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Rating: TV 14 (Dialogue, Language, Sex, Violence)
Running Time: 1105 minutes
Starring: Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigel, Chandra Wilson, Isaiah Washington, T.R. Knight, Kate Walsh
Retail Price: $59.99
Features: Extended Episodes, Audio Commentaries, Making Rounds With Patrick Dempsey, Shades Of Grey: One on One with Ellen Pompeo, Prescription For Success: Jane Doe Unmasked, Unaired Scenes, Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scenes (8 or 9 per episode), Seven-Disc Set
Released: September 11th, 2007
All twenty-five episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and are nearly flawless. Color saturation is vibrant (the blues of Seattle Grace really stand out), and fleshtones are dead on. Detail is pretty phenomenal, and the overall image quality on these episodes are vivid and sharp. The only flaws are some noise and edge halos, and the exterior night scenes seem to be a bit grainy and wishy-washy. Other than those instances though, this is high quality and TV-on-DVD done right.
Also standing out are the English Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks on all the episodes. The mixes are great, with fine dynamic range, decent subwoofer use and high fidelity. Dialogue is very crisp and easy to hear, while the surround effects are pretty boisterous and add life: be it the subtle background noises of the medical machines, or the more obvious like the Ferry accident in episode 15. The show's popular music choices are also mixed really well through the channels, so that they don't overwhelm but are really this subtle undercurrent that mixes seamlessly into the fabric of the show. Well done. Also included are subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
First up, some of these episodes are - as the packaging says - "seriously extended." I'm not much of a Grey's fan to tell you what's longer about these episodes, but I'm sure you die-hard fanatics who blare The Fray from your car's stereo will know.
Next, three Audio Commentaries are peppered throughout the set: disc one features comments from actresses Kate Walsh and Chandra Wilson on the episode "Time Has Come Today," disc three features comments from actresses Ellen Pompeo and Kate Burton on "Wishin' and Hopin" and disc six features Sandra Oh all alone talking about the episode "Desire." The only commentary that stands out a bit is from the delightful Sandra Oh, who's pretty peppery (and who hasn't seen the episode before the viewing) and comes out really honest, as far as the actors and why she felt the episode was "ignored." She has some fun remarks, but also touches upon why she thinks it's a strong episode. It's not perfect - Oh narrates on-screen action, says the obvious, and is quite at times - but at least she's mostly entertaining, and seems to enjoy being there.
Unfortunately, the other two commentaries don't stand out and I can only recommend them to the most die-hard of "Grey's" fans. There are gaps of silence, and the comments are pretty basic overall... it's as if the actors are just there unwinding, kind-of celebrating what they do. Most of them give little cute anecdotes about their lives or from the set, but it's nothing that really resonates. I did learn though that Kate Burton has never been to Seattle, and Ellen Pompeo has been there twice (gasp!).
The seventh and final disc has the video-based supplements, all (but one) in anamorphic widescreen. Making Rounds With Patrick Dempsey lasts about ten-and-a-half minutes. This really has nothing to do with the show, but gives a look at the "Can't Buy Me Love" star's passion off the set: racing. In this featurette, creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes, producers Betsey Beers and Rob Corn and some of the cast gush about Dempsey's love of cars, and then we're treated to his practicing and actual racing at Miami-Homestead track. Dempsey talks about what racing means to him, and his pit crew praise him. Yes, the passion is real and you can't fault Dempsey for that. McDreamy fans will probably enjoy it since they get a different look at Dempsey's life. But honestly, this is pure fluff - I really prefer featurettes that are more relevant to what we have seen on screen than what we can pick up on a gossip blog or a weekly tabloid.
Shades Of Grey: One on One with Ellen Pompeo lasts nine minutes. This is better than the Dempsey featurette. The piece has Beers, Rhimes, and cast members (including Dempsey in the racetrack stands!) praising Pompeo, and is peppered with clips from the series. But mostly, it's Pompeo in her scrubs talking about her craft and the challenges of working on series television. The insights aren't astounding, but Pompeo seems to be enjoying herself and does take her job seriously. She also reflects on some of her more memorable moments from the third season. Not bad... but still kinda fluffy.
Prescription For Success: Jane Doe Unmasked runs nearly nine minutes as well. It features Elizabeth Reaser, who played Jane Doe/Ava in the third season. Shonda Rhimes, Rob Corn and Betsy Beers talk about how important Reaser's acting skills were, while Reaser gives her take on the role and the challenges of all that heavy make-up. The application of the gruesome make-up is highlighted too, with make-up artists extradonaires Bari and Tom Burman talking about their work and us getting glimpses of how they do it (very impressive). Other cast members also chime in about Reaser. This is the most entertaining and insightful extra on this set.
Dissecting Grey's Anatomy: Unaired Scenes features eleven scenes cut from a variety of episodes in glittering anamorphic widescreen. Unfortunately, with the exception of one key scene, there are no comments or introductions to put these cuts in context. Still, it's about an extra 13 minutes with all your favorite staffers from Seattle Grace.
Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes is in non-anamorphic widescreen (gasp!) as the producers and cast recall their favorite moments from the third season (it lasts nearly 9 minutes and 30 seconds). Finally, there's In Stitches: Season 3 Outtakes that lasts a little over four minutes. Some cute moments, but nothing too hilarious - just a lot of smiles and improvised moments.
Of course, all smiles and nothing about the Isaiah Washington controversy (not that I expected it). Interestingly enough, Washington is missing as a talking head from the extras.
I know a lot of fans were disappointed with the third season of "Grey's Anatomy," but even if it may have been disappointing overall, it's still a given many are going to be buying this set. The transfer and 5.1 mixes are top notch, but hopefully the fourth season DVD set will have featurettes that are less fluffy, and maybe some commentaries from some of the show's writers and directors - I'd be keen to hear their takes on the series. All things considered though, this is a decent buy. Scrub up, Grey's fans...