Entertainment :: Television

Friends: The Complete Series

by David Foucher
EDGE Publisher
Friday Nov 16, 2012
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Need a friend? How about six of them? The complete series of "Friends" hits Blu-ray at last this holiday season... and it’s just as fun as it ever was. With every broadcast episode reproduced here in glorious HD, plus over three hours of additional features beyond the previously released DVDs, this set now becomes the de facto must-have for "Friends" fans.

First, quality: the high definition is stunning when compared to the DVDs, particularly the 3x4 ration DVDs; here, the episodes are in lovely widescreen. Audio is superb (if not surprising in surround), and the packaging is actually well conceived and surprisingly sturdy - it holds all 21 discs plus the 32-page episode guide handily.

Aficionados will recognize that these are not the "extended" episodes previously released on DVD. They’re the broadcast versions, which means you’ll be watching precisely what you experienced on television when the show first aired. Some individuals will be disappointed - if you’re holding out for the extended versions on Blu-ray, go ahead and wait - but if you’re happy just reliving all 236 episodes on a big flatscreen, you can’t go wrong here. You’ll laugh for days - literally.

As for special features, there are 17 hours of it from the original DVD set, including an hour-long documentary from the Discovery Channel, final thoughts from the cast and crew upon wrapping the show, music videos, gag reels and more. But the additional three hours on the Blu-ray editing are extra charming: a retrospective that discusses the impact the show had during its ten-year run, plus the original cut of "The One Where Rachel Tells Ross" - which was edited post-9/11 to remove a joke Chandler makes about having a bomb as he’s boarding a plane. There are more gags, more music videos, and vignettes from both "The Tonight Show" and "The Ellen Degeneres Show.".

David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his husband and daughter in Dedham MA.

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