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The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 927 Mins.
  • Discs: 9 (4 x Blu-ray + 5 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: UltraViolet
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 11th, 2012
  • List Price: $69.97

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:3/5]

In this third season of The Vampire Diaries, we learn more about Klaus and The Original Family. In particular, the reasoning behind Klaus wanting Stefan on his side is discussed. Also covered is Stefan’s further decent into evil, as well as Damon and Elena working together to bring Stefan back to the good side. Other topics are covered as well, but I won’t go too much into them. But, I will say that The Vampire Diaries, as a series, is kind of like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but a lite version, as the topics aren’t as serious, nor is the acting or overall production levels. Still, I will admit that the show, in particular this Third Season, is showing signs of being something more than just another ‘teen drama.’

Teen-dramas like The Vampire Diaries seem to be nothing new ever since a certain novel-turned-film jumped onto screens. Since, we’ve received a plethora of vampire/zombie/dead things running around media. From the  excellent The Walking Dead to the not-so great Remains, it has become clearly evident that this craze won’t be ending anytime soon. Somewhere in the middle, quality-wise, lies CW’s The Vampire Diaries, soon to be in its Fourth Season. The First Season was quite bland, lacking any real punch with its characters. The 2nd season improved on this adding more depth to the story lines. This Third Season, while not perfect, is the best series creators Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec have yet to come up with.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Third Season arrives with a 1:78:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer. Even though a majority of the series does feature many low-lit sequences, there’s still plenty of quality to mention here. During these darker moments, detail does take a step back, while clarity isn’t as sharp as we might expect. Really though, I’ll figure this was done as more of a stylistic decision by the creators. The brighter scenes do work out better, especially that of the exterior shots. Bright yellows, reds, and blue dominate here, all of which hold a strong amount of detail. Facial close ups, while on the slightly over-tanned side, do results in accurate contrast levels. Issues like that of EE, DNR, and other eyesores are nowhere to be found. All in all, Warner has put together an effective video presentation that suits the series well.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The series’ DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is quite strong throughout. Dialogue, as one might expect, is well reproduced via the center channel with no noticeable drop out. LFE output offers up deep, immersive low-end, particularly during the numerous fight sequences found in this season. Atmosphere is brooding, whether it be simple background dialogue or musical cues. Rear activity is excellent, especially that when the vampires suddenly zip by, which is accompanied by a whooshing sound. Pans between rears are invisible during moments like this, making us simple move our ears from left to right in one seamless motion. All in all, I couldn’t really find all that much to complain about here. This is a truly effective mix by the folks at Warner.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The supplements provided on this release are all found on the 4th disc:

  • The Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Descent into Darkness – This runs 9:42 and  follows Stefan’s journey from good to evil and back.
  • The Original Vampires: The Beginning – Running 21:46, this gives viewers the ability to trace the timeline, family tree and the mythological roots of the centuries-old vampires.
  • Second Bite: Gag Reel – These gags run 3:02 and are only for the biggest fans of the series.
  • Deleted Scenes – Like that of the previous two seasons, the included deleted scenes are very limited. Episode 8 (Ordinary People) has 1 scene totaling 0:40 in length. Episode 11 (Our Town) has 4 scenes totaling 2:55 in length. Lastly, Episode 15 (All My Children) has 1 scene totaling 0:54 in length.
  • The Producer’s Pages – This is broken down into three sections. The Writer’s Pack deals with Series Writers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec speak on some of the challenges they face writing each episode, while The Producer’s Spells deals with some of the series producers speaking on production of the series. Finally Sound FX, Score and Suspense deals with the unique sound design found in the series.
  • Favorite Scenes – This is billed as the series’ most Heart-Stopping Moments. The scenes themselves, like that of the aforementioned gag reels, are only for the biggest fans of the series.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

I don’t even need to really put a recommendation here, as fans of this series will want to snap up this Third Season immediately. Warner’s Blu-ray features a fine V/A technical presentation, but the features are a bit lacking. Still, I don’t see why fans won’t want to add this one to their collection. Everyone else? Begin with Season 1 and see what you think.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase The Vampire Diaries: Season 3 on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 - The Vampire Diaries

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B004YM6JP0[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Vampire Diaries: Season 3 on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 - The Vampire Diaries

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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10 COMMENTS

  1. LOL, Walking Dead is horse shit. And vampire Diaries production is much more superior to Buffy, Vampire S3 has its downfalls, not quite as top notch as S2 but S3 still delievered, and Vampire Diaries still remains one of the best shows on TV. A must get for fans and New comers, Amazon is waiting for you to pick up S1.

  2. Hi there Danny,

    Perhaps because I was such a big fan of Buffy (and Angel), I’ve found a majority of the ‘dead’ series to be bland. Vampire Diaries, as I mentioned, is improving. While the first 2 seasons lacked an overall impact (on me), this 3rd season was entertaining. I’ll be watching season 4, and on.

    While I will agree that The Walking Dead isn’t PERFECT, the show definitely is excellent. I’m curious to know why you hate it? I do know the series did take kind of take a tangent on following the graphic comic.

    • Opinions from BuffyFans tend to be really scatter, some absolutely hate VD, some love it. But VD is my favorite show, it’s has some Flaws but they all seem minor in the Big Picture. And this Opinion comes from a 20 yr old male and not a crazy fan girl. VD is the only teenage drama I watch, and VD clearly stands above all teenage dramas(if the teens choice awards weren’t evidence enough) and I’m such many mainstream critics agree. The show gets better every single episode and never gets dull. As for True Blood, TB has become so campy and outrageous, it’s hard to take anything in TB serious, and this has been going on since S3. TB has so many glaring flaws, that VD has already established itself as the better vampire show since season 2. As for Walking Dead, WD lost its a great pace of character development and action early season 2, and was becoming a frustrating watch, most mainstream critics agree. WD forsaked episode quality for character development, storylines dragged on due to complications for WD directors. WD isn’t HorseS##t but it’s certainly not better then VD. And this coming from person who watches Mad Men and Breaking Bad :) …

      • Like I said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. True Blood’s campiness has always been part of what made it great. In comparison, VD is really just more teen melodrama fluff borne out of the current fascination with vampires due to Twilight. The fact that they had to add werewolves to the mix is more evidence of its generic inclinations. At least with True Blood, you never know what’s going to happen. The Walking Dead, apart from dragging out a few characters longer than originally appeared in the Graphic Novels, has stayed pretty true to its source. The second season was straight out of the graphic novels, really. :)

        • Vampire Diaries Novels came out 10 years before Twilight and TB, So the werewolf mythology was taking straight out the books, so its can’t possibly be a “generic inclination”…And whats makes VD so great is that, even with its melodramatic moments, the show still appeals to people of all ages, unlike twilight, and TB has constantly relied on its Gore and Sex to keep fans eyes Glued..Like i Said before, VD has already established itself as the better vampire show, mainstream critics agree. And VD, you never know whats going to happen either and its jaw dropping, the only difference it that VD can be taken serious…As for the walking dead, only the beginning was off the novel, rick and crew were never suppose to stay in the farm that long, and if memory serves, in the graphic comic, Hershel doesn’t even exist. Walking Dead has crazy potential, the only reason why i stuck around, can’t say that for many other people who thought season 2 was a bust…Walking dead’s first director got fired because of the pace he took WD, that alone is a testament to where season 2 stands

          • Firstly, your assessment that “most mainstream critics,” whatever that means, that Vampire Diaries is superior to True Blood is false. As they stand now, True Blood has a rating of 64/100 on Metacritic.com and Vampire Diaries only 50/100. For those who do not know, Metacritic publishes an average of only the absolute “top” critical ratings.

            Secondly, One has to remember to separate the original source (read: books) from the television series. They cannot and will not be the same. Vampire Diaries may have been published before Twilight, but it certainly came to air well afterwards, and thus was heavily influenced by the well established “Twilight” culture of teen melodrama, navel gazing, and rather predictable story arcs filled with painfully beautiful young lead characters. True Blood took a different course, split from its source novels rather early on and became, really, a rather campy and sexy paean to classic horror of the past. It is a universe devoted to all the mystical beings where, truly, anything can happen — just look at the season that just ended, no one could have guessed what they would have done with their lead character Bill. VD, by contrast, took Stefan, made him evil, then predictably, sent him running back to Elaina. In True Blood, vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies, shapeshifters, werepanthers, maynards, and, who knows what else can appear. I wouldn’t be surprised to see zombies show up. I doesn’t rely on gore and sex to keep people’s eyes glued, that’s the nature and advantage of being on premium cable. One can look at any series on HBO and Showtime (and increasingly, Starz) and see that — Boardwalk Empire, The Borgias, Spartacus, Strike Back, Californication, and on, and on.

            In the end, you have to like what you like, though, and there’s nothing wrong with that. :)

            BTW, The Walking Dead graphic novels did feature Hershel, AFAIK, but, even there, the writers would have to extend story lines or they would have a season made up of, at the most, two or three episodes, and that’s stretching it.

          • My assessment of Vampire Diaries being established as the better show isn’t false, Metacritic only rates the first episode or maybe first 2 episodes of the beginning of a Season. So Metacritic’s absolute ratings aren’t absolute. If you were apart of the cult following of VD and TB(Like Me), you would know the general consensus is that VD is the better show between the Two. Rolling Stones, IGN, and many more agree VD is better.

            Second, I simply stated that VD took there werewolf mythology straight off the original source(Novels), so VD in no way added werewolfs because of Twilight. It’s pretty obvious VD television series is a loose adaptation of the books. And yes VD was somewhat influenced by Twilight, but like anyone who is a part of the Cult following of VD or at least a casual viewer of VD, knows that VD is league’s apart from Twilight, and making comparisons now is just Silly. VD stands far above Twilight in everyway. And you should always remember that VD, TB, Twilight all have melodramatic moments, TB probably has more Melodramatic moments, but its overshadowed by the Blood and Nudity. Both VD and TB are both soap dramas, no matter how you slice it. Calling VD predictable is just wrong, VD is know for its mind blowing cliff hangers and unpredictable stories. VD’s unpredictability is what makes the show so great. As for stefan being turned bad, and returning to Elena, your just nitpicking, its essential for stefan to return, its a Soap Drama, And it took 22 episode’s(last episode) of the entire Season 3 for Stefan and Elena to share there first Kiss, there’s nothing predictable about that. TB is insanley campy, no one could of predicted Bills fate because how ridiculous season 5 became, Billith, Jason killing the half of the authority, More god-damn awful fairies, character assassination of sheriff Bel-ford(Dragon), Lafayette useless storyline, and Vampire Air monster called Warlow(LOL), etc.

          • I’m sorry, but I think you just made my point about Vampire Diaries’ predictability by stating that Stefan “had to go back to Elena,” as if there’s some sort of rule book. :) The only way one could predict that is, you know, if the show is predictable. It’s not nitpicking, it’s that the writers take far fewer risks than True Blood, where you literally don’t know what to expect, because no one can dictate that “Bill has to come back” or “Russell has to stay alive.” As I said, it’s classic horror, as opposed to this broody, navel gazing of Vampire Diaries, which doesn’t know if it wants to be horror or a romance novel adaptation.

            As for the reviews, a perusal of Rolling Stone, E!, Variety, and their comment sections shows no evidence that they favor Vampire Diaries over True Blood. In fact, I get the sense that a majority of reviewers (and fans) either like both or favor one series over the other, with an edge going to True Blood. Even a small sampling of this VD vs. TB question on Ask.com yields a majority of votes for TB. In the grand scheme of things, however, it means nothing. Still, to run away from the fact that the Vampire Diaries series is heavily influenced in its mood, production, and, most of all, the demographic it is squarely aimed at, by the Twilight phenomenon is really to be a bit naive. At the end of the day, the whole upswing in modern day vampire awareness more likely than not has its roots in the writings of Anne Rice anyway, who is beholden to Bram Stoker. :) Of course, this debate could go on and on in circles and yield nothing. Like I said, you like what you like. :)

          • http://amarillo.com/blog-post/chip-chandler/2012-09-11/dvd-reviews-titanic-vampire-diaries-what-expect-and-more
            A review from Vampire Diaries Season 3, the latest in the News section of “Vampire Diaries Blu Ray”, you are right, everyone likes what they like, but i just can’t see how a person could think TB is better then VD.

            And as for Stefan, he didn’t actually come to Elena, Elena practically did everything in her power to get him back. And they still hadn’t even coupled yet. So there’s nothing obvious about that. And calling TB Classic Horror is really naive, TB in no way is a Classic Horror. You forget that, TB’s main driving force behind there writing is its soap element. You probably forgot, Sookie and Eric laying in a snow bed naked for 10 minutes, or Bill feeding on Sookie while they have sex, or Jason and Jessica having Sex to a Taylor Swift song queue.

            And Russell was deemed dead as soon as he entered Season 5, it was obvious he had no remaining storyline, and in no way was he going to make it to Season 6, his abrupt death alone signaled he had no “Juice” left. VD takes tremendous risk, Turning Elena to a Vampire this early was one, You take TB’s risk taking as a positive thing, but in actuality, its a ridiculous campy writing. And shows that all logic is throw out the window at this point. How could you not cringe at a Fairy dancing around that operates in different frequencies, For God sakes, TB has a LOVE square(Sookie,Bill,Eric,Alcide)

            And VD’s creation was timed perfectly to ride the coattails of Twilights Popularity, But VD’s gothic dark soap already should tell you that it wants to break away from Twilight and Its Fluff, And VD has already achieved “this”, drawing comparisons to Twilight at this point only tells me, that you like TB too much to even acknowledge VD being a great show, let alone a better show then TB.

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