Plot: What’s it about?
When Fox was just an upstart and no one gave the network a chance, it was decided that the newcomer needed to stand out from the others. And we all know how that happened, as Fox turned into the network with attitude, running numerous controversial shows and while most failed, some became smash hits. One of the network’s first winners was Married with Children, the story of a born loser and his outrageous household. Al Bundy, played to perfection by Ed O’Neill), became a cult icon, a kind of everyman who suffered endless humiliation, but pushed onward and stuck to his guns, even in the face of certain disaster. Bundy was cheap, boorish, and crude, but he loved his family, even if he didn’t often pour his heart out. Add in lazy, greedy housewife Peggy (Katey Segal), disgruntled son Bud (David Faustino), and dumb, slutty daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate), and you have one of television’s first true dysfunctional families. The show was highly popular, even when some groups claimed it was too offensive and some sponsors pulled out, as new ones would buy in and the series remained a success. So it is natural to see the show hit DVD and much to the delight of fans, Columbia has now issued the entire third season.
As I said above, fans of this show finally have reason to rejoice, as some complete seasons are now available. This show was such a success, it was obvious it would be released at some point, but Columbia first issued a couple of single disc editions. These releases contained several episodes, but ones from different seasons, with no real pattern. So fans were let down, but after a long wait, Columbia has come to its senses and given us what we wanted. Now in this three disc collection, you can watch all twenty-two episodes from the third season of Married With Children, not to mention the reunion special. So trace this landmark series from the very start, then check out the further seasons as they’re released. A lot of shows don’t hit their stride for a few seasons and in truth, Married with Children is no exception. After a few seasons however, Al and his family hit the gas and the rest was history. This third season is perhaps one of the best from the entire run, with a host of hilarious, classic episodes to revisit and enjoy all over again. These episodes have tons of hilarious moments, from Al’s usual hijinks to wild times with the neighbors, back when Steve was still around. I do want to mention that the wonderful Love and Marriage song from the opening credits is absent here, perhaps due to some kind of musical rights issue, but in truth, that doesn’t hold back this release. So if you’re even a casual fan, you won’t want to miss Married with Children: The Complete Third Season.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. These look as good as you want, as the prints look terrific and minimal defects surface. In other words, the episodes are as clean and clear as when they were first shown, though of course, DVD adds a little to the overall sharpness and refinement. The colors are bright and don’t miss a beat, while contrast is accurate and well balanced also. There is some softness, but the show has always looked this way and by turn, that’s how it should be presented in this edition. So not much else we could want, as these episodes look better than ever.
Audio: How does it sound?
A stereo option is included for each episode, which is more than adequate to handle this kind of material. The audio has a solid presence here, better than on most of the syndicated airings that I remember watching, in fact. But given the dialogue driven nature of the show, there isn’t much room for anything beyond the basics. Even so, the audience sounds lively and what limited sound effects emerge sound as good as ever, so no worries. The main focus here is on the ribald dialogue, which comes through loud and clear at all times.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes the infamous “lost” episode, as well as a slew of hidden interviews, if you’re inclined to chase those down.