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Grey's Anatomy on DVD: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3

"Grey's Anatomy:" Season Three - Seriously Extended DVD Review

Buy Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Third Season from Amazon.com Grey's Anatomy: Season Three (2006-07)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Shonda Rhimes / Repeat Directors: Peter Horton, Adam Davidson, Wendey Stanzler, Mark Tinker, Jeff Melman, Dan Minahan, Rob Corn

Regular Cast: Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey), Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang), Katherine Heigl (Isobel "Izzie" Stevens), Justin Chambers (Alex Karev), T.R. Knight (George O'Malley), Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey), James Pickens, Jr. (Richard Webber), Isaiah Washington (Preston Burke), Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd), Kate Walsh (Addison Shepherd), Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres)

Recurring Characters: Eric Dane (Dr. Mark Sloan), Kate Burton (Dr. Ellis Grey), Elizabeth Reaser (Jane Doe/Rebecca Pope), Chris O'Donnell (Dr. Finn Dandridge), Sarah Utterback (Nurse Olivia Harper), Moe Irvin (Nurse Tyler), Steven W. Bailey (Joe), George Dzundza (Harold O'Malley), Debra Monk (Louise O'Malley), Greg Pitts (Jerry O'Malley), Tim Griffin (Ronny O'Malley), Loretta Devine (Adele Webber), Jeff Perry (Thatcher Grey)

Notable Guest Stars: Diahann Carroll (Jane Burke), Richard Roundtree (Donald Burke), Abigail Breslin (Megan Clover), Embeth Davidtz (Nancy Shepherd), Mandy Siegfried (Molly Thompson), Randy Sklar (Peter Weitzman), Jason Sklar (Jake Weitzman), Mae Whitman (Heather Douglas), Jessica Stroup (Jillian Miller), Kyle Chandler (Dylan Young), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny Duquette), Roger Rees (Dr. Colin Marlow), Hector Elizondo (Mr. Torres), Mitch Pileggi (Larry Jennings)

Running Time: 1105 Minutes (25 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: September 11, 2007
Season 3 Airdates: September 21, 2006 – May 17, 2007
Seven single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with Cardboard Slipcover

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-4
Page 2: Discs 5-7, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

Dylan and Denny (guest stars Kyle Chandler and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, respectively) argue about how to break the news to Meredith that she’s dead. Callie (Sara Ramirez) reveals to Izzie the fact that she’s ridiculously rich. While most people would embarrass themselves in jubilation over this news, George reacts quite differently.

DISC 5

17. Some Kind of Miracle (43:02) (Originally aired February 22, 2007)
In death, Meredith is reunited with Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Dylan (Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights") and other departed while the living doctors try desperately to save her.
Meanwhile, Christina has trouble coping with Meredith's plight and Alex begins to bond with the amnesiac Jane Doe he rescued after the ferry crash (Elizabeth Reaser.)

18. Scars and Souvenirs (43:02) (Originally aired March 15, 2007)
Legendary surgeon Dr. Colin Marlow (Roger Rees) arrives at Seattle Grace and shakes things up thanks to a history with Christina. Also, Callie confides in George; Alex continues to work with Jane Doe; Derek treats a fellow doctor from New York; and he and Meredith has dinner with her father and stepmother.

19. My Favorite Mistake (44:28) (Originally aired March 22, 2007)
In the aftermath of his fight with Callie, George meets his new father-in-law (Hector Elizondo); Alex helps Jane Doe choose a face for her reconstructive surgery; and as the hospital board interviews candidates for chief, Colin Marlow prepares to present his ten-year plan for Seattle Grace.

20. Time After Time (43:03) (Originally aired April 19, 2007)
The daughter Izzie gave up for adoption eleven years ago is admitted to the hospital, and Izzie turns to George for help; Jane Doe/Ava's parents arrive at the hospital to take her home; and Christina tries to get Colin Marlow to leave so her relationship with Burke can continue.

The staff gazes in a mix of disturbance and awe when the hospital's former chief reveals his swollen... package. Even at another hospital, Addison can't help but remember the type of adventures that would take place within the confinements of a Seattle Grace elevator.

DISC 6

21. Desire (43:02) (Originally aired April 26, 2007)
The chairman of Seattle Grace's board of directors (guest star Mitch Pileggi) is admitted to the hospital with a rare condition that fascinates all the doctors, and the attendings jockey for his vote in the race for chief. Meanwhile, Derek questions his relationship with Meredith while the tension between Addison and Alex comes to a boil; and Burke asks Christina to decide what kind of wedding cake she wants.

22-23. The Other Side of This Life (86:02) (Originally aired May 3, 2007)
This double-length episode serves as a backdoor pilot, introducing the cast, characters and locale for this fall's new spin-off series "Private Practice", starring Kate Walsh. In it, while reeling from two failed affairs, Addison takes a leave of absence to visit friends from medical school in Santa Monica, California. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Meredith's stepmother Susan visits the clinic; Burke and Christina's mothers come to town to plan the wedding; and Ava undergoes a surgery that could bring her memory back.

Alex and the newly christened "Ava" (Elizabeth Reaser) discuss the prospect of her memory coming back to her. Christina realizes in horror that the wedding vows she had written on her palm are now gone after she scrubbed in at work. How's that for a bad omen?

DISC 7

24. Testing 1-2-3 (42:59) (Originally aired May 10, 2007)
The interns take the end-of-year exam to determine the course of their medical career. Meanwhile, the attendings treat injured mountain climbers; Christina has difficulty writing vows for her wedding tomorrow; George considers transferring to Mercy West for his residency; Richard's wife Adele (returning guest star Loretta Divine) arrives at the hospital; the bartender, Joe (Steven W. Bailey), and his life partner Walter (Jack Yang) have a request for Addison; and Ava begins to regain her memory.

25. Didn't We Almost Have It All (53:01) (Originally aired May 17, 2007)
Burke and Christina's wedding day is finally here in the season finale, but so are the interns' exam results. Callie and George make an important decision about their future as Izzie makes a declaration; Adele has emergency surgery; Rebecca Pope/Ava's husband Jeff (Jason London) arrives; and the new chief resident and chief of surgery are named.

George (T.R. Knight) inspects his father's urine much to the disturbance of his brothers. Seattle Grace and the city of its namesake under rumbling evening clouds (foreshadowing?).

VIDEO and AUDIO

Grey's Anatomy comes in the 1.78:1 ratio of its high-definition broadcasts. Like the previous seasons, this set exhibits fine transfers, which should be a given at this point. Every episode features a natural color palette, and these are reproduced faithfully here.
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While there's some occasional softness, the series is overall quite sharp. Some fine grain can be found, but this isn't distracting at all and goes to show how detailed the transfers are.

The Dobly Digital 5.1 tracks also meet expectations. In a series of this sort, dialogue is the main focus, and that comes across cleanly and intelligibly. Sounds effects, ranging from the hustle and bustle of the hospital to wailing emergency sirens, spread across the surrounds and are joined by both the score and modern songs. These manage to be distinctive without overpowering the dialogue.

Patrick Dempsey discusses his love for racing a mere seven minutes away from this reviewer's neighborhood. Ellen Pompeo discusses what it's like to have people perform CPR on you for a whole day in "Shades of Grey." Elizabeth Reaser undergoes extensive makeup to portray the disfigured Jane Doe.

BONUS FEATURES

As with the first two seasons, "Grey's Anatomy" comes to DVD with a decent helping of supplements. We begin with three audio commentaries. Actresses Chandra Wilson and Kate Walsh appear for the episode "Time Has Come Today."
While this is called an audio commentary, the commentary side of things is dreadfully lacking. Wilson and Walsh spend most of the episode watching in silence. Occasionally Walsh will comment with a quip here or there, but there's little in the way of actual information. When Walsh thanks you for listening at the end of the episode, Wilson exclaims, "Oh, that's right! We were supposed to be commenting, weren't we?" That sums up this track in a nutshell. Faring a bit better are Ellen Pompeo and Kate Burton on the episode "Wishin' and Hopin'." Burton dominates the track while Pompeo mostly reacts to her comments. Some genuinely interesting tidbits emerge from Burton, especially concerning fan reactions to the show. Unfortunately, she loses steam about halfway through the track and reverts mostly to silent watching. Sandra Oh turns up for "Desire", the set's final commentary. Her track is similar in quality to the Burton and Pompeo one; she shares good notes about the production (such as which extras are actually real doctors) but goes quiet as the track progresses.

The video-based bonus features all appear on the seventh and final disc in the set, starting with "Making Rounds with Patrick Dempsey" (10:23). Filmed at the Miami-Homestead Speedway, this featurette doesn't deal with the series as much as it does with Dempsey's passion for racing. We follow him throughout a weekend, starting with his practices on the course and ending with his actual race. This featurette doesn't really contribute much to this set, but it's hard to dismiss something that prominently takes place in this reviewer's hometown.

Much more useful is "Shades of Grey: One on One with Ellen Pompeo" (8:39). As the title suggests, this is a sit-down interview with Ellen Pompeo and her reflections on the show. While this may seem fluffy, it's actually quite informative. Most of Pompeo's comments focus on the episodes concerning the ferry boat fire and her subsequent drowning. This is intercut with fascinating behind the scenes footage of the shows in question. It proves to be a quality look at the show from the viewpoint of its central actress.

Next is "Prescription for Success: Jane Doe Unmasked" (8:33). While this is the shortest of the featurettes, it's actually the most informative. Actress Elizabeth Reaser discusses her recurring role on the show and the process she had to go through to look disfigured through most of her episodes. Other cast members like Justin Chambers offer their thoughts on both the character of Jane Doe and Reaser as a person. A good deal of footage is shown of the makeup room as well the set, making this a valuable featurette.

Mark (Eric Dane) formally starts the Dirty Mistresses club with Meredith, a joke that we never see the origin of in the finished episode. Kate Walsh comes across as more upbeat and less jaded than her on-screen persona in "Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes." Charlie's Angels arrive to crash Christina's wedding. Does this mean one of them will pull a Farrah and leave the show?

"Dissecting Grey's Anatomy: Unaired Scenes" (13:28) is exactly that - a collection of deleted scenes that weren't reinstated for this DVD release. Exactly why these weren't edited back in is unclear, for the only scene that comes with an explanation is one in which Christina would've revealed her engagement news to Meredith long before the fateful events of the ferryboat accident. Besides this scene, all of the others included wouldn't have harmed the narratives at all, with many actually fleshing out things merely suggested in the final episodes. The menu reveals which episode each scene belongs two, but two scenes clearly belonging to Walk on Water are ironically listed under My Favorite Mistake.

"Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes" (9:26) interviews various cast and crew members on their favorite scenes from this season. While this is overall a fluffy featurette, behind-the-scenes footage mingled with amusing comments help make this entertaining.

The last feature on this set is "In Stitches: Season 3 Outtakes" (4:19). This rather soft-looking video features, of course, various bloopers and on-set mayhem. What makes this more amusing than most outtake reels are the quick-witted responses and antics of the cast when they forget their lines. This provides more fun than the usual fits and giggles of most outtakes.

The first disc of this set opens with a promo for Buena Vista shows either recently released to DVD or coming soon. The seventh disc contains trailers and promos for The Game Plan, "Brothers and Sisters": The Complete First Season, SoapNet, "Ugly Betty": The Complete First Season, "What About Brian": The Complete First and Second Seasons, "Desperate Housewives": The Complete Third Season, "Lost": The Complete Third Season, and a new season preview for "Grey's Anatomy" that doesn't actually feature any new footage.

The main menu montage can be found on all the other discs, and begins with the show's namesake, seen here. On Disc One's episode selection menu, we find Addison and "McSteamy" emerging from (what else?) a steamy shower.

MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The 16x9-enhanced menus nicely match those of the first two seasons' DVDs. Each disc opens with headshots of the cast done as x-rays and then segues into a montage of various scenes from the season. The actors in the montage remain in color while their backgrounds reflect the hazy, steely x-ray look found in the opening headshots.

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The subsequent menus follow the same visual style and are all static except the bonus material menu on disc seven (which features its own unique montage). All of the bonus material is 16x9-enhanced, as well, except for the "Good Medicine" and "In Stitches" features.

Each episode is divided into eight or nine chapter stops, with chapters given to the opening recaps, prologues, and end credits of each. Oddly enough, the episodes featuring nine chapters give the five-second opening logo its very own chapter. This practice mysteriously stops midway through the season.

The packaging nicely parallels that of season two. The images of the cast on the cardboard slipcover are slightly reflective and embossed. The inner Digipak folds out with a group shot of the cast on one side and the discs on the other side, with the first six discs featuring two actors on each. Also included is a booklet featuring episode synopses and publicity photos.

Derek (Patrick Dempsey) rescues Meredith from the freezing water in one of the most striking moments of the entire series. Izzie spends the day after Denny's death pining in a trance on the floor. George tries in vain to console her.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The third season of "Grey's Anatomy" takes a darker and more angst-filled tone than that of its first two seasons, making it the weakest of the three thus far. That said, it still provides solid entertainment and handles its drama more deftly than many similar TV shows at the top of their game. Picture and sound are as good as to be expected from such a recent and notable series. While the supplements vary wildly in quality, together they offer an above-average look at the series. Considering the mixed reactions this season inspired, casual fans of the show are recommended to rent this set first if they haven't been following the show as it airs. To the die-hard fans already familiar with this season, this sets earns a recommendation.

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Grey's Anatomy on DVD: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3

Reviewed September 24, 2007.