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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Series
Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Series
HBO // Unrated // October 30, 2007
List Price: $279.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted November 23, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Packaging
3. Script Booklet
4. Season 1 Mini-Review
5. Season 2 Mini-Review
6. Season 3 Mini-Review
7. Season 4 Mini-Review
8. Season 5 Mini-Review
9. Season 6 Mini-Review
10. Season 7 Mini-Review
11. Season 8 Mini-Review
12. Season 9 Mini-Review
13. Video
14. Audio
15. Final Thoughts


Introduction

Everybody Loves Raymond isn't your average sitcom. It's based upon the comical work of stand-up comedian Raymond Romano. While the concept of a comedian being given a situation television comedy (sitcom) is not a new thing, Romano incorporates the hilarious aspects of his life into the show and that provides an interesting twist. The general premise is about a couple who lives across the street from his nagging parents. Everyone in the family has their own idiosyncrasies and neuroticisms, which in turn make for the perfect sitcom cast. Coupling the strong cast with excellent writing, Everybody Loves Raymond is a great sitcom.

The series first aired in 1996 on CBS and finished its nine season run in 2005. The show produced a total of two-hundred and ten episodes. It has been nominated and awarded for its writing, lead and supporting acting performances, and being an all-around strong comedy series from Emmy Awards to Screen Actors Guild. It is a really fun show. I have reviewed all nine seasons and loved every minute of it. Here are the individual DVD season set reviews for season one, season two, season three, season four, season five, season six, season seven, season eight, and season nine.

While I have reviewed each season of Everybody Loves Raymond, this review addresses the complete series collection. For those interested in purchasing all nine seasons together in a nifty box set (very loosely modeled after Ray's house), this review will look at its contents in detail. The quick version is that the complete series collection offers nothing new in terms of content. All forty-four DVDs that make up the show's nine seasons are present in this complete series collection. The content of the DVDs are exactly the same as the content found in the individual DVD season sets and there are no exclusive bonus discs.

The only additional content, besides the unique packaging, is a forty page series finale script with autographs from the episode writers. (Note that the autographs are a reproduction. In other words, they aren't real.) On the chance you already own all nine seasons on DVD, then double-dipping for the special packaging and script isn't worth it. You have already got all the episodes and that's what really matters.

If double-dipping is not an issue and you are curious about the series, then I would say pick up this massive set! It has over one-hundred hours of hilarity. From the series pilot to the series finale, it is fun times. If you are not fully convinced yet, read on. The remainder of this review will consist of a review of the complete series collection packaging, exclusive extra (the script), summary reviews of each season with an overview of the bonus features, audio/video details, and concluding thoughts. Each season review will have a link to the full season review (if you want more details).

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Packaging

Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Series is packaged in a custom box that contains all nine seasons with two-hundred and ten episodes on forty-four DVDs. The custom box is shaped like a house. The house is loosely modeled after Ray's house. (See the picture of Ray's place in the previous section.) The roof comes off (and unfortunately there is nothing to keep the roof from coming off--it does not snap or lock on, but simply comes off) to reveal ten booklets. Nine of the booklets are used to store DVDs (each booklet corresponds to a season), while the tenth booklet is the exclusive season finale script.

The contents of the DVDs are the exact same as what is available in the individual season releases. The artwork for the season booklets resemble the individual season DVD releases. The booklet sleeves that hold the DVDs are made up of a study cardboard. There is also a paper sheet included to reduce the amount of wear and tear from taking the discs in and out of the booklet sleeves.

While scratching won't be a huge issue, there is a potential for loose discs. Depending on how you orient the booklets, there is nothing preventing discs from coming lose and sliding out of the top of the booklet. When I first opened my review copy, several discs were loose. However, by orienting the top of the booklets to face the side of the custom box, it eliminated the problem.

Here are several pictures of the packaging and the booklets:



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Script

The exclusive extra included in the Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Series collection is a copy of the season finale script. The booklet of the script runs forty pages. It contains all of the dialogue, performer actions, scene intros/outros, etc. Another highlight is that it is autographed by the ten individuals who wrote the episode. Unfortunately, the autograph is printed as part of the cover. In other words, the autographs are not real.

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Season One
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

The first season does very well introducing the cast and setting up the show's overall format. The quick and dirty premise is that a married couple lives across the street from the husband's parents. Living with them is the brother. Everyone is pretty neurotic and the series follows their goofy daily lives. The characters are Ray (Ray Ramano) and Debra (Patricia Heaton) as the happily married couple. They have three children: Ally (Madylin Sweeten) and twin boys Geoffrey and Michael (Sullivan & Sawyer Sweeten). Across the street is Ray's parents, Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts), and older brother (Brad Garrett).

Everybody Loves Raymond has a wonderful cast that remains strong throughout the show's nine season run. As the first season progresses, the show sticks to a pretty common sitcom format. It deals with fairly common issues to other sitcom. For instance, there are episodes that cover issues like lying, family problems, envy, and jealousy. However, the way that the cast delivers their dialogue and interact with each other is what really makes Everybody Loves Raymond a special series.

One of my favorite season one episodes is "Your Place or Mine?". In this episode, Frank and Marie have marital problems. This leaves Raymond and Debra going off the wall when they get caught in the middle of it. There's also a great Thanksgiving holiday episode, "Turkey or Fish" that really shows how crazy a special day like this can get with the Barone family. In "Fascinatin' Debra", Dr. Nora, a radio psychotherapist is interested in interviewing Debra for a book she's writing. Of course, once Dr. Nora meets the rest of the family, all bets are off. The season finale "Why Are We Here?" also provides a really great episode and explains why Raymond and Debra decided to move in across the straight from his neurotic parents. It's a great look into the past of the Barone family.

Bonus Features

  • Audio Commentaries are included for episodes "Pilot" and "Why Are We Here?" with Ray Romano and creator Phil Rosenthal.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: How We Got Here (22:50) has some interesting facts about Romano's background and the development of the series.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: Casting the Family (11:05) addresses the difficulty of finding the perfect cast members.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: On the Air (20:47) covers the show's initial beginnings, i.e. becoming a syndicated series, its success, and some background regarding the series' title.
  • "Late Show With David Letterman" Appearance of Ray Romano (5:36) is a short clip of Ray Romano's appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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Season Two
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

In comparison to the first season, the second is not very different. It has the same cast and format, which works very well. The comedy is much the same and just as entertaining. Despite the lack of major changes, there is one subtle difference. In the first season, the three Barone kids weren't really a big part of the show. However, in the second season they get more attention (still not a whole lot, but definitely more). Another slight development is the stronger emphasis on supporting roles. Performers Kevin James, Andy Kindler, and Monica Horan get more time in the spotlight. Horan is especially of interest, as she plays Robert's girlfriend Amy and becomes an important part of the show as its progresses.

The second season opens with the very strong episode "Ray's on TV". It is one of many with guest star Kevin James as Ray's friend Kevin. Ray has his first television appearance on a sports talk show. Unfortunately, Ray gets the pre-game jitters and manages to make a royal ass of himself. While his stink-tastic television performance is funny, the real comedy comes from how his family treats him. "Golf" is another episode that guest stars Kevin James and it includes some great comedy about lies, a guilty conscience, and of course, the game of golf.

Perhaps one of the best episodes of the season is "Anniversary". It's a look into the Barone family past. On the day of Frank and Marie's fortieth anniversary, a truth gets revealed about their so-called-happy-marriage. The season has other fun episodes that cover the past. In "High School", Debra drags Ray to his twentieth high school reunion and they both find out just what kind of "people" they were. Ray was such a nerd, it's great. "Mia Famiglia" is another funny episode where the Barone's get reacquainted with an almost perfect long lost relative. One of the best parts about the episode is that when the reacquainted family member shows up, the Barone start interacting differently. It's as if they're a whole different family.

Bonus Features

  • Deleted scenes (14:07) are included for episodes: "Ray's On TV", "Brother", "Golf", "The Gift", "All I Want For Christmas", "Good Girls", "Traffic School", "Six Feet Under", "The Garage Sale", "The Wedding Part One", and two for "The Wedding Part Two".
  • Blooper Reel (16:52) is a lengthy sequence of goofs caught during filming. It is absolutely hilarious and something you can enjoy over and over again.
  • Audio commentaries are included for episodes "The Letter" and "Good Girls" with Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal.

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Season Three
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

The third season continues with a similar format as the first two seasons, using an episodic approach. The tales told generally revolved around Ray and him getting into hot water with Debra. However, this season focuses more on Ray and the other characters. The reason for this change of pace was Patricia Heaton's pregnancy. Even with a little less Debra, Patricia Heaton's role was still quite good. In fact, she tended to shine even more compared to earlier seasons. Her interactions with Ray and the rest of the Barone's continued to be quite comical. The very first episode of the season "The Invasion" is a great example of how funny she can be. She decides to give Frank and Marie a taste of their own medicine. Another solid episode is "Working Girl". In it, Debra goes back to work and finds out working just isn't the same.

Another minor change relates to guest star Kevin James. In the first two seasons he appeared as Kevin, Ray's buddy and fellow sportswriter. In season three, he returns as Doug Heffernan. Between seasons two and three, James was given his own sitcom, The King of Queens. From this season on, James and Romano make cameos in each others' television series. It is always a blast when they cross paths. In this season, Doug pays Ray a visit in "The Lone Barone", "Ray Home Alone", and "Be Nice".

Perhaps one of the funniest episodes this season is all about Robert. There is a pretty big change for the Barone family. In "The Apartment", Robert moves out of his parent's house (again). What makes the episode funny is where he decides to move. Despite his new residence, his situation doesn't really change at all. The story of Robert moving out gets revisited several times in the season and each time it is very comical. Some of the other fun episodes with a strong focus on Robert include "Robert's Date", after a night of socializing with his partner Judy (Sherri Shepherd) Robert thinks he's black, and "Dancing with Debra", which is an extremely fun episode with Debra and Robert bonding. The episode has a really great scene where no words are exchanged, but it is funny as ever.

In general, the season has some outright great episodes: "Frank's Tribute", Frank is declared man of the year at his lodge by default, "Cruising with Marie", Ray and Marie go on a cruise together and she reveals an entirely new side, "No Fat", Marie goes on a health food binge and makes an entire meal out of tofu, "Move Over", after nine years of sleepless nights, Ray tells Debra he can't stand her touching him while he sleeps, "How They Met", a look into the past; when Ray and Debra first met.

Bonus Features

  • Deleted Scenes (~20:00) are included for episodes "The Invasion", "Getting Even", "The Visit", "The Lone Barone", "No Fat", "Pants on Fire", "Robert's Date", "Ray Home Alone", "Big Shots", "Move Over", "The Getaway", "Be Nice", and "Robert Moves Back".
  • Blooper Reel (11:02) is a non-standard bloopers reel. For the most part, it is a silly sequence of the cast and goofs caught on tape. However, the last couple of minutes are not bloopers, but swing music and behind the scenes clips from the third season.
  • Museum of Television & Radio Panel Discussion with Series Creator and Cast (01:09:33) stars the cast and creator Phil Rosenthal. They talk about the show up to its third season. It will be entertaining for fans. One problem I had with it was the volume control. The sound typically faded in and out; it's just hard to hear.
  • Audio commentaries for episodes "The Toaster" and "How They Met" with Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal.

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Season Four
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

The show continues in the same tradition as past seasons, very funny. The stories continue to take an episodic approach with a few underlying story arcs. Overall, this season was better than the last. Patricia Heaton was pregnant during it and there was less of her. She comes back in season four funnier than ever. I was really impressed how she handled herself. The season premiere episode "Boob Job" is a solid way to start the season. Ray and Debra go to a school parents' night. At the event, the host shows Debra her new boobs. When Debra tells Ray, he gets a little excited and Debra reveals she might be interested in it. Heaton is great and she makes each second funnier than the last.

The season four episodes also have more focus on the younger cast members. As they are older now, there are a few episodes with the kids getting into a little trouble. In "Hackidu" Ally trades all of her Hackidu cards (a card game like the Pokemon craze) for a single card. Ray makes Ally get her cards back. Later Ray finds out he made a big mistake and must go through hoops and bounds to get it back. "Left Back" is a hilarious episode with the twins Geoffrey and Michael. According to the tests, Geoffrey is a bright aspiring student. Michael on the other hand, needs to stay back a year in pre-school. There are just some great comments made about the situation from the family and some other fun developments into Ray's past.

Other great episodes this season include Cousin Gerard", Fred Stoller guest stars as Ray's annoying and dull cousin Gerard, "The Tenth Anniversary", Ray and Debra find out he accidentally taped over their wedding tape with a super bowl game, uh-oh this is something that will haunt him for the rest of the series, "Debra's Workouts", Ray and Debra are having more sex than usual, "No Thanks", Marie, Debra, and Amy spend the day cooking together, and "Robert's Divorce", the season finale and a great episode that looks at the Barones' past, explaining Robert's ex-wife.

Bonus Features

  • Deleted scenes are included for episodes "Boob Job", "You Bet", "Sex Talk", "The Sister", "Cousin Gerard", "No Thanks", "Left Back", "The Tenth Anniversary", "Alone Time", "Bad Moon Rising", and "Confronting the Attacker".
  • The bloopers reel (12:40) is a standard montage of goofs during filming. It can be good for a hearty laugh.
  • Audio commentaries are included "Boob Job" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Lew Schneider, "Robert's Rodeo" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Brad Garrett, "The Tenth Anniversary" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Aaron Shure, and "Bad Moon Rising" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Patricia Heaton.

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Season Five
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

This season should be called Robert's season of love. It begins with the exciting two-part episode "Italy". Marie takes the family on a trip to Rome. Everyone is excited about it, except for Ray, who is sour grape. Ray's misery and everyone else's enjoyment make the episode a blast. A new character named Stefania is also introduced. She becomes one of Robert's love interests.

After the trip to Italy in the episode "Meant To Be", Robert finds himself in several pseudo-relationships. Robert and Amy have had some problems and are separated, but they are trying to work it out. At the same time, Robert has been talking with his evil ex-wife Joanne and he believes they have a shot at getting back together. Meanwhile, Stefania is waiting for him in Italy. With three girls, Robert must choose one. Illogically, he decides to pursue all avenues. This, of course, turns into quite a sticky situation for Robert. He also dates a wild twenty-two year old in "Young Girl".

This season also presents a chance for more background on Debra's parents Lois (Katherine Helmond) and Warren (Robert Culp). In past seasons we have been exposed to them as the perfect couple, well to do, cultured snobs. In "Fighting In-Laws" the reality of their relationship is revealed and we learn that the way they act is just a facade. It's a serious matter, but the story details it in a humorous manner because it leaves the impression that Marie and Frank's odd love-hate relationship is healthy.

Other fun episodes include "Ray's Journal", Ray's childhood journal comes out in the open and the material inside is an absolute riot, "Net Worth", Ray invests $1,000 in go-cart business without Debra's permission and her unhappy reaction makes this episode funny, "The Wallpaper", after years of torment from Ray's parents, he finally snaps after Marie parks the car in their living room, "Super Bowl", Ray gets tickets to the Super Bowl and takes Gianni, but ruins the event by inviting Debra.

Bonus Features

  • Audio commentaries are included for episodes "Italy" with Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal, "Young Girl" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Tom Caltabiano, and "The Canister" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Patricia Heaton.
  • Deleted scenes are included for episodes "The Wallpaper", "Meant To Be", "The Author", "Fighting In-Laws", "Christmas Present", "Super Bowl", "Silent Partners", "Fairies", "Stefania Arrives", "The Canister", and "Separation".
  • The bloopers reel (14:35) is a standard montage of goofs during filming. It can be good for a hearty laugh.

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Season Six
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

Season six is another strong season. The cast continues to be wonderful together. Robert's envy for Ray, who has it all, is still fun a joke. Debra and Marie's love/hate relationship is a riot. Ray's goofy and eccentric behavior is a blast. Frank is a bizarre, yet funny old man. Together they make quite a cast and turn some not so serious situations into a laugh fest. The stories tackled in this season deal with the kids, Robert's love life, Debra's divorced parents seeing other people, and other fun situations.

The season begins with a bang. The episode "The Angry Family" is about the Barone family dynamic (constant bickering and fighting) being revealed to the public. While at a school event, Michael reads his creative work entitled "The Angry Family". It is all about the Barone bickering and makes for a scene that is followed by a hilarious counseling session. As the season continues, there are some great episodes. Robert's love life (as with season five) is a big seller. In "Jealous Robert", Debra and Marie stage a chain of events to get Robert and Amy back together. They setup Ray's playboy friend Gianna with Amy. The plan backfires; Amy and Gianna get along.

Other great episodes include "Ray's Ring", a wonderful episode with Ray and Debra getting into one goofy situation after the other, "Marie's Sculpture", Marie presents the product of hours of hard work in art class; an abstract sculpture that looks like a portion of the female's private parts, "Raybert", Ray and Robert team up and hit the dating scene, "It's Supposed To Be Fun", Ray mocks Geoffrey because he sucks at basketball and falls under heat from Debra and the coach for being a bad dad, and "Older Women", Debra's father brings an older woman to the house for Thanksgiving dinner.

The season finale is also great episode. It features three episodes "Mother's Day", "The Bigger Person", and "The First Time". In this three-part story, Marie and Debra undergo their most heated argument. It ends with the two not speaking to each other and it has profound effects on the entire family.

Bonus Features

  • Deleted scenes are included for episodes "Ray's Ring", "Frank Goes Downstairs", "Jealous Robert", "It's Supposed To Be Fun", "Raybert", "The Kicker", "Tissues", "Lucky Suit", "The Skit", "Mother's Day", and "The Bigger Person".
  • Audio commentaries are included for "Marie's Sculpture" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Doris Roberts, "Tissues" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Mike Royce, "Cookies" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Steve Skrovan, and Lew Schneider, "Lucky Suit" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Tucker Cawley, "The Skit" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Lew Schneider, and "Talk To Your Daughter" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Tucker Cawley.
  • There is also bloopers reel (11:10) with a series of goofs caught on tape. It is a pretty funny clip.
  • "The First Six Years Retrospective" (43:35) is a featurette with clips from the television series first six years and comments from various celebrities. The featurette was aired on television during the show's sixth season.

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Season Seven
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

In season seven, Robert's love life remains at the fore. The story arc about his romantic life comes to a close when he decides happiness is with Amy. This season includes a lot of storylines about their relationship with several reprised roles from her parents and odd brother Peter played by Chris Elliott, and ends with a wedding that can only happen when your mother is Marie Barone. These great Robert-Amy episodes include "Just A Formality", "Meeting The Parents", "The Plan", "The Shower", "The Bachelor Party", and "Robert's Wedding". All of which are classics.

Besides the Robert-Amy relationship, there are some fun non-wedding related episodes. The season begins with "The Cult", which is a great way to start the season. It revisits the plotline developed in the previous season: Debra and Marie no longer speaking to each other. The tension, along with several other factors, pushed Robert over the edge. He finds salvation in a self-help group called the Innerpath, which he was introduced to by Cousin Gerard. When Robert tries to convert the family to Innerpath, they believe he is in a cult. Ray goes to a meeting with him hoping to get him to see the light. As it turns out, the Innerpath was using Robert to get to Ray. After Robert learns this, he loses all faith in the group. Robert and Ray use the situation to their advantage to repair Debra and Marie's crushed relationship. The episode has two fun storylines with some excellent performances from the cast.

Other fun episodes include "Who Am I?", Ray goes through a slight mid-life crisis, "She's The One", before Robert gets back with Amy, he meets Angela, the perfect girlfriend who has a kooky side, "Marie's Vision", Marie the family is reluctant to confront Marie about her deteriorating vision, and "Counseling", Ray and Debra visit a marriage counselor and try to manipulate the therapist to side with their positions.

Bonus Features

  • Deleted scenes are included for episodes "The Cult", "Robert Needs Money", "Marie's Vision", "Somebody Hates Raymond", "Meeting The Parents", "Who's Next?", and "The Shower".
  • Bloopers (6:52) is approximately seven minutes of goofs during filming. While the series itself is a riot, the bloopers also contain some fun moments that should be worth a chuckle.
  • Audio commentaries are included for episodes "Counseling" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Mike Royce, "Just A Formality" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Monica Horan, and Anna Romano, "Meeting The Parents" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Chris Elliott, and Fred Willard, and "Baggage" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Tucker Cawley.

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Season Eight
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

In season eight, the Barone family continues their crazy antics and a few other faces come along for the ride. With Robert and Amy's recent marriage, the McDougal's join the Barone's on more than one occasion. As for the content, the stories are just as exciting as past seasons and the fun, loving, neurotic, and hysterical Barone family is at the top of their game. Some of the fun stories include Robert considering a new career, Peter sleeping on the Robert's couch and not going home, and the Barone boys competing to care for their mommy.

"Peter On The Couch" is a great example of the McDougal family's successful integration with the cast. Peter comes to help Robert and Ray move furniture and when Amy asks Peter to stay for dinner, he never leaves. The situation drives Robert crazy and he kicks him out. With nowhere to go, Peter has to spend the night at Ray's... but Ray decides to take him back to Pennsylvania. At the McDougal residence, Peter finds his parents have enjoyed having their 40-something son gone and decide to use his room for other things. Ray takes him back to New York and Peter and Robert find they have a lot in common. The McDougal family is a nice compliment to the Barones and their integration as regular guest stars makes for a lot of great laughs.

Another fun set of episodes involves Robert and a couple new career paths. In "Security", Robert has a part-time job selling home security systems. Robert considering retiring from the police force and doing it full-time. In "The Model", Robert gives modeling a try, only to find out he was ripped off. The season finale "Golf For It" is a twisted episode. Ray and Robert begin to feel guilty about not caring enough for their mother. The situation escalates to competition and the Barone boys play for who will get to take care of mom after Frank passes away. How energetic Ray and Robert get about wanting to take in Marie is hysterical.

Bonus Features

  • Audio commentaries are included for episodes "Misery Loves Company" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tom Caltabiano, Mike Royce, and Aaron Shure, "The Contractor" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Jon Manfrellotti, "Liars" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Tucker Cawley, "The Bird" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Chris Elliott, and Jeremy Stevens, "Debra At The Lodge" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Albert Romano, and Max Rosenthal, "Lateness" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Andy Kindler, and Tom McGowan, "Crazy Chin" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Richard Romano, and Tom Caltabiano, and "Golf For It" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tom Caltabiano, Tucker Cawley, and Mike Royce.
  • Bloopers (12:30) is a funny sequence of the cast goofing off during filming.
  • "Museum of Television & Radio Panel Discussion with Series Creator and Writers" (1:44:14) is a long discussion with Phil Rosenthal and others about the show. It is the second installment the Everybody Loves Raymond bunch has participated. The first installment was included as a third season bonus feature.
  • Deleted scenes are included for episodes "Misery Loves Company", "Peter On The Couch", "The Surprise Party", "The Bird", "Jazz Records", "Lateness", "Party Dress", "Security", "The Ingrate", "Crazy Chin", "The Nice Talk", "Blabbermouths", "The Mentor", and "Golf For It".

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Season Nine
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

Season nine is the last for the series and has a shorter episode billet than past seasons with sixteen versus the twenty-two or more. The season begins "The Home". Frank and Marie sell their house to Robert and Amy (for an insanely cheap price) and move into a luxurious retirement community. Debra, Ray, Robert, and Amy react to the news with open arms. The following episode "Not So Fast" follows up with an expected development: Frank and Marie are loving life in their new community, but no one in the community shares the sentiment. They are kicked out and forced back into their old house. Unfortunately, Robert and Amy end up sharing the house with the parents. Then it is back to business as usual.

After season nine's strong start with "The Home" and "Not So Fast", the hilarity does not stop. The season continues with one great episode after the other, dealing with common Barone family issues, with both Debra and Amy's parents in the mix. There are some also general fun episodes with Ray and Debra going at it with everyone caught in the middle. "Debra's Parents" is a fun Thanksgiving episode. Debra accidentally invites both of her divorced parents for Thanksgiving. The real rub happens when Ray catches them having sex!

"Pat's Secret" is an episode with Amy's parents at the fore. When Hank and Pat visit the Barones, Robert discovers Pat smoking. It is a secret she has kept hidden for twenty-seven years. Robert decides to share a smoke with Pat, as a way to get closer to her. Afterwards, he is caught smelling like smoke. The reaction he gets from Amy, Marie, and Hank is classic. The other great development deals with Hank and Pat's perfect Protestant Christian family facade breaking, with other secrets coming out.

Other fun episodes include "A Date For Peter", Ray's archnemesis Peggy hits it off with Peter, "Ally's F", Ray and Debra butt heads over who's fault it is that Ally is failing math, "The Faux Pas", Ray makes a stupid comment to a boy whose father is a custodian and tries to make it right with the father; only to make it worse--the rest of the Barones don't help with the situation either, "The Power Of No", Ray tries to gain power in the relationship by denying Debra sex, and "Boys' Therapy", the Barone boys fake going to therapy to be on their wives' good sides.

Bonus Features

  • Audio Commentaries are included for episodes "The Home" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tucker Cawley, and Jeremy Stevens, "Not So Fast" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tom Caltabiano, and Mike Royce, "Debra's Parents" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Katherine Helmond, and Robert Culp, "A Date For Peter" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Chris Elliott, "The Faux Pas" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tucker Cawley, Lew Schneider, and Jeremy Stevens, "Pat's Secret" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Georgia Engle Tom Caltabiano, and Mike Royce, and "Finale" with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tom Caltabiano, Mike Royce, Aaron Shure, and Steve Skrovan.
  • Deleted Scenes are included for episodes "The Home", "Not So Fast", "P.T. & A.", "Ally's F", "Boys' Therapy", "Debra's Parents", "A Job For Robert", "A Date For Peter", "The Faux Pas", "Sister-In-Law", "The Power Of No", "Pat's Secret ", and "Finale".
  • Bloopers (1:49): is a short clip of outtakes and bloopers from season nine.
  • The Last Laugh (43:54) is a special featurette that aired on television in conjunction with the series finale. It follows the show in filming the final episode, complete with interviews with cast, crew, and network executives and a behind-the-scenes look at the finale, as well as some comments about the series. There is also an optional audio commentary with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Tom Caltabiano, Tucker Cawley, Mike Royce, Aaron Shure, Steve Skrovan, and Jeremy Stevens.

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The DVD

Video:
Seasons 1-3: The video is in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The picture quality is very good, with detail looking very sharp and clear. The picture is substantially better than most television DVD releases, housing only a slight grain. There is some noticeable ghosting, but it occurs on a rare frequency.

Seasons 4-9: Seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond prior to season four have come in full frame color. Since season four, the show was filmed for high-definition television and as such the video is given in anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen color. The picture quality is quite good and looks much better than previous season sets. There are minor traces of grain and slight hints of edge enhancement. There is also some minor aliasing (not a lot, but still a few scenes with it). In general colors look right on. It is a much better looking picture than the early seasons.

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Audio:
The audio comes in the standard 2-channel Dolby digital stereo sound track with language options in English, Spanish, and French. The sound quality is good with distinct and clear dialogue. The track typically sounds a little flat, but that's expected with dialogue driven tracks. There is also little advantage of taken of the stereo setup, with little distinction between channels. This release also comes with subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

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Final Thoughts:
Everybody Loves Raymond is a fun and exciting sitcom about a goofy sportswriter and his neurotic family. This complete series collection has the show's entire nine seasons, which is made up of two-hundred and ten episodes. That's over one-hundred hours of hilarity. The show is pretty rich and has a superb cast that starts off strong and finishes with a bang! For those who are just getting into the show, this complete series collection is a fantastic way to pick up all the show's entire catalog at once. It comes in a nice, custom packaging that provides a smaller, compact solution than the individual season sets.

On the note of double-dipping, if you already have the individual season sets on DVD, than the complete series collection is not worth the extra cash. While I love this show to death, the only difference between the complete series collection and the individual sets (packaging withstanding) is the season finale script booklet. This booklet is neat to look at, but there is little about it that screams "must have!"

Overall, Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Series is a snazzy set with hours of great sitcom television. The show has high entertainment value, as well as high replay value. I have watched the seasons multiple times and will occasionally watch a random episode when I feel like a good laugh. If you have not taken the plunge, pick up this awesome complete series collection today!

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