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3rd Rock from the Sun: Season 6
The Sixth & Final 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. For more details about this series and its cast, please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, season five, and the best of release.
The sixth season features the final moments of 3rd Rock From the Sun as the series' last season. The season sees a few changes for the cast. Notably, Tommy goes to college and his role in the series is minimized in comparison to previous seasons. I wasn't too happy with this change, but the general dynamic of the show still worked fine. As for the stories, they focus on the cast continually blowing common situations out of proportion, the cast and their relationships, and even some out-the-ordinary episodes. The season ends with the aliens being recalled to their home world.
Season five begins with the episode "Les Liaisons Dickgereuses". It is a fun episode with Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) guest starring as Renata, Mary's rich sister. Mary has always lived in Renata's shadow and her latest endeavor is to build a library at Pembleton. Dick and Mary plot to get back at Renata by having Dick date and break her heart. Unfortunately, Dick finds himself overcome by Renata's money and power. This is a fun episode with Dick and Mary at their best--goofy, over-the-top, and funny as ever.
The two-part episode "Dick'll Take Manhattan" sees the cast going to a parallel reality, where they all have different lives in New York City. Dick is a trial lawyer, Harry is the president of television network NBC, Tommy is the freshest star on Saturday Night Live!, Sally is a columnist, Don is the mayor, Mary is a singer in a sleazy bar, and Nina is a judge. At first the cast believes they have found the perfect lives, but they soon find out that not everything is as good as it seems. It is a fun story to see Harry in a position of power and Tommy interacting with the SNL cast.
"B.D.O.C." is an all-around fun episode that marks the reason Tommy does not have as strong of a presence in the show this season. Tommy goes off to college, which has great angle with Dick having a hard time letting go of Tommy. Meanwhile, Sally and Harry interview candidates to replace Tommy as the information officer. What makes this part of the episode fun is who Sally hires and how she decides to treat him.
Sally gets a job this season and a new reoccurring character is introduced. In the episode "Dick's Ark", she is hired to do the weather under the catchy name of Sally Storm. At first, the new job is fun and introduces an odd chemistry with anchor Chaz (Pat Finn). But it soon gets old with overplayed jokes and supporting characters that do not live up to the rest of the cast. Chaz is a limited character who pretty much serves as the butt of Sally's jokes.
In several of the episodes, the focus is on the Dick-Mary relationship. In "Dick Digs", Dick goes on an archeological dig with Mary and tries to make her dream come true by planting an artifact in her section. In "A Dick Replacement", Dick believes he is going to die soon and tries to find a new boyfriend for Mary because he wants her to be happy. "Mary Loves Scoochie" is a two-part episode with John Cleese reprising his role as Liam Neesam. Other episodes throughout the season feature silly situations from the Dick-Mary relationship. The two have a great dynamic together and seeing them in one odd situation after another was hilarious.
The Dick-Mary relationship inevitably ties into the series two-part finale. In "Mary Loves Scoochie", Mary witnessed something she was not supposed to see when Dick turned Liam into a monkey. In the two-part series finale "The Thing That Wouldn't Die", the brass (the Big Giant Head) find out about what Dick did and the entire team is recalled back to the home planet. The gang decides to through a massive going away party.
Overall, I was happy with season six, but I wasn't nearly as moved by it as I have been with previous seasons. The season six writing felt different. Perhaps it was simply the fact that the show could only go so far with its premise and after five years of it, enough is enough. The situations the cast encountered this season offered a lot of laughs, but at the same time the strong chemistry, dialogue, and writing did not feel nearly as strong. In the end, I felt season six was good, but not great.
1. Les Liaisons Dickgereuses: Dick and Mary try to play a trick on her sister and prove that she can't get everything that she wants, but things don't go according to plan.
2. Fear And Loathing In Rutherford: Harry and Sally are planning to pull a prank on Alissa, but when things go wrong, Dick mistakenly believes that Tommy and Alisa have eloped and goes after them.
3. InDickscretion: Dick and Mary double-date with Don and Sally only to find out that Don and Mary are attracted to each other. Meanwhile, Tommy and Harry take to the road.
4. Dick'll Take Manhattan, Part I: The Solomons find themselves leading different lives in a parallel universe and everyone is happy except Dick.
5. Dick'll Take Manhattan, Part II: Dick, Sally, and Harry are still in a parallel universe and area ready to come home when things don't go right and they realize they're left with nothing.
6. Why Dickie Can't Teach: Dick encourages Tommy to attend college where he teaches and Dick learns from Mary and Tommy that he's a miserable teacher. Sally tries to turn Officer Don into a success and eventually a failure.
7. B.D.O.C.: When Tommy goes off to college, Dick finds it hard to adjust to and begins to find ways to get him expelled. In the meantime, Sally and Harry are quick to interview replacement aliens and Sally gets charged with sexual harassment.
8. Red, White & Dick: After they sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a football game, the Solomons become captivated of all things American. Dick learns that he's Canadian and goes off to get his citizenship.
9. Dick Digs: Dick joins Mary on an expedition, but when Dick finds an ancient rock, Mary becomes jealous. Sally, Harry, and Tommy realize they can make extra money by renting Dick's room while he's gone; it eventually becomes a load of trouble.
10. There's No Business Like Dick Business: While Dick and Sally form an act to entertain at children's parties, Mary and Harry get involved in Officer Don's self-defense class; ironically Harry ends up playing the attacker and gets beat up by a bunch of women.
11. A Dick Replacement: After a psychic tells him that he won't be around too long (because he's from a different planet), Dick decides to find Mary a new lover. Harry and Sally are attempting to kill the psychic because she knows that they're aliens.
12. Dick's Ark: Mary suggests that she and Dick spend some time apart, and Sally becomes the new accurate weather forecaster at the local TV station.
13. You Don't Know Dick: After everyone convinces Dick that he doesn't know what Mary likes, he tries to buy concert tickets for the two of them. Sally gets seduced by Chaz at a concert.
14. My Mother, My Dick: Dick tells Mary's mother that she's a terrible mom after making Mary feel bad. Sally and Harry are responsible for their "newborn".
15. Glengarry Glen Dick: After Dick and Don each buy half of a timeshare "luxury getaway", they take Mary and sally on their first vacation there. But the "paradise" ends up being a dump.
16. Dick Soup For The Soul: While Dick delights in a book that explains how to be truly happy, Mary kicks him out of her house. Sally goes to Tommy's college to try to help him out.
17. Mary Loves Scoochie, Part I: Sally and Harry search for another alien team but bump into an Amish family and are convinced that they are aliens since they look so weird. Dick learns that Mary has a secret admirer and pretends to be the admirer.
18. Mary Loves Scoochie, Part II: Dick tries to compete with Mary's secret admirer who ends up being an evil alien that feels no sympathy for humans... or does he?
19. The Thing That Wouldn't Die, Part I: Dick is worried that Mary saw him turn Liam Neesam into a monkey. Meanwhile, Harry makes a date with twin sisters and the episode ends with a shocking message from the Big Giant Head that the mission is over.
20. The Thing That Wouldn't Die, Part II: The aliens are trying to process the fact that their mission has been cancelled. They plan a party that ends up being a huge hi. When Mary learns that Dick is leaving she decides to go with him. The aliens then join together in singing their mission anthem as they are beamed away, leaving Mary behind.
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.
3rd Rock: Six Seasons Of Memories (10:34) is a featurette with the cast reflecting about the series. It stars John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They talk about their favorite episodes, funniest moments, what it was like playing an alien, what made the show different than other sitcoms, and what they will remember the most. The interview portions include clips from the series and behind the scenes segments.
Final Episode Alternate Ending (1:52) is an alternative ending to the series finale that extends the original ending provided in the episode. This ending was shown as a 3rd Rock From the Sun special event after the original series finale had been aired.
Alternate Show Ending Introduction Part 1 (0:29) and Alternate Show Ending Introduction Part 2 (0:34) are short introductions with French Stewart, who introduces the series finale and talks about the alternative ending.
There is also a 14 page booklet with excerpts from 3rd Rock From the Sun - The Official Report on Earth by High Commander Dick Solomon and episode synopses. The episode synopses can also be accessed via the DVDs and viewable episode previews.
There are also trailers for Grounded For Life Life and Roseanne.
3rd Rock From the Sun is a television series I love. The show's cast has a great chemistry together and they can turn some pretty common situations into a riot. However, the sixth and final season is not nearly as good as past seasons. The show's mood is not quite the same and some of the jokes start to feel overplayed and repetitive. In the end, I think season six is a good collection of episodes, but fails to show the series at the top of its game. It is recommended for the fans. To newcomers, I suggest you start with season one.