Count me in as one of seemingly only a small group of people who enjoyed "Joey", a spin-off from "Friends". While the show had some rough moments during its run, its main problem was that it continually was compared to "Friends", despite being a very different show with its own style.
"Joey" sees Joey Tribbiani (Matt Leblanc) headed off to Los Angeles to persue his acting career, with the help of his reluctant new agent, Bobbie (Jennifer Coolidge). There's also his sister, Gina (Drea De Matteo) and highly intelligent and highly socially awkward nephew, Michael (Paulo Costanzo). Although Joey doesn't take that well to the idea at first, it's not long before Michael is seeking some freedom from his mother and moving in with his uncle.
While the series isn't up there with some of the best sitcoms of recent years, "Joey" had an easygoing charm that was a lot of fun while it lasted. Costanzo and Leblanc won't rank as one of the best comedic pairings of recent years, but the two had good "Odd Couple"-style chemistry and bounced one-liners off each other quite well in most episodes. De Matteo's character became a bit softened over time and played off Leblanc well, but it almost felt as if the creators didn't have quite enough of an idea for what to do with her from the get-go. The show's biggest issue was co-star Andrea Anders - while she and Leblanc apparently fell for one another in reality, the two didn't share much on-screen chemistry and the bland Anders lacked comedic timing.
Still, while there were some fixable character issues, "Joey" often got it right in terms of storylines and the main character. In an attempt to have Joey be the focus, the creators thankfully made Joey a bit smarter. There's still those classic Joey moments of stupidity (the opening moments are played well, as Joey finds himself in the wrong city), but they're a little funnier spaced out a bit across the span of each episode.
"Joey"'s plots also remained entertaining as the characters were being ironed out. The fact that the character didn't just fall into an acting career right away worked for the series, as it offers a little conflict and some laughs, as the first episode sees Joey botching a chance to star in a show that takes off and not doing particularly well in a talk show audition which sees him starting with, "Welcome to 'Hollywood Minute', I'm name."
Some of the other great moments in this season include: "Joey and the Perfect Storm" (Joey finds himself in deep trouble when he accidentially gets himself in three different stage performances in the same night), "Joey and the Nemesis" (Joey runs into another actor who continually tricks him out of getting parts), "Joey and the Tonight Show" (Joey gets stuck on the expressway on the way to the Tonight Show), "Joey and the Big Audition" (Joey gets mistaken for a Northwestern grad, and the alumni get him an audition for a soap called "Deep Powder"), "Joey and the Road Trip" (the characters head to Vegas), "Joey and the Assistant" (Joey hires an assistant, who starts seeing Gina), "Joey and the Wrong Name" (Joey can't pronounce the name of a Daytime Soap award winner and ends up giving it to the wrong person) and "Joey and the Fancy Sister" (Joey's other sister, played by Christina Ricci, comes to visit, wearing a flashy engagement ring that turns out to be a fake.)
1. 1- 1 9 Sep 04 Pilot
2. 1- 2 16 Sep 04 Joey and the Student
3. 1- 3 23 Sep 04 Joey and the Party
4. 1- 4 30 Sep 04 Joey and the Book Club
5. 1- 5 7 Oct 04 Joey and the Perfect Storm
6. 1- 6 14 Oct 04 Joey and the Nemesis
7. 1- 7 21 Oct 04 Joey and the Husband
8. 1- 8 4 Nov 04 Joey and the Dream Girl (1)
9. 1- 9 11 Nov 04 Joey and the Dream Girl (2)
10. 1-10 18 Nov 04 Joey and the Big Audition
11. 1-11 2 Dec 04 Joey and the Road Trip
12. 1-12 9 Dec 04 Joey and the Plot Twist
13. 1-13 6 Jan 05 Joey and the Taste Test
14. 1-14 13 Jan 05 Joey and the Premiere
15. 1-15 20 Jan 05 Joey and the Assistant
16. 1-16 3 Feb 05 Joey and the Tonight Show
17. 1-17 10 Feb 05 Joey and the Valentine's Date
18. 1-18 17 Feb 05 Joey and the Wrong Name
19. 1-19 24 Feb 05 Joey and the Fancy Sister
20. 1-20 24 Mar 05 Joey and the Neighbor
21. 1-21 21 Apr 05 Joey and the Spying
22. 1-22 5 May 05 Joey and the Temptation
23. 1-23 12 May 05 Joey and the Breakup
24. 1-24 12 May 05 Joey and the Moving In
VIDEO: "Joey" is presented by Warner Brothers in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Picture quality, aside from a few minor issues, is just fine throughout much of the running time. Sharpness and detail are never striking, but the picture at least remains consistently crisp and clear.
As for the few concerns, they include some minor shimmering and some brief instances of artifacting. Otherwise, the episodes looked clean and clear. Colors remained bright and vibrant, with nice saturation and no smearing or other issues. Flesh tones looked accurate, as well.
SOUND: "Joey" is presented in stereo. This was a perfectly fine sitcom soundtrack, with clear dialogue and music. Unfortunately, there's also a very clear laugh track.
Final Thoughts: "Joey" isn't without flaws, but its best episodes in this first season do get a lot of laughs. The DVD set provides no extras, but fine audio/video quality. Recommended for fans.