follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Anchor Bay Entertainment presents
The Greatest American Hero: Season Three (1983)

"Wait a minute, Ralph, nobody's too old for a stag party."
- Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: August 02, 2005

Stars: William Katt, Robert Culp, Connie Sellecca
Other Stars: David Paymer, Bob Saget, Rick Dees, June Lockhart, Tawny Little, Andre the Giant
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 10h:20m:00s
Release Date: August 02, 2005
UPC: 013131333299
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

After a strong debut season, and a solid sophomore effort, The Greatest American Hero would take his final bow following the third batch of episodes. By Season Three, the show was having some ratings problems and had been moved to ABC's Friday night schedule, where it went directly against the mega-hit show, Knight Rider. This basically served as a death sentence for our favorite bumbling superhero, especially since this season debuted late, giving it no chance at building any momentum against David Hasselhoff and his talking car.

With the ratings continuing to plummet, the show was pulled from the schedule after four episodes. It did return in January of the next year (1983), and on Thursdays this time. Unfortunately, this change didn't help matters, as, after five more shows, The Greatest American Hero was pulled from ABC yet again. So, rabid fans were left with a show that knew was on the way out, and only about two-thirds of its final season at their disposal. Four more episodes had been shot, and never aired on ABC. They were eventually shown in syndication, but it was cruel to put fans through that, especially young fans like me (I was 7 at the time) who didn't really know what was going on aside from the disappearance of my favorite TV superhero.

The Greatest American Hero: Season Three attempts to remedy the splitting up of the show's last season by including all 13 episodes in this four-disc set. The general storyline continues where it left off in the second season, with very little changes, aside from some vastly improved special effects, especially when it comes to the flying scenes. An early season entry, Divorce Venusian Style, is one of the more exciting shows of the entire season, cramming quite a bit of adventure and plot development into such a brief running time. Ralph is wounded when he saves Bill without the protection of the suit, but the aliens return to help their human buddies out. What takes this to the next level is the appearance of a Nazi group who take the suit from Ralph, with nothing but evil intentions for it, and the first physical appearance of the aliens. Yes, we actually get to see what one of these guys looks like after all this time.

By now, William Katt and Robert Culp have clearly settled into their respective roles (both really hit their stride near the middle of the second season, actually), and have never been better. Culp's Bill character is still playing the straight man to Katt's Ralph, but Culp does allow Bill's sense of humor to peek through quite a bit more during this season. Connie Sellecca also broadens her acting range in this season, as her character of Pam continues to struggle with the suit, especially when Ralph is in it. The whole "girlfriend of a superhero" character has been done many times before, but Sellecca handles it with a great deal of charm, and comes across as realistic as possible for such an unrealistic situation.

The dynamics of Pam and Ralph's relationship really take off in This Is the One the Suit Was Meant For. With Pam doubting how much more of Ralph and the suit she can take, Bill sends the couple on vacation to a tropical island, which just happens to be the same place that a top secret jet plane disappeared. It's great to see these two argue about their future, while Ralph tries to find time to play hero. This installment works perfectly with the next episode, The Newlywed Game, which, among other events, is the show where Pam and Ralph are married. Katt does an excellent job continuing to juggle his time between the most important day of his life and a secret mission to the North Pole that none other than the President has sent him on.

The order that this season's are presented in over these four DVDs is quite different from the order that they were shown in on ABC. The first one to air on ABC that year was Divorce Venusian Style, while the first show on Disc 1 is The Price Is Right. Fortunately, the two episodes focusing on Pam and Ralph's marriage are available one after the other on Disc 3 and the final two shows are in that order on Disc 4, but it really doesn't make any sense as to why Anchor Bay chose to put these in the seemingly random order that they are in.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The video quality of these episodes is just as impressive, if not more so than that of the previous DVD releases of The Greatest American Hero. The colors are incredibly bright and vivid, with the wonderful reds of Ralph's suit looking spectacular, and never bleeding. Images are much more detailed than one would expect from such an old TV show, and shadow and contrast levels are definitely a big help. There's still some grain and dirt, but the complete lack of these print flaws would have been a complete shock.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Once again, we have Dolby Digital 2.0 audio transfers that are impressive, but lack the dynamic range that today's TV shows feature. Everything stays up front, and the subwoofer barely makes a whimper, but the dialogue is never difficult to understand regardless of the other sound effects that are in the mix. The show's wonderful theme song sounds excellent, making fans want to re-watch these episodes if only to hear that.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 45 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Silk Stalkings: The Complete First Season, 21 Jump Street: The Complete First Season, The Commish: The Complete First Season, Hunter: The Complete First Season, Renegade: Season One
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Aside from some previews for other Anchor Bay releases, sadly, there aren't any other extras with this season of The Greatest American Hero.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

When it comes to TV on DVD, usually the premiere season of a show has the least impressive set of discs, at least as far as supplemental content goes. That is definitely not the case with The Greatest American Hero: Season Three, as, even though this is a four-disc set with less episodes than the season two box, there are absolutely no extras at all. The first two season sets have decent extras collections, but there isn't a thing (aside from some previews) here. The audio and video is quite good, though, but the lack of extras harkens back to the same poor treatment that ABC gave this beloved show during its final moments on the air.


Back to top

Microsoft Store

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store