The Third Season
For those who are not familiar with 7th Heaven it is a melodrama that revolves around the Camden family. Each episode takes a look into their life as the characters struggle to right some wrong and at the same time, learn a few valuable lessons. The main characters include Reverend Eric (Stephen Collins), Annie (Catherine Hicks), Matt (Barry Watson), Mary (Jessica Biel), Lucy (Beverley Mitchell), Simon (David Gallagher), and Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman). Despite that one of the main characters is a minister, the series isn't about religion but rather the trials that the family members go through and their individual quests to right wrongs. For more details about the show, please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one and season two.
In season three, the Camden family finds themselves in the midst of a lot of drama. The episode's content ranges from teenage sex and pregnancy to drinking and alcohol abuse to over-the-counter drug abuse to lying to war veterans and the homeless to school problems to kid and guns. And it all adds up to a bunch of overly dramatic episodes that feel much like the earlier seasons. Bottom line, if you enjoy 7th Heaven, then the season three set is a nice addition to the series with some big stories dealing with the family.
One of the biggest changes this season is Annie's pregnancy. In the season three premiere episode "It Takes Two, Baby", the family learns that Annie is carrying twins. The pregnancy is an issue throughout the season, up until the birth of the twins, and even in a few episodes having the new kids around the house and how everyone's responsibility changes. In the very early episodes, Annie's pregnancy adds a fun dynamic and tidbits of humor, as her hormones get the best of her. Annie also finds herself working alongside a small group of pregnant teenagers in "Let's Talk About Sex".
Another change this season is Matt going to college. In the season premiere episode, he attempts to move out on his own, which proves to be a daunting task. He moves in with three girls and his appeal to the opposite sex gets him kicked out when all three make moves on him. Matt also finds himself in the midst of a serious alcohol poisoning story in "Drunk Like Me" when his friend almost dies from drinking too much at a fraternity initiation party. Matt also makes a bonehead move and tries to kiss one of his professors. Opps! But the stories about Matt aren't all about college. In "All That Jazz", his ex-girlfriend Heather comes back into his life to tell him she is engaged. The story is revisited in the two-part season finale "There Goes The Bride".
Lucy's life changes on a couple different levels. Her new best friend Nicole has a problem. In "Cutter", everyone finds out she is a cutter, a person who uncontrollably inflicts pain on herself. It is a traumatic episode for Lucy as she loses her best friend. Another change for Lucy is her new boyfriend Jordan. He is an older guy in Mary's class, and he gives the Camden's a scare dealing with teenage sex in "Let's Talk About Sex". Lucy's ex-boyfriend Jimmy Moon comes back into the picture in "Paranoia" and Eric suspects he is using drugs.
Little Simon finds himself in a lot of drama this season. In "The Legacy", he sees his science teacher shove the father of one of his friends. The teacher is suspended for his actions, but Simon knows why it happened. He is scared to come forward about it. Simon also finds himself with a new girlfriend named Deena. She is a nice girl, who is not without her own drama. In "Johnny Get Your Gun", perhaps the most dramatic story of the season, Deena's ex-boyfriend threatens to shoot Simon with a gun. "Nobody Knows..." adds to their drama when it is revealed Deena used to have cancer.
Mary scares the family on more than one occasion. In "...And A Nice Chianti", Mary gets her learners permit. Rather than face Mary behind the wheel of a car, Simon and Lucy take the bus to school, and they find life is very different. Later in "Nobody Knows...", Mary gets her license due to a technicality and feels very guilty about it. Some other stories involving Mary include one of Mary's friends having a heart attack after using over-the-counter energy pills, Mary sneaking around with boys, and other such things.
Young miss Ruthie does not really get into too much drama, as she is a young kid still. But on occasion she finds herself in the middle of her own issues. With the twins on the way, she begins to worry she won't receive any attention or love from the family. And when the twins arrive, it only gets worse. She also shows Simon what it is like to be a babysitter, sympathizes with her pregnant mother, calls a psychic, and other such things.
In the middle of it all is Eric. The good Reverend Camden finds himself going through one ordeal after the other, trying to help people and maintain a balance at home. Some of the big stories he finds himself in include defending a janitor at Simon's school who claims to hear the voice of God, reuniting with his rock 'n' roll buddies and the lifestyle he could have had, helping pregnant teenagers, dealing with his pregnant wife (for the sixth time!), counseling troubled couples, his alcoholic sister Julie, and more.
Overall, the season three content feels much like the first two seasons. The stories are generally episodic with the cast getting into one thing or another that typically has a theme, e.g., everyone deals with teenage pregnancy and sex or drug abuse. The end result is overly dramatic storylines with tidbits of humor. In short, if you have enjoyed past seasons, then you will enjoy season three. My impression about season three were much like my thoughts about season two. I enjoyed the episodes enjoy that I had a hard time putting them down, but I can't imagine wanting to watch them over and over again.
1. It Takes Two, Baby: Annie announces she's expecting twins, but it's Ruthie who gets morning sickness. Meanwhile, Matt moves in with three girls, while Mary and Lucy put their faith in "The Rules".
2. Drunk Like Me: Matt's friend at college goes through an initiation that involves too much alcohol. The family restores a car as a gift to Matt, but Simon wants no part of it. And a divorcee flirts with Eric.
3. Cutters: Mary discovers a horrible secret about Lucy's new friend. Ruthie fails her math test in order to get attention from her mother, so Simon offers to pay her to pass.
4. The Legacy: After his teacher is suspended, Simon feels responsible and gets his father to help. Meanwhile, Matt gets the wrong idea from his attractive professor, and Mary cuts class for the first time.
5. ...And A Nice Chianti: Eric helps a woman find the donor recipients of her son's organs. And while Simon and Lucy find adventures on the school bus, Matt gets arrested while helping a girl with her car.
6. And The Home Of The Brave: Annie befriends a homeless man...who ends up coking at her father's wedding reception! Matt and Mary take a road trip that proves endless. And Ruthie reunites with an imaginary friend.
7. Johnny Get Your Gun: Simon is threatened by his girlfriend's ex, but it's Eric who ends up the target. Mary becomes interested in a boy who Matt says is trouble.
8. No Sex, Some Drugs And A Little Rock 'n' Roll: While Eric's high school rock band pays a visit, the Camdens are forced to face their various addictions. Mary and Matt's interest in an herbal energy drug worries their father.
9. Let's Talk About Sex: While Eric and Annie counsel two pregnant girls from prenatal class, Lucy considers having sex. Meanwhile, older sister Mary sneaks away to a co-ed sleepover.
10. Here Comes Santa Claus: As Eric and Annie get creative with their gift-giving, Lucy receives the wrong present from her boyfriend. Mary meets an attractive man at the soup kitchen and invites him home for Christmas.
11. Nobody Knows...: Simon learns that his girlfriend Deena once had leukemia, so Ruthie helps by consulting a psychic. Mary passes her driving test, but cries in front of the instructor. And aunt Julie is back in town.
12. All That Jazz: Annie and Eric realize that Dr. Hastings, the doctor who nearly killed Matt during childbirth, may deliver their twins. Matt's ex-girlfriend Heather announces she's engaged.
13. The Tribes That Bind: Matt and Eric witness racism at a local restaurant. The church ladies throw a baby shower that gets out of hand. And the battle lines are drawn between Ruthie and her nemesis.
14. In Praise Of Women: While in labor with the twins, Annie asks for help from an unlikely source. At the hospital, Mat is nervous about donating blood. And Happy the dog has a few friends over.
15. It Happened One Night: Because Annie and Eric have their hands full with the twins, Ruthie starts to feel neglected. Lucy has to cover for Mary, who is out with an old boyfriend. Matt reluctantly starts his new delivery job.
16. Paranoia: Lucy's ex-boyfriend may be involved with drugs, so her parents forbid her to see him. And Eric is afraid the deacons at church are conspiring to have him fired.
17. Sometimes That's Just The Way It Is: As Eric consuls a divorcing couple, Simon tries to improve his luck. Meanwhile, Matt joins the Army in order to help pay for college. And Mary and Lucy rebel, and later regret it.
18. We The People: When an extramarital affair involving the president of Matt's university is exposed, the Camdens are torn about whether to get involved. Simon and Ruthie get unexpected help on their paper route.
19. The Voice: A janitor from school may be forced to resign after claiming to hear voices from God. Annie is desperate for a night away from home. And no one believes Ruthie when she says she saw a chimp.
20. All Dogs Go To Heaven: Two parishioners ask Eric to help them put a beloved pet to sleep. Simon's dinner date is chaperoned by Lucy, who gets a date of her own. And Matt catches Mary making out...in a police car!
21. There Goes The Bride (Part 1): Eric and Annie worry about Matt's reaction to Heather's wedding. As Aunt Julie secretly dates Dr. Hastings, Lucy finds herself in a love triangle.
22. There Goes The Bride (Part 2): After disrupting Heather's wedding, Matt must now face current girlfriend Shana. Eric counsels his newly-married sister. And Simon is caught kissing in the bedroom.
The packaging for the third season of 7th Heaven is not common to the first two releases. This season contains six DVDs that are stored in a single DVD case. The DVD case is a special case that can hold six DVDs! It is pretty slick they can fit six discs into a normal sized case, but also disappointing at the same time because the packaging is dramatically different than the first two seasons. It's going to look weird on your shelf.
The video is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The video quality is pretty good and offers a fairly clean picture. There is a grain and minor compression artifacts. However, there is nothing that should interfere with your viewing experience.
The audio in this release is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The audio track is mainly dialogue driven and sounds good. There is very little distinction between left and right channels. This release is support closed captioning.
Please note the box cover claims "some music has been changed for this home entertainment version".
There are no extras provided with this release.
7th Heaven is the kind of show you either love or hate. The series takes a very melodramatic approach with family-oriented content. Its storylines tend to offer morals and promote good, wholesome family values. The content, being melodramatic, can get over-the-top and fluffy. However, at the same time, it is enjoyable. The bottom line, if you enjoy family-oriented dramas, then 7th Heaven is worth your time. I give this set a Rent It recommendation only because I do not imagine watching the episodes over and over again.