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Case Number 19860

Buy Private Practice: The Complete Third Season at Amazon

Private Practice: The Complete Third Season

ABC Studios // 2009 // 989 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // October 7th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge Kent Dixon used to like to play doctor, but the other kids always made him the proctologist.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Private Practice: The Complete First Season (published December 10th, 2008) and Private Practice: The Complete Second Season (published October 5th, 2009) are also available.

The Charge

With a prescription for a healthy dose of romance, drama, and heartwarming moments, Private Practice makes perfect.

The Case

The medical professionals of Oceanside Wellness Group are among the best in their fields, focusing all their attention on providing their patents with the best possible care. But after-hours, these consummate professionals find their own problems and challenges are often more than they can manage. While Private Practice continues to grow and develop its own style, there's still far too much leaning on Grey's Anatomy for this fan's liking.

All 23 episodes of Private Practice: The Complete Third Season are included:

Disc One
•  "A Death in the Family"
•  "The Way We Were"
•  "Right Here, Right Now"
•  "Pushing the Limits"

Disc Two
•  "Strange Bedfellows"
•  "Slip Slidin' Away"
•  "The Hard Part"
•  "Sins of the Father"
•  "The Parent Trap"

Disc Three
•  "Blowups"
•  "Another Second Chance"
•  "Best Laid Plans"
•  "Shotgun"
•  "Love Bites"

Disc Four
•  "Til Death Do Us Part"
•  "Fear of Flying"
•  "Triangles"
•  "Pulling the Plug"
•  "Eyes Wide Open"

Disc Five
•  "Second Choices"
•  "War"
•  "In the Name of Love"
•  "The End of a Beautiful Friendship"

When Private Practice first debuted in 2007, it was a fresh show with a strong ensemble cast, led by Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh, Legion). Montgomery, a fan-favorite character from Grey's, left Seattle Grace and her family to start a new life in SoCal. Surrounded by skilled colleagues Pete Wilder (Tim Daly, Wings), Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald, A Raisin in the Sun), Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein, Hack), Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland, The Grudge), Dell Parker (Chris Lowell, Up in the Air), Sheldon Wallace (Brian Benben, Dream On), Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone, Power Play), Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs, Rent) and Violet Cooper (Amy Brenneman, Heat), Addison embraced her new life and new practice with open arms.

After establishing the concept of the show, the characters, and their interrelationships in the first season, season two turned up the heat, bringing tension to friendships and drama to romances. The season finale hit fans with such a whopper of a cliffhanger that I honestly thought it would be hard for them to carry that momentum through. Following the brutal attack on Violet, one of the main story threads in Season Three was her long road to recovery; Amy Brenneman is one of the few actors who could have pulled this off without it seeming contrived or campy. Season Three also saw Pete and Addison getting together, Sheldon sleeping with Charlotte, Sam and Naomi dealing with their daughter's pregnancy and Dr. Amelia Shepherd, the younger sister of Addison's ex-husband Derek, arriving in town. Around the edges of these character arcs, this season dealt with post-traumatic stress, genetic engineering, electric shock therapy, terminal illness and a whole host of other controversial and emotional topics.

Looking back on my reviews of Season One and Season Two, I was very optimistic about the show, the high-caliber cast and the fact that it seemed somewhat lighter than Grey's Anatomy. It's probably a bad sign when a series I've been following for three seasons is already starting to bore me. Like its sister show, Private Practice is starting to feel too formulaic and too based in childish bedroom shenanigans. One of the most annoying things is that the core cast only seems capable of affairs and romantic relationships with each other. Are there really no other single adults in the greater Los Angeles area? I get that they're all busy medical professionals who may find it most convenient to sleep with folks just down the hall, but it's getting old. Maybe like M. Night Shyamalan, whose twist ending gimmick got old fast, two series based on the same core concept of people trying to lead normal lives in an extraordinary work environment, just can't sustain itself forever. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a fan, but the writing team needs to avoid some of the pitfalls that have tanked other promising series.

On a positive note, the audio and video presentations are solid all around; warm, saturated colors, a crisp image, and an audio mix that delivers all elements in balance, contributing to the overall viewing experience. Unlike some other ABC Studios full-season releases I've reviewed, Private Practice: The Complete Third Season is fairly short on bonus features. Aside from the standard blooper reel and deleted scenes, the one remaining feature—"Kate's Top Eight"—is worthwhile; Kate Walsh sharing her favorite eight elements that made Season Three special to her, including the location shoots, costumes, and character arcs. Why no episode commentaries, ABC?

The Verdict

Private Practice: The Complete Third Season added some new characters, increasing the dating pool and broadening the opportunity for new stories to be told, but the series is starting to go down the same been-there-done-that road as Grey's Anatomy. It remains to be seen whether not just one, but two ABC series with essentially the same format and foibles will last much longer, especially in today's fractured TV environment.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 92
Audio: 91
Extras: 70
Acting: 90
Story: 88
Judgment: 89

Perp Profile

Studio: ABC Studios
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English (SDH)
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 989 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
Genres:
• Drama
• Romance
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes
• Featurette
• Bloopers

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Official Site








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