Plot: What’s it about?
Ellen (Ellen DeGeneres) is single, but she has a lot of friends and runs her own bookstore. Her friends are also single and have romance problems of their own, so she can relate. But of late, her life has thrown into chaos of sorts, both in personal and professional fields. She has owned the bookstore Buy the Book for a while, a job she has enjoyed to no end. But when an earthquake levels the store and leaves her business in ruins, Ellen decides maybe a new path is needed. Her friend Adam manages to get a break from the quake however, when his photo of Buy the Book’s rubble is picked up by a major magazine. Soon after, Ellen’s friend Paige catches a break in the movie business, then finds herself engaged to be married. All of this success in her friends’ lives makes Ellen take a hard look at her own life, but what will she decide?
Of course, this series became a household topic when star Ellen DeGeneres used it as a vehicle to announce she was a lesbian. But before that, Ellen was a popular show and I think the earlier seasons are now kind of pushed aside, which is a shame. I wouldn’t call this season or Ellen as a whole a sitcom classic, but this is solid stuff and the series provides solid entertainment. The plots are kind of basic, but in this third season, the show goes beyond the normal sitcom topics. This is also a season you need to watch in order, as themes are built over the course of the episodes and need to be taken in as a whole, not as disjointed fragments. The series also goes through some transitions here, as old friends leave and new characters arrive. Not to mention the changes Ellen herself goes through, which are substantial. I enjoyed revisiting this third season and while not a television landmark, I can recommend this season without hesitation.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. I found the transfers to be decent, but not without flaws. There is some light grain, but not enough to be worried about, though compression does prove to be somewhat of a problem. I noticed more than a few artifacts related to compression and while not major, I do think it needs to be mentioned. The colors look a touch off at times, but usually good and no contrast woes surface that I could detect. So not a flawless presentation, but with so many episodes packed onto the discs, you have to expect compression to be a concern.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a situation comedy, so the audio has no real duties outside of the show’s main element, dialogue. So the theme music sounds good and the basic sound effects come through, but the sole spotlight here shines down on the vocals. From Ellen’s paranoid rants to Spence’s sharp barbs, all the vocal work is in excellent form here. The whispers even sound clear as a bell in this release, so you won’t miss a single one-liner. Not a memorable presentation, but a solid one.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes some talent files, as well as a reel of bloopers.