Newest Review: ... has a very nice smooth touch to it (yes I am probably in love with this box too much but oh well!). But that's enough about the looks.... more
The One With The FRIENDS Box Set
Friends - Season 1-10 Complete Collection - 15th Anniversary (DVD)
Member Name: tinkerbell18
Friends - Season 1-10 Complete Collection - 15th Anniversary (DVD)
Advantages: Humourous; easy to watch; lots of episodes
Disadvantages: Went on a little too long; some bad plots
I love watching TV shows when doing work - it breaks the work period up nicely and I don't have to concentrate on the TV as much as I would when watching a film. So, a couple of years ago, I treated myself to the FRIENDS box-set when it was reduced greatly in price (£40 from HMV if I recall correctly). I had watched a fair bit of FRIENDS over the years when it was shown on Channel 4, or one of its many branches, and wanted to be able to watch the whole series in order - basically so it made sense!
So the basics about the box-set: The show consisted of 10 seasons, spanning ten years. Each season is in a DVD box and consists of four discs. The discs are numbered with the episodes, which build up consecutively across the seasons (so by season 9, I'm on episode 200 or so). The discs usually have a FRIENDly face upon them, and the box is decorated with images from the season and an episode guide so you know which is on each disc. Episodes last roughly 22 minutes, although some are extended in this box set, and the finale of season ten is an hour. Inside the main box is quite a nice thick booklet with information the seasons, each episode, bonus features as well as some key props and a bit of the story that goes with them - and lots of glossy pictures of course! I haven't really looked at this as I tend just to work through the episodes, but it'll be handy when you want to try and find a certain episode, or try to remember what a certain episode was about! The box itself I find quite pretty; it's a simple white box with a removable lid. On the front is the iconic frame that is seen on the back of the girls' apartment door throughout the seasons, and a picture of the FRIENDS inside it. The frame and image is repeated around the box, but overall it is simple. And has a very nice smooth touch to it (yes I am probably in love with this box too much but oh well!).
But that's enough about the looks. What's actually on the discs? And better still, what's the show about? The show is based around 6 friends (3 boys and 3 girls) who seem to spend one heck of a lot of time together! Monica (Courtney Cox Arquette) lives in the iconic flat of the show at first with Rachel Green (Jennifer Anniston) but her roommate does change throughout the show. Monica is a bit of a neat freak that once had a teeny bit of a weight problem, whilst Rachel is a formally spoilt young lady who moves in with Monica to learn how to fend for herself and not rely on 'Daddy'. Opposite the girls lives Joey (Matt LeBlanc), an actor and the Lothario of the show. His roommate is Chandler (Matthew Perry), who is totally unsuccessful with girls, has a job but no-one knows what, and tells jokes (whether they are good or bad usually depends!). Ross (David Schwimmer) is Monica's older brother who is in to dinosaurs big time and has a bit of a problem with weddings (usually his own) as well as huge crush on Rachel. Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) is the final member of the gang; Phoebe has a bit of an interesting past and is a very quirky, if a little odd, character. Both Phoebe and Ross don't live with or very near the rest of the group.
I can't really say much else without giving some plot lines away (and even now I think I've given too much!). But as you can tell they are a really mixed bunch personality wise, education wise, worldly wise (you'll see what I mean when you watch it, but Rachel & Phoebe, for example, are miles apart in life experience and sensibilities). The clashing of characters works quite nicely, and can set up for some interesting dynamics - as well as some actual clashes! I'm going to be annoying and say I don't have a favourite character, because there are elements of each that I like, but there are elements I just want to yell at! I suppose that that could be classed as a realistic case, but I know that some of my friends have very clear favourites. I think out of them all, Ross & Phoebe are my least favourites, but even then the others can sometimes beat them to that role!
Unusually for me, I haven't really interacted with the bonus features very much. There are a fair few commentaries by the show's creators, usually on an episode where something relatively shocking/big happens - to be honest I'd prefer a cast commentary as from previous experience producers talk about the thought processes behind the episode, whilst the cast will tell you what filming the episode was like; much more my cup of tea! Bonus features can include trivia quizzes, Friends of FRIENDS interviews (with guest cast members), gag reels which are always worth a look, documentaries about the show and about episodes where it goes away (to London and Las Vegas for example). Later in the seasons there is a segment called 'Gunther Spills the Beans' - Gunther is the very blonde waiter from the gangs favourite café, Central Perk; in these segments he divulges information about the next season, interesting information about the final season - and perhaps his dreams for the next season (usually involving Rachel). In my opinion, some of the bonus features do add to the experience of the show, and can make it a lot more interactive. However, I do not interact with them very much as in this case I just prefer watching the episodes - I think the bonus features aren't quite behind the scenes enough for a drama nerd like me.
One thing I find about the show is that it just ran for too long; the same can be said for a lot of TV shows to be honest. The seasons are much funnier earlier on, and even though there is still some of that same humour later on, the show as a whole does tail off a bit. I can't quite pinpoint where it happens, but there is a point where it feels like the show is dragging and trying too hard to be funny (a bit like Chandler) and there are some storylines that could definitely have been left well alone. I think that the show tried to get too serious - that's not a bad thing, and some of the stories related to that are interesting, but I feel it started out as a light-hearted, entertaining comedy and should have stopped when that element frazzled out. The most disappointing season for me is the final season - it's shorter than the other seasons and feels very rushed. There are some key plot points that happen for some of the characters but they happen so very quickly and suddenly it's over - I don't mind the plot points happening, but it made the season feel very crammed and nowhere near as good as the others; and because it was so crammed you didn't have much time to enjoy one key moment before another suddenly appears.
Overall, aside from the rushed end and a few plots that should have been left well alone, I rather enjoy watching FRIENDS. It's so easy just to pop it on whilst I'm pattering around my room, doing a bit of work (or reviewing!) or even just watching a couple of episodes before bed. It is a show that has had me laughing and crying (usually at the happy moments) and even though the characters can irritate me at times, on the whole I love it! It is rated a 12 and I'd stick to that rating as there are some fairly adult concepts in there, as well as a little bad language (nothing too bad though). I would recommend it if you wanted to watch a TV show that didn't require very much concentration on the plot to understand what is going on - and if you want a little light humour to start the day with!
Summary: A brilliant addition to my collection
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