Now that it's faded out of syndication, it's incredible that it's been 10 years since "Mad About You" first aired in 1992, as it seems like longer than that. After watching several of the episodes contained on this Season One set, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed this show. There were several witty episodes with clever situations, the unlikely chemistry between Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt was pleasant and the writing was solid more often than not. The show even rounded up a remarkable group of various awards.
And then there was a point where enough was really quite enough. Although both Reiser and Hunt are talented actors (and were surrounded by a fine supporting cast), the rather slight concept seemed stretched beyond the breaking point a few years in. "Mad About You" certainly managed a set of enjoyable seasons portraying this couple, but the plots started to become uninspired once the show passed the halfway mark of its run. Hunt's big-screen success in films like "Twister" and "As Good As It Gets" also was likely a factor in the decision to bring the show to a close.
Still, I'm pleased to see the show finally be released on DVD. While the latter seasons aren't as involving, the first few seasons are certainly very worthwhile viewing. There's some definite highlights - "Token Friend", which has Reiser and Hunt substituting for a subway token collector (Steve Buscemi) who's mad at Paul for causing him to fail his college project and "The Apartment", which features a guest spot from Michael Richards, playing his "Seinfeld" character, Kramer.
"Romantic Improvisations", "Sofa's Choice", "Sunday Times", "Out of the Past", "Paul in the Family", "I'm Just So Happy for You", "Token Friend", "The Apartment", "Riding Backwards", "Neighbors from Hell", "Met Someone", "Maid About You", "Togetherness", "Weekend Getaway", "The Wedding Affair", "Love Among the Tiles", "The Billionaire", "The Man Who Said Hello", "Swept Away", "The Spy Who Loved Me", "The Painter", and "Happy Anniversary". Unfortunately, the episodes are not in exact airdate order.
VIDEO: All of the episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Unfortunately, there are no less than eleven episodes squeezed onto each of the dual-layer discs in this two-disc set. The result is image quality that's merely okay - rather inconsistent and generally staying at the kind of quality that reruns present. Sharpness and detail varies - most of the shows appear passably crisp, but occasionally, scenes can look noticably softer by comparison.
Other problems appeared throughout the shows, but none were terribly bothersome. Some noticable pixelation was spotted on a few occasions, as were some instances of shimmer. The show's somewhat subdued color palette remained rather well-rendered, with only a tiny bit of smearing. While flawed, given the amount of episodes included on these two discs, I was surprised that the video quality wasn't worse.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack is enjoyable, with crisp dialogue. The rather annoying laugh track doesn't get in the way of either music or dialogue, either.
MENUS: Basic, non-animated main & sub-menus.
EXTRAS: Nothing. While Fox and HBO have started to load up their TV DVD sets with commentaries and other features, Columbia/Tristar still rarely seems to provide even promos or featurettes.
Final Thoughts: "Mad About You" started to get a little tired in the second half of its seven-year run, but the first few seasons presented a believable couple who had genuine chemistry and worked through their problems and personal triumphs in an entertaining and enjoyable manner. The DVD offers average audio/video quality and no extras, but at $29.99, the price is right. Recommended.