Fox // 1973 // 613 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // March 22nd, 2006
"Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?"
The classic laughs keep coming and long-time fans are treated to the rapid release of The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- The Complete Third Season. But are the DVD releases keeping pace with the evolving quality of the show itself? Let's see...
Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) is the perpetually well-grounded professional woman, still single yet enjoying her time in bustling Minneapolis. No, she's not infallible nor unflappable, but she is determined to give her best effort, personally and professionally, in every situation. She's firmly endeared herself to her co-workers at the WJM-TV news office, even her cantankerous boss, Lou Grant (Ed Asner). Away from the office, she enjoys -- and sometimes deflects -- the camaraderie of her nearby neighbors, Rhoda (Valerie Harper) and Phyllis (Cloris Leachman). And while she's settling in to her third year in the metropolitan setting, Mary's finding many faces and places from her past are finding their way back into her life, often with unexpected results.
By the start of season three, The Mary Tyler Moore show had established itself as an early embodiment of "must-see TV." Flanked by other highly-rated sitcoms of the day -- the likes of M*A*S*H, All in the Family, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Hour, Mary's show served as an effective "bridge program" that carried the prime time viewers over to the later evening offerings, effectively motivating Americans to enjoy staying home on Saturday night. The writing remained top-notch and continued to anchor itself in the daffy realities of living single in a 1970s metropolis. While Mary played her role with slightly exaggerated exuberance (for comedy's sake), she likewise imbued an honesty in her character that spoke to and for women of the day. And, rather than simply bash the male characters around here, each was allowed a sustained if not increased dimensionality (yes, even Ted) that helped home audiences further bond with the enjoyable ensemble cast. The only notable difference in this third season seemed to come by way of Mary's wardrobe closet. While Mary was certainly never to be caught "underdressed," Season Three conspicuously featured Mary in a wider variety of fashions and fashion accessories. For some, this was (and, in respect to this DVD release, is) seen as a happy development while for others it acts as a bit of a distraction from the comedy at hand.
Following on the show's original increasing momentum, Fox Home Entertainment has followed suit to quickly release this third season set just six months behind the second season installment. In this three-disc boxed set, you'll find these 24 full-length episodes:
• "The Good-Time News"
• "What Is Mary Richards Like?"
• "Who's In Charge Here?"
• "Enter Rhoda's Parents"
• "It's Whether You Win Or Lose"
• "Rhoda the Beautiful"
• "Just Around the Corner"
• "But Seriously, Folks"
• "Farmer Ted and the News"
• "Have I Found a Guy for You"
• "You've Got a Friend"
• "It Was Fascination, I Know"
• "Operation: Lou"
• "Rhoda Morgenstern: Minneapolis to New York"
• "The Courtship of Mary's Father's Daughter"
• "Lou's Place"
• "My Brother's Keeper"
• "The Georgette Story"
• "Romeo and Mary"
• "What Do You Say When the Boss Says, 'I Love You'?"
• "Murray Faces Life"
• "Remembrance of Things Past"
• "Put On a Happy Face"
• "Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady"
Each episode is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame format as originally televised and each looks terrific. While it's not fully restored to any notable degree, the clarity and colorfulness of each episode is very good to near excellent. As with previous season releases, you'll detect occasional moments of source print damage or film dirt (again, most evident in the oft-reused pan in to the WJM-News office doors) but, overall, the transfers here are clean, crisp, unmarred by any noticeable compression defects. The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono track performs admirably.
The only drawback to Mary's digital world this time around is the absence of any extras. None. Zip. Zero. Thank goodness the episodes are so enjoyable because this omission on such an integral show in the history of television could easily torpedo a TV-to-DVD release. We'll let it slide this time with a frown and a finger-wagging for restitution in the Season Four set.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- The Complete Third Season is highly enjoyable and certainly a requisite entry in any TV buff's personal library. This is definitely a recommend "buy."
Fox Home Entertainment will be granted leniency here with a stern admonition to include extras in the next season's boxed set release. Otherwise, there isn't reason to penalize the fine cast and crew of the show nor the production team that has brought us this generally well-presented release.
Review content copyright © 2006 Dennis Prince; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 613 Minutes
Release Year: 1973
MPAA Rating: Not Rated