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BEVERLY HILLS 90210
Season Three

Review by Mark Wiechman

Stars:  Jason Priestly, Shannen Doherty, Ian Ziering, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling
Video:  Color Full Screen
Audio:  Dolby Digital 2.0
Studio:  Paramount Home Video
Features:  None
Length:  Eight Discs, 29 episodes, 1371 Minutes
Release date: December 11, 2007

“What is it about guys that makes them suddenly want the one girl we can’t have?”

“I don’t know, I think it’s hormonal.”

Show **1/2

We continue the story of bold, beautiful, and very hormonal spoiled rich Beverly Hills teens who still suffer from so many of the same problems every teenager faces and yet managers to survive.   The bratty moussed-up pack is having fun the summer before senior year and we are along for the ride!

The first episode is a downer but then the season picks up and has plenty of fun in the sun.  Some reviewers have pointed out that Brandon spends a lot of time working and otherwise not having too many problems, catching all the breaks.  Brenda’s life is nothing but drama, mainly because she goes against her parents’ wishes to see Dylan, who has plenty of drama of his own.  Unfortunately, the last several episodes, including “A Night To Remember,” really hit new lows with the horribly unfair saga of Donna getting drunk, getting caught, and getting expelled just as all seniors were warned.   The episode right before that travesty, “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” must have been written by some intern.  It is essentially a story of a shyster who takes advantage of Brandon and the gang financially.  Burt Reynolds makes a brief cameo.  Granted, any drama series with this many episodes is bound to have a few stinkers, and they are fortunately toward the end.  The only good thing about these episodes is that we realize that Tori Spelling is really a very good actress, playing the part of the dim and innocent Catholic girl who blames herself and takes responsibility for her own mistakes.  In real life I am sure Miss Spelling is not so naive. 

These trends continue in the third season, with an oscillation between the two extremes much like a drunken gyroscope.  Maybe this was all on purpose to appeal to women’s love of drama and men’s distaste for it.  Though sometimes it reverses, such as Donna and Brenda traipsing through Paris and Brandon harboring real feelings for Brandon, then we see Kelly and Dylan slowing moving toward the inevitable betrayal of their friend. 

Season Three manages to mix just enough seriousness and drama and problems with teen fun to keep our interest.  It’s not Shakespeare, but the show continued to be one of the first teen dramas on television.  The girls keep thinking they see their boyfriends in Paris, and when Brenda tells a pushy Frenchman that she sleeps with Donna, he says the more the merrier! 

The trip to Paris was especially funny because their taxi driver kicks them out when they ask him not to smoke, and Donna tells off a baker who calls her an “imbecile” which of course everyone can understand, even Donna, who can’t speak the language.  We also get to see David Silver working on classic 80’s grooves and actually attracting girls with it!  Who knew “Casio” meant “cool” after all…

Video  ***

Much better than the first two seasons, maybe just due to better technology and less age.  Also, Fox was beginning to make money and may have spent a bit more for the third season of a show all over the world.  Few if any artifacts to be found except for the occasional night shot. 

Audio ***

Only Dolby stereo but a much better mix than the first two seasons.  As before the music has all been changed from the original broadcasts which lessens their impact somewhat since the music rarely sounds like the early 1990’s to my ears, except that Dirty Dancing’s “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” made it into the series finale.

Features **

The only feature worth watching (and I recommend it before watching the season itself) is 7 Minutes in Heaven, which is merely a collection of vignettes from the season, summarizing the whole season in seven minutes, with the name of each episode given in each clip.  “The World According to Nat” is similar but also has actor Joe Tata’s brief insights.  “Everything You Need to Know about Beverly Hills 90210 Season Three” is more of the inane commentary from Michael Colton and John Aboud.  I hope these guys were not paid for doing this.  If anything it lessens the value of the set rather than increase it. 

There is also commentary on the final episode “Commencement” from Executive Producer and Writer Charles Rosin and his wife Writer Karen Rosin.  It is more interesting than the other features by far, but it is not mentioned in any of the packaging.  It can be chosen when you select the episode itself, otherwise you would not know it was there.

Summary:

Despite a few lame episodes and mediocre special features, the third season features a mostly memorable season.  Higher production values and a nice long season make the third season a great addition to any library.

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