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Season-by-season high-def editions of everybody's favorite 90s sitcom hit the market, and there are just as many pluses as minuses to them....
Warner / 542 Minutes / 1994-1995 / Unrated / Street Date: April 30, 2013
The reality is as unavoidable as it is cruel. No matter how cool we may think we look right now, in a few years our hairstyles and clothes are going to look pretty dang silly. But somehow, our own sartorial nightmares are made easier to bear knowing that the cast of Friends is not immune to the ravages of time. Now we can laugh at them anytime we want in high-def, and thank God were not the ones forced to grow up on TV for all the world to see.
What is rather amazing about this Friends: The Complete First Season set isn't Matt LeBlanc's hair or Courtney Cox's fashion disasters. Rather, it is that all six clicked so well together as an ensemble right from the get-go. Sitting down for this 90s flashback, I was startled at how natural and familiar it all felt, and I was hard pressed to guess some of these episodes were from the first season of the show at all. Often hysterically funny, Friends has always benefited from sharp writing and great casting, and wisely never let any one single cast member dominate the show. This is a true ensemble, and this first go-round is surprisingly devoid of the clunkers that usually plague a new show's maiden voyage.
But this is still by no means a definitive edition of Friends: The Complete First Season. Its DVD edition came with what was touted as 'Now With Footage You've Never Seen', and none of that extra material is included here. And for some inane reason, Warner decided that Dolby Digital 5.1 was fine enough - no lossless upgrades here. Is this great twenty-year-old TV? Sure. Will we see another high-def edition of Friends down the line with more streamlined Blu-ray presence? You bet.
Episodes include: "The Pilot," "Sonogram at the End," "The Thumb," "George Stephanopoulos," "East German Laundry Detergent," "The Butt," "The Blackout," "Nan Dies Twice," "Underdog Gets Away," "The Monkey," "Mrs. Bing," "Dozen Lasagnas," "The Boobies," "The Candy Hearts," "The Stoned Guy," "Two Parts," "All the Poker," "Monkey Gets Away," "Evil Orthodontist," "The Ick Factor," "The Birth," and "Rachel Finds Out".