Right up front let me say, NIGHT COURT remains one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. Of course, since the show now sees only limited syndication (at least in my market), I am glad the Warner is continuing to release NIGHT COURT on DVDÖ albeit it a rather slow fashion. The reason NIGHT COURT remains a personal favorite, is the goofy, but very likable quality of the show. Sure, the storylines of NIGHT COURT became more surreal as the seasons progressed, but at the center, the series was always very character driven, and said characters always managed to produce some truly hilarious moments.
The basic premise of NIGHT COURT center around the somewhat shabby New York City courtroom, filled with colorful characters that is presided over by Judge Harry T. Stone (Harry Anderson), an oddball adjudicator who loves magic tricks and Mel Torme. How Judge Stone managed to get appointed to the bench is a question that more than a few probably asked. Week after week, the courtroom setting allowed for a series even odder defendants to be brought before said oddball judge. Season three regulars on the NIGHT COURT included John Larroquette as lecherous District Attorney Dan Fielding, Markie Post as Public Defender Christine Sullivan, Richard Moll as bailiff Bull Shannon, Florence Halop as matron Florence Kleiner and Charles Robinson as court clerk Mac Robinson.
NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON ($30) comes in a three-disc set that features the following twenty-two episodes: Hello, Goodbye, The Hostage, Dad's First Date, Mac And Quon Le: No Reservations, Halloween, Too, Best Of Friends, Dan's Boss, Up On The Roof, The Wheels Of Justice Part 1, The Wheels Of Justice Part 2, Walk Away, Renee, Dan's Escort, The Night Off, Harry And Leon, The Apartment, Leon, We Hardly Knew Ye, The Mugger, Could This Be Magic?, Monkey Business, Flo's Retirement and Hurricane Part 1, Hurricane Part 2.
Warner Home Video has made has made all the episodes that comprise NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The episodes are certainly watchable, but are a victim of their own highly dated production techniques. NIGHT COURT was shot on NTSC video in the mid 1980ís, so the image quality is far removed from what we now see in high definition. To put it succinctly, the episodes appear a little soft and fuzzy. Color reproduction is adequate, and fortunately, not smeary. Blacks are fine, as are the whites. Flat sitcom lighting hamstrings the contrast; as does the mid-1980ís NTSC broadcast technology. An occasion drop out crops up here and there, but it is nothing that ever becomes distracting. Digital compression artifacts are not problematic.
All the episodes that constitute NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON are offered Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Fidelity is certainly acceptable, as this is nothing more than a dialogue driven sitcom with a laugh track. The soundtracks are free excessive hiss or any major distortions. Dialogue is fairly clean sounding, plus it is always intelligible. No other language tracks are provided, but English and French subtitles have been included.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features. No supplemental content has been provided.
NIGHT COURT is a great 1980ís sitcom and a personal favorite. Warnerís DVD release provides solid presentations, even if the videotape source materials are very far removed from high definition. Fans will definitely want to add NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON to their collections. Recommended- and I canít wait for season four!!!
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