The show that just won’t die returns for it’s sixth season on DVD… and proves why it still belongs in every sitcom fan’s home collection.
Let’s be honest, if you’ve never seen this show before, you are not going to start with Season Six. People who are interested in Season Six are here because they are already loyal followers of the show. I obviously don’t have to sell seasoned fans on the outstanding quality of this sitcom, or on how great the comedy is. You’re a fan. You already know.
So the rea… question is, what happens this season? In a word, lots. Chandler and Monica make a big decision early in the season, completing what they started in Vegas… sort-of. Ross and Rachel start the season as a couple again… sort-of. Of course, who could forget seeing Ross and Monica do “the routine”? I couldn’t scrub that terrifying image out of my brain, no matter how hard I tried. Also, Joey gets to live with a hot new roommate, who is played in a recurring role by supermodel Elle Macpherson..
Other guest stars this season include Reese Witherspoon as Rachael’s sister, Ralph Lauren as himself, the return of Tom Selleck and even an appearance by superstar Bruce Willis. Viewers are also treated to a fun “what might have been” episode, which examines what the lives of these six friends might have been like, had they made different decisions earlier in their lives. This season also includes my favorite line from the entire series (“it tastes like feet!”, from The One Where Ross Gets High).
The real prize of this season, however, is the final few episodes, when the question of marriage arises yet again for Chandler and Monica. The writing for these concluding episodes is superb, and it is amazing how much the viewer grows to care about these characters and their lives on a personal level. This is the pinnacle of the half-hour sitcom.
The audio track has been remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1, so home viewers will be able to hear every studio audience laugh in glorious surround sound. While this is certainly not necessary, it is a nice touch, as it adds a lot to the sections with music, and the occasional ambient noise. Low end quality is fair for a title that was not originally intended to use such a broad spectrum of sonic tones.
One complaint that I have with the audio is that during some episodes, the dialog drifts away from the center speaker, and into the front mains. This is a bit distracting, and it really prevents me from giving this track a better overall rating. Hopefully this issue will be addressed on future releases.
Video quality contained herein is surprisingly good, considering the challenges presented with framing so many bright colors at one time. The result of some excellent mastering is that the colors pop, but do not bleed over, as is so often the case with a television transfer. Grain is kept to a minimum, and blemishes are virtually nonexistent. I was also pleasantly surprised by the deep black levels, and the detail apparent in many of the wardrobe choices.
One of my favorite things about these complete seasons of Friends is that each episode has been re-edited, and is in fact a miniature “director’s cut” unto itself. Every episode contains lines and scenes that were not seen in the original broadcasts due to time constraints, and it is great fun to see these storylines have the room to breathe a little, without the burden of having to leave expansive room for advertising.
Other standard extras are included here as well, such as the addition of the token marginally informative commentary tracks by the producers on three episodes. The rest of the special features are essentially filler, however, but they are all listed below. This is definitely a collection that is big on feature quality, and light on bonus contact.
Even though the show may be past its prime, it’s still better than just about every other show out there. The great thing about these season sets is that they are available at any time, and are ready to go without commercials, so you only get the good stuff. My wife and I like to watch one or two before bed, which is great with our busy schedules. The bite-size segments are perfect for those of us with hectic lives, which so many of us experience these days.
Special Features List
- Producers commentary on 3 episodes
- Friends of Friends video guest book
- Gag Reel
- Casino Challenge Trivia Quiz
- “Gunther Spills the Beans About Next Season”