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Ugly Betty on DVD: Season 1Season 2Season 3

"Ugly Betty" The Complete Third Season DVD Review - Page 2

Buy Ugly Betty: The Complete Third Season from Amazon.com Ugly Betty: Season Three (2008-09)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Silvio Horta / Repeat Writers: Henry Alonso Myers, Sheila Lawrence, Silvio Horta, Bill Wrubel, Tracy Poust, Jon Kinnally, Peter Elkoff, Brian Tanen, Cara DiPaolo /
Repeat Directors: Victor Nelli Jr., John Terlesky, Tom Verica, Michael Spiller

Regular Cast: America Ferrera (Betty Suarez), Eric Mabius (Daniel Meade), Vanessa Williams (Wilhelmina Slater), Tony Plana (Ignacio Suarez), Ana Ortiz (Hilda Suarez), Judith Light (Claire Meade), Christopher Gorham (Henry Grubstick), Ashley Jensen (Christina McKinney), Becki Newton (Amanda Tanen), Michael Urie (Marc St. James), Mark Indelicato (Justin Suarez)

Recurring Characters: Rebecca Romijn (Alexis Meade), Ralph Macchio (Archie Rodriguez), Bernadette Peters (Jodie), David Rasche (Calvin Hartley), Lauren Velez (Elena), Sarah Lafleur (Molly), Alec Mapa (Suzuki St. Pierre), Daniel Eric Gold (Matt Hartley), Julian de la Celle (Daniel Jr.), Christine Baranski (Victoria Hartley), Derek Riddell (Stuart), Eddie Cibrian (Coach Tony Diaz), Val Matt Emmich (Jesse), Lindsay Lohan (Kimmie Keegan), David Blue (Cliff), Christopher Gorham (Henry Grubstick), Freddy Rodriguez (Giovanni "Gio" Rossi), Grant Bowler (Connor Owens), Max Ehrich (Randy)

Notable Guest Stars: Mark Consuelos (Det. Averaimo), Barry Bostwick (Roger Adams), Lenny Venito (Phil), Mark Badgley (Himself), Max Greenfield (Nick Pepper), Kevin Kilner (Dr. Mervin Farber), Alexander Chaplin (Fabian), Nikki Blonsky (Teri), Liz Smith (Herself), Michael Stuhlbarg (Heinrich), Mo Rocca (Host), Steven Schirripa (Frankie Burrata), Lawrence Saint-Victor (James), Brennan Brown (Miles Foster), Billie Jean King (Herself), Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Herself), Joy Behar (Herself), Robert Verdi (Himself), Rachel Maddow (Herself), Nigel Barker (Himself), Antonio Sabàto Jr. (Himself), Rachel Dratch (Penny and Mindy Meadows)

Running Time: 1032 Minutes (24 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Chinese; Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
DVD Release Date: September 22, 2009 / Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Season 3 Airdates: September 25, 2008 – May 21, 2009
Six single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s)
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with Cardboard Slipcover

Buy from Amazon.comBuy Seasons 1-3 from Amazon.com

A dinner conversation in which Jesse (Val Matt Emmich) is the sole participant inspires Betty to imagine a one man show for him. From Betty's perspective, Marc (Michael Urie) and Amanda (Becki Newton) appear to be listening to her concerns over Mode's budget, but she couldn't be further from the truth.

Disc 4

13. Kissed Off (42:39) (Originally aired February 5, 2009)
Betty isn't quite sure how to handle a recent incident between her and Jesse. Connor (Grant Bowler) is obsessed with finding out who Molly is seeing.

14. The Courtship of Betty's Father (43:00) (Originally aired February 12, 2009)
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Ignacio develops an intimate relationship with his nurse. Meanwhile, Betty arranges a 60th birthday party for Claire but has difficulty culling flattering footage and anecdotes for a video presentation.

15. There's No Place Like Mode (42:57) (Originally aired February 19, 2009)
It's Fashion Week at Mode, and Betty is given the task of running a key segment with an eccentric designer. On top of this, Betty is paired at YETI with someone she's less than enthused with.

16. Things Fall Apart (43:07) (Originally aired February 26, 2009)
Betty notices something fishy going on with Mode's budgets, leading to a shocking discovery. To make matters worse, Betty receives a friend request from Henry on Facebook.

The Suarez family is shocked to find out Ignacio (Tony Plana) has made it as a contestant on a popular cook-off show. Speaking from experience, Claire (Judith Light) gives Betty (America Ferrera) some pointers on how to impress Matt's mother.

Disc 5

17. Sugar Daddy (42:44) (Originally aired March 5, 2009)
Mode is on the verge of shutting down after the majority of funds disappear. Betty's home life hardly differs as the Suarez family is about to be evicted, causing Ignacio to enter in a cooking show to win money.

18. A Mother of a Problem (41:20) (Originally aired March 12, 2009)
Betty meets Matt's mother, Victoria (Christine Baranski), and goes out of her way to be likable. To keep Mode afloat, Wilhelmina puts in some of her personal money after selling off her possessions.

19. The Sex Issue (43:08) (Originally aired March 19, 2009)
In a desperate move to increase sales, sex becomes the main focus of the newest issue. Betty is ready to take her relationship with Matt (Daniel Eric Gold) forward, but he's a little less enthusiastic.

20. Rabbit Test (43:00) (Originally aired April 30, 2009)
Betty meets Matt's father, Cal (David Rasche), and sees this as a business opportunity to save Mode. Wilhelmina comes to a grim realization concerning her baby, William.

A kidnapped baby in the backseat doesn't bode well for Christina (Ashley Jensen) and Betty (America Ferrera), especially with cops just a few feet away. Betty is all smiles on the outside, but inside she's a nervous wreck sitting between her current boyfriend Matt (David Eric Gold) and ex-boyfriend Henry (Christopher Gorham).

Disc 6

21. The Born Identity (42:26) (Originally aired May 7, 2009)
Christina kidnaps baby William, positive that he is, in fact, her child. Hilda helps arrange Archie's political campaign, but Betty's involvement in the baby scandal could destroy it.

22. In the Stars (43:07) (Originally aired May 14, 2009)
Betty, Marc, and Matt work on their final project for YETI, but the key to making it a success lies with Matt's mother. Daniel and Molly prepare for their wedding, but it has a detrimental effect on Molly.

23. Curveball (43:09) (Originally aired May 21, 2009)
Daniel and Molly's marriage garners much media attention, though Daniel isn't pleased with how his bride is coping with it all. Aggravated at how Claire and Cal continue to override her decisions, Wilhelmina tries to dig up dirt on both through Victoria.

24. The Fall Issue (42:56) (Originally aired May 21, 2009)
When one of the Mode editors suffers a fatal accident, Betty and Marc fight for her position. Mode is nominated for a prestigious award, giving Wilhelmina the perfect opportunity to blackmail Claire into stepping down.

Elena (Lauren Velez) and Ignacio (Tony Plana) are disappointed, to say the least, over how Betty and Hilda take their relationship announcement. Molly (Sarah Lafleur) and Daniel (Eric Mabius) have their wedding ceremony at Betty's YETI photo shoot, complete with alien supermodel as minister.

VIDEO and AUDIO

"Ugly Betty:" The Complete Third Season comes to DVD anamorphically in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio of its HD broadcasts. The results here are passable, but more flawed than expected. Edge enhancement shows up on a consistent basis, particularly thanks to the repeated contrasts of black on white. Ringing becomes especially noticeable in bird's eye view shots of New York. On the positive side, the bright, cheery color palette is replicated well without any blooming, and there are no print flaws to be found. The ringing and edge enhancement don't cause major distractions,
but they still detract from an otherwise okay transfer.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtracks fare a bit better. Anyone expecting an engulfing surround experience has unrealistic expectations as television dramas are often front-heavy. Speech comes across cleanly and clearly as do minor sound effects. The score opens things up considerably and sounds appropriately rich without being overbearing.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

"Ugly Betty's" third season set comes with a few supplements, starting with an "ABC Starter Kit" (3:34). Automatically playing before the season premiere, this recaps everything newcomers need to know about "Ugly Betty." Character relationships, recurring themes, and major plot points are all touched upon. Unlike the one found on the new "Brothers & Sisters" DVD, this starter kit (while featuring clips from this season) doesn't spoil any of the episodes here. It's a handy feature to have for both those new to the show and for fans who need a refresher.

An eyebrow-less Marc (Michael Urie) perks up when Amanda (Becki Newton) spills a deep, dark secret during their slumber party on "Mode After Hours." Amanda (Becki Newton) is not above seducing Calvin Hartley (David Rasche) in order to get ahead in this deleted scene. Becki Newton takes a swig of coffee every time she or Michael Urie makes a sex reference in the visual commentary "Look Who Keeps Popping Up."

Next are eight webisodes of "Mode After Hours" (27:35). Originally debuting on ABC.com, these vignettes follow Marc and Amanda's adventures as they run wild around Mode after closing time.
Among these are a séance to contact Amanda's dead mother, a crazy slumber party, and prank calls on several Mode employees. Considering Marc and Amanda are easily the two most hilarious characters in the series, this spin-off consistently entertains. In an odd move, only eight webisodes appear in this set (six on disc one and two on disc six) when there were actually 13 produced all together during this season. It seems strange not to include the other five since space is certainly not an issue. One can only hope the rest turn on up on the season four set. A "making of" for the séance episode that was available online is also absent here.

Next are 21 deleted scenes (16:44) spread across all six discs. As is the case with most TV deleted scenes, these appear to have been trimmed due to network time constraints rather than any storytelling problems. Actually, one scene is an exception, as its inclusion would've resulted in a continuity error in regards to Daniel's knowledge of Matt's parents. The rest, however, are fun to see and give the supporting cast a few more moments to shine. On an odd note, the deleted scenes on Disc Six are in 16:9-enhanced widescreen whereas the ones in the rest of the set are in fullscreen.

Disc Two contains an audio commentary for "Crush'd" by executive producers and writers Tracy Poust & Jon Kinnally and co-executive producer and director Victor Nelli Jr. The trio reveals quite a bit about the episode, explaining costume and set decisions, pointing out ad-libs, and even mentioning cut footage not found in the supplements. A few quiet spots emerge from time to time, but for the most part, the track remains lively and informative.

"Look Who Keeps Popping Up" (44:42) is a visual commentary found on the Disc 5 episode "The Sex Issue." Hosts Michael Urie and Becki Newton offer their own cheeky commentary on the left side of the screen while the episode plays on the right. Occasionally the windows will enlarge so that the two fill up the whole screen while the episode continues in a small corner, or vice versa. Along the way, the feature branches out to interview segments with cast and crew pertaining to what's been shown. Those familiar with Blu-ray will recognize this format as being similar to Warner Brothers' Maximum Movie Mode. It's nice to see such a feature on a DVD, even if it's more for entertainment value in this case than anything really substantial.

"Come Home to New York City" offers a visual comparison between the original Los Angeles set for Mode and the modified New York set. America Ferrera makes an improvisation that merits censoring on "Betty Bloops." Betty enjoys the main menu to her series, which alternates between her garish styles and the colder, sleeker Mode ones.

On Disc Six is the featurette "Coming Home to New York City" (12:43), which takes a look at the show's move from Los Angeles to New York, a locale only previously used for the pilot.
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Several cast and crew members reminisce about the day they found out about the change of location and how they feel about it now. This had the potential to be a puff piece, and the beginning of it points in that direction. Soon, though, the featurette becomes far more enlightening. The crew goes into detail about set modifications made to accommodate the move, offering before-and-after comparisons. The piece ends up being both fast-paced and revealing.

"Betty Bloops" (8:39) is a lengthy outtakes reel. These features tend to all feel alike, but what sets this one apart is how it structures its flubs into categories like on-set accidents, swearing, and improvisations. These allow us to see more than just the usual giggles and make the reel more valuable.

Disc One opens with trailers for ABC on DVD, "Samantha Who:" The Complete Second Season, "Desperate Housewives:" The Complete Fifth Season, The Proposal, and Blu-ray Disc. In contrast to other ABC sets, these trailers are not accessible via any Sneak Peeks menu, nor is there one containing other promos.

The main menus of each disc feature a montage of clips contained within designs reminiscent of the Mode office and later within Bettyesque borders. The bonus features menus also contain their own unique montage, keeping with the Mode theme. All other menus follow the same style, but with promotional stills replacing the clips.

All six discs feature colorful disc art, the odd numbered ones exhibiting some of Betty's flamboyant patterns, and the even numbered ones depicting key locales at Mode. They come in an eight-sided Digipak, with the interior themed to Mode and the exterior themed to the Suarez family. A sleeve on the left lists the episodes and supplements and holds a pamphlet advertising Blu-ray discs. All of this slips into a cardboard slipcover with embossed logo.

After having both been ignored by men they were interested in, Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) and Betty (America Ferrera) share a quiet, uneasy understanding. Betty (America Ferrera) and Matt (David Eric Gold) share an intimate moment in front of her house, but it's impossible to have privacy at the Suarez residence for very long.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The third season of "Ugly Betty" continues carrying on the strong elements of the first two seasons while learning from some of the mistakes. The soap opera twists are easier to swallow here, and the acting, dialogue, and visual elements remain as memorable as ever. The DVD presents pretty average picture with decent sound and amusing (if incomplete) supplements. Fans of the first two seasons will find little to fault with this one outside of a few out-of-character moments. People unfamiliar with the series are recommended to rent all three seasons if they have an affinity for a quirky dramedy that's for once not about doctors or lawyers.

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Reviewed September 24, 2009.