Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, French Stuart, Jane Curtin
Extras: Bloopers, Season Highlights, John Lithgow Interview, Alternate Ending
As all good things must come to an end, the world as we know it will never be the same, at least not after this band of aliens are finished with us. Relax; I'm talking about the whacky aliens from the hilariously goofy "3RD Rock from the Sun". Taking on human forms to explore our planet and protect their true identities, these "visitors" are in for a real culture shock as they attempt to adapt to life on Earth. With High Commander Dick Solomon (John Lithgow) in charge and taking on the form of a college professor, followed by their military expert, who takes the form of his sister Sally Solomon (Kristen Johnston) and the oldest and most intelligent of their elite team becoming the rather unconventional form of his teenaged son Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Adding even more silliness to the Solomon's adventures is their telepathically talented team member Harry (French Stuart), who easily became a favorite character of mine while enjoying the series. Jane Curtain also lends her talent to this Emmy Award winning show, starring as Mary Albright, an Earthling that works with and shares a mutual attraction to Dick Solomon.
This trend to bring complete television seasons and series to DVD has proven to be a winning combination, both for the studios and distributors, as well as viewers, myself included, who get to experience terrifically written and performed productions long after their standard television run has ended.
Anchor Bay Entertainment has done a fine job bringing the complete second season of "3RD Rock from the Sun" to DVD. Although the transfers suffer minor effects caused by compression, such as fine grain or the dreaded "mosquito" effect to a tiny bit of moiré, these symptoms seem to be more commonplace among television season sets on DVD where it simply becomes an issue of too much information for too little space on the disc itself. On the other hand, flesh tones appeared natural throughout as color saturation is quite good overall. Black levels remain rich in depth between all episodes, providing good image and shadow detailing. A great example of the color and black level balance is exemplified during the opening title sequence of an animated solar system featuring bright colored planets. For the material being presented, you really won't be disappointed with the overall presentation.
There is no re-mixing of the original stereo soundtrack for this DVD set, which comes available as a Dolby Digital 2.0 presentation only, but honestly a 5.1 mix might have been a little much for a screwball comedy, such as "3RD Rock from the Sun". Balance is good between both left and right channels, offering naturally appearing vocal reproduction that is consistent throughout the entire second season. I was quite surprised at the nice presence of deep bass used in the final mix of the soundtrack, which helps to produce an overall pleasant sonic experience.
For "3rd Rock from the Sun" fans, a nice selection of extras is available for you to treasure including; a bloopers section, season two highlights and TV spots. A short, but great candid interview with John Lithgow makes for a nice inclusion to this DVD set. John goes on to discuss subjects such as the type of sketch comedy that is used throughout the show, as all of the main actors in "3rd Rock from the Sun" come from a stage background. You will also learn how the physical comedy took its toll, even causing some of the talent to experience injuries as a result! Now how's that for dedication to ensuring our laughter week after week. Speaking of laughter, Mr. Lithgow also mentions how this show did not need to rely on so-called "canned" laughter to fuel the final soundtrack, as the well written comedic situations caused studio audiences to fulfill that portion of the sound. Now that's a huge sign of a job well done by all involved with the production!
Included with the complete second season is a pair of 3-D glasses, for use with the two-part season finale that offers this special effect. Not only do you get to enjoy this show in a virtual 3-D presentation, but there is also the added never-before-seen 3-D episode alternate ending, behind-the-scenes of the 3-D episode and a selection of deleted blooper footage from the 3-D episodes. Albeit a little hokey, the 3-D effect is fun to experiment with, but will work best on larger home theater displays.
Since this DVD set comes from Anchor Bay, you shouldn't be surprised at their attention to detail in the area of final packaging and "3rd Rock from the Sun: Season Two" is no different. Featuring a sound chip embedded under the front cover of the box set that, when pressed, delivers a goofy line from none other than oddball Harry (French Stuart). Seem a little cheesy? Yes. But I happen to like minor details like that, even if they are considered a little silly by some. Hey, who you calling fan boy?
If you're up for a truly hilarious ride, then step back and view the world through the Solomon's eyes in "3rd Rock from the Sun", you won't be disappointed.