StarVista Succeeds Again With The Wonder Years: Season Three

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

It is official. StarVista Entertainment now has two new releases on this critic’s list of this year’s best new box sets for children and families. There is a third release from StarVista that has made this critics list of the best new box sets for grown-ups. But that is a story for another time. Getting back on topic, one of the noted box sets on this year’s list—The Wonder Years Season 2—was released back in February of this year. The other—The Wonder Years Season 3—was just released late last month. It is interesting to note how quickly StarVista has churned out the series’ first three seasons considering that Season One was released as recently as this past October. It’s interesting to note because of how enjoyable each season has proven, including the newly released third season. Typically when companies churn out releases (box sets or DVDs/Blu-rays) the end result is a presentation that is largely forgettable and hardly worth the watch. Thankfully, in the case of The Wonder Years, audiences will be happy to know that the standards established by StarVista in the series’ first two seasons have been maintained throughout the course of this season, too thus making Season Three just as enjoyable as those first two seasons and proving why it is yet another piece from StarVista that is one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families.

The third season of The Wonder Years is just as enjoyable for audiences of all ages as the series’ first two seasons. This is the case even though the company released it only about three months after the release of the series’ second season and only seven months after the series’ debut season. It is so enjoyable because those charged with its assembly and release maintained the same standards used within those sets in this one, too. The main standard in question is the inclusion of every one of the season’s twenty-three total episodes in their entirety. The episodes in question are ones that once again are just as relatable for audiences today as they were to audiences in their original run on ABC so many years ago. The set’s first disc is loaded with examples of how those episodes remain so timeless. It opens with “Summer Song” in which Kevin has his first-ever summer romance. While not everybody out there has had that fabled one-time “relationship” enough people have had it even now in the twenty-first century to make it relatable. “Rock ‘n Roll” is just as relatable. Again it is not entirely relatable to every viewer today. But one glance at the teeny-bopper and tweeny-bopper sitcoms and dramas out there today shows just how relatable this episode remains despite its age. Having that teen band is something that so many young people do as part of their “coming of age” even today. Even this critic went through that at one point. “Goodbye” is perhaps one of the most powerful of the season’s episodes in its ability to relate to viewers as it sees Kevin having to face one of the most difficult situations that he would ever face in his life. It is a situation that every young person has to face at one point or another. It is just part of that personal growth that everybody goes through at one point or another as they get older. Staying on that note, the fact that the third season of The Wonder Years continues to present Kevin’s coming of age—his personal growth and his growth as part of a family unit—in whole, it makes the series that much more believable and in turn more memorable from one episode to the next. That alone makes this latest season set that much more of a must have for audiences of any age. In other words it proves even more why it is one of this year’s best new box sets for the whole family.

The presentation of The Wonder Years’ third season in its entirety is the most important aspect to its enjoyment. It is a serial that really is not a serial. The scenarios presented in each episode are timeless mirror images of the real world and vice versa. They are just part of what makes this season another success. Along with including all twenty-three (NOT seventeen) episodes featured in the season’s original run, StarVista Entertainment has once again included a load of in-depth bonuses for audiences. Audiences get to hear from stars Danica McKellar, Fred Savage, and Josh Saviano yet again in another roundtable discussion that focuses on not just Season Three but the show’s other seasons, too. There are also one-on-one interviews with McKellar and her sister Crystal–who played another of Kevin’s romantic interests, Becky Slater—as well as Olivia d’Abo (Karen Arnold) and Jason Hervey (Wayne Arnold). If that’s not enough for fans, StarVista has one again included a companion booklet that serves as not just an episode guide but its own true bonus companion to the season set. It is a bonus because once again, it provides extra behind-the-scenes “secrets” about each episode such as the revelation that Fred Savage’s younger brother (and now fellow famed actor) Ben played Cupid—a.k.a. Curtis Hartsell—in the episode “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” or that Danica McKellar joined the ranks of greats such as Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra, Eva Marie Satin, Hal Holbrook, Spalding Gray, and Paul Newman in performing in the play Our Town. Sure, it was as Winnie Cooper. But it is still pretty interesting to learn this little tidbit of information. There are even more masses of extras shared throughout the set’s bonus companion booklet that audiences will enjoy learning for themselves. Together with the season’s full complement of fully believable and entertaining episodes it both elements together show quite clearly why this latest release is another of the year’s best new box sets for families. While both elements are equally important to the season’s enjoyment, they still are not all that makes this set so memorable and a must have. The look and sound of the set is another standard that StarVista has maintained in this season.

Audiences that perhaps might not have already picked up the first two seasons of The Wonder Years will be quite pleasantly surprised by the series’ third season box set. That is because it maintains the high standards set by StarVista for itself in the noted box sets in every way. It presents every episode from the classic series’ third season in whole. Added on to that, the episodes continue to keep audiences engaged and entertained because of their reality. The bonus material that was included with the series’ previous standalone sets are just as prevalent here as in those sets. They make the overall viewing experience presented in this box set all the richer for viewers. While both standards go a long way toward making The Wonder Years: Season Three enjoyable for audiences, the collective production values of the episodes (their overall look and sound), are also just as impressive as those of the previous seasons’ episodes. The grainy look of the show from its original run is there. Bu it has been cleaned up just enough to keep the picture clear. The season’s audio mix is just as impressive. This is especially the case with the show’s soundtrack. The songs that make up the show’s foundation sound wonderful whether on a standard television or one with a home theater system. In the same vein, the audio has been handled so professionally that at no point will viewers have to ride their remotes so to speak. In other words, whether in the transitions from dialogue to music and back or from scene to scene in general, viewers will not have to worry about adjusting the volume on their TVs. Yes it seems minor on the surface. But there are those series and movies that suffer dramatically from poor audio management which leads to viewers riding their remotes constantly. It really takes away from the overall viewing experience. Thankfully, again, viewers don’t have to worry about that here. Because they don’t have to worry about making that constant adjustment, viewers will be able to spend their time taking in the stories presented in every one of the season’s twenty-three episodes as well as all of the season’s bonus material. It rounds out the set and shows once and for all why The Wonder Years: Season Three is one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families.

The Wonder Years: Season Three is one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families, in case that point hasn’t already been driven home. It has more than earned this title thanks to the fact that it presents the same high standards established by StarVista Entertainment in the series’ first two season sets. It presents all twenty-three episodes that make up Season Three in their full, joy-filled and often emotional moments. The bonus material boasted by the series’ first two season sets are also present here. Just as impressive is the fact that this season looks and sounds just as impressive as those standalone sets. Whether on their own or collectively, all three elements noted here show without a doubt that the third season of The Wonder Years is one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from StarVista Entertainment is available online now at:




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