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Arrow: Complete Third Season (Blu-ray Review)

Arrow-Season 3Just in time for Arrow’s fourth season on The CW, viewers can catch up with the action-packed series as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Entertainment release Arrow: The Complete Third Season on Blu-rayTM and DVD on September 22, 2015. Averaging 4.2 million viewers weekly for each original episode, Arrow is The CW’s #2 show among Total Viewers, behind only The Flash! The release contains all 23 thrilling episodes from the third season that will have you on the edge of your seat, plus almost three hours of extra content, including episode commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.  Arrow stars Stephen Amell (Private Practice), Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl, Melrose Place), David Ramsey (Blue Bloods, Dexter), Willa Holland (The O.C.), Emily Bett Rickards (Flicka: Country Pride), Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf, The Gates), with John Barrowman (Desperate Housewives, Doctor Who), and Paul Blackthorne (The River)Based on the characters from DC Comics, Arrow is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Everwood, Brothers & Sisters), Marc Guggenheim (Eli Stone), Andrew Kreisberg (The Flash) and Sarah Schechter (The Flash).

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Season 

Oliver Queen’s Arrow has become a hero to the citizens of Starling City – but he will quickly discover that doesn’t mean he can lead a normal life in the spectacular third season of the hit series based on the DC Comics character. A new wave of diabolical masterminds – including the insidious and pervasive havoc wrought by the lethal and secretive League of Assassins – threatens all he holds dear. Team Arrow has grown into a powerful force, but the dangers and secrets that bind them together often put them at odds with each other, as the shadows cast by Malcolm Merlyn and the omnipotent Ra’s al Ghul trigger shifts in loyalties and alliances that test them to their core.

Arrow’s third season starts off with an incredible episode one cliffhanger and hook to start off the season.  As a matter of fact, the first 1/3 of the season gets off to a really good start, picking up from the terrific second season.  However, in the middle somewhere, the show starts getting a bit convoluted, drags and starts pandering a bit too much to some of its fanbase in a way that sort of hurts the show and gets away from what it really is.  I think the show does finish fine, the action still rocks and its good to have all that behind, but it’s quite a step down from the show’s first two seasons.

Arrow also ends up serving as the home base pretty much the television DC Universe as the new characters seem to filter through here.  The Flash got his introduction last season as “just Barry” and returns for a couple really well done crossover episodes.  Laurel Lance also takes on the mantle of the Black Canary after her sister is murdered to start the season.  While its a little rough on the edges, this finally gives Laurel a bit more to do, and I really enjoyed here outfit and character when done well.  The big addition to the heroes is that of The Atom (aka Ray Parker) played by Brandon Routh.  I was a fan of Routh’s turn as Superman and also any time he’s shown up in something I’m watching (He had a fantastic turn on the show Chuck‘s third season).  He’s no different here as he’s quite charming and wins over the heart of our beloved tech girl, Felicity Smoak for most of the season.  He seems to be done on Arrow, but will return in the highly anticipated mini-series Legends of Tomorrow coming early in 2016.

Where the season felt almost its weakest was its villain, Ra’s Al Ghul.  Borrowing a biggie from the Batman side of things this time around (The show always borrows from Batman, albeit with smaller characters), it just doesn’t all work out or prove much interesting.  It is until the point Oliver Queen is killed, but after than the Ra’s stuff gets superfluous, boring and kinda been there done that.  Deathstroke was a villain that hadn’t really been used in live action and he worked like gangbusters in season two.  Also on the villain end, Malcolm Merlin returns in a more full time capacity and for the most part joins up with team area, but mostly in a very gray area sort of way.

What’s nice is that one down season of the show wasn’t really too bad at all.  It had a new showrunner and attempted to juggle around too much.  The show still held up with its action scenes and most of its character work.  This upcoming season, they seem to be promising to keep a focus on the Arrow side of this DC television shared universe and not worrying about introducing new people for other shows and the like.  I trust them, as with this and The Flash I’m having a terrific time.  And hopefully this new Supergirl show coming out will match them in terms of fun and quality.

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Episodes

“The Calm”

“Sara”

“Corto Maltese”

“The Magician”

“The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak”

“Guilty”

“Draw Your Bow”

“The Brave and the Bold”

“The Climb”

“Left Behind”

“Midnight City”

“Uprising”

“Canaries”

“The Return”

“Nanda Parbat”

“The Offer”

“Suicidal Tendencies”

“Public Enemy”

“Broken Arrow”

“The Fallen”

“Al Sah-him”

“This is Your Sword”

“My Name is Oliver Queen”

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  The picture quality on this transfer looks terrific.  For a “grimdark” show, it sure looks lovely.  The image is sharp and the details are plenty high.  Clothing tears, street surfaces, glossy sword points and even snow show some good definition in their detail.  If you’ve seen the first two seasons of these on Blu-ray, this is more of the same and the top tier look you’ve come to expect.

Depth:  The dimensional aspects on display here are decent.  Movements are free, spacey and cinematic in appearance.

Black Levels:  Despite being a very dark show, detail is not hidden and no crushing was found.  Blacks are very inky and the detail that resonates through them, like the Canary’s costume is impressive.

Color Reproduction:  Green sticks out…who’da thought, right?  Its not a vast palette, but the colors do look rich and bold.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are more natural than anything.  Some episodes may vary on their given look.  Detail is always high with freckles, wrinkles, blemishes make-up and stubble.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castillian) 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital,

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish (Castillian), Spanish (Latino), Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics:  This is a very awesome track, and terrific considering this is network TV.  The action comes right to the forefront, crashing in with some excellent dynamics.  This lossless track is loose and features an expert balance between vocals, effects and the score.  Definitely crank this baby up!

Low Frequency Extension:  Explosions, arrows piercing things, guns, vehicle engines and all the like thunderously pound through the sub woofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The front speakers wonderful connect the action, following it around and accurately depicting pitch and volume.  From the rear comes mainly ambiance, but some battle scenes and environments provide some interesting action sounds and other kinds of noises to give a good sense of place.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp, clear and at an ideal volume.

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Extras 

Arrow: Complete Third Season comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of every episode in the season as well as a little episode guide insert.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary

  • “The Calm” – Executive Producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle

Deleted Scenes

  • “The Calm” (HD, :20)
  • “Sara” (HD, 2:04)
  • “Corto Maltese” (HD, :33)
  • “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” (HD, 2:44)

Disc 2

Audio Commentary

  • “The Climb” – Executive Producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle

Deleted Scenes

  • “The Climb” (HD, 2:26)
  • “Midnight City” (HD, :29)
  • “Uprising” (HD, 1:01)

Disc 3

Deleted Scenes

  • “Suicidal Tendencies” (HD, 1:29)

Disc 4

The Man Beneath the Suit: The Atom’s First Flight (HD, 7:18) – This featurette focuses on the origins of Arrow’s Atom and his relation to the show.  Brandon Routh interviews in costume as well as Marc Guggenheim and Emily Bett Rickards.

Nanda Parbat: Constructing The Villain’s Lair (HD, 22:49) – A big piece on the lavish new set for season three, Ra’s Al Ghul’s lair.

Second Skins: Creating The Uniforms of Arrow (HD, 17:13) – This featurette has the costume designer taking us through her craft of coming up with and executing the superhero suits.  The actors and producers weigh in on wearing them on how good they look.

Gag Reel (HD, 3:58)

Arrow at Comic-Con 2014 (HD, 28:55) – The panel from SDCC where the cast and creative team discuss the then upcoming third season.

Deleted Scenes

  • “The Fallen” (HD, 3:04)
  • “My Name is Oliver Queen” (HD, 1:00)

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Summary 

Oliver Queen and company return for a decent for the most part third season of Arrow.  Its a step down from the marvelous season two.  It still delivers the goods just like this video does in the audio, video and extras department.  I’m looking forward to the show bouncing back this upcoming season, as I feel confident it should.  If you’ve picked up the previous sets, this is more of the same, you know what you’re in for.  Definitely worth putting in the collection if you’re a fan of the DC television universe.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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