Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review: More of the Same and That's a Good Thing

A pleasant family sitcom that combines laughs and heart in its stories.
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The third season of Modern Family presents the continuing adventures of the extended Pritchett family.  It also continued the series' success with Emmy voters as it won its third consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series and third Outstanding Supporting Actor (Eric Stonestreet reclaiming the award from last year's winner/fellow castmate Ty Burrell), and its second consecutive Outstanding Supporting Actress (Julie Bowen repeating) and second consecutive Outstanding Directing.  Though I didn't find this to be the most outstanding comedy of last year, Modern Family is certainly a pleasant family sitcom whose great appeal is the way it combines laughs and heart in its stories.

Modern Family Third SeasonFor those who don't know the series, it's an enjoyable sitcom that revolves around three families.  Jay (Ed O'Neill) is the patriarch.  He is married to much younger and gorgeous second wife Gloria (Sofía Vergara), whose Columbian accent brings to mind Charo and Desi Arnez.  Manny (Rico Rodriguez) is her 13-year-old son from a previous marriage though he acts a lot older.  Jay has two children from his first marriage: Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson).  Claire is married to real estate agent Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), who tries too hard to be the cool dad.  They have three kids: pretty and popular Haley (Sarah Hyland), a high school senior; smart middle sister Alex (Ariel Winter), who starts her freshman year in high school; and Luke (Nolan Gould), who is the same age as his Uncle Manny.  Mitchell is an attorney and his partner Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) is a stay-at-home dad to their adopted Vietnamese child Lily, a toddler played this year by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. 

Throughout the 24 episodes of the season, which are housed on three Blu-ray discs, the theme of change and aging is prevalent as the children grow up and the characters' lives evolve. Mitchell and Cameron are seen multiple times working towards adopting another child.  After her petition for a stop sign is ignored, Claire runs for city council against incumbent Duane Bailey (David Cross).  Phil takes Haley to tour his college in "Go Bullfrogs!," and learns she's not his little girl anymore in "Virgin Territory."  He has trouble keeping up with Luke at "Disneyland" while in "Treehouse" Jay has trouble keeping up with Gloria, who wants to go salsa dancing.  "Express Christmas" finds an impromptu celebration thrown together when the gang realizes they won't be together for the holiday.  Luke copes with the death of his older friend in "The Last Walt." 

The Blu-ray continues to deliver a pleasing high-def experience like the previous season releases.  The video is presented with a 1080p/ MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and the audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  The colors come through in strong hues and blacks are rich.  Consistent skintones appear throughout and objects have sharp edges and detailed textures.  The dialogue-driven soundtrack is naturally a front-heavy experience and offers mild ambiance, at times.

Each disc contains extras, all of which are in HD.  Disc One has Deleted and Alternate Scenes (6 min).  There are two featurettes related to the "Dude Ranch" season opener.  "Destination: Wyoming" (10 min) finds the cast and crew in interviews and behind-the-scenes footage while "Adventures of the Modern Family Kids" (4 min) focuses on the younger cast members.  "A Day on the Set with Ty" (6 min) takes viewers through his daily routine during the shooting of  "Election Day," directed by Bryan Cranston.  Disc Two has more Deleted and Alternate Scenes (9 min).  "A Modern Family Christmas" (6 min) looks at the making of "Express Christmas."  Luke and Manny are behind the wheel of Cam's car in "Driving Lessons" (3 min).  There's a bit of history in the making as "Ed O'Neill Gets a Star" (17 min) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Disc Three has even more Deleted and Alternate Scenes (7 min), a short making-of as "Modern Family Goes to Disneyland Resort" (3 min), and the usual Gag Reel (9 min).

Though it didn't consistently achieve the same high standard of the seasons before, likely due to the characters' behavior not surprising viewers as much and the large number of episodes cranked out each season, there is still plenty of humor and warmth for fans to in the third season of Modern Family that makes this season enjoyable and worth owning.  The high-def presentation makes the Blu-ray a worthy investment.  And they offer hints at what's to come in the fourth season during the final episode "Baby on Board" with Haley's announcement she's moving in with reunited boyfriend Dylan (Reid Ewing) and a surprise pregnancy for one of the characters. 

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