Warner Home Video
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer
Extras: Commentary Track, Interactive Map, Trivia Game, Guest Star Moments
After putting out a bunch of ’Best Of’ compilations from the series, Warner Home Video has finally decided to begin releasing ’Friends’ in sequential order in box set containing entire seasons. ’Friends: The Complete First Season’ is the first of the releases, giving us, as you’d expect the first season of the series.
The first season immediately starts out very strong and establishes the series firmly with the recipe that made it such a success. Phenomenal chemistry between the cast members, a good blend of characters and a slew of thematic issues and problems that everyone can relate to.
Warner Home Video sends ’Friends: The Complete First Season’ in its original fullscreen presentation your way. The transfer is good and rich in detail, with faithful color reproduction and solid blacks. It is a far cry for the poor quality you’ll be used to from cable TV and it adds a richness and texture to the series that wasn’t there before – added authenticity, I would call it. The transfer is free of defects and with 23 episodes spread over four discs, the DVD set allows liberal use of storage to ensure best possible image compression without artifacts.
What’s even better is that the series is presented in full 5.0 Dolby Digital on this release, which surpasses the flat broadcast audio by lightyears. Fat and natural with a wide frequency response and good dynamics the tracks are much more engaging and active that you’d expect, adding a layer of intimacy to the presentation.
The DVD set also contains some extras, such as a commentary track by the producers on the pilot. The commentary track is engaging and entertaining with quite bit of information. An interactive map of the Central Perk, as well as direct access to segments featuring cameo appearances by other stars on the show are also part of the release. A challenging Trivia Quiz and trailer round out this box set.
’Friends’ fans will agree that this is the release they’ve been waiting for and the set doesn’t disappoint. Splendid video, remaster full-bodied audio and a bunch of episodes that rock the house. What else could you ask for? Well, ’The Complete Season Two,’ maybe?