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HTF REVIEW: Friends - The Complete Sixth Season.

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#1 of 9 Herb Kane

Herb Kane

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Posted January 15 2004 - 02:17 PM

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Friends – The Complete Sixth Season





Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 1999-2000
Rated: Not Rated
Film Length: 569 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Standard
Audio: DD 5.0
Color/B&W: Color
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $44.98
Package: 5 Panel Digipak with slipcase





The Feature:
OK… I admit, not much has changed since my last review of the previous season. I haven’t pulled out the older sets so I’m really no more informed now with respect to the Friends franchise than I was a couple of months ago. To be truthful, I don’t know how fans keep up (and that’s a good thing). Seems I just finished Season Five, here we are with Season Six and I no sooner completed this review and received yet another press release regarding the specifics of the Season Seven release… who’s complaining though, right…?

Let’s cut right to the chase, anyone who’s reading a review of a show that’s six years in, has to be somewhat familiar with it. In fact, anyone reading this now that’s not familiar with Friends period, is obviously living in a cave somewhere. Wait a minute, that review comes in March…

I also want to say thank you to whoever purchased the gloves for the fella who’s responsible for packing these disc sets. My last set was absolutely littered with fingerprints and scuffs. These discs are immaculate.

The episodes are as follows:


Disc One:

Episode 1. The One After Vegas
Directed by Kevin S. Bright – Original Airdate: 9/23/99

Episode 2. The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel
Directed by Gail Mancuso – Original Airdate: 9/30/99

Episode 3. The One With Ross’s Denial
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 10/7/99

Episode 4. The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 10/14/99

Episode 5. The One With Joey’s Porsche
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 10/21/99

Episode 6. The One On The Last Night
Directed by David Schwimmer – Original Airdate: 11/4/99

Episode 7. The One Where Phoebe Runs
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 11/11/99
Guest Star: Elle MacPherson


Disc Two:

Episode 8. The One With Ross’s Teeth
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 11/18/99

Episode 9. The One Where Ross Got High **Commentary**
Directed by Kevin S. Bright – Original Airdate: 11/25/99

Episode 10. The One With The Routine
Directed by Kevin S. Bright – Original Airdate: 12/16/99

Episode 11. The One With The Apothecary Table
Directed by Kevin S. Bright – Original Airdate: 1/6/00

Episode 12. The One With The Joke
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 1/13/00

Episode 13. The One With Rachel’s Sister
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 2/3/00
Guest Star: Reese Witherspoon


Disc Three:

Episode 14. The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry
Directed by Kevin S. Bright – Original Airdate: 2/10/00

Episode 15. The One That Could Have Been **Commentary**
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 2/17/00
Parts 1 & 2.

Episode 16. The One With Unagi
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 2/24/00

Episode 17. The One Where Ross Dates A Student
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 3/9/00

Episode 18. The One With Joey’s Fridge
Directed by Ben Weiss – Original Airdate: 3/23/00


Disc Four:

Episode 19. The One With Mac And C.H.E.E.S.E.
Directed by Kevin S. Bright – Original Airdate: 4/13/00

Episode 20. The One Where Ross Meets Elizabeth’s Dad
Directed by Michael Lembeck – Original Airdate: 4/27/00
Guest Star: Bruce Willis

Episode 21. The One Paul’s The Man
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 5/4/00
Guest Star: Bruce Willis

Episode 22. The One With The Ring
Directed by Gary Halvorson – Original Airdate: 5/11/00

Episode 23. The One With The Proposal **Commentary**
Directed by Kevin S. Bright – Original Airdate: 5/18/00
Guest Star: Tom Selleck



Video:
The series is shown in its native 4:3 television aspect ratio. What I discovered is that very little has changed from Season Five to Season Six.

There certainly is a healthy assortment of colors to be found on this set. I found the colors to be vibrant and perhaps even over saturated. Fans of the show are familiar with the retro style furnishings making great use of the color palette. Blacks were reasonably deep. Skin tones however, had a red push more often than not.

Similar to the previous season, there is a fair amount of grain, surprisingly really for such a recent show. What bothered me most about the previous season is equally irksome with this season. The image detail is really poor. I don’t mind a soft picture occasionally, but I can’t but help think that this could be better. I might even go as far to say that the image detail is worse on this set (or I’m just grumpier, one or the other) than on the previous season. Again, similar to the previous season, were signs of compression artifacting. Not severe but certainly noticeable during many scenes. Edge enhancement was not really an issue.

I haven’t watched an episode of Friends since my last review, but if there’s one downfall these sets have is the rather “satisfactory at best” video presentations.



Audio:
The DD 5.0 track that’s supplied really does an admirable job. I have no complaints.

Dialogue was always clear, forward and intelligible. The accompanying music is at times somewhat aggressive and never competing.

Surround info is rather sparse as it’s basically reserved for laughter and applause since the show is filmed in front of a live audience. Music is added as filler in between scenes and appropriately adds to the feel of the show.

Not a super aggressive track but one that adds nicely to the feel of the show.



Special Features:
Aside from the three commentaries (which I bolded next to each episode), the following special features are included on the set:
[*] Friends Of Friends. This is a short featurette which includes Elliott Gould, Maggie Wheeler and Jane Sibbett who reflect on many of their favorite episodes and scenes. Duration: 12:29 Minutes.
[*] Gunther Spills The Beans is a short introduction of what we have to look forward to for the upcoming Season Seven DVD set. Duration: 1:24 Minutes.
[*] The next feature is a Casino Challenge which is formatted similar to a Blackjack style game whereby giving three wrong answers eliminates you from the game. Needless to say, I didn’t last very long…
[*] Cast And Crew is merely a one page text listing of the stars and those responsible for the hit show.
[*] Probably the hit feature on this set is the Gag Reel which boasts nearly ten minutes of some pretty funny flubs. These guys look like they have a lot of fun. Duration: 9:37 Minutes.
[*] Finally, there is an enhanced DVD-ROM PC feature which I didn’t get to.

There is also a $10 rebate voucher included which can be used with the purchase of Season Six and any of the previous Seasons 1 - 5.



Final Thoughts:
If Friends fans have anything to be thankful for, it’s the regularity for which these season sets have been released. While many of us are still waiting for even a 1st season release of some of our favorite shows, fans of Friends have seen fairly consistent release schedules. Obviously, we know why… In fact as I was preparing this review, Season Seven was just announced to be released April 6th, 2004.

It’s funny… I find myself critiquing TV product differently than that of motion pictures. Having said that, and without straying too far off the beaten path, the video quality of Friends remains rather satisfactory at best. That’s not to say it looks bad but, in light of the popularity of the show and the budget that must be pumped into this production, I can’t help but think the show should look better.




Release Date: January 27th, 2004
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 9 Casey Trowbridg

Casey Trowbridg

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Posted January 15 2004 - 02:36 PM

Herb, thanks for the review as always I'm all over this release Jan, 27.

Quote:
Episode 9. The One Where Ross Got High

One of my favorite episodes mainly because of Joey though.

#3 of 9 Andrew Radke

Andrew Radke

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Posted January 15 2004 - 10:12 PM

Thanks very much for the review. I too am looking forward to this set. I tell you, I can literally sit and watch 3/4 of a season in just one sitting. I love this show. It's pretty cool actually because I received season 5 for Christmas, and I only had to wait 1 month to get season 6. Gotta love that!
My DVD / Blu-ray collection:
 

 


#4 of 9 Christian Preischl

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Posted January 15 2004 - 11:09 PM

I'm already curious how season 7 will look because on the R2 sets I've noticed a dramatic improvement in picture quality starting with season 7.

Chris

#5 of 9 Sam Davatchi

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Posted January 15 2004 - 11:24 PM

The gag reel starts with this set? Posted Image

#6 of 9 Chad A Wright

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Posted January 16 2004 - 02:10 AM

Can't wait to get this along with the rest of the seasons.

#7 of 9 Evan M.

Evan M.

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Posted January 16 2004 - 04:29 AM

My wife and friends got me into Friends in college. I whish they never did because I became addicted. I have not enjoyed a comedy to this degree since M.A.S.H. I really can't think of a comedy since M.A.S.H. that has gripped its' audience like Friends does. Sure there have been some excellent shows, Cheers, Cosby Show come to mind first but I think other than M.A.S.H. Friends has had that lasting effect and never dropped down near the "end" like so many shows have. I think the Series Finale has a chance to come close to the HUGE amount of people who tuned in for the final episode of M.A.S.H.

#8 of 9 Sam Davatchi

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Posted February 27 2004 - 12:16 PM

I was looking for a specific episode tonight and after finding it on the package, SURPRISE! The episode was not on the disc. They have completely messed up the listing on the package. The listing is as it is written in this review but the actual discs contain:
Disc 1 – Episode 1-6
Disc 2 – Episode 7-12 and so on!

Can’t they do a simple quality check! Posted Image

#9 of 9 Herb Kane

Herb Kane

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Posted February 28 2004 - 07:56 AM

Thanks Sam. If recall correctly, that was also an issue on one of the earlier Friends sets as well. Guess we can't go by their own listings.


Herb.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...