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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Modern Family third outing on Blu-ray

ABC's Modern Family is one of the most lauded sitcoms on television. Awards are showered on them, and the adults win praises like Emmys. There is a reason for this. It's a very funny take on a family show, with the twist that said family has been updated for the current era. Three generations don't live under the same roof, but they do interact frequently, and the outcomes of those interactions are often hilarious.

The Complete Third Season is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. It is a great year, beginning with a trip to a ranch for the entire clan, and ending with a dash to Mexico for a few of them. Important life events occur. Haley (Sarah Hyland) tries to get into college. Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) pursue the adoption of a second child. Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) finally finish their collection of one hundred lucky pennies.

But Modern Family isn't defined by such large arcs. It exists in the touching moments. Whether Jay (Ed O'Neill) is grudgingly granting the approval Phil (Ty Burrell) so desperately seeks, or Jay is having a moment with granddaughter Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons), or Jay is secretly sabotaging Manny and Gloria's penny project so that they can keep the tradition that makes them so happy going... I guess what I'm saying is, Jay is a fantastic character, wonderfully playing the grump patriarch who cares very deeply about those around him.

It isn't just Jay that gets it right. Hyland and Ariel Winter, who plays Alex, have terrific chemistry as sisters who bicker, but still love each other. Claire (Julie Bowen) is a very strong character when she is around her brother, Mitchell, and the two turn back into children. Phil and son Luke (Nolan Gould) have bonding moments that are pure gold, sharing lots of interests. It's these details, the perfectly illustrated relationships, as well as the incredibly strong, without exception, cast that makes Modern Family the gem it truly is.

Season three features a number of memorable installments. "Door to Door" finds Claire beginning her petition for a new stop sign. In "Treehouse," Cam believes he has made a woman (Leslie Mann) fall in love with him. "After the Fire" mixes up who the various family members spend time with, providing for some new, interesting combinations. "Punkin Chunkin" dredges up the past, and Cam's the amount of truth in Cam's tales is brought into question. The family tries to throw together an impromptu holiday celebration in "Express Christmas." "Aunt Mommy" verges on disturbing when Claire considers being a surrogate for Jay and Mitchell. "Virgin Territory" exposes a number of secrets, and Luke and Manny feud with Lily as only kids can. in "Disneyland," the clan visits the famous theme park. "Tableau Vivant" features a hilarious family portrait, and Phil tries to fire Mitchell. In "Baby on Board," Haley and Gloria both face big, new challenges.

Thankfully, Modern Family The Complete Third Season has plenty of special features. There are deleted and alternate scenes, of course, and a gag reel. Featurettes cover the trips to Wyoming and Disneyland. Ed O'Neill getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is covered. Ty Burrell allows the camera to follow him around the set. There are also extras about the Christmas episode, learning to drive, and the adventures of the kids on the series.

Do you have to buy a sitcom like Modern Family on Blu-ray? Well, no. It's not like there are big special effects or anything. But it is my preference to watch even a series like this in the best possible quality picture and sound as to be as fully immersed in the experience as possible. There really isn't any better argument than that for checking out Blu-ray, rather than plain DVD.

As a fan of the series, this is a great set, delivering every thing I would want from it.Modern Family The Complete Third Series is available now.

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