New on DVD this week? The complete third season of Chuck! Even though I didn’t love season three as much as one or two, I still enjoyed way more than season six of The Office and season five of Supernatural. Why must studios make everything a competition? I buy more TV on DVD than your average consumer but even I can’t justify spending that much money all at once. If they’d just spread these releases out over the summer a bit more, I’d be more likely to give them my money. Instead I’ll just wait for those other two to go on sale for much more reasonable* prices.
I bought my Chuck blu-ray at Best Buy because I had a $5 reward certificate that knocked the release week sale price of $45.99 to $40.99. Target’s $49.99 just couldn’t compete, especially since they weren’t offering any exclusive special features. Of course, if you don’t mind waiting for it to be shipped, you can also get it on Amazon at the $45.99 price. Don’t wait too long though; those prices are likely to jump back up to list price after the weekend.
Ok, now that the pricing thing is out of the way let’s talk about the set itself. The packaging is lovely, as usual, with lots of photos from the season sprinkled throughout. They didn’t change anything with the outside packaging which, as you probably know, is a huge check in the plus column for me. Season three matches her sisters season one and two perfectly on my shelf. Ok, that’s a lie, season one is a smidge smaller than the others because it was just a slip case that year but the artwork all matches so it’s barely noticeable. They did change the artwork on the front of the inside booklet, switching it out for the artwork from the Comic-Con poster I love so much (see the picture to the left). It’s not quite the same as having that poster to hang on my wall (come on, WB folks, sell it already!), it is kind of perfect for the purposes of autographs.
This season’s set has the least number of extras yet. Not that I didn’t enjoy the few that are included but, given that it was a shorter season than the previous year and these sets were still the most expensive yet, I guess I was kind of hoping they’d tried to balance it out with a few more extras. There’s the yearly gag reel (which I saw pop up online before the discs were even on shelves) and it’s great, as expected. Even my friends, who don’t watch the show, got a kick out of it. There’s also a nice featurette from the cast and crew, “Chuck-Fu…and Dim Sum: Becoming a Spy Guy,” that’s a nice light behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making Chuck. And “The Jeffster Revolution: The Definitive Mockumentary” is as hilarious as you’d expect. Even the credits made me laugh out loud. Finally, there’s a decent selection of deleted or, as they’re known in Buy Moria, “Declassified Scenes” from several of the season’s episodes. I’m not going to lie; the continued lack of commentaries is the real disappointment here. Especially with this crew, I love hearing them talk about working on the show and would appreciate even one or two commentaries focused the key episodes in each season.
The disc menus and transitions are great as always. I rarely have a complaint in that area when it comes to Warner Brothers. They are good at keeping DVD artwork, screens, and menus consistent with the look of the show. That remains the same here. My one complaint is about how the episode menus function differently than the deleted scene menus. The episodes are listed left to right instead of up and down in columns. The deleted scenes are the exact opposite. I prefer up and down columns but, either way, the change in navigation in different menus is confusing. More than once I watched things out of order because I forgot how to move through the list in that section of the disc.
Overall, the complete third season of Chuck is definitely worth owning, whether you buy the DVDs or Blu-ray. (Though I must admit I absolutely prefer watching this show in high definition myself.) And, while I could have done with a few more extras for what is probably the most expensive Chuck set yet, I’m also okay with taking my wallet out to support this show.
PS: In case you’re wondering, “Chuck vs. the Beard” and “Chuck vs. the Honeymooners” are still my favorite episodes of season three. Morgan’s giddiness when he finds out Chuck is a spy never fails to bring a smile to my face. And who among Chuck fans can resist the amazingness of Chuck and Sarah fighting while handcuffed to each other?! Thank goodness this show returns (Monday, September 20th @ 8PM on NBC) in a little over a week!
* Actually, The Office regular DVDs were only $29.99 at my local Target. A great price if you’re a huge Office fan and aren’t buying blu-ray yet.