Friends Series 7 Episodes 9-12 Review
Once upon a time I would never have dreamed of missing an episode of Friends. Every Monday night without fail I would settle down to see what ridiculous antics the six would get up to. But then it stopped being funny. I went from avid fan to occasional viewer. I watched but a few episodes in Season Five, and even less in Season Six. The most recent, Season Seven, was better but I still didn't come back to the fold. I would watch it if it was on but wouldn't go out of my way to see it.
So I was pleased that I was able to review this disc as it gave me the opportunity to catch up. The four episodes (yes, four) are from the middle of the season and are very enjoyable - especially The One With the Holiday Armadillo and The One With All The Cheesecake. The episodes included are:
The One With All The Candy
Monica makes candy for the neighbours that goes down well. Too well. Meanwhile, Phoebe, touched by Ben's learning to ride a bike, has a bike bought to her by Ross. And Rachel and Tag's relationship causes problems at work.
The One With the Holiday Armadillo
Ross wants to teach Ben about the Jewish Festival of Lights but Christmas keeps getting in the way. Phoebe's new apartment is almost ready and she is excited about moving back in. But is Rachael having more fun with Joey? Afraid that she is, Phoebe decides that she must drive a wedge between Joey and Rachael.
The One With All The Cheesecake
Old flame David (Hank Azaria) is back from Minsk but Phoebe has dinner plans with Joey she can't miss. Elsewhere, Rachael and Chandler become addicted to cheesecake which they steal from their neighbours doorstep.
The One Where They're Up All Night
Rachael and Tag have to go to the office because an important parcel hasn't been sent and neither will accepy responsibility. Meanwhile, Phoebe is having trouble with her smoke alarm, Chandler and Monica are annoying each other so much they can't sleep and Ross and Joey are stuck on the roof.
As my colleague Andy Hall wrote in his review of Season Seven Episodes 13-16, the image is as good as can be expected from an NTSC broadcast source. Framed at 4:3, it is a little soft but perfectly watchable.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Surround, which is fine for a show like Friends. Dialogue is clear and well balanced, with the rears used for laughter and music.
When Warner Bros. dropped the price of their older dvds to £12.99, and when they released Friends as eight-episode-per-disc dvds, they were a company who gave excellent value for money. How things have changed. We now get the four televised episodes on one side and the same four episodes on the other, only as director's cuts with 'extended footage'. As Andy pointed out in his review, the actual amount varies from episode to episode but here, the extra footage amounts to less than a minute per episode. Personally I think it is a sly ploy, in effect doubling the price of Friends on dvd.
Picture and Sound
The picture is much the same as Side A but here the sound is presented in Dolby Digital 5.0. The surround use differs little from the 2.0 surround track (Friends isn't exactly Saving Private Ryan) dealing mainly with the laughter, music and the odd effect.
I wouldn't buy this disc. Warner Bros. are ripping off consumers with the new four-episode-per-disc system instead of the original eight. Boycott if you can. But, if you must buy it the episodes are enjoyable and the quality is good.