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HTF DVD Review: Seinfeld Season 9 (Highly Recommended)

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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted November 03 2007 - 05:58 PM

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Studio: Sony
Years: 1997-1998
Rated: Not Rated
Program Length: 553 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Languages: English (Stereo), French (Stereo)
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish


The Program

It is indisputable that Seinfeld is the gold standard against which all DVD sets of television shows should be measured. The first eight seasons were beautifully transferred to DVD and packed with so many extras that they put most other television series sets to shame. The latest and final edition, Season 9, is certainly no exception.

Season 9 was the second season of Seinfeld in which co-creator Larry David was not involved (other than the final episode, that is, which he wrote). In his absence the show’s humor became broader during Season 8, and that trend continued into Season 9. Whether it is Kramer basting himself in butter or recreating the set of The Merv Griffin Show in his apartment, or Jerry impersonating “the voice” of his girlfriend’s navel, or George getting a sore back from his giant wallet, or Elaine drawing a cartoon which is published in The New Yorker, Season 9’s episodes by and large are zanier than what we saw during the first seven seasons. Regardless of the change in tone, however, the show continued to deliver plenty of laughs and some iconic moments.

Who can forget Festivus, the holiday which George’s father dreamed up to replace Christmas? “Festivus for the rest of us,” the “airing of grievances,” and “feats of strength” have become catchwords of our culture. What other television series would air an episode backwards? When Jerry begins to date his maid, is he paying her only for cleaning his apartment?

As always, there are a number of appearances by well-know guest stars. Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) reprises her role as Jenna, Jerry’s ex-girlfriend who is now going out with Kenny Bania. The late Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati) appears in two episodes as George’s boss at Play Now. Lloyd Bridges, who died two months before the final episode of Seinfeld aired, returns for one show as Izzy Mandelbaum. Other guest stars who appear during the final season include Wilford Brimley and Kathy Griffin.

The controversy surrounding the final season of Seinfeld centers on the final two-part episode, titled simply “The Finale.” Larry David was brought back to write the script and expectations were, to put it mildly, through the roof. The final product, which includes cameo appearances by many of the characters who appeared on the show over the years, was regarded as a disappointment by many fans of the show. Looking at it again nearly eight years later, “The Finale” seems to me to be much more satisfying than when I first saw it. I suspect that it may have been the rather downbeat ending which disturbed viewers at the time, much as many fans were troubled by the final episode of Season 7, when George’s fiancée died. However, as much as we enjoy Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer, there is no denying that they are self-centered and shallow people. Their comeuppance may ultimately be a more satisfying conclusion than if the show had ended on a happier note.

This is a complete list of all 24 episodes from season six:

The Butter Shave
The Voice
The Serenity Now
The Blood
The Junk Mail
The Merv Griffin Show
The Slicer
The Betrayal
The Apology
The Strike
The Dealership
The Reverse Peephole
The Cartoon
The Strongbox
The Wizard
The Burning
The Bookstore
The Frogger
The Maid
The Puerto Rican Day
The Chronicle Parts 1 & 2 (two-part “clips” show)
The Finale Parts 1 & 2


It should be noted that all nine season have been packaged together as Seinfeld – The Complete Series with a suggested retail price of $283.95. I have not seen that set, but it appears to include the same material that is found on the original DVD releases, but with special packaging and “The Official Coffee Table Book” (described as “a 226-page bound anthology filled with photos, quotes, and trivia from every episode”). The complete series set also has a bonus disc featuring a cast reunion (including Larry David).

The Video

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. I doubt that anyone will have any complaints about how these episodes look.

The Audio

The stereo audio is mixed very nicely and sounds fine to my ears. The dialogue is always clear and intelligible, which is vital to a comedy show which derives much of its humor from the repartee of the characters. The laughter from the live audiences enhances the humor but never intrudes upon the action on the screen. For those who own the prior eight seasons, the audio here is on a par with those sets.

The Supplements

No one who is familiar with the Seinfeld DVD sets will be surprised to learn that the supplements for Season 9 are plentiful, amusing and interesting. Seinfeld fans 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). Also included are three “Sein-Imation” segments, in which actual dialogue from the show is put to animation.

Disc 1 includes a 23-minute featurette entitled “The Last Lap.” Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, and the producers and writers of the show discuss how they came to the decision to end the series after nine years. They also talk about the secrecy involved in putting together the final episode, and Larry David recalls how he reacted when many critics gave “The Finale” negative reviews.

There is even more. As in prior seasons, there is a blooper reel entitled “Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That.” The famous backwards episode, “The Betrayal,” can also be seen “front to back” as a special feature on Disc 2. Disc 4 includes a segment called “Scenes from the Roundtable,” which appears to be an edited version of the cast reunion which can be seen in its entirety on the bonus disc in the complete series box set.

Other Features

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 Packaging

The packing is identical to the earlier sets of Seinfeld. The 24 episodes are spread out over four discs, each in its own slimcase. These are bundled into a slipcase which in turn fits into a cardboard outer case. There is also an insert which lists all 24 episodes, including production credits.

The Final Analysis

If you are a fan of Seinfeld, this is a no-brainer unless you would rather go for the complete series set. Either way, it is difficult to imagine that any fan of this very funny and iconic series will not want to own Season 9.

Equipment used for this review:

Toshiba HD-XA2 DVD player
Sharp LC-42D62U LCD display
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable

Release Date: November 6, 2007
Rich Gallagher

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   pitchman

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Posted November 03 2007 - 10:47 PM

Thanks for a great review, Richard.

I can't wait for Tuesday to complete my set!
Gary

#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Rob W

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Posted November 04 2007 - 01:41 PM

I can't believe I'm the first one to point out that the finale was NOT a two-part episode but was only split up for the syndication package, much like other
one-hour episodes from earlier seasons. It really pisses me off when we can't get these episodes as they were originally broadcast, which negates the purpose of buying these episodes instead of watching them on broadcast tv six times a day.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted November 04 2007 - 03:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob W
I can't believe I'm the first one to point out that the finale was NOT a two-part episode but was only split up for the syndication package, much like other
one-hour episodes from earlier seasons. It really pisses me off when we can't get these episodes as they were originally broadcast, which negates the purpose of buying these episodes instead of watching them on broadcast tv six times a day.
What makes you think that they're spearated? The DVDs called all the other two parters Parts 1 & 2 as well.

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted November 04 2007 - 03:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob W
I can't believe I'm the first one to point out that the finale was NOT a two-part episode but was only split up for the syndication package, much like other one-hour episodes from earlier seasons.

To clarify that, "The Finale" is listed as two episodes but it is shown as a single, one-hour episode. The same is true of "The Chronicle."
Rich Gallagher

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted November 05 2007 - 01:21 AM

Great review......looking forward to my copy which just shipped from Amazon. Probably won't get it until probably the end of the week or so, but it's worth it since in Canada it's a bilingual cover and with taxes it's roughly $15 more expensive.....ridiculous considering the strength of our dollar these days.Posted Image
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Currently watching- Planet Earth, Cheers: Season 6, True Blood: Season 2, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, The Equalizer: Season 2, Lost: Season 6, Tales From The Crypt: Season 2, WKRP In Cincinnati, Season 1
 

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#7 of 17 OFFLINE   texboil

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Posted November 05 2007 - 06:14 AM

I guess I can wait to get my set tomorrow to find out, but which version of the clip show is on there?

On the original finale night, I believe the clip show was about 45 minutes long and the finale was roughly 75 minutes.

When it was rerun that summer, the clip show was expanded to an hour and aired as a stand-alone episode.

Also wondering if anyone has any information on the bonus disc that Target will be including. I hate these things, but damn if they don't influence where I purchase DVDs.

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Dean C

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Posted November 05 2007 - 11:04 AM

Im gonnabuy the entire series. I waited so long not buying into them.
Hopefully the season 9 is the sme

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Rob W

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Posted November 05 2007 - 11:12 AM

Is my face red.... My apologies everybody.

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Chris Cheese

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Posted November 05 2007 - 04:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gallagher
The complete series set also has a bonus disc featuring a cast reunion (including Larry David).

I guess I should have expected it, but damned if this isn't really frustrating and upsetting. Haven't they learned yet that fans get pissed when they support the show all along as it's released season by season and then get ripped off by exclusive extras on the complete series set? Maybe it'll wind up being like the MASH set where the extras disc gets released separately because enough people are pissed. Why would they assume someone like myself who has been buying each season all along wouldn't want to see this reunion?

#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Moore Maxx

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Posted November 06 2007 - 02:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cheese
I guess I should have expected it, but damned if this isn't really frustrating and upsetting. Haven't they learned yet that fans get pissed when they support the show all along as it's released season by season and then get ripped off by exclusive extras on the complete series set? Maybe it'll wind up being like the MASH set where the extras disc gets released separately because enough people are pissed. Why would they assume someone like myself who has been buying each season all along wouldn't want to see this reunion?

I agree totaly and went ahead and picked up the Season 9 set itself to finish my collection. Would rather of had a Superman statue with the complete set than a fridge. Anyway, I read a review of the complete set on another site and they said the extra DVD with the complete roundtable discussion was included in the book from the set. So I'm thinking in a few months or so we will probably see the book released separately with this DVD extra included, or so I hope.

Maxx

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted November 06 2007 - 02:34 PM

I found an easter egg on disc one. If you go to the submenu on The Blood and push right on your remote, a key is highlighted and when you hit enter, a clip of Pete Papanickolas filling in for Lloyd Bridges (so they can get an live audience laugh track) plays.

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted November 06 2007 - 03:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moore Maxx
I agree totaly and went ahead and picked up the Season 9 set itself to finish my collection. Would rather of had a Superman statue with the complete set than a fridge. Anyway, I read a review of the complete set on another site and they said the extra DVD with the complete roundtable discussion was included in the book from the set. So I'm thinking in a few months or so we will probably see the book released separately with this DVD extra included, or so I hope.

Maxx

yep, the extra is in a slot on the back page of the book.
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#14 of 17 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted November 12 2007 - 06:52 AM

There's two easter eggs on disc four.

In the submenu for The Finale, press down until a fingerprint highlights, press enter and you'll see a fake ending where the gang is found not guilty.

And in the Extras menu, press right from the first choice listed (if I remember corectly, it's Scenes From The Roundtable) to highlight Exhibit A, press enter and you'll see a not completely finished Sein-imation short.

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   David Rain

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Posted November 12 2007 - 09:54 AM

I hate The Drake. And I hate the Series Finale. What has happened that so many great series end up with such bad finales ? Seinfeld, Will & Grace, Roseanne, BLECK !
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#16 of 17 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted November 12 2007 - 10:27 AM

what was wrong with roseanne's end show?

i thought it was brilliant and original.
when do you ever see a comedy end a series like that?

Roseanne and Dan are delighted that Darlene, David and their new daughter, Harris Conner Healy, will be staying with them. D.J. has grudgingly given up his room for them and is moving to the basement. He says he’ll have more room to work on his film projects, but reminds Roseanne he was supposed to get her writing room. The family talks about their life after winning the lottery, glad that part of their lives is over. They order out for pizza and Roseanne suggests saying grace to thank God that Harris beat the odds and that they’re all together. Everyone comes by to welcome Harris home: Bev, Leon, Scott and Nancy. They’re all pleased when Leon and Scott announce that they’ve adopted a three-year-old Romanian girl, and it’s revealed that Becky has just learned she’s pregnant but has yet to tell the family. And as the extended family gathers around the kitchen table for take-out food, Roseanne looks at each one of them and reflects.
As she reflects she reveals that she has really been writing a book about her life and that is what we have been watching. In her "book" whatever she didn't like about her life, she changed. In "reality" Dan actually died from the heart attack. The family never won the lottery. She switched the couples around, so Mark and Darlene were actually dating, and David and Becky were dating. And it is Jackie who is gay, not Bev.
Then, at the final moments, after everyone fades away, we find Roseanne in the basement, in her old writting room reflecting over her book. She then walks up stairs and through the old kitchen and walks into the old livingroom, and sits on their old couch.


gives me chills.
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#17 of 17 OFFLINE   ewetzelx7

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Posted July 13 2010 - 12:16 AM

Thanks for sharing this much great review of my favorite show. I just love this show. The concept and the characters of this show are just outstanding.







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