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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Best of ''Friends'' Vol. 3/4
The Best of ''Friends'' Vol. 3/4
Warner Bros. // Unrated // November 20, 2001
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted November 19, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Although I'm not a particularly big fan of "Friends" (and think that, at this point, it's gone on a little bit long), I can understand the show's widespread appeal. Several talented lead actors, witty and occasionally quite funny dialogue and storylines that are suprisingly creative, given the fact that one might not think that you'd be able to make too many varying stories from the lives of several twenty-somethings who often hang out in a coffee shop. In my opinion it's not consistent - and it's definitely not "Seinfeld", but it remains one of the better shows on network television.

The show's cast gained fame a few seasons back for their pay raise to a remarkable $750,000 an episode. One might begin to ponder the collective failures of the feature films of the "Friends" cast, but it really doesn't matter much anymore, as they all could retire after the last audience clap echos throughout the studio, anyhow. Yet, there's something unfortunate about that, as at least most of the cast members have shown noticable improvement since the begining; Perry's sarcastic humor and impressive timing still continues to go strong and Aniston's warmth and ability to show emotion has matured and grown over the years. While "Friends" looks to be on its way out after this season, one wonders what NBC will groom to replace it in its Thursday night slot. Personally, I'm hoping for the often supremely funny and inspired "Scrubs".

Warner Brothers still does cause dismay for "Friends" fans by releasing smaller sets of things like these "Fan Favorites", rather than actual full-season editions. While they fail in structure, they succeed in presentation; the terrific audio/video quality of the shows offered here will surely please fans who'd like to be able to watch them again and again instead of awaiting their next broadcast or trying to look through episodes taped.

This two-disc set includes Vol. 3 + 4. 3 offers: "The One With The Blackout," "The One With The Candy Hearts," "The One Where Ross And Rachel...You Know?," "The One With The Football (a favorite)" and "The One Could Have Been Parts I & II." Vol. 4 includes: "The One With Chandler In A Box," "The One Hundredth," "The One With All The Resolutions," "The One Where Ross Got High," and "The One With The Proposal, Parts I & II."


The DVD

VIDEO: "Friends" is presented in its original 1.33:1 full_frame broadcast ratio. As with the original DVD edition's release, the image quality is exceptional, given the material. Sharpness and detail are excellent - the picture remains crisp and consistently well-defined throughout, with only a few minor moments of softness. No edge enhancement or pixelation was seen, and only a few instances of very slight shimmering were noticed. Colors looked terrific, as the show's bright and vibrant color palette showed through perfectly.

SOUND: While not particularly stunning, I was impressed with the first DVD edition's remixed Dolby Digital 5.0 audio and the remixed 5.0 audio returns for both volumes of this second two-disc set. The audio quality is quite lively and full, with the music remaining the element that sounds richest. Slight sound effects and those continual background laughs also come through clearly. Surrounds aren't employed for a great deal of work, but they do come in for some minor reinforcement of the music and those wacky background laughs.

MENUS:: Although the design is basic and non-animated, the show's theme plays in the background.

EXTRAS:: I believe there was one or two short featurettes on the first two volumes, but thankfully, Warner Brothers has simply included one substancial supplement - which turns up on both of these discs. "The One That Goes Behind The Scenes" is a 45-minute "making of" documentary that boasts some wonderful behind-the-scenes clips of the film's cast and crew preparing to film another season of the show. We are introduced to many of the show's crew and learn in greater detail what their tasks are on a week-by-week basis - we also see a good deal of the production in action.

The viewer is allowed to watch scenes being filmed and are shown the struggles of trying to make jokes and situations work as best they can. This is certainly one of the better documentaries that I've seen included on a DVD - it's definitely the most in-depth and interesting look at the making of a TV show that I've seen.

Also: Cast/crew bios.

Final Thoughts: While it will likely dissapoint that "Friends" continues to be released in small sets on DVD rather than full-seasons, Warner Brothers continues to present the shows in excellent fashion, with good audio/video quality and - in this case, a fantastic documentary as the extra feature. Recommended.

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