The Third Season
3rd Rock From the Sun is one of the richest and hilarious television comedies to air. The series first aired in 1996 and lasted for a total of six seasons. The show molds science fiction into a sitcom and the results are a blast. A team of aliens from Mars take on human form in Rutherford, Ohio and integrate themselves into the local populace. Their goal is to learn everything they can about humans in a couple of days. Of course, it turns out humans are much more complex than expected and the team of aliens decide to stay a while longer. The strongest aspect of this show is its cast. They are remarkable together. Within minutes of any episode, it is apparent how well they interact and play off of each other. The show's writing is also top notch and delivers one great joke after another. For more details about this series and its cast, please refer to my reviews of season one and season two.
In the two-part finale of season two, our favorite aliens experienced dreaming for the first time. Not quite understanding the commonplace of dreams, the Solomons were under the impression they were defective and needed to return to their home planet for repairs. Dick decided to stay on Earth because of his undying love of Mary. In the last minutes of season two Dick proposed to Mary and said goodbye to Sally, Harry, and Tommy, only to find out dreaming was a normal human thing. However by this time Sally, Harry, and Tommy had already departed.
Season three picks up with Dick engaged to Mary and lonely without his family. Dick's agony disappears and turns into fear when his family returns with the Big Giant Head's niece Janet (Roseanne Barr). Janet was sent to be his wife, and when Mary finds out about Janet it ruins their relationship. Sad for Dick, good for you. The end result is a comical mishap and a hilarious performance from Barr. At first she acts like the perfect housewife (funny because it seems completely out of character for her) and when she realizes she doesn't have to be Dick's wife, she turns into the Roseanne we know and love.
For the rest of the season, Dick tries hard to win back Mary's heart. This produces several funny side jokes with Dick making an utter ass of himself, as he never really seems to understand the importance of the situation. One specific episode in the earlier portion of the season is "Dick-In-Law" where Dick and Mary spend the weekend with Mary's parents and pretend everything is business as usual. Mary is afraid to tell her parents about her latest failed relationship. Dick gets this crazy notion that if he impresses Mary's parents, she'll have to take him back. Of course, things do not turn out as planned. "Moby Dick" is a fun episode, where Dick finds his clothes no longer fit. The loss of Mary makes him want to eat junk food. In "Tom, Dick And Mary" Dick finds out Mary is seeing another man named Tom. Oddly enough, Tom turns out to be Tommy. The season continues with plenty more fun with Dick and Mary working out the "kinks" in their relationship.
There are many more fun episodes dispersed throughout the season. "A Friend in Dick" is an awesome episode where Dick tries desperately to find a friend to join him for a night at the theater. There is this one scene where Dick inspires a group of strangers to tap dance. It's funny as hell. "Jailhouse Dick" is another episode worth a few laughs. In it, Dick bails a criminal from jail and takes him home in an effort to rehabilitate him. And as usual, Dick blows the situation way out of proportion.
One of the greatest episodes of this season is the two-part Super Bowl episode "36! 24! 36! Dick". In this episode aliens from Venus come to Earth with the intent to rob Earth of all material possessions. The aliens are beautiful women. Among the beautiful faces are Cindy Crawford and Angie Everhart. It is a truly hilarious and goofy episode. In "Pickles And Ice Cream" Sally visits the gynecologist and pretends she is pregnant for the attention from other women. The funny part about this episode is how Don, Mary, and Nina react. Also Harry's pet Pickles comes to Earth to visit. "Portrait Of Tommy As An Old Man" is another strong episode, where Tommy retires from the mission and finds himself living with people his age, senior citizens in a retirement home. How he easily he fits into their routine is simply comical.
In "Just Your Average Dick" and "Dick And The Other Guy", John Cleese guest stars as the great Dr. Liam Neesam, a visiting professor who is better than Dick at everything. Cleese gives a riveting performance as a nut who is even more bizarre than Dick. In the season finale "Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary" guest stars Phil Hartman in one of his last roles as Randy Vicki Dubcek's jealous ex-boyfriend. They end the season with Randy kidnapping Harry.
Overall season three of 3rd Rock From the Sun continues the fun tempo set in the first two seasons. The characters continue to give great performances together and they are funny as ever. The way they deliver dialogue and utilize physical comedy will leave you laughing over and over again.
1. Fun With Dick And Janet, Part 1
2. Fun With Dick And Janet, Part 2
3. Tricky Dick
5. Scaredy Dick
6. Moby Dick
7. Eleven Angry Men And One Dick
8. A Friend In Dick
9. Tom, Dick And Mary
10. Seven Deadly Clips
11. Jailhouse Dick
12. Dick On A Roll
13. The Great Dickdater
14. 36! 24! 36! Dick, Part 1
15. 36! 24! 36! Dick, Part 2
16. Pickles And Ice Cream
17. Auto Erodicka
18. Portrait Of Tommy As An Old Man
19. Stuck With Dick
20. My Daddy's Little Girl
21. The Physics Of Being Dick
22. Just Your Average Dick
23. Dick And The Other Guy
24. Sally And Don's First Kiss
25. When Aliens Camp
26. The Tooth Harry
27. Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary
This DVD box set comes with 4 discs in a standard cardboard foldout case. The outer cardboard shell has a pressure sensor that when activated plays a message with Dick's voice. Each disc comes with a play all command and also allows you to access the episodes individually. If you do access the episodes individually, you can read an episode synopsis and even watch an optional 32 second preview before playing the actual episode.
The video format is given in its original aspect ratio 1.33:1 full frame color. The overall quality is fairly good. There are some noticeable of compression artifacts and ghosting during heavy movement. In addition there is also a slight roughness in the picture as a result of edge enhancement. As for colors, the picture tends to represent them well. However darker tones tend to highlight the picture's imperfections. Overall, while not outstanding, the visual representation is still quite good.
The audio track is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The sound quality is good and like most TV on DVD releases, it is dialogue driven and incorporates a laugh track during the funnier moments. The laugh track does not interfere with the audibility of spoken dialogue. As for channel separation, there is very little distinction between left and right channels, but on occasion a sound effect will utilize it.
Unlike previous season sets, season three comes with four audio commentaries for episodes "Tricky Dick", "Dick On A Roll", "Dick And The Other Guy", and "Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary". The commentaries feature actor French Stewart and writers/producers Mike Schiff and Bill Martin. The content of the commentaries are similar to other TV on DVD releases. They discuss the show's background and related history, the specific episode, and they go on a few tangents. To my surprise the commentaries were not funny, but more informative. I was expecting Stewart to be constantly cracking jokes, but he did not. Instead the commentaries had a half-serious tone. While not great for laughs, they are worth sitting through to learn more about the show.
Next is "Bloopers (10:04)", which features some hilarious goofs during the season three filming. "Brand New French Stewart Interview (10:27)" features Stewart talking about his experiences on the show, his character, the other characters, etc. Stewart isn't outright funny during the interview, but it still proves to be worth watching. "Wild About Harry - Favorite Harry Moments (6:02)" is a compilation of various season three moments with Harry acting like a goof. "Interviews with the Cast: The Superest 2 Part Episode Ever! (4:49)" is a short featurette with comments from John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, and French discussing the Super Bowl episode and the show in general. The final item is "Season Three Highlights (9:18)", which features a montage of season three's funniest moments.
There is also a 16 page booklet with excerpts from 3rd Rock From the Sun - The Official Report on Earth by High Commander Dick Solomon and episode synopsis's, and trailers for Roseanne and Grounded For Life.
I love this show, I love this show, oh how I love this show. Season three of 3rd Rock From the Sun continues to deliver great comedy with several comical characters. While there isn't anything really new about this season over past seasons, it is still a lot of fun. If you enjoyed season one and/or two, then season three should be at the top of your list. This set is also nice because it includes a few episode commentaries that are worth sitting through. Highly recommended.