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Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third Season (2006-2007)

Buena Vista Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 9/4/2007

All Ratings out of
Show: 1/2
Video: 1/2
Audio: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/3/2007

The release of television shows on DVD has meant many things. It allows viewers the chance to re-watch shows which they loved. It allows viewers to experience a show that they didn't know about/ignored/forgot to watch during its initial run. Or, it can allow viewers to give shows a second chance. After watching the first two seasons of Desperate Housewives (the first on DVD and the second during first-run), I gave up on the third season after just a few shows. The series didn't seem to be going anywhere, and, frankly, I had better things to do. So, I'm glad that I'm able to give the show a chance to redeem itself with the release of Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third Season.

(Author's Note: In order to review Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third Season, I must divulge some plot points from both Season Two and Season Three, so if you don't want any spoilers, read with caution. -- ML) As Season Two of Desperate Housewives drew to a close, several things were happening. Mike (James Denton) was on his way to propose to Susan (Teri Hatcher), when he was hit by a car driven by Orson (Kyle McLachlan), Bree's (Marcia Cross) new boyfriend. Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) and Carlos (Ricardo Chavira) decided to get a divorce. Lynette (Felicity Huffman) learned that her husband, Tom (Doug Savant), has an illegitimate child.

These storylines (and others) continue at the outset of Season 3. Mike is in a coma and Susan stays by his side. While in the hospital, she meets Ian (Dougray Scott), whose wife is in a coma, and they begin a flirtatious relationship. Orson and Bree decide to get married, but their wedding is interrupted by the police, who have found a dead body and want to tie Orson to the crime. As Gabrielle and Carlos go ahead with their divorce proceedings, their relationship crumbles ever further. Tom's illegitimate child becomes a part of the Scavo's family. Of course, as the season progresses, the plots begin to grow. When Mike awakens from his coma, he has amnesia, and the scandalous Edie (Nicollette Sheridan) convinces Mike that he's her boyfriend. The fact that the police questioned Orson has raised Bree's suspicions about the man, and the more that she learns about the murder, the more guilty he looks. Tom decides to follow his dream and open a pizza parlor and he drags Lynette along with him. And Gabrielle doesn't find being single to her liking.

As I watched the DVDs of Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third Season, I began to remember why I had stopped watching the show in the first place. Obviously, Desperate Housewives is nothing more than a soap opera. Yes, it has bigger stars and more lavish sets, but it's a soap opera. But, it does contain more than a mild dash of humor. The first season, which was built around a year-long murder-mystery, elevated the medium as it took the typical sex-and-scandal soapy minutia and blended it with comedy and mystery. That nearly perfect season spawned two more seasons which has been very broad and nowhere near as focused.

Season 3 attempts to take the show back to its roots by introducing a new murder-mystery and giving us another crew of suspects. This aspect of the season is actually quite interesting, but it can't overshadow the show's flaws. This show has gotten somewhat redundant and at times, it feels as if the characters keep doing the same things over and over. This is the kind of show which has detailed, twisty plots, but it's essentially character driven. And if you don't like the characters, then you won't like the show. And I've found that I really don't like the characters. OK, I don't exactly hate them, but they keep making the same mistakes over and over. I realize that in real life, we all have behavior patterns, but the patterns of the characters on Desperate Housewives have made the show predictable. Anytime Lynette sticks her nose into someone else's business, we know that she's going to get burned for it. When Susan needs to be poised, she does something clumsy. (There's actually an episode built around this idea.) There's nothing wrong with the characters feeling familiar, but a show like this should be full of surprises.

If one wanted to be cruel, one could accuse the powers-that-be at Desperate Housewives of being lazy, but the show does have some inspired moments in Season 3. The seventh episode, entitled "Bang!", reminds us of just how good this show can be. This episode is filled with drama, suspense, and a very shocking ending. (It's not surprising to note that this episode aired during sweeps.) And although it is dragged out a bit too long, the Orson murder plot is very intriguing. These shows, combined with the occasionally laugh-out-loud humor on the show, prove that Desperate Housewives hasn't lost all of its zing. But, the cyclical storylines, and the fact that the characters can be very one-dimensional at times, does hurt the show. When compared to other shows out there, Desperate Housewives is still one of the better ones, but it needs to find a way to consistently maintain its quality.

Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third Season connives its way to DVD courtesy of Buena Vista Home Entertainment. This boxed-set contains all 23 episodes from Season 3 spread out across six discs. The episodes are presented in their original 16 x 9 format and the shows have been letterboxed at 1.78:1. The transfer looks very good, as the image is very sharp and clear. I detected some very mild grain in some of the daytime shots, but otherwise the picture looks very good. I noted no overt video noise, artifacting, or haloes. The colors look very good, as this show revels in both bold reds and greens, as well as pastels. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. There are some nice stereo effects, and some somewhat weak surround effects during crowd scenes or musical cues. As this is a dialogue-driven show, the audio is adequate, but it could have been better.

All of the extras for Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third Season are house on Disc 6. "On Set with Eva" (6 minutes) has behind-the-scenes footage of Eva Longoria plays on-set as well as comments from the cast about her. "Here Comes the Bride" (8 minutes) examines the wedding episodes from Season 3 and has comments from costume designer Catherine Adair and production designer Tom Welsh. Series Creator Marc Cherry views clips from a Latin version of the show in "Amas de Casa Deseperadas" (6 minutes). "Desperate Moments" (8 minutes) gives an overview of the season with the cast members talking about their characters. In "Cherry-Picked: Creator Marc Cherry's Favorite Scenes" (8 minutes), we are treated to six fine scenes from the third season. The DVD sports 8 DELETED SCENES which can be viewed with commentary from Cherry. Most are nothing substantial, but two were clearly cut because they would have dampened a surprise. Finally, we have a 3-minute BLOOPERS reel.

Review Copyright 2007 by Mike Long