The Sopranos: The Complete Third Season

The Sopranos: The Complete Third Season (2001)
HBO Home Video
Cast: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco
Extras: Commentaries, Episodic recaps and previews, Behind-the-scenes featurette

To some, New Jersey means toxic waste, big hair and Bon Jovi. To me, a New Jersey native, it means only one thing: The Sopranos. Sure, HBO’s mob masterpiece has gunned its way into the hearts and minds of mainstream America, but the series painstaking attention to detail is duly cherished by residents of the Garden State. From a carton of Farmland milk, to The Star Ledger newspaper and numerous Jersey locales, the effort put forth to retain a consistent level of authenticity never ceases to amaze me.

The same care and quality is evident in the Soprano’s DVD presentations. The first two seasons on DVD are prime templates on how to produce multi-disc sets. From the glossy packaging and copy writing to the breezy menu navigation and pristine transfer, all bases are covered and HBO should be commended for their efforts.

Season 3 is another fine addition to the Sopranos DVD family. The picture is razor sharp and the colors are impeccably accurate. The opening scene at a frat house party in Episode 8 ’He Is Risen’, for example, is a stunner. Florescent orange and green writing on the frat house walls jump out against a vibrant blue backdrop.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is solid. Dialogue is clear, natural and never sounds tinny. Remember, this is a dialogue-driven series, so don’t expect much activity from the rear channels or sub woofer, capiche?

Bonus features provide valuable insight into the minds of the shows creators. Episodic commentaries by Writer/Actor Michael Imperiolli, Director Steve Buscemi and Writer/Director David Chase are all lively and engaging. Listening to Imperiolli’s commentary for ’The Telltale Moozadell’, an episode he penned, is like sitting on a barstool at the Bada-Bing! while shooting the breeze about the finer points in casting, scouting and writing.

A behind-the-scenes featurette pays a set visit to the Silver Cup Studios in New York City. Hosted by Karen Duffy, and less than five minutes long, this is nothing more than a tease as only a few cast members are ’interviewed’ by Duffy in her typical goofy style. It’s fun to watch, but ends up being more disappointing than AJ’s report card.

If you’ve already plunked down the cash for the first two seasons, be prepared to fork your wallet over to HBO for a third time. America’s favorite dysfunctional family is up to their usual bag of tricks in Season 3 so be a wiseguy and make this DVD a permanent addition to your library.