-

Jump to content



Photo

HTF REVIEW: Friends: The Complete First Season (with screenshots)

DVD Reviews

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
36 replies to this topic

#1 of 37 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 39,952 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted April 16 2002 - 10:48 AM

Posted Image

Friends: The Complete First Season



One of the things I stopped doing over the
past 10 years is watching sitcoms. I suppose
that getting involved in Home Theater left me
less time to concentrate on prime time television.
Therefor, for over a decade, I have been virtually
blind to what goes on in network television.

Posted Image

So I wake up from this near 10-year sleep and
find that Friends is approaching its ninth
and final season. And while the shows boasts
more than 36 million viewers, I don't think I can
tell you one thing about any of the friends.

First thing I had to learned is who the Friends
actually are: Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Monica
(Courtney Cox-Arquette), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston),
Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry)
and Joey (Matt LeBlanc).

I am somewhat aware that Warner Brothers had
previously been doing a shoddy job of releasing
this series on DVD (as they do with most all their
TV product), offering a "best of" series. Even
a person like me who isn't a fan of the show can
tell you that this is not the way to handle the
release of television product.

I suppose Warner heard the complaints of fans.
Today I received a box containing the entire
first season of Friends. Since Warner
was so kind to send this to me, I felt it was
my duty to take a look at one of television's
most successful series -- a series I had totally
ignored up to this point.

Posted ImagePosted Image



Friends arrives in a rather lightweight
cardboard slipcover. Reach inside and you pull
out a bulky cardboard insert that opens up into
a five section gatefold that houses 4 discs
placed in plastic housing. Essentially, there
are 24 episodes spread across 4 discs.

Most all of you will get 4 discs. My sealed
copy only had 3 discs inside, so I can't do a
full review on the supplements until Warner
decides to send me the 4th disc (if they decide
to do that).

Posted ImagePosted Image



The outer gatefold panes contain full listings
of each episode including Director, Writers,
Guest Star Alerts -- and oh yes -- original
air date. Intertwined with the episode listings
are pictures of the cast as well as photos from
a few memorable episodes.

Overall, I would rate the packaging to be
rather weak than durable, but keeping the series
affordable was certainly a concern at Warner
Brothers and they have produced this set as
cheaply as possible.

Posted Image

The DVD begins with a quick animated sequence
that takes the FRIENDS logo set against the
New York skyline and interfaces it with strips
of cast photos in a finalized menu structure.

Posted Image

Having trouble as to exactly which episode you
wish to watch? Click on over to the Episodes
selection. An icon of a coffee cup beside each
episode title lets you preview about a minute of
that episode's best moment. This is great for fans
who are looking for a favorite episode, yet don't
remember the exact title.

So, here I am, a Friends virgin about to
watch my very first episode. In order to properly
review this DVD, I chose to watch three episodes.

Posted Image

The One Where it all began is the show's
original pilot episode that aired on 9/22/94.
This is the episode that introduces to all the
show's major characters, most notably Monica's old
high school friend, Rachel who decides to move in
after leaving her fiance' at the alter. There's
also an issue of Ross's wife leaving him for a
lesbian.

Posted Image

The One with the Sonogram at the End involves
Ross's ex-wife Carol telling him that she is
pregnant with his child and that she and her lesbian
lover, Susan, plan to raise the baby together.
There's also an issue with Monica's parents (with
a guest appearance by Elliot Gould) coming to town.

Posted Image

The One with George Stephanopoulos never
really introduces us to the politician, but it
gives the girls the opportunity to discuss life
and guys. Meanwhile, Ross gets invited to go to
a hockey game with the guys, but ends up having
his nose broken by a flying puck.

After watching only three episodes, I fell for
the series. At its most beginning stages, the
series showed promise of being cleverly hip and
funny thanks to its talented cast of actors. I
really had a lot of laughs with the George
Stephanopoulos episode. The scenes in the
hospital emergency room are hilarious.


How is the transfer?


Presented Full Frame, the show looks pretty
damn incredible. While the title and location
establishing shots have hints of video noise in
them, the rest of the show looks terrific.

Monica's apartment has just about every color
in it imaginable. The pristine transfer brings
out all the vivid aquas, greens and purples that
make up the walls and fixtures inside the apartment.

The stereo surround track is rather uneven.

The pilot episode is interesting, as it starts
with a forcible amount of audience laughter that
emanates from the rear speakers. As the episode
continues, the laughter leaves the rear channel
and moves to the front. In episodes that followed,
the audience laughter remained in the rear channel,
but its presence was much lesser defined.

Otherwise, sound is very robust with dialogue
remaining in front speakers while title music
and musical interludes spread themselves to the
rears.



Special Features


On the pilot episode you can listen to
running commentary by Excecutive Producers Kevin
S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane.

I mentioned that I received a *sealed* final
product copy of this set that when opened did
not have the 4th disc. I do hope this is not
going to be a common problem amongst consumers
who buy this set.

For the reason of not having disc 4, I am
unable to completely review the supplemental
material. If and when I get the replacement DVD
I will update this review.

I can tell you from the Press Release I received
with this set that the supplements on Disc 4
include:

A peek At Central Park, which takes
viewers on an interactive tour of the set to
discover inside secrets from the crew.

Friends of Friends is a video guide to
season one's special guest appearances.

How Well Do You Know Your Friends? is
a video trivia challenge.

Also includes is The One With The Trailer
of Season 2
as well as cast profiles.


Final Thoughts


I can't say that this release of Friends
makes up for the botched way Warner Brothers has
handled their studio product -- especially their
South Park series. But perhaps finally
releasing an entire season set can be considered
a step in the right direction.

Without being an initial fan of the series (I am
now), it looks like Warner Brothers has given
very special consideration to the fans by providing
pristine transfers of these episodes combined with
some interesting extras bundled into this boxed set.

Looks like a must purchase for fans, and a
consideration for anyone like me who wants to
wet their appetite with top-shelf comedy.

Release Date: April 30, 2002

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

gallery_269895_23_10043.jpg Click Here for the latest/hottest Blu-ray Preorders gallery_269895_23_1316.jpg Click Here for our complete Blu-ray review archive

gallery_269895_23_773.jpg Click Here for our complete 3D Blu-ray review archive gallery_269895_23_992.jpgClick Here for our complete DVD review archive

gallery_269895_23_7246.jpg Click Here for Blu-Ray Preorder Release Schedule gallery_269895_23_3120.jpg Click Here for forum posting rules and regulations


#2 of 37 OFFLINE   DanC

DanC

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 142 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 05 2000

Posted April 16 2002 - 11:42 AM

Thanks for the review Ron...can't wait for it to get here! Maybe this means Seinfeld season sets aren't too far away...one can hope Posted Image
Go Noles!
>>------>

Home Theater/DVD's

#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Kyle McKnight

Kyle McKnight

    Screenwriter

  • 2,515 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 08 2001

Posted April 16 2002 - 12:44 PM

I said once they box up a season, it will be mine. 14 days and counting.
Kyle McKnight

#4 of 37 OFFLINE   Randy B A

Randy B A

    Supporting Actor

  • 785 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 11 2002

Posted April 16 2002 - 12:54 PM

Ron you are so lucky to be seeing this for the first time on DVD. the set will definately be mine on the 30th.

#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Craig_T

Craig_T

    Second Unit

  • 260 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 17 2001

Posted April 16 2002 - 01:52 PM

Down with the "Best-Of" crap! Now release South Park by season too!

#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Joel C

Joel C

    Screenwriter

  • 1,635 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 23 1999

Posted April 16 2002 - 03:34 PM

So... when does season 2 come out???
Joel
woemcats@hotmail.com
"Why I laugh?"

#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Larry Gardner

Larry Gardner

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 168 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 01 2000

Posted April 16 2002 - 05:49 PM

Ron:

Could you verify that the episodes are in stereo. All the Best of episodes were 5.0. SOme sites advertieise them as 5.0 others 2.0.

Thanks!


#8 of 37 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

Sam Davatchi

    Producer

  • 3,151 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 15 1999

Posted April 16 2002 - 08:19 PM

Ah, I’m a sucker for Friends! Although that I have already the entire episodes on DVD, I’m going to get this!

...I'm wondering, they showed a lot the twin towers for the transition shots. Anyone knows if they are untouched or removed?

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 39,952 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted April 16 2002 - 09:08 PM

Larry,

Dolby Digital 5.0

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

gallery_269895_23_10043.jpg Click Here for the latest/hottest Blu-ray Preorders gallery_269895_23_1316.jpg Click Here for our complete Blu-ray review archive

gallery_269895_23_773.jpg Click Here for our complete 3D Blu-ray review archive gallery_269895_23_992.jpgClick Here for our complete DVD review archive

gallery_269895_23_7246.jpg Click Here for Blu-Ray Preorder Release Schedule gallery_269895_23_3120.jpg Click Here for forum posting rules and regulations


#10 of 37 OFFLINE   Jeremiah

Jeremiah

    Screenwriter

  • 1,581 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 22 2001

Posted April 17 2002 - 02:47 AM

Thanks for the review Ron. Friends is a great show and I will be getting mine as soon as they come out.

The Pilot episode is one of the funnier Pilots I have seen from any show.
I have seen Larry David in action, and that man is an animal, and he has to be stopped.

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Larry Geller

Larry Geller

    Supporting Actor

  • 562 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 10 2002

Posted April 17 2002 - 02:57 AM

Ron, you have NO idea how much better this series will get over the next couple of seasons. If you think the 1st 3 episodes are funny, JUST WAIT!!
BTW, this is BY FAR the best looking TV series transfer out there. Does the packaging let on in any way as to what the new additions to each episode are?

Mmmm, snout!-Homer Simpson

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Bjorn Olav Nyberg

Bjorn Olav Nyberg

    Supporting Actor

  • 948 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 12 1999

Posted April 17 2002 - 04:29 AM

I also already own the first seven seasons on R2 DVD... but the first season looks very bad, with blurry pictures with some kind of blue discoloration around edges etc...
I was already tempted to get the R1 for the extras, now the improved video quality will be another reason.
My DVD list

#13 of 37 OFFLINE   John Berggren

John Berggren

    Producer

  • 3,245 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 17 1999

Posted April 17 2002 - 04:36 AM

I'm nearly decided on picking this up. Originally it was just to encourage WB to release TV product properly. Now watching the current season of Friends, I remember the show how it was when they had their groove on, and want this anyway.

A couple of questions:

Quote:
In episodes that followed,
the audience laughter remained in the rear channel,
but its presence was much lesser defined.

Can I assume from this that if I remove my rear speakers from the equation that all I will be losing is the laugh track? I really wished they had released a version of Friends sans-laugh track, but isolating it might have the same effect. Will anything else be lost?

Also, in one of your screen shots it looks like the menu has a "play" option... is this a play all option as has been requested on nearly every other TV-on-DVD release product? If so, 2 points in favor of WB Posted Image.
Support the fight against Multiple Sclerosis as I ride in the 2007 MS 150 in New Bern this September.

Be a Widescreen Advocate

#14 of 37 OFFLINE   LarryDavenport

LarryDavenport

    Screenwriter

  • 2,980 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 15 1999

Posted April 17 2002 - 10:13 AM

DanC-Warners doesn't own Seinfeld. I beleive it's Columbia.

#15 of 37 OFFLINE   DanC

DanC

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 142 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 05 2000

Posted April 17 2002 - 03:58 PM

Larry,

I'm aware of that but it's just an encouraging sign to see other studios giving their t.v. shows the proper treatment, regardless of the studio. That's all I was referring to.
Go Noles!
>>------>

Home Theater/DVD's

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 39,952 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted April 17 2002 - 09:09 PM

You can either click on the coffee cup to
preview about a minute of the show, or, click
on the show's title to play each individual
episode. To my knowledge, there is no PLAY ALL
button.

The laugh track seems to fall in both the
front and rear speakers -- just at different
levels.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

gallery_269895_23_10043.jpg Click Here for the latest/hottest Blu-ray Preorders gallery_269895_23_1316.jpg Click Here for our complete Blu-ray review archive

gallery_269895_23_773.jpg Click Here for our complete 3D Blu-ray review archive gallery_269895_23_992.jpgClick Here for our complete DVD review archive

gallery_269895_23_7246.jpg Click Here for Blu-Ray Preorder Release Schedule gallery_269895_23_3120.jpg Click Here for forum posting rules and regulations


#17 of 37 OFFLINE   Richard Ruffner

Richard Ruffner

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 104 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 04 2001

Posted April 18 2002 - 05:02 AM

Most of the time, Friends is filmed before a live audience. Usually, when this is the case, there is no seperate laugh track.

MASH was filmed on a set, so they added the laugh track later.
I'm half human on my mother's side.

#18 of 37 OFFLINE   Daniel Kikin

Daniel Kikin

    Screenwriter

  • 1,621 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 03 2001

Posted April 18 2002 - 06:42 AM

Great review Ron, I'm really looking forward to this set.

The only minor nit I have for this set is not including the Rembrandt's(sp?) "I'll Be There For You" music video that included the cast as well. I know it's on the first two "Best of" sets but since a lot of people didn't buy those, why not include it on this one as well?

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   Trace Downing

Trace Downing

    Supporting Actor

  • 510 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 19 1999

Posted April 18 2002 - 07:15 AM

Larry & Dan,

Seinfeld is a Castle Rock production, which is a AOL/Time/Warner company. Columbia has domestic syndication distribution rights.

As to who owns the home video rights, your guess is as good as mine.

Regarding Friends, my TiVo records about 2 a night for me. I'm just wondering if the picture quality would be worth the purchase.

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

Sam Davatchi

    Producer

  • 3,151 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 15 1999

Posted April 18 2002 - 08:15 AM

It’s not just the quality. I’m not that geek to get things twice. This release has never-before-seen footage. They are not the broadcast cut but extended cuts.