Columbo: The Complete Third Season

Columbo: The Complete Third Season (1974)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Peter Falk, Vincent Price, Donald Pleasance, Martin Sheen, Johnny Cash
Extras: Bonus Episode

Once again the bumbling LAPD detective is back at it again as Universal Home Entertainment is releasing ’Columbo: The Complete Third Season.’ This season includes some of my favorite episodes of the show, most notably ’Any Old Port In A Storm’ starring Donald Pleasance. But also look for a young Martin Sheen and Vincent Price in this season, as well as Vera Miles, Ida Lupino, Johnny Cash and many others.

Universal Home Entertainment is presenting the show in a fullframe presentation on this release that is generally solid. The image shows a bi of grain in select shots and segments but it’s never overly distracting. The look of the show is noticeably dated with its muted color palette, the interior designs and the costumes, but to me it adds a lot of flair to the show. Depending on the episode, black levels range from very good to weak, and occasionally you will notice blacks breaking in shots with deep shadows. Universal has crammed almost 700 minutes of content on two double-sided DVDs, causing some compression problems on occasion as material is visibly losing definition, giving the image a flat look. Overall it is an acceptable presentation, though, considering the show’s age and general limitations.

The audio on the release is the original mono track, presented in a Dolby 2.0 presentation. It sounds a bit harsh at times with a limited frequency response. It also sounds a bit compressed at time with its limited frequency response – both however limitations of the productions themselves. Nonetheless a remastering of the audio would have gone a long way to make this a more contemporary presentation.

As an extra, the DVD also contains a bonus episode from ’Mrs. Columbo’ starring Star Trek Voyager’s Kate Mulgrew as the detective’s sleuthing wife.

’Columbo: The Complete Third Season’ is nicely continuing the line of ’Columbo’ releases and fans of the show will certainly want to sink their teeth into this DVD set as well.