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Ellen on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Coming November 28: Season 5

"Ellen" The Complete Season Three DVD Review

Buy Ellen: The Complete Season Three from Amazon.com Ellen: Season Three (1995-96)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Director: Robby Benson

Regular Cast: Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen Morgan), Arye Gross (Adam Green), Joely Fisher (Paige Clark), David Anthony Higgins (Joe Farrell), Clea Lewis (Audrey Penney), Jeremy Piven (Spence Kovak)

Recurring Characters: Alice Hirson (Lois), Steven Gilborn (Harold), Jamie Kennedy (Tad), Patrick Bristo (Peter), Christine Taylor (Karen), Kate Williamson (Mrs. Rodgers), Brian George (Ranjit), Anthony Clark (Will), Paul Bates (Kenny), Jake Plotnick (Barrett), Ron Palillo (Himself/Horshack), Dan Gauthier (Matt Liston), Connie Britton (Heather), Mary Tyler Moore (Herself)

Notable Guest Stars: Jim Haynie (Jake Hilfiger), Martha Stewart (Herself), Carrie Fisher (Herself), Brian Doyle-Murray (Burt Kovak), Kathy Griffin (Peggy), Barry Corbin (Jack Penney), Carol Kane (Lily Penney), Charlie Brill (Del Shapiro), Mitzi McCall (Rochelle Shapiro), Janeane Garofalo (Chloe), Kathy Najimy (Lorna Irons), RuPaul (Himself), Jay Leno (Himself)

Running Time: 575 Minutes (25 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: None
DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006
Season 3 Airdates: September 13, 1995 - May 15, 1996
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs; Suggested Retail Price: $49.95
Three individual slim-line DVD cases with cardboard slipcover

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

A star () denotes my ten favorite episodes from the season.

Paige fancies herself as a natural domestic figure, but Ellen just  doesn't see it. Spence is annoyed at Paige's wedding. Paige's wedding falls apart and it's up to Ellen to hold it together.

Disc 3 (Volume 3)

17. Ellen: With Child (22:05) (Originally aired February 14, 1996)
Matt's daughter takes to Ellen much more-so than Paige, and the easy relationship between the two has Ellen considering motherhood. When the subject of sex comes up, though, Ellen puts her foot in her mouth and finds that parenthood isn't as easy as she had expected.

18. Lobster Diary
(22:13) (Originally aired February 21, 1996)
Capitalizing on the public's frequent comparisons of Ellen and Mary Tyler Moore, the show welcomed the latter in an episode that, much like the legendary television star, focuses on animal rights. Ellen and Mary take up the cause of a caged lobster in a restaurant.

19. Two Ring Circus (22:11) (Originally aired February 28, 1996)
Paige and Matt are engaged, and Ellen is temporarily entrusted with the ring. Ellen isn't exactly up to the task.

20. A Penney Saved (21:46) (Originally aired March 13, 1996)
The gang pays a visit to Audrey's home and realizes that she's immensely wealthy. Her parents want a bigger financial stake in Audrey's life, but she prefers her independence.

21. Too Hip for the Room (22:21) (Originally aired March 20, 1996)
Ellen thinks that Buy the Book needs to acquire a musical act in order to generate buzz. The only performers they can schedule aren't very promising, but they bring in crowds like never before. The one thing the employees can't understand: why?

22. Two Mammograms and a Wedding (22:12) (Originally aired April 3, 1996)
Ellen's nervous about receiving her first mammogram and about the fact that her best friend will soon be married. To help her with both, she befriends Chloe (Janeane Garofalo), but the two have a hard time connecting after their first successful encounter. At one point, Ellen takes a shot at "Friends," which was on the rise at this time and seen as a direct competition to "Ellen." Of course, Maggie Wheeler, who had once been part of "Ellen"'s cast, also had a long-running guest-starring role on "Friends."

23. Go Girlz (22:20) (Originally aired May 1, 1996)
Kathy Najimy made a guest appearance in the second season, and she's back again in this episode, though this time it's as a different character: a studio executive who shows up at Paige's bachelorette party, much to her dismay. Things go well until the predictions of a spastic psychic begin to come true and give Paige cold feet about her impending wedding.

24. When the Vow Breaks (Part 1) (22:18) (Originally aired May 8, 1996)
The big day has arrived: Paige and Matt are set to be married and Ellen is the maid of honor. A last-minute discovery threatens to disrupt the entire proceeding. Meanwhile, Joe makes use of free long-distance calling at the chapel.

25. When the Vow Breaks (Part 2) (22:29) (Originally aired May 15, 1996)
Though it wasn't the last first-run episode of the season, this episode does serve as the season finale. Paige and Matt's wedding starts to fall apart and it's up to Ellen to hold it all together.

Ellen's mom wants to be her friend. The bookstore gang tries filling the opening titles void with some poetry.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Video quality is consistent with the Complete Season Two release. For a decade-old TV production, the picture looks fairly good. Of course, it's a little soft and sometimes a tad on the dark side, as is to be expected, but doesn't exhibit any problems worth complaining about. Think of the other mid-'90s sitcoms in your TV-on-DVD collection, and that's probably about what you should expect from this. The aspect ratio of 1.33:1 is true to its original exhibition.

Audio is aptly presented in a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. The sound is always clear and comprehensible. Aside from that, there's nothing too showy about it, but it does its job in fine fashion.

The video quality on the bloopers reel is more than a little shaky. Jeremy Piven's (Spence) biography Disc 3's bonus features menu

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, and PACKAGING

The first season set offered one audio commentary from supporting cast members and the next set offered two. Consumers were likely hoping for at least two, if not three, this time around, but there's not so much as one. Given that this is the series' strongest season, that's especially disappointing.
There's still no involvement in these releases on DeGeneres' part, but there's still time for that problem to be addressed. Hopefully it will be.

In their place is a blooper reel (4:42), showing very rough footage from a variety of scenes and episodes. As with most blooper reels, this is funny but not especially exciting. "Ellen" is a show that often allows its actors' unintentional laughing to stay in the final cut, so it's surprising that there's so much blooper footage to be had. Still, It's nice to have and certainly worth a watch, but doesn't make up for the lack of something more substantial.

Still screens featuring brief biographies and abbreviated filmographies of the six regular cast members can be found on the third disc. This isn't the first or second time that these have been included on an "Ellen" set, but they make for nice, lightweight browsing and don't seem to turn up on DVDs today as much as they used to.

The menu and packaging design is very similar to that of the two previous releases. The packaging is green with third season-appropriate imagery. The main menus open with some brief animation featuring various snapshots from the show and the theme song in the background, which plays through only once. Episodes are divided by chapters, though those aren't directly accessible in any of the menus.There's a "Play All" option available on each disc and the bonus features appear on the third disc. There are three slim-line cases housed inside a cardboard sleeve, which all share the same cover art, save for some minor differences in labeling and quotes from critics. Episode descriptions are printed on the back of each slim-line case. Inside the package is a booklet advertising other releases from A&E.

Ellen's passive aggressive sarcasm creates her unique brand of comedy. Spence takes Adam's place in Ellen's apartment.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

With a considerable amount of fine-tuning, "Ellen" reaches its peak in the third season. The cast enjoys a considerable amount of chemistry and DeGeneres proves herself to be a star worthy of her own prime-time network slot. While it falls a little short of perfection, laughter should be abound with any viewing of this great collection of episodes. The continuation of audio commentaries would have been nice, but A&E's presentation is still solid enough to warrant a recommendation. If you're going to check out any of "Ellen"'s five seasons on DVD -- and you should -- then this is your best bet.

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Related Reviews:
Ellen: The Complete Season Two Ellen: The Complete Season One
Boy Meets World: The Complete Third Season The Golden Girls: The Complete Fourth Season
Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 1 Quack Pack: Volume 1 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - Season 1
Sweet Valley High: The Complete First Season Popular: The Complete Second Season
Home Improvement: The Complete Third Season Scrubs: The Complete First Season
Grey's Anatomy: Season One Lost: The Complete First Season Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season

See/Hear the Cast/Crew of "Ellen" in...
Finding Nemo (Dory is voiced by Ellen DeGeneres)
Inspector Gadget (Brenda is played by Joely Fisher)
Beauty and the Beast (Beast is voiced by director Robby Benson)

Other Works featuring "Ellen" Season Three Guest Stars
Jamie Kennedy: Max Keeble's Big Move Kathy Najimy: Hocus Pocus
Brian Doyle-Murray: Snow Dogs Jay Leno: Mr. 3000

UltimateDisney.com | Review Index | Disney / Buena Vista TV Shows Page

Ellen on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Coming November 28: Season 5


Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

Reviewed February 27, 2006.