Supernatural: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Andreas Petersen (15th December 2008).
The Show

I always find it hard to jump into the middle of a serialized television show, especially if itís at the beginning of the third season. Iím the sort of person who likes to watch something from the beginning, mainly at the risk of having no idea what the hell is going on. With this in mind, I tried to watch the 3rd season of The CWís "Supernatural," and tried to judge the show on what I was watching, not what I had missed in the previous two seasons.

The first episode begins with a story-so-far sort of montage, quickly flashing images set to bad ass music, with characters doing things in situations that I had no clue about. Within 30 seconds of watching the first episode, I felt completely lost, again itís hard to get upset with the show for this, but there is NO effort made to clue the viewer into what has happened over the last two seasons, and this was sort of frustrating, as I had to rely my knowledge of the showís past plots with what was happening in the present, the back of the Blu-ray box, and Wikipedia.

From what I can tell, "Supernatural" is about two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles). The two like to drive around in their í67 Impala, and hunt demonic monsters, Ala "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997-2003) or "The X-Files" (1993-2002). At some point in the recent past, the two brothers somehow opened up some sort of gate to hell, and a bunch of evil spirits escaped and now roam the earth, flying into peopleís mouths, and possessing them. Also, Dean has made some sort of deal with the devil to save his brotherís life, and in return, Dean now has one year to live before he has to take his last trip to hell.

I had a hard time trying to figure out exactly what kind of show "Supernatural" wanted to be. I feel as though it is caught between some sort of limbo of trying to be really funny, but also trying to be really bad-ass at the same time, and for me personally, it falls flat on both fronts. None of the witty jokes are actually witty, and feel like an untested snark or some sort of Sawyer-reject dialogue. When it comes to action, I was never really thrilled, either because the fight choreography never really goes beyond someone throwing a punch, and when it does dip into the realm of 'supernatural fights' the special effects are laughably terrible, looking suspiciously similar to the effects I can make on my computer using a $100 dollar particle effect program. I know I shouldnít knock the show for lame effects, because the aforementioned "Buffy" had some terrible special effects, and is still one of my favorite TV shows of all time. The difference was that shows like "Buffy" and "The X-Files" had heart and character. I cared about Xander. I cared about Mulder. For some reason, I donít feel like I was given any reason to care about Deanís countdown to death, which leads to an ultimately rushed conclusion, brought on by the recent WGA strike.

Perhaps if I had been watching this show from the beginning, Iíd care a bit more. But, I havenít, and this is the perspective I can offer you. If you are looking to hop into it mid-show, I have to imagine youíd be just as lost as me. If the show seems like something youíd like, I have to recommend starting from the beginning, because for me, it just wasnít any fun.

This set includes all 16 season three episodes, they are:

- "The Magnificent Seven" The season premiere, in which Sam and Dean regroup after freeing the demons that they let out in season two.
- "The Kids Are Alright" Sam and Dean do battle with changelings. A new comer Ruby (Katie Cassidy), comes in to lend a helping hand.
- "Bad Day at Black Rock" The brothers discover a rabbit foot that seems to bring them good luck, which of course isnít the whole story.
- "Sin City" The brothers head to a small town in Ohio where two demons have taken over, making people act violently towards each other.
- "Bedtime Stories" The brothers investigate a little girl who has been poisoned by her stepmother, and is trapped in a coma. The little girlís spirit becomes restless, and takes bedtime stories read to her by her father, and uses them as inspiration to kill.
- "Red Sky at Morning" The brothers investigate a drowning that may have been caused by the ghost of a drowning victim.
- "Fresh Blood" An old friend breaks out of prison and attempts to catch up with the brothers, but is soon kidnapped by a vampire, and Sam and Dean have to make an impossible decision.
- "A Very Supernatural Christmas" The brothers do battle with cannibalistic pagans, while also re-living memories from a Christmas many years ago.
- "Malleus Maleficraum" The brothers do battle with a group of witches, while Rubyís story is explained further.
- "Dream a Little Dream of Me" Bobby (Jim Beaver) slips into a supernatural coma, and the brothers have to get him out of it.
- "Mystery Spot" They basically ripped off "Groundhogís Day" (1993) for this one.
- "Jus in Bello" Sam and Dean are arrested, and have to deal with demons in prison.
- "Ghostfacers!" The brothers have to deal with two nerds making a reality show based around the supernatural, while at the same time hunting demons.
- "Long-Distance Call" They basically ripped off "One Missed Call" (2008) for this one.
- "Time is on My Side" The brothers find a really old doctor from the 1800ís who harvests organs to stay alive forever.
- "No Rest For The Wicked" In the season finale, time has caught up to Dean, who will be dead within a day. The brothers summon the help of all their friends to figure out how to rid the curse, while encountering their worst enemy.

Video

Supernatural is presented in a 1080p 24/fps HD transfer in 1.78:1 widescreen created using VC-1 compression, and I have to admit it looks pretty amazing on Blu-ray. While most shows jump to HD without care or precision, "Supernatural" looks to be the definition of what a currently-running show should look like on the format. There is limited grain and noise, and the colors look amazing on my 1080p television. The show is definitely dark, with much of the action taking place in the shadows, and I never had trouble telling what was going on.

Audio

"Supernatural" is offered with a Dolby Digital English 5.1 surround sound track, as well as Japanese and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround tracks. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track serves the purpose of the show well enough, but I was never blown away, at least no like I was with the picture quality. The sound was clear, but I wish the show had been offered with HD sound, something I have come to expect from all Blu-rays. However, I canít knock the decent track, just because it isnít amazingly stellar.
Optional subtitles are included in Danish, English HoH, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.

Extras

The "Supernatural: Completed Third Season" box set includes featurettes, episode examinations, and a gag reel, which are examined more closely below:

DISC ONE:

The first disc includes 4 Scene Specific Examinations, in which a person involved with that particular episode are interviewed, offering insight pertaining to a particular scene. Overall, I didnít find these interviews too interesting, as they only served to further my confusion on how seriously the show takes itself. Many of the interviews include moments of deep reflection over events in the show that I felt were silly. They are:

- "The Magnificent Seven" running for 2 minutes and 19 seconds, in which executive producer Kim Manners is interviewed.
- "The Kids Are Alright" running for 3 minutes and 6 seconds, in which series creator Eric Kripke is interviewed.
- "Bad Day At Black Rock" running for 2 minutes and 42 seconds, in which writer Ben Edlund is interviewed.
- "Red Sky At Morning" running for 3 minutes and 37 seconds, in which visual effect supervisor Ivan Hayden is interviewed.

DISC TWO:

"Ghostfacers! Confessionals" extended scenes, runs for 16 minutes and 3 seconds, is an un-cut run of jokes by the two characters of the "Ghostfacers!" episode. This feature serves to offer some candid moments, as most of the dialogue seems to be improvised. While I didnít particularly like the episode this feature is based around, there were a few moments here that made me chuckle.

The second disc also includes 3 Scene Specific Examinations. Again, I just feel like Kripke is taking his vision of the show way too seriously in these interviews, but for what ever reason, I felt that writer Sera Gamble was much more likable and interesting. They include:

- "A Very Supernatural Christmas" running for 3 minutes and 5 seconds, in which series creator Eric Kripke is interviewed again.
- "Dream a Little Dream of Me" running for 4 minutes and 5 seconds, in which Eric Kripke is interviewed yet again.
- "Jus in Bello" running for 3 minutes and 22 seconds, in which episode writer Sera Gamble is interviewed.

DISC THREE:

"From Legends to Reality: Supernatural Effects" featurette, running for 23 minutes and 6 seconds, is a overly long making-of concerning the showís visual effects. This clip was particularly funny because I found the special effects of the show to be ridiculously tacky. Crew of the show are interviewed, going on about how their ultimate goal is to get into the shot and out, with no trace of VFX left behind, aiming to be seamless. They fail miserably, and at times I felt like that had to either be incredibly ignorant towards how terrible the special effects of the show were, or just joking themselves.

"Supernatural Impala" featurette, which runs for 5 minutes and 17 seconds, offers an interesting look behind the men responsible for every aspect concerning cars on the show. Seeing as how Iím a sucker for old hardtop cars, I was actually pretty interested in this featurette. People on this show seem oddly drawn towards the power behind the symbol of an old car, and that is something I can fully get behind.

A gag reel rounds out the extras, running for 7 minutes and 55 seconds, is offered as well. In this, you will see cast member flub lines, set to goofy music. Some people are really into gag reels, and sometimes they can be funny, but honestly, this one left me stone-faced the entire time. Just because someone messes up one word of their dialogue, that doesnít make it funny.

Packaging

Packaged in a deluxe Blu-ray case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Show: D+ Video: A Audio: B+ Extras: C+ Overall: C

 


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