‘The Crown’ Season 3 Review: A Strong Season Despite Casting Changes

The Crown Season 3 DVD Review

If you’re not familiar with the Netflix series The Crown, I highly recommend checking it out. I had the chance to review a copy of The Crown Season 3 on Blu-ray, and I have to say, I was impressed!

For those not keeping up with the series, this focuses on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (the current Queen of England), with each season focusing on a different era of her time with the crown. Season three taking place from 1964 to 1977.

First, for those that have seen the previous seasons, there are several notable shakeups in casting. Most glaring is Olivia Colman playing the lead role as the Queen, which had been performed by Claire Foy in the first two seasons. Prince Philip, previously played by Matt Smith, is now played by Tobias Menzies. Helena Bonham Carter takes over the role of Princess Margaret (previously Vanessa Kirby). And lastly, Geraldine Chaplin as “Wallis” — the Duchess of Windsor (previously played by Lia Williams). Much to my delight, John Lithgow has returned for a wonderful (and final) stint as Winston Churchill. In my opinion, many of these changes are justified. The first two seasons spanned about 15 years, and now everybody is a little older. The producers have relied on casting rather than make-up and prosthetics, which can be distracting if not done well.

After you get used to those casting changes, you quickly fall into the show and forget about it. Season three brings us through the election of Prime Minister Harold Wilson of the Labour Party, who grows close to the Queen and would become one of Brits’ most favored PMs after WWII. Prince Philip’s mother moves into Buckingham Palace, and Prince Charles discovers a love of theater until the death of the Duke of Windsor – All of this is going on against the backdrop of a changing sentiment in England that no longer wants to live under a monarchy and the entire system of the monarchy.

The video quality is a 1080p transfer in a 2.00:1 aspect ratio. This transfer masterfully shows a lot of fine detail within the costumes and detailed production design. It makes you appreciate (even more-so) the top-notch cinematography. The bright whites (like snow) and deep blacks (like night) both do an outstanding job of not bleeding and give a significant level of detail to the scenes we are watching. Skin tones appear very natural throughout the season. No notable artifacts or noise were observed. The audio is in a DTS-HD 5.1 and does a great job creating the environment’s overall sound. The music on the series and be somewhat intrusive (I think people use the term “sweeping” as it ushers in a scene), but the release managed to balance evenly. While the music is still there, it doesn’t overpower the dialogue nor the background sounds and effects. It all works together very well.

Bonus Material

While you can watch The Crown on Netflix, the main reason I would recommend getting the Blu-ray (aside from being a fan of physical media and sharing) would be the bonus features. 

The bonus materials consist of three new featurettes, including “Behind The Crown: The Making of Season 3,” “Charles’ Investiture: Growing Up Royal,” and “Royal Fabrics: A Look at the Costumes.” 

There is also a photo gallery titled “Majestic Comparison.” The “making of” featurette was by far the most interesting and is a wealth of information about the actors’ transformations into their roles.  

The Crown Season 3 is currently available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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