Friends-The Best of-Volumes 3 & 4 (2001) (NTSC)

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Released 1-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The One That Goes Behind The Scenes
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 286:24 (Case: 300)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By James Burrows
Michael Lembeck
Peterb Bonerz
Kevin Bright
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jennifer Aniston
Courteney Cox Arquette
Lisa Kudrow
Matt LeBlanc
Matthew Perry
David Schwimmer
Case Slip Case
RPI $34.95 Music Rembrandts


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
French
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I'm not even going to try and explain the sitcom phenomenon known as "Friends" because if you haven't succumbed to it by now, you probably never will. Let's just say it's a situation comedy about six young, attractive but kooky friends living in New York City. They hang around each other a lot - either because they are flatmates, or they visit each other's apartments, or congregate at a local coffee shop called "Central Perk."

     This is Volume 3 and 4 of "The Best of Friends" collection, featuring another ten episodes from the long-running TV series, specially selected by "U.S. fans and the show's creators." Given that Warner has already released the complete episodes of the first few seasons as box sets, I am not sure this collection will appeal to the die-hard fan but perhaps it would satisfy someone who enjoyed watching the TV show but can't afford or doesn't want to buy the complete season box sets.

    Here is a breakdown of the episodes on each volume:

Volume Episode Duration Synopsis
3 "The One with the Blackout" 24:53

New York City suffers a blackout, and Chandler happens to be locked in an ATM vestibule with his favourite Victoria's Secret lingerie model. Will he have enough courage to talk to her?

The rest of the gang are in the girls' apartment, talking about sex. Ross nearly declares his love for Rachel, except ...

3 "The One with the Candy Hearts" 24:48

Ross finally goes out on a date with an attractive female, but ends up talking to his ex-wife instead.

Joey forces Chandler to go out on a double date, but Chandler discovers his date is Janice, a former girlfriend he has already broken up with twice before. However, will the third time be different?

In the meantime, the girls decide to burn all the belongings of their ex-boyfriends in a cleansing ritual.

3 "The One Where Ross and Rachel... You Know" 23:28

Joey buys a big screen TV and leather recliners, and Chandler and Joey end up being couch potatoes.

Monica goes out with an old friend of her father's.

Rachel and Ross go on their first date, which doesn't work out too well. However, they do end up ... you know what ... on their second attempt ... in a museum!

3 "The One with the Football" 24:47

The gang decides to play a game of football, which brings back sibling competitive urges in Ross and Monica. Joey and Chandler also use the opportunity to compete to see who can win over a beautiful foreign girl.

3 "The One That Could Have Been (Part 1 and Part 2)" 45:35

A chance discussion about how each of the friends' lives would have turned out if things were different leads to a double episode where we get a sneak peek into an alternate universe where Ross is still married to Carol, Phoebe is a stockbroker, Monica is still fat, Chandler is out of work, Joey is a Days Of Our Lives star and Rachel is infatuated with Joey.

4 "The One with Chandler in a Box" 25:15

Joey hasn't forgiven Chandler for kissing his girlfriend, and the only way for Chandler to redeem himself is to lock himself up in a box for six hours.

The friends are trying to pick Christmas presents for each other and Ross is upset that Rachel has exchanged a gift he gave her some time ago.

Monica has a cooking accident and gets treated by Richard's son.

4 "The One Hundredth" 22:21

Phoebe is pregnant and it's time for her to deliver Frank Jr.'s triplets. She gets a doctor who has an obsession with "Fonzie" from Happy Days.

At the hospital, Rachel tries to set up Monica and herself with two hot male nurses (not knowing that Monica and Chandler are secretly seeing each other). By coincidence, Joey gets kidney stones whilst in hospital.

4 "The One With All the Resolutions" 24:10

It's New Year's Eve and the friends all make resolutions which they have difficulty keeping. Each day, Ross wants to do something that he has never done before to make himself happy; Phoebe wants to pilot a commercial jet carrying passengers; Chandler promises not to make fun of his friends; Joey wants to learn to play the guitar; Monica tries to be less obsessive about being neat, clean and tiny; and Rachel has to curb her natural tendency to gossip.

4 "The One Where Ross Got High" 25:30

Ross and Monica's parents are being invited for Thanksgiving and Chandler wants to make a favourable impression, but the Gellers don't like Chandler because of lies that Ross and Monica have used in the past (attributing blame to Chandler for various things including smoking pot).

Rachel decides to use the Thanksgiving dinner as an occasion to practice her culinary skills, but ends up mixing the recipe for truffles with shepherd's pie.

4 "The One with the Proposal (Part 1 and Part 2)" 45:37 Chandler tries to propose to Monica but as usual things get just a little bit complicated. Ross is accused of cradle snatching by going out with a much younger girlfriend.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The episodes are presented in NTSC full frame, corresponding to the original format and aspect ratio for the North American TV broadcasts.

    Judging by the "making of" documentary (included as an extra), the episodes look like they have been captured on film, and then transferred and edited on videotape.

    That might explain why I tend to see combing artefacts at the end of every "cut" - each "break" would potentially put two non-matched half frames together. On both PowerDVD as well as the deinterlacer on my projector, I had to force the deinterlacing mode to interlaced video to avoid combing errors.

    The quality of the transfers range from mediocre to good. Volume 3 seems to suffer from faded or desaturated colours more than Volume 4. Detail levels are about average, and compression artefacts are minimal apart from occasional macro blocking in blurry backgrounds.

    I did notice some source artefacts, including a strange "shimmer" around Volume 4 Episode 4 1:51-1:54, and a bit of shimmering/aliasing around Volume 4 Episode 2 19:10.

    There are both English and French subtitle tracks available. I listened to the English subtitle track, and accuracy seems to be about average (fast dialogue is either simplified or skipped).

    Both Volume 3 and Volume 4 are single sided dual layered discs (RSDL). The layer change on both of them occurs between Episodes 4 & 5 so will not disrupt normal viewing.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is one audio track: English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s).

    Although the audio appears to have been remixed for 5.0, I did not really notice any significant activity in the rear channels (apart from audience laughter and music ambience), and being a sitcom comedy, the audio is very front centre dialogue focused anyway.

    The audio track appears to have been mixed at a relatively loud level, and compressed dynamically to suit TV broadcasts.

    If you have watched the TV show before, or even if you haven't, you will no doubt be very familiar with the theme song: "I'll Be There For You" sung by the Rembrandts. The music is by Michael Skloff and the lyrics by Allee Willis.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times and I did not notice any audio synchronization errors.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Good news: there are extras on the discs. Bad news: the extras are the same on both discs. Mitigating factor: the featurette is worth watching again.

Menu

    The menu is full frame and static but includes background audio.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    This contains a number of stills (biographical text, mug shots and filmography) for each of the following:

Featurette - Behind The Scenes - The One That Goes Behind The Scenes (42:26)

    This is a "making of" featurette for the season opener ("The One After Vegas") for the 1999-2000 series of Friends. It is presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) and includes excerpts from various episodes, behind the scenes footage, as well as interviews with:

    This documentary was originally shown on the Discovery Channel and is quite interesting as it goes into a lot of depth regarding the writing process, set construction, props, shooting, working with a live audience, editing, sound mix, Foley, ...

DVD-ROM Extras

    This consists of the installation files for the InterActual player, plus some HTML pages and Flash files that point to various web sites.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 and R4 editions are identical, right down to the FBI copyright warnings.

Summary

    The Best of Friends Volumes 3 & 4 features ten episodes taken from various seasons of the popular TV sitcom.

    The video is in NTSC and the quality ranges from mediocre to good.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    Extras are identical across volumes and feature an extended "making of" documentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Monday, December 30, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 1800+, 512MB, Pioneer DVD-103S, WinXP, PowerDVD 4.0 XP), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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