Company [2003]

The second season of the much-loved TV sitcom Three's Company arrives on DVD with enough extras to satisfy even the most rabid fan. After making a splash during its first-season run in 1976, ABC parked the show in its unstoppable Tuesday night lineup (following Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley and preceding Soap) for the 1977-78 season, where it exploded into one of primetime's biggest successes. The secret to the show was its naughty-but-harmless tone, which was capably delivered by its talented cast. Though Suzanne Somers was the breakout star, John Ritter's effortless physical and verbal comedy won respect among viewers. All 25 episodes of the second season are compiled in the six-disc set, highlights of which include appearances by Richard Kline's hapless Larry in four episodes (before he joined the cast in season 4), Jack's turn as a nude model in "Jack Takes a Job," an amusing Christmas episode ("Three's Christmas"), and Loni Anderson in the season closer, "Coffee, Tea or Jack." Fans who bemoaned the lack of extras on Anchor Bay's first-season set will be bowled over by the wealth of supplemental material compiled here. Chief among the treasures is the never-aired original pilot (one of two) featuring Ritter as "David" opposite Valerie Curtin and Suzanne Zenor; penned by M*A*S*H's Larry Gelbart, the episode is much wittier than many of the actual series scripts, but ABC jettisoned it in favor of racier fare from All in the Family scribes Don Nicholl, Mickey Ross, and Bernie West. Chris Mann, author of the Three's Company compendium Come and Knock on Our Door offers commentary for the episode "Days of Beer and Weeds," while Joyce DeWitt narrates an affectionate tribute to Ritter. The extras are rounded out by a fun blooper reel, season 2 "best of" moments (Ritter gets a series-length retrospective), a trivia game, and an exhaustive memorabilia gallery that reveals the scope of the show's success during its fledgling seasons. Like a scoop of ice cream on a hot day, Three's Company's second season is light, refreshing, and pleasantly nostalgic entertainment. --Paul Gaita

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