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As big a fan as I am of HEROES, I have to say that season three featured an number of missteps early on, which began to shake my faith in this wonderful pulpy comic book styled television series. The character driven aspects of the series seemed to lose focus, which made the series more generic and less involving. Fortunately, as the season progressed, things got back on track and my faith was somewhat restored. In keeping with its comic book leanings, season three of HEROES is broken up into two volumes, one entitled Villains and the other Fugitives, which, more or less, describe the themes of the story arcs that they cover.

For those unfamiliar with the premise of HEROES, the series finds our species on the cusp of evolutionary change, with the human genome starting to give rise to people with extraordinary abilities- in other words: superheroes. As a television series, HEROES gives lots of little nods to the fanboys of the world, but the series so much more than just another genre show targeted to a single demographic. For the most part, HEROES remains a beautifully conceived show with an impressive ensemble cast that brings to life a group of diverse characters, whose serialized storylines intertwine on a weekly basis. During the course of season three, villains rise and our familiar group of heroes find themselves tested in new ways.

Returning characters in season three include: Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), a genetics professor, who first studies the evolving genome, then tries to artificially create abilities in himself. Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman), who was on the wrong side during season one, has since walked away from "The Company" to protect his family. Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) is Noahís adopted daughter, who has the ability to regenerate, and thus, making her nearly impervious to harm. Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) has the ability to bend the time space continuum. Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee) is Hiroís best friend, who is at his side, as he becomes a true hero. Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) who possesses the ability to absorb and mimic the powers of others. Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) is Peterís brother and has the ability to fly. Angela Petrelli (Christine Rose) is Peter and Nathanís mother, whose agenda and abilities threatens far more than her sons. Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) finds that his ability to read the thoughts of others is just a small part of his overall potential. Tracy Strauss (Ali Larter) who has the power to freeze and control water. Finally, there is Sylar (Zachary Quinto), who also has the ability to absorb powers from other. Introduced in season three is Arthur Petrelli (Robert Forster), who is Peter and Nathanís father, as well as a key player of the Villains storyline.

HEROES: SEASON 3 ($80) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a five-disc set that features the following twenty-five episodes that were aired during its third year: The Second Coming, The Butterfly Effect, One Of Us, One Of Them, I Am Become Death, Angels And Monsters, Dying Of The Light, Eris Quod Sum, Villains, It's Coming, The Eclipse: Part 1, The Eclipse: Part 2, Our Father, Dual, A Clear And Present Danger, Trust And Blood, Building 26, Cold Wars, Exposed, Shades Of Gray, Cold Snap, Into Asylum, Turn And Face The Strange, 1961, I Am Sylar and An Invisible Thread.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made all eleven episodes from HEROES: SEASON 3 available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Like seasons one and two, the 1080p presentations appear fairly impressive and certainly better than broadcast. There are still some inconsistencies across the episodes, but for the most part, things look good. The picture is usually quite sharp offers a strong level of detail, plus a good sense of depth. Again, close ups show off the best levels of fine detail. Colors saturation is usually quite strong and the flesh tones appear attractive. Both the blacks and whites appear pure. Contrast is good, but shadow detail can be a tad wanting. Again, there are no notable defects in the source materials. Grain/video noise is again apparent in various sequences, especially when lighting is less than optimum.

All of the episodes that constitute HEROES: SEASON 3 are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. For a television series, HEROES features a strong sound design, which a respectable quantity of directional effects. However, the mixes do remain front heavy, as much of each episode plays out in talky drama mode. When there is action of the screen, the outlying channels engage accordingly. The surround channels see the usual complement of ambience, as well as occasional active effects. Fidelity is excellent for a television production. The bottom end of the track is deep and thumps rather nicely. No other language tracks have been included on the discs, but English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features, as well as the supplements, which are spread throughout the set. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized to add interactive features to the episodes that include in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements in a given episodes (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Picture-In-Picture Commentaries are provided for the entire complement of episodes. Text based Heroes Connections Bios are also accessible through the U-Control interface. Alternate Stories offers up forty-seven minute web based miniseries. Featurettes and other programs include the following: The Super Power Of Heroes (eight minutes), Completing The Scene (eight minutes), The Prop Box (six minutes), Genetics Of A Scene (twenty-one minutes), The Writers' Forum (thirteen minutes) and Building Coyote Sands (eleven minutes). Access to the Hero Connections Network, as well as Deleted Scenes and a Pinehearst Commercial close out the standard supplements. HEROES: SEASON 3 is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

Season three of HEROES took some missteps before getting back on track. The Blu-ray presentations contained on HEROES: SEASON 3 offers a nice upgrade over broadcast.



Heroes: Season 3 [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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