Tour of Duty: Season 3 DVD

Tuesday, 20 November 2012 11:35
Posted in TV DVDs
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Tour of Duty - the final third season out now on DVDBravo Company returns to the fray for their third and final season of physically and emotionally fraught conflict in the Vietnam War. Over 21 episodes, story arcs feature high calibre guest stars such as Carl Weathers (“Rocky”, “Predator”), Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy) and Greg Germann (Ally McBeal, “Quarantine”). The guys are transferred to a new base and become part of a Special Operations unit called Team Viking.

Two new characters join the ranks: peacenik medic Pvt Hockenbury (John Dye – Touched by an Angel) and later on, Pvt William Griner (Kyle Chandler – “Super 8”, Friday Night Lights, Early Edition). Alongside the thrilling combat sequences, plots cover such heavy-duty subjects as a civilian massacre, drug abuse, the inability to adapt to a normal life, army cover-ups and the repercussions of soldiers going AWOL.

After a slight dip in quality during Season 2, this final run of episodes sees the series returning to its best. Part of the reason it is so successful is the continuity between episodes; characters who do something bad or get hurt do not miraculously return next week with a clear conscience and fighting fit. The dynamic between the troops, their superiors, their families and loved ones rings true and creates some fascinating character-based drama.

The first few episodes witness the shocking death of a major character and as the series progresses, others have a tough time of it, becoming disillusioned, angry and frustrated with the apparent futility of the war and betrayal by loved ones back home. A common theme runs throughout, though: the members of Team Viking never stop looking out for each other, no matter how desperate things get or how low morale falls. That probably makes it sound more miserable than it is, as the squaddies get up to some uplifting and amusing antics during their downtime.

The front-line combat is tense and exciting, with enough variety in the military tactics to prevent each episode simply becoming two lines of soldiers shooting at each other. Mission objectives include rescuing prisoners of war, stealing an enemy helicopter, locating and destroying a fuel depot and escorting an informant who has turned.

Several faces from the first two seasons make guest appearances, including Pvt Baker (Eric Bruskotter), Dr Seymour (Betsy Brantley) and MG Goldman. As expected, the reappearance of Lt Goldman’s estranged father triggers a whole new emotional firework display!

Sadly the makers of the box set have seen fit to return to five episodes per disc like the first season; the high compression results in a greater degradation in visual fidelity. It is quite annoying when so much has been made of the fact that this is the first time the show has been released on DVD with its original soundtrack (which is great, by the way). You would think they would want to present the hit show in the best possible light. Economics always get in the way, though on the plus side you do not have to swap discs as often. Small mercies!

That is my only grumble. I adore this series, and having come to know the members of Team Viking I will sorely miss them now that their journey has come to an end. This box set comes very highly recommended, though newcomers are urged to seek out the first two seasons to get the full picture.

Bonus content in this five-disc set includes:

  • All 21 Full Length Episodes
  • Brand New Making of Documentary ‘The Final Mission’ featuring Cast and Crew (24 mins)
  • Character Biographies
  • Original Cast Biographies
  • Original Crew Biographies
  • Galleries including Action Stills, Behind The Scenes Stills and Publicity Stills
  • Episode Synopses
  • Glossary of Tour of Duty Military Terms

 

Tour of Duty – The Complete Third Season (1989-90) is out now, courtesy of Fabulous Films. The 5-disc box set has a running time of 1032 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £49.99. A 15-disc mega box set is also available containing all three seasons for £99.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:36

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