The Best Of Friends

The Best Of Friends (1994)
Warner Home Video
Cast: David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox, Matt Leblanc, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry
Extras: Music Video, Featurettes, Cast & Crew Biographies

Recently, we’ve seen a growing number of television shows making their way to DVD. The latest offering is the hit series ’Friends’ from Warner Home Video. Instead of releasing the shows in chronological order starting with Season One, as has been done in Europe, Warner has decided to give us a ’greatest hits’ package, which contains the ’Top 10’ episodes spread out over two discs. (It’s sort of vague as to how these ten episodes were chosen.) The two DVDs are available separately, or they can both be had in a box-set. It should be noted that the episodes presented here do run in chronological order, with Volume 1 featuring episodes from 1994-1996 and Volume 2 offering shows from 1996-1999.

As for the quality of the shows, we could spend all day arguing about that. As a fan of ’Friends’, I agree with most of the choices here, but there are some other episodes of the show that I would’ve liked to have seen make the DVD. In my opinion, of the two DVDs, Volume 2 has a better assortment of quality episodes, including ’The One with the Embryos’, in which Monica (Courtney Cox) & Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) compete against Chandler (Matthew Perry) & Joey (Matt LeBlanc) for the girl’s apartment (’Miss Chanandler Bong’ still makes me laugh) and also ’The One With all the Thanksgivings’, where we get to see Chandler’s ’Flock of Seagulls’ haircut from 1987. Although, kudos must go to the Volume 1 disc, as it contains the self-explanatory, ’The One with the Prom Video’, which is arguably the very best episode of the show. Despite the quality of the episodes selected for this set, I would still like to have the episode where Monica and Ross (David Schwimmer) dance on the New Year’s Eve program.

The episodes offered on the two DVDs are presented full-frame and they look fantastic. The image is crystal clear, rivaling (and arguably surpassing) digital cable broadcast quality. There is no overt noise, grain, or artifacting evident on the image, nor are their any obvious defects from the source material. The colors are bright and true, showing no saturation or bleeding. The audio on the DVDs is a Dolby Digital 5.0 mix. The sound is surprisingly good, with the laughter from the studio audience and an occasional sound effect emanating from the rear speakers. The 5.0 mix has a good amount of bass response, further adding a nice ambience to the sound. Each DVD contains the music video the show’s theme song, ’I’ll Be There For You’ by The Rembrandts. This is presented full-frame and in Dolby 2-channel surround. The Volume 2 DVD features two short behind the scenes specials focusing on the two episodes of the show which were shot in London. Overall, this is a nice package and a must-have for fans of ’Friends.’