FRIENDS Complete Series on Blu-Ray Review - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRIENDS Complete Series on Blu-Ray Review

November 13, 2012 by  

For FRIENDS fans, the holidays come a little bit early this year with the release of FRIENDS: The Complete Series on Blu-Ray today. All 236 original broadcast episodes (more on that in a minute) have been remastered in 1080p high definition video (with a 16×9 widescreen format) are included in this new set, as well as the original bonus features that were included on the DVD releases. But if you’re like me, odds are the biggest draw of this new set will be the brand new bonus features.

The most extensive new feature is the retrospective documentary (running about an hour in length), and for FRIENDS geeks, it’s a treasure trove of fun information. While none of the six stars participated in these interviews, creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman — along with guest stars like Elliott Gould, Christina Pickles, Bonnie Somerville and more — shed a lot of info about the show, from the casting, to how some of the pivotal moments of the series came to be (did you know that Ross saying Rachel’s name during his wedding to Emily was inspired by an earlier line flub by series star David Schwimmer?), crafting the series finale, the legacy the show had on pop culture, and so much more. Whether you know the info or not (and some of it was certainly brand new information to me), it was fascinating to hear what the people involved in the show thought of everything in hindsight.

One of the more unique features on the set is the inclusion of talk show appearances the cast made immediately after the series ended: on THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW, several of the stars appeared individually post-finale and they were cute interview segments. (And watching Ellen try to quiz the cast on whether they could complete the FRIENDS lines that followed the clips was so amusing.) More emotional was the episode of THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO that aired post-finale as the cast was interviewed together (first grouped by gender and then all six together) on the Central Perk set. I don’t think I saw those segments since that episode aired in 2004, so it was a nice little touch to add to the complete series set.

There’s also a new gag reel on the complete series set (which is touted as the “never-before-seen gag reel” which “has all the laughs that were too funny to include on the DVD”), but between it being less than seven minutes in length and using really weird editing, it was the only bonus feature that didn’t really live up to the hype for me.

But truly, the most understated/fantastic bonus on the set is The Original Producer’s Cut for “The One Where Rachel Tells Ross.” The press release for the complete series touts it as being “re-assembled back to its original form” with an introduction by executive producer Kevin Bright which will “set up the episode and explain why it was ultimately edited before air.” However, that’s underselling what this really is: it’s not just a new cut (which I anticipated as being perhaps a different order of scenes, maybe a new scene or joke), but rather, in that episode, Monica and Chandler have an entirely different storyline from what made it to air.

In case you’re not as familiar with that episode, the NBC version of “The One Where Rachel Tells…”, Monica and Chandler are (accidentally) shadowed while traveling to their honeymoon by another newlywed couple who is at every location mere moments before them — which means the other couple keeps getting the perks to celebrate their new marital status, while Monica and Chandler are left in the cold.

But that’s not how it was originally supposed to happen. In the original cut of the episode — which is featured for the first time on this Blu-Ray set — Chandler made a silly bomb joke at the airport and he and Monica were promptly detained. The episode was filmed pre-9/11, and clearly after those events, the writers needed to change that story. It’s not a huge, huge, huge shift to the episode, but for FRIENDS fans who have been missing the series, having new content after all these years is pretty awesome.

There’s only one real downside to this release: the Blu-Ray versions of the show are the episodes that originally aired on NBC. (The DVD releases included added footage, whether it was a cut line/joke/scene/arc for virtually every episode that wasn’t included during the NBC broadcast.) While that’s an admitted disappointment for me, I think the varying degrees of disappointment will depend on the individual fan. If you only know the show from syndication — where each carrier has their own cut of the show as it is — you may delight in the “new” material that somehow never makes the syndication cuts. If you only watched the show when it first aired on NBC, you wouldn’t notice a difference. But if you’ve gotten used to seeing those little added moments on the DVD sets, it might be a little jarring to not have those anymore.

That being said, the people who most likely notice those changes are probably also the ones willing to shell out to buy another copy of the series. And for all FRIENDS fans, these bonus features are a treat you won’t want to miss.

Here’s the official list of what features you can expect on the set, plus all the other nifty details:


·         True Friends:  Documentaries: Retrospective documentaries with new interviews looking at the influential 10 years of the show and how it changed the cultural landscape of the 90’s and first half of the new millennium

o   Friends From the Start:  Learn how the show was created and the challenges of finding the perfect cast and capturing “lightening in a bottle”

o   When Friends Become Family:  Enter the Writers Room and hear about the inspiration and development of some of the most iconic episodes and favorite moments from various seasons

o   Legacy of Friends:  Learn why the show had to come to an end, its influence on pop culture, and the legacy that it left behind

·         The Original Producer’s Cut for ‘The One Where Rachel Tells Ross’:  ‘The One Where Rachel Tells Ross’ is re-assembled back to its original form.  An introduction by Kevin Bright will set up the episode and explain why it was ultimately edited before air.

·         The Original Script for ‘The One Where Rachel Tells Ross’

·         Friends On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno  (2005)

·         Friends Visit The Ellen DeGeneres Show  (2004)

·         The Ones With More Friends: The original extended broadcast episodes

·         The One with the Never-Before-Seen Gags: Originally for the cast and crew, this never-before-seen gag reel has all the laughs that were too funny to include on the DVD

·         The Rembrandts – “I’ll Be There For You”:  Official music video featuring the cast of Friends


·         Friends Around the World:  Explores the Friends phenomenon around the globe

·         On Location in London:  Cross the Atlantic for a whirlwind English visit with Friends

·         The One That Goes Behind the Scenes:  The full hour-long Discovery Channel Documentary

·         Behind the Style:  The Look of Friends:  Costume Designer Debra McGuire, Hair Stylist Jonathan Hanousek, and Makeup Artist Robin Siegel offer an inside look at Friends fashion, hair and makeup over the years

·         The Flaming Lips Phoebe Battles the Pink Robots music video featuring Lisa Kudrow and directed by Kevin S. Bright

·         Friends Final Thoughts:  The cast and producers reflect during their final days at work and after series production ends

·         Never-before-seen  uncut version of Smelly Cat

·         Matt LeBlanc Joey Joey music video

·         Commentaries From 31 Episodes

·         Friends of Friends video guestbook

·         Gag reels from multiple seasons

·         And More!

Running time: Approx. 90 Hours (episodes). Over 20 hours (special features) – Including 3 hours of all-new special features. SRP: $279.98

FRIENDS: The Complete Series goes on sale today. Will you be picking up a copy?


Filed under #1 featured, Friends


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