Sex and the City: The Essentials – Mr. Big is a release, which serves no purpose that can’t otherwise be obtained from watching reruns on TBS. True, the series is edited for television, but a show should not have to resort solely to objectionable content to build a relationship with its audience. That’s not to say it can’t, but if you’re interested in trying out Sex and the City, I doubt it’s to see how many breasts, penises, and profane words you can see and hear, respectively, in a half-hour of televi…ion. (You’ll be disappointed because, while for mature audiences, there are far worse shows out there.) No, you’re probably going to watch Sex and the City because you like character-driven comedy that focuses less on jokes and more on social realities. Or, maybe you like HBO’s programming, and you feel this show must be good if they picked it up.
Whatever the reason, chances are, you’re better off buying the entire seasons on DVD, or first trying out the show on TBS before making the decision of building a season-by-season collection. With The Essentials, you get a sparse three episodes with nary a special feature in sight. It’s a pointless waste of time no matter what angle you’re coming from. On the Mr. Big Essentials disc, you will get three episodes detailing different highs and lows in Carrie’s relationship with the title character. Perhaps it will leave you wanting more. If so, then the disc has done its job, but the real challenge which lay ahead for it is getting picked up in the first place. A fan won’t want it, and a curious spectator can find much better ways of sampling the menu.
The first episode on this disc had a glaring grain problem – the other two, not so much. Still the 1.33:1 presentation could have been better. It has none of the vibrancy of a Seinfeld box set, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. The entire package displays a dimness that shouldn’t be there, and contrast suffers as a result. I hope the season collections look better than this because, if not, I sense a double dip in the near future.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the only bright spot of the disc. Carrie’s New York offers so many opportunities for background and street noise to shine, and the dialogue levels have a naturally high volume. There are also 2.0 tracks provided for English and Spanish viewers. Both of these tracks are more than suitable, but lack the same intensity in helping to create the show’s refreshing atmosphere.
No bonus materials – not even previews for other shows – are provided.
A fan wishing to purchase these Essentials discs either has too much money, or somehow doesn’t realize the entire show is already available in season-by-season sets. With a mediocre video presentation, no bonus materials to spice things up, and only three episodes per disc, such a decision should leave one scratching their head and asking why. Yet still – I can’t deny it – these will somehow find a market, or HBO and companies like them would not continue to go to the well so many times.
Special Features List