Having exhausted just about every other romantic combination involving the ever-popularcast, the writers finally settled down to make a wedding actually happen. The preparations forthe wedding and all the associated complications form the backbone of the season, while variousother subplots (Rachel’s hunky new assistant, roommate musical chairs, etc) weave in and out.We are also asked to believe that a) Rachel is only turning 30 now; and b) this is a HugeDeal.
The sound has been remastered into 5.0, and frankly, I can’t figure out why anyone bothered.This is not the kind of disc that is going to show off any version of surround to great advantage.The show is dialogue-driven, and there are few sound effects of any kind. The laugh track is insurround, for what it’s worth, but even that is a bit front-heavy, destroying the illusion that youare a member of the audience.
The picture is completely free of grain, but at the same time is really quite soft. The coloursare bright — in fact, they’re TOO bright. With the contrasts working overtime, the result is arather harsh-looking transfer, no great improvement over the broadcast, and no great pleasureto look at. The blacks are good, and they, at least, aren’t hard on the eyes.
The episodes aren’t broken up into chapters, which makes any sort of fast-forwarding moreof chore than it should be on DVD. The extras, apart from episode previews for all the shows,consists in scattered commentaries (one episode on Discs 2, 3 and 4 get this treatment) and asmall cluster of extras on Disc 4. The commentaries, as is true with most TV releases, revealthis to be very much a writer’s medium. On disc 4, you have a “wow this was so great” featurein the form of “Friends of Friends,” which is a set of interviews with various guest stars. Thegag reel is rather too nicely edited and laugh-tracked to be entirely convincing, even if it isgenuine. “Gunther Spills the Beans” is essentially a trailer for season 8. “Monica’s WeddingBook Challenge” is an interactive trivia game (each question takes a while, since the answercomes in the form of a clip). Finally, there’s a cast and crew list. The menu’s main screen andintro are animated and scored.
As TV packages go, this could do with some work, primarily in the form of a nicer pictureand more extras.
Special Features List
- 3 Audio Commentaries
- “Friends of Friends” Interview Featurette
- Gag Reel
- “Gunther Spills the Beans” Season 8 Preview
- Episode Previews
- “Monica’s Wedding Book” Trivia Game