That '70s Show: Season 3 Review

The Show

Sitting down to watch the third season of That '70s Show I was sure I was going to find it getting a bit tired and not able to keep up with the comedy of the previous two seasons. But I was pleasantly surprised. I continued to find the show amusing through this season and remained interested in the characters, their situations and my basic nostalgia.

That '70s Show, for anyone yet to see an episode or read a review of it, is set in the fictional suburb of Point Place, Wisconsin and revolves around the life of Eric Forman, his family and his friends. As Happy Days was to the 1950s, That '70s Show is to the 1970s. This third season of the show consists of twenty-five 30 minute episodes that deal with dating, growing up, families and drugs, but at the core it's mostly about friendship and how two groups of friends (adults and teenagers as separate groups) interact.

That '70s Show is a skilfully concocted sitcom which remains funny because of the situations the characters find themselves in, and which remains watchable because of the talented cast and the tight writing. In the third season we find Jackie first go after Hyde and then return to her first love, Kelso. Fez gets a girlfriend, who turns out to be a little messed-up. Donna and Eric's relationship continues to evolve and starts to look more towards the future and what it may hold for each separately and for the pair as a couple. Hyde, meanwhile, after all his entanglements with Jackie, gets to meet and deal with his absentee father. Red and Kitty (Eric's parents), meanwhile cope with life after discovering their son has taken drugs and continue to provide many of the laughs through their behaviour, and through their friendship with neighbours Bob and Midge (Donna's parents).

I didn't feel there was quite as much character development as there was through the second season of the show, but that didn't really detract from my enjoyment here. It's may not be the most intelligent or even brilliant of shows, but That '70s Show really does its job solidly and well. It's a sitcom without any delusions of grandeur and the quality of writing and of the cast's comic timing really help breathe life into the show. If you've enjoyed previous seasons of That '70s Show, you'll enjoy this one too. It's definitely more of the same and allows just enough character development to move the story arcs along.

Episode Listing

Season 3 comprises the following titles, which - as is more or less traditional for That '70s Show - provide a strong hint of the episode's action. There are many good instalments here, and it's hard to pick out favourites – I think actually the ones I enjoyed most were 'Reefer Madness', 'Too Old to Trick or Treat, Too Young to Die' (for the Hitchcock references) and 'Canadian Road Trip', but there weren't really any that I didn't find funny in one way or another.

1. 'Reefer Madness'
2. 'Red Sees Red'
3. 'Hyde's Father'
4. 'Too Old To Trick Or Treat, Too Young To Die'
5. 'Roller Disco'
6. 'Eric's Panties'
7. 'Baby Fever'
8. 'Jackie Bags Hyde'
9. 'Hyde's Christmas Rager'
10. 'Ice Shack'
11. 'Who Wants It More'
12. 'Fez Gets the Girl'
13. 'Dine & Dash'
14. 'Radio Daze'
15. 'Donna's Panties'
16. 'Romantic Weekend'
17. 'Kitty's Birthday (That's Today?!)'
18. 'The Trials of M. Kelso'
19. 'Eric's Naughty No-No'
20. 'Holy Craps'
21. 'Fez Dates Donna'
22. 'Eric's Drunken Tattoo'
23. 'Canadian Road Trip'
24. 'Backstage Pass'
25. 'The Promise Ring'

Clips

View some clips from the show using these links...

Clip 1: Click here
Clip 2: Click here

Picture

The release is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio and the picture quality is pleasant throughout. The picture is clear and bright with only small artefacts noticeable at all. Skin tones are natural, bright '70s clothing colours and décor are bright and vivid and blacks are suitably solid and dark.

Sound

The main focus of the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is to get the dialogue across clearly, and it manages to do this throughout. There's no real directionality and the sound can therefore sound a little flat. But this isn't particularly a problem for this show.

Extras

The extras package on the third season of That '70s Show is another relatively strong one and builds on the pattern established on previous season releases. The main extras are the episode commentaries spread across the four discs on the episodes 'Too Old To Trick Or Treat, Too Young To Die', and 'Eric's Panties', 'Dine & Dash', 'Radio Daze', 'Eric's Drunken Tattoo', and 'The Promise Ring'. Director David Trainer appears on each commentary and is joined for a few by Producer Patrick Keinlen, none of the cast are involved, which is a great shame. The commentaries do have some interesting factoids and anecdotes contained within them, but they're not very spirited affairs.

Cast members Danny Masterson, Don Stark, Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, Mila Kunis and Wilmer Valderrama join Director David Trainer for a featurette which looks at the third season of the show. Running over 20 minutes the gang reminisce about the third season, their characters and events on and off camera, and it's more entertaining than the commentaries if not always more informative.

Cast members can also be seen during some episode introductions that were filmed for promotional purposes. Where they exist they can be accessed via the 'special features' sections.

The final extra included is a short preview for DVDs of Family Guy and The Simpsons.

Overall

For me, That '70s Show continues to entertain with its mix of nostalgia, cheesiness and humour. The third season continues in the same vein as its antecedents, with the same quality of writing, acting and sheer joyfulness. This DVD boxset presents the show well and is definitely worth a viewing for anyone who enjoys this sitcom or fancies checking it out for the first time.

Film
8 out of 10
Video
7 out of 10
Audio
7 out of 10
Extras
4 out of 10
Overall

7

out of 10

Last updated: 12/05/2018 22:01:04

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