"GREY’S ANATOMY: SEASON THREE, SERIOUSLY EXTENDED"
For many fans, it improved, mostly for the fact that the show strained the relationships of these interns and the doctors overseeing them. It turned into a full-fledged evening soap opera, generally better than what you’ll see on daytime television, but ultimately as shallow. I preferred the more whimsical approach, but that’s just me.
Season three is held together by decent acting and pretty good writing. However, the show is in the midst of jumping the shark as characters break up, get back together, only to break up again. It’s also strained by off-screen problems, starting with T.R. Knight (whose character of George gets more tail than anyone else) admitting he’s gay, continuing with Isaiah Washington’s inappropriate “f-word” comments, and his eventual firing from the show.
This third season is good from a soap opera aspect, but characters are grating on my nerves – especially title character Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). At least at the end of the season, there’s hope for some character changes from the top down, but I am depressed about losing Kate Walsh to a spin-off that’s bound to fail.
The “Seriously Extended” DVD set comes with several extended episodes, commentaries, plus a bonus disc of special features. These features include an out-of-place profile of Patrick Dempsey as a stock car racer, a spotlight on Karev’s patient Jane Doe, a group of favorite scenes from the cast and some bloopers. It’s worth getting for the fan, but more worth a rent for someone wanting to catch up for the upcoming season.
"DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: SEASON 3, THE DIRTY LAUNDRY EDITION"
The biggest flaws become apparent in the third season. Creator Marc Cherry continues to show his short-sightedness by killing storylines too quickly and never quite knowing where things are heading. The writers had to shoehorn Marcia Cross’s pregnancy into this season, and a new love triangle is forced onto Susan (Teri Hatcher) when Mike Delfino goes into a coma and she meets tasty coma husband next door. (I do have to give a shout-out to James Denton, whose coma acting is perfect for his talents.)
Sadly, the only housewife I wasn’t furiously annoyed with was Nicolette Sheridan as Edie Britt, who saw some characterization shine through this season, but her season wrap up is a sore disappointment. Other good elements of this season include Bree’s gay wild child son Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom), who has some fun banter, an appearance by Kyle McLaughlin as Bree’s new neurotic (and possibly murderous) husband and Dougray Scott as a slightly more interesting love interest for Susan.
But none of this makes up for the deification of Lynette (Felicity Huffman), who manages to escape bullets and cancer to be one of the most infuriating and awful characters of the season.
The DVD includes a spotlight on the glut of weddings of the show (often a sign of jumping the shark), a look at the latina version of the show, deleted scenes, bloopers and Marc Cherry’s favorite scenes.
"UGLY BETTY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON"
Following a frumpy latina as she enters the world of high fashion at Mode Magazine, “Ugly Betty” sets itself up as the Hispanic version of “The Devil Wears Prada.” However, after several episodes, it differentiates itself with the characters’ motivations and the silliness of the series. The show is strongest when it gets lighthearted. While the season ends with a more dramatic turn, hopefully things will move back to the humor soon in the second season.
The strongest elements of “Ugly Betty” come from the supporting cast. Becki Newton and Michael Urie are hilarious as the conniving yes-people of the company. Both have an incredible flair for physical comedy, and they always tend to be the highlight of the show. Ana Ortiz as Betty’s sexy sister Hilda and Mark Indelicato as Hilda’s not-so ambiguously gay son are also gems in this show.
The season one DVD set comes with audio commentaries, deleted scenes and several featurettes covering everything from how they green-screen New York into the show to the fashion behind the fashion.
"PICKET FENCES: SEASON ONE"
“Picket Fences” came onto the television world right at the onset of the liberated 1990s. It was the time of “Home Improvement” and “Coach,” where women could do no wrong on television, and men were just grunting human debris that barely could dress themselves every morning. Add to the fact that the show planned on tackling an issue a week, and you’ve got a sermon coming.
Sure, it won plenty of awards, but it was one huge liberal preach every episode. From AIDS-infected dentists to lesbian daughters and animal rights to reproductive rights, I had to brace myself for the social commentary at the onset of every episode. The acting was decent, and the writing was okay when it wasn’t shoving the writer’s political beliefs down your throat, but ultimately “Picket Fences” was a show made for its time alone.
The 6-disc DVD set of the first season comes with all 22 episodes as well as a retrospective featurette that includes interviews with showrunner David E. Kelley and the members of the cast.