‘CHiPs’: The Complete Third Season (DVD Review)

CHiPsThe action and fun of CHiPs Season 3 continues in this wildly popular action-drama that stars Golden Globe nominated Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox returning as high-spirited California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers Francis “Ponch” Poncherello and Jon Baker. Pursuing justice was never cooler as these two fearless partners take to the roads under the bright Southern California sun. Nothing stops them from joining the action … from high-speed car chases to confrontations with armed criminals … CHP officers Ponch and Jon are on patrol — ready, willing, and more than able- in this 5-disc collection of non-stop adventure.


The Series 

I can already hear the catchy ass theme song to CHiPs as I write this review for the long awaited third season of the classic late 70’s early 80’s show starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox. This show is what put them both on the map, even more so, Estrada, who milked it for all it was worth for many years to come. Francis “Ponch” Poncherello (Estrada) and Jon Baker (Wilcox) are young California Highway Patrol officers tasked with overseeing the treacherous Los Angeles freeway in addition to having some fun of their own after a case has wrapped up.

Not only do Ponch and Jon fight crime directly they spend most of their time fighting crime indirectly, with the help of the LAPD and other local law enforcement officials. When they’re not out there patrolling the highways they’re having fun at nightclubs, out on dates with beautiful women, and various other extra curricular activities. They’re also not above giving disillusioned teenagers some quick advice while saving the day either.

I grew up watching the television show and as cheesy as it was and is there are many parts to the show that are just downright wholesome. Sure, there are various episodes that contain lessons in love and whatnot and there are many episodes that feature the gratuitous guest appearance of some star of the day, etc. It’s all good. What the show sometimes lacks in depth it more than makes up for in entertainment value. The stunt work is great and so are some of the car chases and accidents, because they are happening right then and there free of all the lame CGI.

Certain episodes are played for tongue and cheek purposes and others wear the primary theme on their sleeve. It makes no apologies for doing so and that’s its charm. It’s light as hell and melodramatic but with the best of intentions. You also get characters that, for all intents and purposes, get humanized a bit. Each episode runs for almost an hour and about 80% of it has to do with the main story arc before the rest shifts into the daily lives if these two CHP officers. It’s a simple formula that worked for about 6 seasons. I should also give props to Robert Pine (father to actor Chris Pine), who outside of Estrada was the only other cast member to be in every episode of every season. That was 139 episodes worth of CHP action. As most already know there was lots of drama involving actors, pay disputes, attitude problems, etc., and some recurring characters never made it back or took a bit of a hiatus during the series run. The names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent.

We’re at the half waypoint, so I assume that Warner Bros will release the next 3 seasons on DVD at some point. I really hope it doesn’t take that much lover to get them on DVD. I think that if we could get the next 3 seasons within the next 1 – 1.5 years that would be awesome. For now you have 3 full seasons of groovy 70’s disco funk. Okay, you know what I mean. Enjoy!


Roller Disco – Part 1

Roller Disco – Part 2

Valley Go Home!

High Octane

Death Watch


Return of the Supercycle

Hot Wheels

Drive, Lady, Drive – Parts 1 and 2

The Watch Commander

Destruction Derby

Second Chance


Christmas Watch




Off Road

Tow Truck Lady

The Strippers

Thrill Show


Dynamite Alley




Encoding: MPEG-2

Resolution: 480p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Clarity/Detail: CHiPs looks about as good as it ever has since it first broadcast more than 35 years ago. Softness creeps in here and there but the film grain levels are top notch even for DVD. Sharpness levels are also above average.

Depth: Depth is fine and there are some scenes that look really good and there are some scenes that look “just okay.” It’s a 70’s show, so what do you expect.

Black Levels: Black levels can only look so good on DVD, so we’ll just leave it at “average” in terms of quality.

Color Reproduction: The late 70’s color palette shines through a bit.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look clear and natural. Check out the olive tan on Ponch!

Noise/Artifacts: There are many instances that have dirt and debris, but these scenes are limited to stock and rear projection footage.





Audio Format(s): English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono

Subtitles: English, French

Dynamics: I was expecting the great disco-70’s-typical soundtracks to come through, with some killer highs and deep lows, but that didn’t happen. What we got was a 1 channel mono mix that is not all that great. You really have to turn the volume up a bit to hear it properly. What a buzz kill.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels were great – everything was at a proper listening level. Granted, everything came out of the center channels but dialogue levels stayed true to the source.





Not an ever loving thing.




No, CHiPs wasn’t the type of show toward its last seasons that would break any barriers. The barriers were broken much earlier than that. This third season on DVD was many years in the making and I guess it should get props for the fact that it’s finally out. The video is pretty terrific but that mileage will vary since some episodes and footage looks better than others. The audio could have had a stereo bump but the mono channel does what it can. The fact that there are no special features to speak of really drags the score down in the end.  If you want a nostalgia trip there’s no better way to get started than to complete your CHiPs collection today! Bring the salsa!



CHiPs: The Complete Third Season was released on DVD March 3, 2015!





Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “‘CHiPs’: The Complete Third Season (DVD Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Man this is a page out of my child hood!