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Arrow: The Complete Third Season

Arrow: The Complete Third Season
Studio: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Format: Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and for Digital Download
Home Video Release Date: September 22nd, 2015

Synopsis: Oliver Queen's Arrow has become a hero to the citizens of Starling City - but he will quickly discover that doesn't mean he can lead a normal life in the spectacular third season of the hit series based on the DC Comics character. A new wave of diabolical masterminds - including the insidious and pervasive havoc wrought by the lethal and secretive League of Assassins - threatens all he holds dear. Team Arrow has grown into a powerful force, but the dangers and secrets that bind them together often put them at odds with each other, as the shadows cast by Malcolm Merlyn and the omnipotent Ra's al Ghul trigger shifts in loyalties and alliances that test them to their core. For matchless heroism under fire, this action-packed 5-disc, 23-episode Season Three can't be beaten!

Arrow: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray release will include 1080p Full HD Video with DTS-HD Master Audio for English 5.1. The 4-disc Blu-ray will feature a high-definition Blu-ray and a Digital HD copy of all 23 episodes from Season Three.

Arrow stars Stephen Amell (Private Practice), Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl, Melrose Place), David Ramsey (Blue Bloods, Dexter), Willa Holland (The O.C.), Emily Bett Rickards (Flicka: Country Pride), Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf, The Gates), with John Barrowman (Desperate Housewives, Doctor Who), and Paul Blackthorne (The River). Based on the characters from DC Comics, Arrow is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Everwood, Brothers & Sisters), Marc Guggenheim (Eli Stone), Andrew Kreisberg (The Flash) and Sarah Schechter (The Flash).

Special Features:
*Second Skins: Creating The Uniforms of Arrow
*Nanda Parbat: Constructing The Villain's Lair
*Two Arrow Audio Commentaries
*Arrow at Comic-Con 2014
*The Man Beneath the Suit - Atom's First Flight
*Gag Reel
*Deleted Scenes
*Ultraviolet

Arrow: The Complete Third Season Review
By James Harvey

Despite going to considerable lengths to try and top its epic second season, Arrow's third season attempts its absolute hardest, but ends up stumbling the execution. The ambition was there, you can't fault the show that, but it just isn't able to successfully carry itself too the end, especially as the season-long Ra's Al Ghul/League of Assassins arc stumbles and drags on, possibly longer than it should've. That being said, it still remains a series that DC Comics fans might want to keep their eyes on, and Stephen Amell continues to shine as the series' title character.

After a devastating second season, which resulted in the death of Oliver Queen's mother, among a few other characters, Team Arrow is in a dark place and, unfortunately, things get exceedingly worse as the third season commences. A new wave of diabolical masterminds – including the insidious and pervasive havoc wrought by the lethal and secretive League of Assassins – threatens all Arrow and his crew hold dear. Team Arrow has grown into a powerful force, but the dangers and secrets that bind them together often put them at odds with each other, as the shadows cast by Malcolm Merlyn and the omnipotent Ra's al Ghul trigger shifts in loyalties and alliances that test them to their core.

Arrow dips heavily into the Batman pool this season by introducing the League of Assassins and having Oliver Queen get caught up with the Demon's Head (and also clashing on multiple occasions). At the same time, just as the cast started to shrink due to some notable fatalities at the end of the second season and the start of this one, we see it start to expand once again with the introduction of Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, as played by Brandon Routh. His character, who takes over failing Queen Consolidated, actually offers a bright counterpart to the season's overall dark tone. Suffice it to say, Arrow definitely takes some changes with its third season and some aren't for the best.

The season's main antagonist, Ra's Al Ghul, as portrayed by Matt Noble, is handled well, but falls short of the epic, mythic character built up by the comics (and even Batman Begins). For a man who has experienced centuries of life, seeing more than any person can comprehend, Noble plays him a shade low-key and lacking the gravitas one would expect from Al Ghul. He works well for the series, but doesn't quite live up to the legends of the character. However, the show does present some great moments between he and Queen, such as their spotlighted duel in "The Climb," easily the best episode of the season. While the fallout of the episode ends up being underwhelming (though does bring us a live-action Katana), that episode itself gives us a hint of a ruthless Ra's Al Ghul, one I wish we got to see more of.

Also worth noting it the character of Malcolm Merlyn getting a larger role this season as he works his way into the life of Thea Queen (Oliver's sister), his daughter. That ongoing subpot eventually works it way into the main storyline involving Ra's Al Ghul, Oliver and the League of Assassins, and provides some interesting characters moments for Merlyn, Ollie, Sarah Lance, Thea and Nyssa, the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul. While offering so much potential in upping the stakes after a spectacular second season, Arrow just can't make it work, and a lot of that has to do with the show trying to figure itself as it goes along. There is a lot going on this season, and while what's mentioned above are likely the key plots to the season, so much more happens as the show progresses. And given that there's so much to do, and at times the show is trying to connect it all, this season felt at times stuttery and drawn-out. Subplots were needlessly tied together when alot could have excelled on their own. It doesn't help that the third season finale of Arrow seems to use the second season as a template (Starling City in trouble), resulting in it falling flat given the overall weakness of the season.

That said, the final moments of the season between between Ollie and Felicity are nicely handled, leaving things up in the air in a pretty interesting fashion. A nice open-ended way to end a season, offering fresh potential for the stories ahead, after a 22 episodes of questionable storytelling decisions (the less said about Laurel's addiction storyline, the better).

That said, the season's dour tone is actually forgivable when you consider the season is propelled on the back of someone's death, and the increasinglyness of the show feels like natural progression. While weaker than season two, it's still completely watchable and worth a spin. There are still a lot of surprises to be had, including a wealth of nods and homages to the DC Comics source material, and some surprisingly effective performances and stunt work throughout the season. It's still a worthwhile season, even if this review tilts more negative than positive. It may not hit its target, but it does get pretty close.

Thankfully, the Blu-ray release of Arrow's third season is solid, and actually gives us a glimpse of some of the great stuff that could've bolstered the season. Housed in a standard multi-disc Blu-ray package, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has given Arrow: The Complete Third Season fine treatment, both in terms of audio/video presentation and bonus content.

Diving first into the audio/video aspect, it's a fantastic presentation, though not perfect. While the clarity and crispness of this collection is unrivaled when compared to its previous broadcast and digital airings, the image does appear soft at times, though that's likely due more to the series' intentional dark tone and lighting than the actual transfer. Still the detail is impressive and overall the series does look fantastic, even if some of the style choices clash with the transfer. In terms of audio, it's a pretty flawless mix. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is able to perfectly hande the series' quiet moments with the two-three major set pieces per episode. Dialogue sounds crisp and clear and action sequences seem to take full advantage of the speakers, adding a nice heft to the fisticuffs.

In terms of bonus content, we get a pretty amount, including commentaries, deleted scenes, some featurettes, a gag reel and a few trailers. Just to quickly note the deleted scenes right off the top, a lot of the cut scenes actually provide some nice added moments that really should have been left in, including a great scene for Laural as she accepts the role of Black Canary in "Sara" and Malcolm Merlyn explaining his role in the Undertaking. I get that these were cut to meet the required runtime, but there's some good character moments dropped.

The featurettes focus on some of the the bigger aspects of Arrow's third season, including the introduction of The Atom and Nanda Parbat. Another featurette looks at the show's impressive costume design work. Exploring the production aspect on a show like this is always interesting, given how visually-driven a show like Arrow is. Another featurette looks at the show's panel presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con,which provides some nice anecdotes and stories from the show's production. The commentaries are a good listen as well, providing some nice information on the episodes, particularly "The Climb," and a nice idea of what they were aiming for during the season. The gag reel is also worth a few chuckles. All in all, a solid batch of extras.

To note, it's disappointing that the The Flash crossover episode that featured Arrow is not included on this set.

Arrow: The Complete Third Season is a solid Blu-ray release that fans of the series should add to their collections. The bonus features nicely support the main feature, and the audio/video quality is really satisfying overall. Yes, the third season of the series itself is a bit lacking when considering what came before, but there is still plenty of great content offered up here. The story, while needlessly dragged out, is actually pretty enjoyable, even if its actual resolution also falls flat due to the iffy execution of the story-telling. Arrow remains a solid series, even if it does stumble a bit along the way, and the Blu-ray collection of its third season is still a worthwhile addition to the home collection. Arrow: The Complete Third Season is Recommended.

Arrow – The Complete Third Season is now available to own on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.