The third season of Numb3rs ended just four months ago, and already fans can re-live the pivotal third outing with the six-disc Numb3rs: The Third Season DVD collection. Last season covered a lot of ground between the months of September and May, and many fans new to the series will appreciate the quick refresher that this compilation provides. From an agent kidnapping to the investigation of a polygamist cult to a standoff with a bomber, season three proved that Numb3rs could tackle new situations and lay a solid foundation for even more diverse situations during season four.
All 24 episodes from season three are intact and in widescreen format, with Paramount spreading the episodes across all six discs rather than setting one disc aside for bonus features alone. In some respects this makes sense, as Numb3rs fans are going to watch all the episodes again anyway. But for the sake of easy viewing, it would’ve made more sense to include all the bonus features on one disc so fans could jump right into the bonus materials.
However, Paramount may have chosen to sprinkle the bonus features on discs three, four and five because the features only total about 46 minutes in length. And, since the audio commentaries need to accompany their corresponding episode (five of the 24 episodes have commentary tracks), 46 minutes of bonus features wouldn’t have been nearly enough to fill up a single DVD.
The longest and most compelling bonus feature is a 19-minute reflective piece called Crunching Numb3rs. This series of interviews with the producers and select cast members serves as a retrospective about the Third Season and delves into some of the issues the show needed to deal with at this point in the series’ life. For instance, the writers had to account for one star’s real-world pregnancy, and the producers needed to find ways to prove to audiences that the show had “legs” beyond its first two seasons. The latter issue is particularly intriguing, as it’s not normally a question you hear asked of a TV production team. Fortunately, the producers address the topic with ease and fluency, and their comments are illustrated with example clips from throughout the season.
The second-longest feature, Eppes Central (11:46), is an interesting choice for bonus material: anything and everything viewers have ever wanted to know about the Eppes family house, set, and its real-world counterpart during Season One. Who knew the Craftsman style had such a rabid fan base? The Numb3rs producers, apparently. As benign as this feature sounds, it’s actually interesting to hear the owner of the real-world Eppes house talk about living with various set pieces installed in his house, and the feature does a better job than the third featurette at making the house really seem like a character in the show.
That third feature, called Set House Tour, is a nearly 10-minute guided tour of the set with David Krumholtz, Judd Hirsch and Rob Morrow. The tour well enough, with a few comments about the flimsiness of the set and new paint scheme, but in quickly becomes little more than a way for the actors to poke fun at one another and straddle the line between actor and character.
A Blooper Reel (6:26) rounds out the bonus features, and really, you’ve seen all this before. People forget their lines, misplace props, laugh hysterically and suffer one too many bleeps from the censor. It’s standard stuff, but fans of the show will appreciate seeing their favorite actors let their guard down for a few moments.
One of the nicest things about having HD programming virtually standard is that DVD collections like Numb3rs: The Third Season transfer very well to DVD. Although the picture still shows some sign of broadcast grain, the widescreen presentation still looks crisp, and the multi-channel audio is a nice change from the normal two-channel TV audio viewers are used to hearing each week. The only exception with the audio quality is the bonus features, which are recorded in just two channels.
However, although the bonus features seem slim, the fact that three of the four features were created specifically for this DVD (presumably during summer hiatus) is a testament to the actors and producers. My old college roommate a writer on CSI: Miami, so I can vouch for just how busy TV teams can be. So, to have the Numb3rs crew take the time to create and star in these features says something about how much they believe in the product. Fans, of course, are firm believers in the Numb3rs product as well, which is why there’s little reason the most hardcore Numb3rs fans shouldn’t go right out and add Numb3rs: The Third Season to their DVD collection.
- Score: 8
- It’s a good show, a good season, and backed up with good (albeit seemingly sparse) bonus features. A few more audio commentaries would’ve been nice, but what’s here should be sufficient for fans of the series.
— Jonas Allen