One Tree Hill: The Complete Third Season

As one of many WB shows on the chopping block during the network’s amalgamation with UPN as CW, the future of One Tree Hill after season three was doubtful. With a devoted fan base but hardly the numbers that save shows, the series was thankfully renewed, almost certainly because of its startling cliff-hanger extravaganza. And deservedly so, because this once basketball fixated teen drama has matured into a well-rounded and enjoyable soap. Things pick up after the fire that nearly kills town asshole Dan Scott, leaving the perp unknown for a good string of episodes. As expected, recurring romances are rekindled, as couples Haley and Nathan, and Brooke and Lucas reunite, but not without constant obstacles. It’s the seriousness of season three, however, that elevates the show from the more trivial action of the previous two. Murders are committed, statutory rape is engaged, a Columbine incident is not averted, a grand wedding goes down (not without hitches, of course) and members of Fall Out Boy appear thrice. Character development is also stressed. Whereas Lucas and Nathan were originally the initial focal points, the importance/screen time of others is now widespread even more so. Characters such as Dan, who is now mayor of Tree Hill, and Brooke, who becomes a fashion designer, are now more vital than ever, and even born nerd Mouth is in the credits full-time. But it’s all about that finish. Things come to a scalding boil, as a pregnancy, a discovered secret about Keith’s murder and a fatal car accident (but who dies?) all lead into what will no doubt be an anticipated fourth season. Plus: selected commentary, deleted scenes. (Warner)