Army Wives: The Complete Third Season – DVD Review

Ratings really rule everything in the TV world. Just ask the Lifetime Network. Their most watched show is Army Wives. They even went ahead and gave a fourth season before the third season even premiered. It doesn’t matter if the ratings have declined for that show ever since the first season; Army Wives is still their #1 show and that is all that matters. Clearly season two wasn’t any better than season one, as they hardly ever are. But now season three has finally made it to DVD. Would it be any better or would the show continue to drop in the quality department?

Set on fictional Fort Marshall in Charleston, South Carolina, Army Wives follows the lives of four women and one man who are brought together by a common bond: enlisted spouses. Claudia Joy Holden (Kim Delaney) is the person the other spouses look to for leadership. She has been married to the newly appointed post commander Brigadier General Michael Holden (Brian McNamara) for eighteen years. Denise Sherwood (Catherine Bell) is undoubtedly the most conservative of the army wives as she readily admits that her husband of eighteen years, Major Frank Sherwood (Terry Serpico), is the first and only man she has ever slept with. Dr. Roland Burton (Sterling K. Brown) is the only male among the army wives. He works as a psychiatrist at the post’s military hospital and is married to Joan Burton (Wendy Davis), Fort Marshall’s first African American Lieutenant Colonel. Roxy LeBlanc (Sally Pressman), a Southern girl from Alabama, married PFC Trevor LeBlanc (Drew Fuller) after only knowing him four days, moving with her new husband and two young sons to the army post in Charleston. Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh) is a former Boston cop. She is married to Chase (Jeremy Davidson), a member of the Delta Force and the secrecy of his missions is a constant strain on their marriage.

In the third season, we find Claudia Joy and her husband, Gen. Holden, still dealing with the loss of one daughter at the end of season two. Their other daughter Emmalin (Katelyn Pippy) is now rebelling. In addition, this season the Holdens sponsor an orphaned Iraqi girl who has an effect on Emmalin as well. Claudia is also holding on to a secret that will soon be revealed. Meanwhile, Pamela fights to save her marriage after uncovering a hurtful secret of her own. Joan is also struggling with a major decision that leads her husband Roland to imagine what his life would be like had he taken a different path. Finally, Denise and Frank question the foundation of their relationship after it’s revealed she has had an affair. an affair that ends up affecting everyone in Fort Marshall in one way or another.

Once again, this show is your typical melodramatic night-time soap opera. Army Wives really still feels more like a soap opera than any other night-time drama on TV, though. That’s mainly due to the fact that there is almost constant dramatic background music in the majority of scenes. The storylines are still predictable, the characters are still stereotypical, and the dialogue is still mostly cliched. There is even less emphasis on direct military family issues storylines than the previous two seasons, which is not a good thing. All of that said, the acting is still great. If you get into the storylines, the actors will make you want to stick around to see what happens.

Season three of Army Wives is certainly a step down for the series. The series has always been melodramatic, but things get kicked up a notch further this season. The writers seem more than content to throw out typical day-time soap opera storylines, rather than focusing on what they do best, the military family drama stuff. The acting still saves this season from being unwatchable. But only hardcore soap opera watchers will likely be the only ones to enjoy this season. If you have become invested in the characters, it’s worth a watch, but I would’t go to great lengths to check out this season of Army Wives for everyone else.

Episodes:

Disc One:

Episode 1 – Best Laid Plans
Denise will need to deal with the fall-out of her affair. Everyone does what they can to find Emmalin and Logan. Roxy fights to get the bar back.
Frank gets ready to lead a mission in Iraq that could cause hurt for Denise.

Episode 2 – About Face
Denise tries to find out if Frank is okay after possibly being hurt in Iraq. Claudia Joy realizes that things aren’t as simple, as they used to be. Roland wonders what career path might have been had he realized what Army life would have been like. Pamela decides to show new army wives what base life will be like for them.

Episode 3 – Moving Out
Claudia Joy continues to have trouble from her daughter while looking for a place to live. Trevor may trouble keeping his job after making a big mistake. Pamela needs to a bigger home so her kids can have their own rooms. Roland must look into getting soldiers better care at Fort Marshall after a therapist talks with him.

Episode 4 – Incoming
Michael tries to fix things with Emmalin. Trevor feels he can’t provide for his family, after seeing Pamela and Chase’s new house. Roland must decide if he should accept a job offer. Denise’s son, Jeremy almost dies in the desert.

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – Disengagement
Roxy’s hope for a grand reopening of the Hump bar doesn’t go off without a hitch. Pamela surprises her son’s coach with her knowledge of football and quickly earns a job on the team. Joan wants to share one last moment with her daughter before her deployment to Iraq. Chase comes home early from his current deployment, but finds the hardest part will be adjusting to life back home at Fort Marshall.

Episode 6 – Family Readiness
Pamela, Roxy, and Claudia Joy help Joan get ready for her daughter’s christening. A dog named Lucky finds his way to Fort Marshall and a new home. An Iraqi orphan gets help with a hand injury.

Episode 7 – Onward Christian Soldier
Pamela tries to get her son’s coach to use the better ways to teach the teen sportsmanship. Denise and Frank try to repair their marriage. Joan and Evan might not like being around each other anymore after they are paired up for a war games exercise. Haneen is a guest of the Holden’s while preparing for surgery.

Episode 8 – Post and Prejudice
Fort Marshal’s annual war games exercise continues Joan and Evan continue to compete against each other. Haneen learns she will need more treatment but that requires her to go back to Iraq. The FRG is asked to sponsor Haneen. Meanwhile to Denise and Frank continue to work through the struggles of their relationship. Pamela gives advice to a young army wife.

Disc Three:

Episode 9 – Coming Home
Michael and Emmalin had a moment to bond as father and daughter and try to repair the fractured relationship. Finn’s struggles in class and concerning Roxie and lead hard to believe her son may have a possible learning disability. Claudia Joy takes Haneen back to Iraq and to be with her family and continue the grieving process for the family members that she lost due to the war.

Episode 10 – M.I.A.
As her deployment Joan the struggles with her decision and whether she made the right one. Pamela is overjoyed that her husband is returning home,but the day turns into a bad one when she can’t remember where she placed her wallet. Roxy is is surprised when her favorite singer suddenly shows up at the bar.

Episode 11 – Operation: Tango
Roxy hopes to make a good impression on the principle of a private school where she hopes her son Finn will be allowed too attend. Jean Calhoun, the widow of a former Senator, arrives at fort Marshall for a special ceremony and finds comfort from Claudia Joy and Denise on the loss of her husband as well as causing quite the stir.

Episode 12 – First Response
After Claudia Joy and Denise’s weekend at the spa is thwarted by an unexpected car accident, Claudia Joy receives some shocking news regarding her health. Finn starts his new school and Roxie is showing extra support, which causes animosity between the boys. When Trevor gets home, he takes T.J. fishing for some father son bonding. Back in Iraq Jeremy is reminded how dangerous war really is after witnessing a soldier being wounded.

Disc Four:

Episode 13 – Duty to Inform
Claudia Joy insists on keeping her medical condition a secret from her friends, even though Michael strongly disagrees. Pamela becomes desperately worried about Chase, who is two weeks late in returning home, especially after seeing another man from his unit. Trevor begins his new job finding out just how demanding it is being a recruiter.

Episode 14 – Need to Know Basis
After a long wait Pamela will is hoping to get answers to some questions about Chase. Denise starts a new career. Roxy has to decide if she wants to have a baby now or wait. Jeremy needs help in dealing with trouble in Iraq.

Episode 15 – As Time Goes By
Roxy and Pamela go to a nursing home and get an understanding of how two Army wives coped with WWII. They realize how things stay the same and how so much has changed.

Episode 16 – Shrapnel and Alibis
Pamela must work to save her marriage after she learns Chase wasn’t truthful. Joan gets ready to leave and say goodbye. Roland deals with stress and a medical emergency with Sarah Elizabeth. Jeremy returns home to deal with the death of a friend. Trevor gets to see a recruit take an oath.

Disc Five:

Episode 17 – Fire in the Hole
Viola gives everyone a surprise at the Hump Bar while filling for a singer. Michael wants to know why General Ludwig will come to Fort Marshall. Denise shows a different side of herself at the FRG Golf game.

Episode 18 – Fields of Fire
Michael is about to attend his promotion ceremony and worry about the possible closing of Fort Marshall and another base. Pamela may not be able to save her marriage. Roxy has money issues. Jeremy has to deal with a fight and the death of friend. Roland deals with his job and being a parent while Joan is in Iraq.

The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is great with colors generally looking bright and vivid details everywhere. No major or minor problems at all here, and on par with previous seasons of this show.

The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, French, and Spanish as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. No major problems here either.

“Stationed in The South” Featurette
This runs 21 minutes and the cast and crew take you behind the scenes to give you a tour of Charleston and tell how they tried to make it an integral part of the show. Your standard behind-the-scenes featurette really.

“‘Army Wives’ Gives Back” Featurette
This runs 6 minutes and it’s is a series of promotional clips that originally aired on LIFETIME. In these clips, all six of the lead female cast members surprise real-life Army wives by granting various wishes and giving away free gifts. Basically, advertising for the products given away, but fans of the show might have thos enjoyable.

Deleted Scenes
There are 15 scenes that didn’t make the final cut of this season. They total 13 minutes. Mostly all cut for time reasons, but nothing really must-watch. You also have the option to hear commentary from executive producer, Jeff Melvoin, on why these scenes were cut.

Bloopers
This runs 8 minutes, and it’s the usual stuff here. That means the unfunny gags and mistakes from making this season.

Webisodes
There are 6 of these Internet-exclusive episodes that total 15 minutes. They all feature Joan and Roland and include “Time Marches On,” “Duty Calls,” “At Ease,” “The War at Home,” “Separation Anxiety,” and “Private Conversations.”

It’s only worth a rental for those that are hardcore fans and have enjoyed the previous two seasons of the show. All others probably won’t be entertained by this season at all. If you are curious about the show, start with season 1.


Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Army Wives: Season 2. Created by Katherine Fugate and Marshall Persinger. Starring Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, Brian McNamara, Sterling K. Brown, Wendy Davis, Drew Fuller, and Catherine Bell. Running time: 522 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: February 9, 2010. Available at Amazon.com

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