Sometimes, titles can be misleading. In fact, in our modern high-octane marketing culture, that’s often times their function. For instance, despite the rumors, everybody does not love Raymond. Furthermore, I do not love Raymond. I find the show bland and predictable, and the acting is consistently sub-par. However, just because it’s not my kind of thing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad. A Room With a View was nominated for Best Picture, but I found it so detestable that I couldn’t even make …t through the whole thing. People are different, and their DVD viewing preferences are as well.
All 22 episodes from the first season of this highly-rated show are included on this set, including the series pilot. Pilots are invariably awkward, but this seems to be an exception. There are some genuinely funny moments here, and though there are a couple plot lines and character traits that are different from the directions the show eventually went in, the pilot is pretty true to the rest of the season and the series. One of the hallmarks of this show is its consistency, and the comedy has been consistent since episode number one. Unfortunately for me, I don’t care for Ray Romano’s brand of humor.
There are a few minor complaints that I have regarding the audio on this set, but there are certainly no major problems. All of the sound is anchored to the television in this collection, which is certainly no big deal. The dialog does seem to be a bit low in the mix, however, which was surprising. Usually, shows created for television broadcast have the dialog mixed hot, but that is not the case on this set.
There is some nice low end present in the bumper music. I was also pleased to find that the bass tones don’t carry over to an excessive level in the dialog. This is not a showcase disc when it comes to audio, but when it’s all said and done, it does everything that it is supposed to do.
While this video presentation is typical of the video quality found on many television shows of the mid-90’s, the overall effect is actually a little better than I expected. There are bright digital artifacts that appear during some of the camera transitions, but they are easily ignored. Grain is also present, though not as much as I was afraid I would encounter.
Colors are a tad on the warm side, making everything have that kind of reddish-brown look that viewers were greeted with during episodes of Roseanne and All In The Family. This is a little annoying to me, as this is an issue that could have been corrected when the discs were being mastered. However, I also recognize that this may have been a creative decision.
Overall, this is just the kind of presentation that I would expect from a television show of this vintage. I have no real complaints. Furthermore, the bonus featurettes look fantastic.
Many television box sets are as thin as Paris Hilton in Cambodia when it comes to the extras department. What this collection lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. The extras are kicked off with two commentary tracks, including one for the above-average pilot. These tracks are pretty funny and entertaining. In fact, I found them to be more fun than the actual show. It is a shame that there are only two of them in this set.
There are also three making-of featurettes, which run a total of 55 minutes, altogether. Topics covered include the origins of Ray Romano’s career and the inception of show, casting, and experiences from the set. These are some great segments that really go beyond the typical electronic press kits that plague so many releases of this kind.
Finally, the Late Show with David Letterman segment that started it all is included. This is an excellent idea, and I always appreciate the inclusion of this sort of historical material. It really helps to bring the times alive. A similar device was used on the recently-released Seinfeld Volume One set, to my great amusement.
This is one of those sets where most viewers are going to know in advance if they are going to enjoy the content or not. This is not a collection of episodes that are going to change any viewer’s minds about the show. If you loved it before, you will love it now, and vice versa. The great quality of the extras is a welcome surprise, however. My parents love this show. I am bored by it. Such is life.
Special Features List
- Commentary by Ray Romano and Series Creator Phil Rosenthal on 2 episodes
- Three “making-of” featurettes with interviews of cast, crew and Creator Phil Rosenthal
- “The Late Show with David Letterman” segment with Ray Romano that inspired the show