fingers and put thirty demons on our ass. And all we've got is one little knife? Like you said, we go in smart or we don't go in at all!"
- Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: September 02, 2008

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
Other Stars: Kate Cassidy, Lauren Cohan, Jim Beaver, Sterling K. Brown, Jon Van Ness, Ellen Geer, Mercedes McNab, Matthew Humphreys, Ridge Canipe, Colin Ford, Elizabeth Marleau, Richard Speight Jr., Charles Malik Whitfield, Peter DeLuise, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Billy Drago
Director: Kim Manners, Philip Sgriccia, Robert Singer, Charles Beeson, Mike Rohl, Cliff Bole, J. Miller Tobin, Steve Boyum

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (horror violence)
Run Time: 10h:51m:00s
Release Date: September 02, 2008
UPC: 883929019755
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-B+A- B

DVD Review

Supernatural—now approaching the start of its fourth season in 2008—has beaten the odds by proving it can easily carry the weight of weekly doses of monsters and demons, all the while building on a principle mythology that continues to get deeper and darker.

And be all sorts of grisly fun, too.

Season three expands on the saga of the two hunky Winchester brothers: Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), who are continuing on the family business of demon-hunting, in the tradition of their father John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whose apparent fate was meted out over the first two seasons. Sam has the logical mind, where Dean is the brash one, and both do more than fair share of roaming the country and battling all sorts off hellish evil with a cache of weapons stored in the trunk of their of hot rod 1967 black Impala.

This five-disc set of the strike-shortened 16 episode season three finds the Winchesters struggling to deal with the consequences of the fateful deal struck in the season two cliffhanger, and as the story arc plays out things get progressively bleaker. That's a nice change from lesser episodic television writing that might opt to quickly wrap up a storyline before moving into a new direction, but creator/writer Eric Kripke continues to build on an expanding main theme, thereby pushing Supernatural down a progressively dark path. And even with only 16 installments to work with, the resolution of the finale No Rest For The Wicked (directed by X-Files vet Kim Manners) is appropriately tragic, and sets up what promises to be a maddeningly adventurous season four.

There's an attempt to enhance the eye candy levels by introducing a couple of attractive female secondary characters, typically a feat that could pull up lame. Here, however, we're given a pair of viable additions that show up periodically to either help or hinder the Winchesters, sometimes at the same time: Ruby (Kate Cassidy), a deadly blonde with a special knife who seems to know quite about demons herself (and she's not a hunter), as well as the mysterious Bela (Lauren Cohan), an equally dangerous sell-it-to-the-highest-bidder collector of demon-related antiquities. The characters of Ruby and Bela provide a pleasant balance of mistrust and sexual tension for the Winchesters, and both figure prominently as the season concludes.

Prattling on about eps featuring the diversity of the Anti Claus, dry drownings or a demon-friendly suburban book club won't really capture the whipsmart Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Whedon-styled cool that Supernatural handily carries on its shoulders. All of the supernatural elements aside for a quick second, the writing has really strengthened over some of the sloppier season one entries, turning this into a worthy successor to Sunnydale or the exploits of Mulder and Scully. Sam and Dean are now neck-deep in the demon world—moreso than ever before—and the series has managed to always. move forward. This isn't a show to shy away from the grisly, and anytime a graphic primetime decapitation can take place, I'm in my zone.

While most episodes feature plenty of wisecracks and pop-culture references amidst the mayhem, it is not all perpetually creepy in season three. Episode thirteen's Ghostfacers! is one of the standouts in this block, a sharply humorous take on a mock reality series hosted by a group of inept ghosthunters. Written by Ben Edlund (Firefly, Angel, The Tick), Ghostfacers! dabbles in evil spirits and an unspoken love; naturally the Winchesters eventually do show up as accidental guests, and even as the storyline gets unexpectedly violent, it sports a thick comedic tone throughout. It's a definite shift from the usual Supernatural formula, but it's a neat standalone, and one of highpoints of this set.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love this show.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: All 16 episodes are presented in their original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen broadcast aspect ratio. Exceptionally solid, debris-free transfers all the way around, and for a series that so heavily features night scenes it only suffers from minimal grain during the darkest sequences. Colors aren't overthetop vivid, though fleshtones generally appear warm and natural.

Solid.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Portugueseyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The single English-language audio track is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, and it does wonders to boost the spooky entertainment quotient of each episode. It's a relatively big, swirly mix, utilizing the rear channels frequently, as well as regular .LFE kicks (especially effective during score stingers). Directional panning upfront also helps widen the presentation. Voice clarity is never a concern across the set.

Excellent.

A Portuguese 2.0 surround dub is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 96 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai with remote access
2 Documentaries
9 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Four fold case
Picture Disc
5 Discs
5-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Gone are the mini-handful of episode commentaries found on earlier season sets, and in its place are a set of seven Closer Look segments, each focusing a production/writing aspect of a particular episode. The longest runs just over four minutes and the shortest just over two, so these are clearly cursory overviews at best. Spread across the set, the segments are Supernatural: The Magnificent Seven with Director Kim Manners (02m:19s), Supernatural: The Kids Are Alright with Creator/Executive Producer Eric Kripke (03m:06s), Supernatural: Bad Day At Black Rock with Writer Ben Edlund (02m:41s), Supernatural: Red Sky At Morning with VFX Supervisor Ivan Hayden (a disc scratch prevented me from being able to view this one), Supernatural: A Very Supernatural Christmas with Creator/Executive Producer Eric Kripke (03m:04s), Supernatural: Dream A Little Dream Of Me with Creator/Executive Producer Eric Kripke (04m:04s) and Supernatural: Jus In Bello with Writer Sera Gamble (03m:22s).

Disc five contains three additional featurettes, the meatiest being From Legends To Reality: Supernatural Effects (23m:06s). Here we learn the intertwined process of scriptwriting and how it correlates to the required visual effects needed for each episode. A brief behind-the-scenes look at Dean's durable vehicle is covered in Impala Featurette (05m:18s), while an overlong Gag Reel (07m:55s) is also provided.

In a more light-hearted vein is disc four's Ghostfacers! Confessionals (16m:02s), in which the characters from the darkly comic Ghostfacers! ep are featured in what is supposed to be the pilot of their series. Funny stuff, and a nice compliment to the episode itself.

The five-disc season three set has a slipcover, which houses a four-fold case. Inner artwork features episode titles, airdates, plot summaries and writer/director credits.Also inside are a couple of inserts, one with a download code for an authorized digital copy of season three from ITunes and the other touting Supernatural merchandise. Each episode is cut into 6 chapters, and has subtitle options in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese or Thai. Optional "previously on" episode recaps are included as well.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

What started for me as a don't-tell-anyone-about-my-guilty-pleasure during season one has quickly morphed onto my own short list of "must see" TV. Say it proud, baby. Even with a strike-shortened season, the main story arc carryover from season two builds neatly to a cinema-worthy final shot that should make season four a real dark joy. Solid video transfers and an above-bar 5.1 audio mix just make it all the more fun to watch.

Ideally, newcomers should start with season one for the full flavor (as there are callbacks throughout the series).

Highly recommended.

 


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