The complete fourth season of the UK’s hit show Coupling arrives on DVD in 6 exciting episodes.
Wait a minute…did I just say “complete season” and “6 episodes” in the same breath? Unfortunately, yes. Now, I can’t really blame the DVD producers; they’re just putting out content that has already been made. Television seasons are short in the UK… what are you going to do? The rumor is that season five has been ordered for production by the BBC, but the show is currently on hiatus, so there is no guarant…e that any more episodes will be produced. This could be the last full season of this colossal hit, so collectors will definitely want to pick this one up.
If you have never seen the show, think of the US hit Friends, and add British accents and a heaping dose of Sex and the City. This is a wonderfully funny show that I am surprised hasn’t catch on in North America any more than it did. In fact, NBC signed on to air a US version of the program, but it flopped pretty quickly, following a heavy ad campaign. I believe only two episodes actually made it to prime time.
Nevertheless, here is the original series for audiences to enjoy at their leisure. If you own the first three seasons, you are certainly hooked at this point. You might as well shell out for the abbreviated season four as well. If you are new to the show, you will be a fan by the time you finish these discs. I know I am.
Besides the short season length, my main complaint with this title is the quality of the audio. There are no major problems here, but an overall lack of clarity is certainly present. The episodes are presented in the standard 2-channel format that permeates many TV shows. No surrounds are present whatsoever, and very little is here in the way of bass tones. Disappointingly, there seems to be no real evidence of any attempt to take advantage of the stereo format, either. Audio comes squarely from the front, with very little dynamic range, and nothing special to speak of.
The dialog is clear, however, which really is the main point when it comes to half-hour sitcoms. If you have seen this show on broadcast television, then you have heard this audio track. It is adequate, but nothing spectacular.
The video quality, however, is better than I expected. First and foremost, it is provided in a widescreen format, which looks fantastic on my compatible widescreen television. It is pretty rare to see a sitcom in this format, and I sincerely hope that it happens more in the future.
Furthermore, the picture is clear, with absolutely zero grain or blemishes to speak of. There are some halos around edges from time to time, however, though it is not a major issue. I would also like to see the colors be a bit more realistic. The entire season is pretty heavy on the red side, making everybody look a bit more tan than they actually are. This can be mildly annoying in dark scenes, but it is not an issue when the action takes place outside or in overly-lit areas.
One thing I can say is that there is a large amount of bonus content included here for so few episodes. At least the producers are doing their best to create some added value out of this short season. There are a large number of outtakes from each episode, though “mistake” does not always equal “funny”. Some deleted scenes are also included, which are basically enjoyable, but were obviously cut for time issues. The usual trailers and cast bios are also included.
There are two major extras on this set. The first is an interview with actor Richard Mylan, who plays Oliver, the new character for this season. This is basically a fluff piece, but it is nice to see that the producers acknowledged the change in casting. The best extra on the set is The Making of Coupling: From Script to Screen. This is a half-hour piece that is eerily similar to an extra from one of the seasons of Friends. The doc explores the process of creating an episode, from writing, to rehearsal, set design, camera movement and shooting. This is a great featurette, as it is pretty rare to see how sitcoms are made on the other side of the pond.
I was disappointed to see how short this season is, but it is still as funny as ever. A large number of extras, coupled with a Widescreen presentation and a relatively low price point makes this a recommended release for sitcom fans on multiple continents.
Special Features List
- Deleted Scenes
- “The Making of Coupling From Script to Screen”
- Interview with actor Richard Mylan
- Cast Bios