VERONICA MARS was one of those really good shows that suffered a cruel and all too typical fate- too much network tinkering, which resulted in a slow demise, followed by network euthanasia (cancellation) and a headstone in the television graveyard. This isn’t to say that the final season of VERONICA MARS was without merit, the characters are still great, but the slow, season long build up to a big payoff, gave way to mysteries that were solved over a shorter span of episodes and finally to one-off stories.
The premise of VERONICA MARS follows the exploits of its title character, a really cool, really hot college student, who moonlights as a private detective- think Nancy Drew with tons of sex appeal. Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) came by extracurricular calling by way of working for her father Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) in his small time detective agency, that is, after he was ousted as the town’s sheriff. Season three of VERONICA MARS finds our young protagonist beginning her first year of college in her hometown on Neptune, CA. The two big mysteries that play out during the third and final season of VERONICA MARS involve first finding out the identity of a campus rapist and then solving murder of a faculty member. The season three cast of VERONICA MARS also features Francis Capra, Julie Gonzalo, Percy Daggs III, Chris Lowell, Jason Dohring, Ryan Hansen, Tina Majorino and Michael Muhney.
VERONICA MARS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON ($60) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features the following twenty episodes that were aired in the show’s final year: Welcome Wagon, My Big Fat Greek Rush Week, Witchita Linebacker, Charlie Don't Surf, President Evil, Hi, Infidelity, Of Vice And Men, Lord Of The Pi's, Spit & Eggs, Show Me The Monkey, Poughkeepsie, Tramps & Thieves, There's Got To Be A Morning After Pill, Postgame Mortem, Mars, Bars, Papa's Cabin, Un-American Graffiti, Debasement Tapes, I Know What You'll Do Next Summer, Weevils Wobble But They Don't Go Down and The Bitch Is Back.
Warner Home Video has made all twenty episodes that comprise VERONICA MARS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. In general, the episodes look really nice, delivering a sharp and reasonably well-defined image. Sure, sometimes things look a little soft, but for a television series, there is nothing here that seems out of sorts. Colors have a good level of saturation and the flesh tones are appealing. Blacks deep, whites are crisp and contrast goes somewhat beyond what one normally finds at the broadcast level. The film elements from which the episodes have been transferred appear clean, although one will notice a mild grain structure across the episodes. Digital compression artifacts are never bothersome.
All the episodes that comprise VERONICA MARS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. Sure, the mixes are good, but this is a talky television drama and the sound design doesn’t break the mold. As expected, the forward soundstage remains dominant, with the rear channels providing occasional active effects, ambient sounds, and some musical fill. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but French and Spanish subtitles are provided.
The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, plus the supplemental content. Season 4 Presentation (promo to sell the network on a retooled version of the series, set several years in the future, in which our heroine has become a rookie FBI agent). Pitching Season 4 (interview program looking at the creative team’s effort to create the promo, from concept to finished film, in less than two weeks). Going Undercover With Rob Thomas (a very lengthy look at season three featuring the creative team). Additional Scenes With Introductions By Show Creator Rob Thomas (self explanatory). A Webisode Gallery and Gag Reel close out the extras.
VERONICA MARS was one of the better shows on television. Sure season three wasn’t the series highlight, but it was entertaining (the season four concept certainly showed promise). Warner has done their usual fine job with their DVD set of VERONICA MARS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON.
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