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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Roswell: The Complete Third Season (2001)

"Max, I know the dead guy."
- Michael (Brendan Fehr)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: August 09, 2005

Stars: Jason Behr, Shiri Appleby, Adam Rodriguez
Other Stars: Katherine Heigl, Emilie de Ravin, William Sadler
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations)
Run Time: 13h:12m:00s
Release Date: August 09, 2005
UPC: 024543173434
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Sort of a blend of young-adult-oriented TV shows from the past 10 years, Roswell most closely resembles the likes of Dawson's Creek and Melrose Place. There's all of the same melodrama, with soap opera-ish relationships blossoming and dying, sometimes in the span of a single episode. What sets Roswell apart from those shows is the extraterrestrial presence in it. Three of the major characters, Max (Jason Behr), Isabel (Katherine Heigl), and Michael (Brendan Fehr), are, indeed, aliens.

The series' first two seasons did a solid job establishing this semi-complex story, and allowing us to get to know both the alien and human characters. Roswell: The Complete Third Season compiles all 18 episodes of what would turn out to be the final season. With the show's fans already being familiar with these characters, it was easy for the writers to jump right in and continue the basic narrative path. However, even though the first couple of hours get the third season off to a good start, the middle episodes leave a lot to be desired, as there really aren't any big shocks or important events of any kind to keep the overall story moving. This was the show's downfall, as there seemed to be very little of the charm from Season One left.

The writers just can't seem to win here, as any trace of the great blend of sci-fi and Dawson's Creek is completely gone now. The first part of this season begins with some promise, when in Busted Max and Liz are in trouble with the authorities and Isabel is having an illicit affair. Even though the supernatural element is kept to a minimum here, this first episode got my hopes up for a nice balance throughout this final season. Unfortunately, after seeing all of the episodes, it became clear that some major thematic mistakes were made. For the first nine installments or so there is far too much melodrama, almost making me forget that many of these characters are aliens. Then, as we near the end of the show's run, the story gets very technical, which I'm sure pleased the sci-fi loving fans, but probably alienated the rest of its viewers.

There are some truly excellent episodes here, though, especially Secrets and Lies. This captures the essence of Roswell and runs with it, telling the story of a murder investigation that leads Max to Hollywood. His work leads him to connect the murder with a TV show called "They Are Among Us." It just so happens that the episode that is currently being filmed has Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes (who also directed this and a few other episodes of Roswell) in the director's chair. Despite the references to and instant audience of Trek fans, this episode features plenty of suspense, drama, and even laughs, making it worthy of repeat viewings.

Some other notable epsiodes are Crash, a gripping mystery involving a horrible crash between a fighter jet and alien ship. There's also some juicy stuff involving Isabel and her mother that results in a huge revelation. This is where the disappointing finale comes into play, as actually the last two episodes are a problem. After all of this build-up, tension, and wonderful drama, we get a penultimate episode like Four Aliens and a Baby. The title itself is a bad sign, but the story is worse. It's satisfying to see Max finally find his baby, but the devotion to the rest of the show to the child's protection gets old real quick. A few other vital plot lines are in the mix as well, but there's just not enough time to give them the attention they deserve.

The series finale, Graduation, does a solid job of tidying up most of the main storyline's loose ends and should leave most fans happy, but still is sort of a mess. This final hour does have one of the better sequences I've seen on TV in quite some time, where Liz, becoming more and more alien, begins to see images of her friends' deaths. Then again, this creepy touch is also a sad reminder of how good this season of Roswell could have been.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: We have 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentations here that really showcase the production's bright, vivid color scheme. Images are detailed regardless of the setting or time of day, and there are only a few instances where softness is evident. Aside from a scant few compression problems, and some grain, there aren't any overbearing print flaws to bog things down.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Each episode is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and they sound fantastic. Fans will be more than pleased with the wide dynamic range and active surrounds. The LFE provides very aggressive, appropriately tight bass that packs quite a punch. The dialogue never falters, blending in well with the rest of the mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 204 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
2 Featurette(s)
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Executive producer/Director Jonathan Frakes on Secrets and Lies.2. Executive producer/Director Jonathan Frakes on Behind the Music.3. Executive producer/Writer Ronald D. Moore on I Married an Alien.4. Executive producer/
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
5 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Roswell doesn't exactly go out with a bang in the extras department, but there are four entertaining and informative audio commentaries. Jonathan Frakes lends his time to the tracks for two episodes and executive producers/writers Ronald D. Moore and Jason Katims tackle each of the other two respectively. Frakes is easily the most entertaining, as his diverse, extensive knowledge of sci-fi was a huge asset to this show. The other two tracks are solid also, but are much more technical and dry than Frakes' work.

There's also a pair of featurettes, including Class of 2002, which runs for over 13 minutes and focuses on the filming of the entire third season of the show. Shiri Appleby's DVD Tour to Japan chronicles her trip and shows her sitting down, in total Japanese garb, to an interview.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

The entertaining series Roswell comes to a close with this final DVD set, and fans will definitely want to pick this up to finish out their beloved series. Newcomers to the show will only be confused, even more so by this season's lack of overall focus. Similar to the other two DVD sets for this show, the audio and video are exemplary, but, unfortunately, there aren't many extras aside from a few good audio commentaries.


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