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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Smallville - The Complete Third Season
Smallville - The Complete Third Season
Warner Bros. // Unrated // November 16, 2004
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted November 17, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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THE EPISODES

Young Clark Kent begins to learn more about his destiny in Season Three of Smallville, perhaps the best show on television (at least when The Sopranos and 24 are on hiatus) that nobody's watching. While many fans consider Season Three the weakest of the bunch, I found that the shows flow nicely together in a back-to-back context – as opposed to watching them on a weekly basis. There's a nice arc in play here, and I enjoyed watching Season Three of Smallville on DVD a lot more than my memories of watching it on television in the 2003-2004 TV season.

Season Three begins three months after the cliffhanger that ended Season Two – with Clark under the influence of Red Kryptonite, which doesn't hurt him – but does bring out his darker side. Clark has left Smallville because he feels responsible for his mother's miscarriage at the end of Season Two, and the first two episodes - Exile and Phoenix - deal with Clark's coming to terms with what he has done and where he belongs.

Much like The X-Files and other sucessful science-fiction programs, Smallville has both "mythology" episodes and "stand-alone" shows, with the former moving along the overall story, and the latter tending to be more "fun" – generally focusing on someone in town who has a special ability or power that Clark has to deal with.

Season Three is also peppered with some great guest-starring roles for notable actors, including Rutger Hauer playing criminal mastermind Morgan Edge; Michael McKean (who happens to be the real-life husband of Smallville star Annette O'Toole) guest-starring as Perry White; and the return of Christopher Reeve as Dr. Swann in Legacy in what would sadly be Reeve's final appearance on the show.

Perhaps more than any previous season, there's a lot of context to the ongoing storyline in this third season, which may be why many fans (including some right here at DVD Talk) got so frustrated with some of the episodes. Because of the ongoing storyline involving Clark's biological father, Jor-El (voiced by Terrance Stamp) and his connection to some mysterious caves in Smallville, the chant of "Another Cave Show" and "No More Caves!" became a frequent one on forums here and elsewhere on the Net.

But all in all, this is a quite satisfying season of one of the more underrated (and under appreciated) series on TV. Smallville is easily the best incarnation of the Superman legend since Christopher Reeve's theatrical films, and any fan of The Man of Tomorrow will want to add this boxed set to their collection – assuming you've seen the first two seasons first, of course!

THE DVD

Video:
Each episode is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the quality looks great. Colors are just slightly over-saturated, but this is intentional and the way the show has always looked on TV – a way to give a more "comic book" feel to the program. Unlike the Season One DVD, where I saw a few pixelation and compression problems in the print, no such defects exist here, and fans should be quite happy with what they see.

Audio:
Each episode is presented in 2.0 Dolby sound, which is not only adequate, but sounds quite good. The audio is quite active and aggressive and this proves to be one of the better sounding 2.0 tracks I have heard for a television program.

Extras:
Included on the DVD are three Episode Commentaries for the shows Exile, Truth and Memoria. Sadly, star Tom Welling – who was part of two commentaries on the Season Two boxed set – does not appear on any of the commentaries this time around. The good news is that two stars that were absent last time out – Allison Mack (Chloe Sullivan) and John Glover (Lionel Luthor) – join director James Marshall for the Truth track. Star Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor), who was the best part of Season Two's commentary tracks, joins Executive Producers Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Greg Beeman and Ken Horton for the tracks for both Exile and Memoria.

Also spread across the DVDs are various Deleted Scenes for the episodes Exile, Slumber, Shattered, Velocity, Obsession, Resurrection, Crisis, Memoria, Talisman, and Forsaken. The makers of this set have wisely kept the deleted scenes on the disc with their respective episodes, rather than lump them all together on the final disc (a mistake I've seen more than a few TV show DVD releases do).

On Disc 5, viewers can check out Producing Smallville: The Heroes Behind The Camera, a 22-minute full-frame featurette that includes interview segments with both the cast and crew of Smallville.

Disc 6 includes the second volume (Vol. 1 is included on the Season Two boxed set) of The Chloe Chronicles, seven short segments that were created for the Smallville website and that star Allison Mack. It's in this section that you'll also get a look at the Interactive Comic Book that is advertised on the back box cover for this set – although it's only "interactive" in the sense that you can page through it using your remote, much in the same way you would view a photo gallery.

Finally, Disc 6 also contains a 4 ½ minute Gag Reel, which I'm happy to report is presented in anamorphic widescreen. Although it's the shortest bonus feature on this DVD, it's also the most fun – and fans will want to make sure to check it out.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Entertaining, well-written, well-acted and featuring some impressive special effects, television programs don't get much better than Smallville. While this may be the weakest season of the first three, it's still better than most seasons of any hour drama that is currently on the air. This one's an easy call: fly (don't walk!) to your local store or online retailer and pick a copy up.
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