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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Beverly Hills 90210 - The Third Season
Beverly Hills 90210 - The Third Season
Paramount // Unrated // December 11, 2007
List Price: $54.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted January 1, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Third Season

Beverly Hills, 90210 first aired in 1990 and ran for ten seasons. It was a popular series that had a huge influence on pop culture in the 90s and made actors/actresses Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, David Austin Green, and Ian Ziering famous. The series is credited as a soap opera and it is filled to the brink with melodramatic content. The show's first two seasons were focused on teenage angst and the resulting drama. However, with season three the melodramatic content gets turned up a notch. There is more focus on soap opera content and it works quite well. For more details about this series, please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one and season two.

As previously mentioned, Beverly Hills, 90210's third season is a season of change. This season the show diverges from its teenage angst oriented format and includes more of the soapy melodrama surrounding the kids of Beverly Hills. Some of the soapy fun includes the Dylan-Walsh family relationship and various love triangles that include Dylan-Brenda-Kelly and Andrea-Brandon-Jay. There is also a continued focus on the teenage angst aspect, albeit not nearly as strong. For instance, the gang deals with their futures, SATs, and college. All in all, it is another drama-packed season with nonstop fun.

The biggest and soapiest developments this season surround Dylan McKay and the Walsh family. The renowned bad boy Dylan and Brenda reach new levels with their relationship. After Brenda drives her parents crazy with her continued "dating" of Dylan, she moves in with him. This action causes a mess in the Walsh Family. Jim also continues to clash with Dylan on other matters, as Jim is the executor of his trust. The Brenda-Dylan relationship also hits a low point when Brenda and Donna go to France to study aboard. They are given a great learning opportunity. Unfortunately for Brenda, Kelly stayed in Beverly Hills and gets close to Dylan. A sordid love affair involving the trio -- Brenda, Dylan, and Kelly -- follows and it surely is one of the spicier developments of the season. Also, while in Paris Brenda befriends Rick (Dean Cain) and has her own fling.

Romantic love affairs are not restricted to just those three, as there are a few other love triangles in the works. Notably, Brandon tries to connect with Andrea after learning about her new boyfriend Jay Thurman (Peter Krause). Jay is a successful journalist working for CNN. Unfortunately for Brandon, she has moved on. Donna and David are caught up in a little affair too. David had a fling with Nikki Witt (Dana Barron), who stirs the pot when she reveals to Donna how close she got to David. Nikki doesn't stop there, as she gets her eyes fixed on Brandon. Oh the drama.

As for the teenage angst, the Beverly Hills crew goes through their final year at West Beverly. They prepare to take the SATs and consider college, Brenda takes up smoking which her parents do not take a liking to, Brandon and Andrea become co-editors of the school paper (after some drama), Steve gets a copy of the school's master key which he uses with bad intentions, Brandon takes in a homeless man (trying to do a good deed) into the house for Thanksgiving, David works hard to graduate early in the class of 1993, and more. The season has plenty of more drama, which includes Dylan's father Jack and some explosive drama, Mel and Jackie splitting up and David caught in between, Steve managing David's music career, Brandon's gambling addiction, Kelly substance abuse problem, and more.

Overall, season three is another wild ride that diverges from the show's teenage angst format with more sordid soap opera quality drama. It works for the best and fans of the show will appreciate the nonstop drama and hours of fun. It is fun and enjoyable from start to finish.

Episode Guide

1. Misery Loves Company: Brenda defies her father and continues seeing Dylan; Andrea becomes Brandon's co-worker; Steve takes a job on a bet.
2. The Twins, The Trustee, and The Very Big Trip: Twins turn the tables on a thoughtless Steve; Jim plays hardball with Dylan; Kelly's loss is Brenda's gain.
3. Too Little, Too Late/Paris 75001: Dylan's father (Josh Taylor) asks him for a favor; Donna and Brenda get a less than dazzling welcome to the City of Light; Andrea is invited to Houston for the Republican National Convention.
4. Sex, Lies and Volleyball/Photo Fini: Kelly and Dylan team in volleyball, but Steve's partner (Alexandra Wilson) prefers another; David makes music with someone new (Dana Barron).
5. Shooting Star/American in Paris: Brenda feigns being French while falling for an American (Dean Cain) in Paris. Meanwhile, Brandon falls for a hard-luck story.
6. Castles in the Sand: Brandon sees little amusement in Brooke's social stereotyping.
7. A Song of Myself: David's summer fling is a transfer student; Andrea's not so hot on the Blaze's new faculty advisor; Brenda and Steve are "senior buddies" to new freshmen (Nicholle Tom, Cory Tyler); Kelly seeks to avoid lovebirds Dylan and Brenda.
8. The Back Story: Brenda discusses high-school life with a tabloid-TV show; Brandon sees too much of Nikki; an academic short cut tempts Steve.
9. Highwire: College pressures hit all but Kelly and Dylan, who agree college is not for everyone.
10. Home and Away: Brandon takes a stand after a football game is canceled because of violence at the opposing school.
11. Presumption of Innocence: Meyers is accused of sexual misconduct; surfing is hazardous to Dylan's health; Brandon takes to the dance floor.
12. Destiny Rides Again: Fate touches Brenda; tragedy strikes Andrea; comedienne Rosie O'Donnell gives Donna some advice; Dylan and Steve get bad news about their SAT scores.
13. Rebel With a Cause: Steve stays close to the computer-tampering investigation; Brenda sees Dylan with Kelly; Cindy meets Jim's new secretary (Paula Trickey).
14. Wild Horses: Nikki's ex (David Arquette) causes trouble for Brandon; Dylan finds an older woman (Alice Krige); Steve learns money doesn't buy everything.
15. The Kindness of Strangers: Dylan hosts his father for Thanksgiving; the Walshes host a homeless man (David Sherrill); Steve breaks his news to his mother.
16. It's a Totally Happening Life: Two angels (Bonnie Urseth, James Greene) look on as Andrea gets good news and bad; Kelly, Brenda and Dylan try to be "mature" about their friendship; disaster looms en route to a Christmas party for underprivileged kids.
17. The Game Is Chicken: Dylan cautions Steve and Brandon about putting their money on a hot rodder; Brenda and Kelly have a double date with Princeton men.
18. Midlife...Now What?: Cindy fears Jim's secretary (Paula Trickey) may trigger a midlife crisis in him; Dylan imagines futures with Kelly and Brenda; Brandon enjoys sports betting.
19. Back in the High Life Again: Dylan chooses between Brenda and Kelly, while his father (Josh Taylor) eyes his trust fund; David finds a home after his dad moves out.
20. Parental Guidance Recommended: Dylan's mom (Stephanie Beacham) doesn't trust her ex with her son's trust fund; a record company wants David, but not Steve; Andrea has an intimidating first look at Yale.
21. Dead End: Someone's watching Dylan's dad (Josh Taylor) as Jim releases the trust; finances force Kelly's mom to put her house up for sale; Brenda thrives in a self-defense class; Brandon's bets become bricks.
22. The Child Is Father to the Man: Dylan learns more about his father's parole and struggles with inner turmoil urging him back to old habits.
23. Duke's Bad Boy: David goes with his producer (Stephen Rowe) instead of his gut; Brandon bets with another bookie to pay off Duke (Billy Vera); Andrea tries to ease Dylan's distress.
24. Perfectly Perfect: The guests at Kelly's surprise birthday party get an even bigger surprise; Steve and Brandon compete on a game show.
25. Senior Poll: Kelly fears no one's looking beneath her surface; Brenda reconsiders her college choice; Steve shines at one of L.A.'s hippest venues.
26. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window: Kelly is a theft victim; Steve and Dylan pursue Burt Reynolds (appearing as himself) to help an apparent con victim (Cathy Podewell).
27. A Night to Remember: Brenda and Brandon are dateless for the prom, but David and Donna have big plans, which go awry.
28. Something in the Air: Brandon leads a protest after Donna is disciplined for her prom-night activities.
29-30. Commencement (Parts 1 & 2): The gang recalls memorable moments (in flashbacks) before graduation day, when Kelly gets a surprise; Dylan gets a windfall and a surprise visit from Iris (Stephanie Beacham); and Donna and David emcee the Senior Breakfast.

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is not great and ranges from poor to decent throughout the season episodes. Sometimes, the episodes look fine and other times they do not. In general, there are noticeable visual distortions and some problems with color representation. When the picture is at its worse (usually high motion) it features significant aliasing and a grainy/blocky image that looks like a video that has been compressed too much. I think the problem is a mixture of the video compression and a poor quality source transfer.

Audio:
The audio track included with this release is English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The sound quality is decent with dialogue consistently audible. It is an average TV on DVD audio track, dialogue driven and is pretty flat with little use of the stereo sound. Music is also very flat and bland. There are also subtitles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Extras:

  • An Audio commentary is included for the season finale "Commencement" with executive producer / writer Charles Rosin and writer Karen Rosin.
  • 7 Minutes in Heaven (7:05): is a montage of key moments from season three.
  • The World According to Nat (5:03): is a short interview featurette with clips from the show about the character Nat Bussichio. Actor Joe Tata talks about his initial experiences on the show, Nat's relationship with Brandon and other characters, what it was like working with the cast, and more.
  • Everything You Need to Know About Beverly Hills 90210 Season 3 (17:11): is another goofy season recap/rendition with Michael Colton and John Aboud. Similar to their last appearance (season two featurette) they provide a comical look at the key details of season three.

Final Thoughts:
During Beverly Hills, 90210's first two seasons, the show was heavy on the drama -- focusing on teenage angst with the Walsh twins adjusting to the rich and fabulous Beverly Hills lifestyle. In the show's third season, the tone changes to include more soap opera quality melodrama. While there is still the teenage angst aspect, it is the first step towards a platform more like Melrose Place. Nonetheless, the entertainment factor is still high and season three will not fail to engage, entice, or entertain.

Please note that the DVD covers claim "Music has been changed for this home entertainment version. Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions."

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