Rated: Not Rated
Program Length: 506 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Languages: English (Stereo), French
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
One thing that we can all agree on is that Seinfeld is the gold standard against which all DVD sets of television shows are measured. Each season of Seinfeld has been beautifully rendered on DVD and packed with so many extras that they have put other television series sets to shame. The latest edition, Season Eight, is no exception.
Season Eight was both the penultimate season of Seinfeld and the first of two in which co-creator Larry David did not take a significant part. There has been much discussion about whether the series slipped a bit without David (although he continued to supply the voice of George Steinbrenner), but what is inarguable is that the show continued to deliver a lot of laughs. Many fans were dismayed about the way that George’s fiancée, Susan, was treated in the last episode of Season Seven. With that in mind, Season Eight begins on a perfect note with “The Foundation,” the episode in which George discovers that he has lost a lot more than a spouse. The pay-back which George receives during Season Eight more than makes up for his less-than-devastated reaction to the loss of Susan.
Many memorable episodes are included in this set, including “The Bizarro Jerry,” where Elaine becomes friends with three men who are the exact opposites of Jerry, George and Kramer; “The Package,” in which George tries to impress a woman at a photo store by having Kramer take sexy photos of him; “The Chicken Roaster,” where Jerry changes personalities after swapping apartments with Kramer; “The Abstinence,” in which George becomes a genius when he can’t have sex with his girlfriend; “The Susie,” featuring Elaine being both herself and a non-existent co-worker; “The Yada Yada,” which needs no further explanation, and “The Summer of George,” the season’s closing episode which features guest appearances by Molly Shannon and Raquel Welch. And who can forget “The Little Kicks,” with Elaine’s excruciating dance moves at an office party?
This is a complete list of all 22 episodes from season six:
The Soul Mate
The Bizarro Jerry
The Little Kicks
The Chicken Roaster
The Andrea Doria
The Little Jerry
The Van Buren Boys
The English Patient
The Yada Yada
The Muffin Tops
The Summer of George
Other guest stars who appear in Season Eight include Sarah Silverman, Debra Messing, Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, and a cameo appearance by Janeane Garofolo.
No fan of Seinfeld will want to pass up this collection.
The video looks pretty much the same as it does on the prior sets, which is to say that it looks very, very good. The images are sharp, the colors appear be accurate, and I was unable to spot any glitches. The red light which fills up Kramer’s apartment in “The Chicken Roaster” could have presented problems, but it is rendered flawlessly. I can’t imagine that anyone will have any complaints about how these episodes look.
The stereo audio is mixed very nicely. The show never tried to incorporate any mind-blowing audio effects, but it certainly sounded fine to my ears. The dialogue is of utmost importance in a comedy, and here every word can be distinctly heard. The show was made before live audiences, and the laughter sounds like it is coming from live audiences. Best of all, the laughter never drowns out the lines. Whether this was due to great timing by the actors or superb sound editing, I cannot say, but the final product sounds as good as can be expected.
As is the case with each prior volume in this series, the supplements are plentiful and of high quality. Viewers who have seen the prior volumes know what to expect – audio commentaries, deleted scenes, “Inside Looks” (comments from the actors, writers and directors about how some of the episodes were conceived and put together), and “Notes About Nothing” (explanatory notes about some of the events and references in each episode). It is always interesting to hear about how many of the plot devices were derived from real-life events. Some of the production issues are quite interesting. For example, the tennis scenes in “The Comeback” were performed on a real outdoor tennis court which had been covered by an inflatable tent. A severe storm started during the shooting, and the tent collapsed from the weight of the rain moments after the crew left the set.
Two “Sein-Imation” cartoons are included. These are animated scenes made with actual dialogue from the show. The first is an animation of Jerry performing a stand-up routine about old people moving to Florida and family dinners; the second is a very amusing rendition of Kramer trying to rush a severed pinky toe to the hospital on a New York City bus.
There is also a funny blooper reel entitled “Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That” and an original “documentary” about the show’s star called “Jerry Seinfeld: Submarine Captain.” The documentary discusses how Jerry coped with the loss of Larry David. He acknowledges that he could not have done it earlier in the show’s run, but after seven seasons he had learned enough that he was able to successfully juggle the roles of actor, writer, and producer. Members of the cast and crew marvel at Jerry’s lack of ego. Whereas many stars want all the best lines for themselves, Jerry made a point of making sure that everyone was able to get his or her share of the biggest laughs. One thing that the documentary makes clear is that everyone on Seinfeld thoroughly enjoyed being part of the show.
The menu allows the choice of playing all episodes or selecting individual episodes. The extras for the individual episodes can be accessed from either the Extras menu or the menus for the individual shows. There is no ability to select scenes from individual episodes.
The packing is identical to the earlier sets of Seinfeld. The 22 episodes are spread out over four discs, each in its own slimcase. These are bundled into a slipcase which in turn fits into an outer case. There is also an insert which lists all 22 episodes, including production credits.
The Final Analysis
What more do you need to know? If you are a fan of Seinfeld, this is a no-brainer. I understand that some fans have been put off by the controversy surrounding Michael Richards, but that is such a personal decision that I see no point in commenting on it. Standing on its own, this set is every bit as good as the prior volumes.
Equipment used for this review:
Cambridge Audio DVD-89 DVD player
Sharp LC-42D62U LCD display
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable
Release Date: June 5, 2007