I've been a long-time fan of Big Love, and can't help but be addicted to this story about a polygamist, successful Mormon businessman Bill Henrickson (played credibly by Bill Paxton), and his three wives - Barb (Jeanne Triplehorn) the first wife who was initially (during her battle with cancer)persuaded by husband Bill to embrace "The Principle" which basically embraces the concept of polygamy. Through Seasons 1-2, we see Barb struggle with the consequences of living The Principle as reflected in the conflicts between her and her two other sister wives (as the co-wives are called) and also the impact it has on her own relationship not just with Bill and their children, but also Barb's family. Then there's second wife Nicolette (Chloe Sevigny) who is the daughter of Roman Grant, the patriarch and Prophet of Juniper Creek, a Mormon settlement and whose followers all embrace The Principle. Nicki's character is often portrayed as ultra religious and rather extreme in her views, though she is not without flaws - for one, she is a spendthrift and her battles with shopping addiction was well-chronicled in the earlier seasons. The main reason for Nicki's joining Bill's family was initially to provide a mother figure for Bill and Barb's children in case Barb should die. Finally, the third wife is Margene, the new convert to The Principle, and also the youngest amongst the wives. Over the seasons, we see Margene maturing into her role as the third sister wife and no longer as naive as she was in the first season.
As Season Three begins, there is plenty of drama to keep long-time fans entertained and to intrigue new fans (though this series does need to be watched from the First Season in order to truly understand all the dynamics of the relationships and the convoluted story arcs). In the first half of this season, the two main story arcs are the trial of Roman Grant as well as Ana (the prospective fourth sister wife). Ana (played by Branka Katic) is a Serbian waitress (with a credible accent to boot) who is being wooed by Bill. Ana is attractive but far from submissive, demonstrating an independent and inquiring mind, and more importantly a strong will that may prove incompatible with Bill and his three wives. So the wives get to know Ana, a collective undertaking initiated by Barb. This first half of the season also sees Bill trying his hardest to get his casino business off the ground. The rest of the third season sees the repercussions of this relationship between Bill and Ana, as well as what happens as a result of Roman's trial. Bill and his family face some serious issues - those of faith, problems faced by Bill's offspring especially daughter Sarah (the brilliant Amanda Seyfried, recently seen in "Jennifer's Body"), and other shenanigans within the family.
The various story arcs are well-plotted, and the ensemble cast does a credible job in making these characters seem like very real people facing life problems - only thing is, the problems are not always the conventional sort which is to be expected given the premise of the series which deals with the issues of plural marriage. The ending of Season 3 was quite satisfactory for me - there's enough left unresolved that I look forward to Season 4 (which is premiering soon on HBO), but there's also enough resolution for some story arcs that one is not left completely hanging.
DVD features - well, the aspect ratio is 16:9, there is the option of Spanish, French, English subtitles (and also English closed captioning). There is a total of 10 episodes on 4 discs (each in its own plastic case, the slim version). The picture and audio quality are above average in my opinion, very clear audio and crisp and well-defined picture. The extras are found on Disc 1 - the usual trailer for HBO programming, "Their Stories So Far" where Bill and the three sister wives speak to the camera, addressing who they are etc, "Three Past Midnight" which consist of 3 enactments involving the main characters. Final verdict - a highly entertaining, original, and engrossing show - a must-have for fans!