Continuing the tradition of rich family-drama mixed with a tiny hint of nighttime-soapiness it launched in season one and expanded upon in its abbreviated second season, the successful ABC drama once again delivers a year filled with compelling characters faced with difficult choices, life changes and inter-familial angst.

The Walkers find themselves losing a sister and gaining a brother when they discover that Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) isn’t, in fact, related to them by blood… which, conveniently opens the door (and lowers the ick factor) for her romance with Justin (Dave Annable) to blossom. At the same time, long-lost half-brother Ryan (Luke Grimes) enters the Walker picture, moving in with the family and causing his own stir as the season progresses.

Nora (Sally Field) begins a personal and professional relationship with the architect (Nigel Havers) helping her design a new non-profit center, but that comes with a side order of complications when she discovers more about him. Holly (Patricia Wettig), meanwhile, tries to stand her business ground amid efforts by the increasingly ethically challenged Tommy (Balthazar Getty) to shove her out of the Ojai picture. Speaking of the rest of the Walker children…

Kitty (Calista Flockhart) and Robert (Rob Lowe) make big strides at home and at work – the couple sets out to adopt a baby, Robert decides to run for governor and Kitty writes a revealing tell-all book – but a heart attack throws a wrench into some of their plans.

Kevin (Matthew Rhys) settles into married life with Scotty (Luke Macfarlane), and takes an eye-opening job as Robert’s press secretary, while Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) gets involved in an eco-centric start-up venture in the hopes of regaining her footing in the business world.

Really, with this many characters – including Ron Rifkin’s newly out Saul – and storylines to choose from, there’s a little something for everybody with this series. It’s a consistently solid, watchable show brimming with material. Sibling rivalry? Check! Romance? Check! Scandal? Check! Illness? Check! Lies? Check! Revelations? Check!

Am I recommending Brothers & Sisters: The Complete Third Season? Check.

DVD Notes

The six-disc, 24-episode set comes with the standard-issue fare like audio commentaries (on a small handful of episodes), a blooper reel and more than a dozen deleted scenes. Bonus features include: a show “primer” recapping the first two seasons; “The Mothers of Brothers & Sisters,” where Field, Wettig and their co-stars discuss their characters; a featurette following several cast members as they visit a family-owned winery in Ojai, CA; and “In-Between Scenes,” which is essentially the actors having fun on set.

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