Seinfeld-The Complete 1st & 2nd Seasons (1990)

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Released 18-Oct-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Alternative Version-Revised Pilot Version
Informational Subtitles-Notes About Nothing
Featurette-Inside Look
Introduction-The Stake Out, The Stranded
Audio Commentary-6 Episodes - Larry David And Cast
Deleted Scenes-'In The Vault'
Easter Egg
Featurette-Master Of His Domain
Outtakes-'Not That There's Anything Wrong With That'
Featurette-Making Of-How It Began
Featurette-The Tonight Show - TV Appearances
TV Spots-'Sponsored By Vandelay Industries'
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time ?
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Andy Ackerman
Jason Alexander
Tom Cherones
David Steinberg
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jerry Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Michael Richards
Jason Alexander
Case ?
RPI $79.95 Music Stan Ridgway
Jonathan Wolff


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
Dutch
Danish
Finnish
Hebrew
Norwegian
Portuguese
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Information
Spanish Information
Dutch Information
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes, occasionally
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Superman? Porsche, Apple Mac
Action In or After Credits Yes, Standup routine during opening credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Okay, there might be a few of you who haven't watched this long running TV comedy series, and probably even fewer who haven't heard of Jerry Seinfeld. For those of you who don't know, the TV series Seinfeld was basically a comedy about 4 close and terribly dysfunctional friends; Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer. It was one of the most popular TV comedies of all time, and ran for 9 seasons from 1990 - 1998.

    The show was co-created by Jerry Seinfeld, already a renowned stand-up comedian, and Larry David, a close friend and stand-up comic himself. Though filmed before live audiences in LA, the show was set in downtown New York and focused on the relationships between the 4 lead characters in their everyday lives in the big city. Apparently many of the earlier storylines were actually based on real life experiences of Larry David.

    Unlike most comedies, especially those from the US, Seinfeld did not try to convey any moral messages nor ever attempt to be particularly politically correct, and that's perhaps what endeared the show to a wide audience across the world. It wasn't filled with 'pretty' people like, say Friends, nor did it have the luxury of animation to convey out-of-the-world storylines. Seinfeld somehow worked extremely well because of wonderfully drawn characters that most viewers could identify with, in everyday situations that weren't too far out or unbelievable. Jerry commonly found humour in the smallest details in life (observational humour?) and this is often reflected in the show itself. I've often found that not only can I see elements of myself in at least 2 of the characters (I'm not telling which two!), but have experienced or thought about many of the situations depicted in this long running series.

    Far from being a 'show about nothing' as it often self-proclaims, Seinfeld actually is often a clever observation of life itself, as seen through the eyes of perhaps typical New Yorkers - selfish, self-interested and motivated mostly by greed! They're in that age group of 30s-40s that makes it more comfortable for a wider audience to relate to. I think most of us could sympathise with, or at least laugh at, many of the situations that they find themselves in. Despite each of the characters often gaining, or trying to gain, something at the expense of the others, in the end their bond of friendship holds them firmly together. They do take each other very much for granted but there's never any real nastiness on display (unlike say The Simpsons). Nor does the show ever really become crude or rely on profanities for a laugh.

   Furthermore, the fact that the show in general avoids topical issues, such as politics, means that it should hold its age quite well and continue to entertain for years to come. It's well written, well acted (except perhaps for Jerry who often appears self-conscious and too much in his 'stand-up' guise). As an actor, Jerry is better as a stand-up comedian.

The Episodes

    I won't provide the story for each episode as detailed guides can be found on the Net. One good example is at the www.tvtome.com website. Details of episode-based extras are also provided below:

Disc 1 - contains the pilot and the five season one episodes:

    1. Seinfeld Chronicles (pilot). Two versions are provided on this disc, the original as well as a slightly revised version which includes titles and music that fans are familiar with. Interestingly, the character of Elaine was not part of the pilot.

        'Inside Look' - a short compilation of recent interviews with cast and crew members with excerpts from the episode.

        'Notes About Nothing' - a fact track packed with a continuous supply of trivia about the episode, general background information, cast information and much more. It even includes 'counters' for Kramer's entrances, as well as Jerry's girlfriends.

    2. Male Unbonding (one of the few episode titles that didn't start with 'The')

        Deleted Scene - a reasonably lengthy alternate ending to the episode.

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

    3. The Stake Out

        Episode introduction by Jerry and Elaine that was originally broadcast with the actual episode.

        Commentary by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. Larry sounds very enthusiastic while Jerry is his usual somewhat cynical and laid-back self.

        'Inside Look'

         'Notes About Nothing'

   4. The Robbery

         'Inside Look'

         'Notes About Nothing'

    5. The Stock Tip

        'Notes About Nothing'

Disc 2 - Season 2 episodes 1 - 5

    1. The Ex Girlfriend

        Deleted scenes (2:44). Collection of scene extensions.

        'Notes About Nothing'

    2. The Pony Remark

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

    3. The Bus Boy

        Commentary by Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards. It is great fun to listen to them sniping at each other and at Jerry. They seem to still be playing their on-screen roles!

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

   4. The Baby Shower

        Commentary by writer Larry Charles - somewhat dry.

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

   5. The Jacket

        Deleted scene        

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

Disc 3 - Season 2 episodes 6 - 10

   6. The Chinese Restaurant

        Deleted scene (0:59)

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

    7. The Phone Message

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

    8. The Apartment

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

    9. The Stranded (originally broadcast in Season 3)

        Original episode introduction by Jerry explaining the discontinuity because of holding back the episode to season 3.

        'Notes About Nothing'

   10. The Statue

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

Disc 4 - Season 2 episodes 11 - 13

    11. The Heart Attack

        Deleted scenes (5:12)

        Commentary by writer Larry Charles

        'Notes About Nothing'

    12. The Revenge

        Commentary by Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards.

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

    13. The Deal

        Commentary by Jerry and Larry David. Quite a few gaps this time...perhaps they were getting tired or bored?

        'Inside Look'

        'Notes About Nothing'

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The episodes are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full screen and are not 16x9 enhanced. This show was made before widescreen TV became popular. Some of the extras are presented in 'widescreen' but letterboxed and not 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture quality of the episodes is surprisingly good, considering the age and nature of the source material.

    The picture is quite sharp most of the time, though does occasionally get a little soft, which is perhaps attributable to the original source rather than any fault in the transfer. Shadow detail is good and there is no low level noise.

    Colour is reasonably good, though it does get have a tendency towards looking slightly reddish at times.

    Grain is quite apparent in some scenes though it never becomes too distracting. It's especially noticeable on some of the 'stock' footage of the city.

    I couldn't spot more than a few minor positive or negative artefacts, and scant traces of aliasing or moire effect.

    Subtitles were available in English as well as a number of other languages. The subtitles in English were accurate and in sync with the spoken words.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack on this disc is pretty much just in 2.0 mono, though the music does spread to the front left and right speakers.

    Audio is available in English and Spanish, clearly for the American market.

    Dialogue is clear at all times and is in sync with the actors' lip movements.

    The music, by Jonathon Wolff, is really only used during the opening and closing credits, as well as the 'return from commercial breaks'. It's upbeat and catchy. Apparently the 'pops' were done by the actual composer.

    The audio is spread only across the front speakers with the majority being the dialogue via the centre channel. The rear surrounds remain silent.

    The subwoofer is only kept alive depending on redirected bass signals in your decoder.

addendum: Following some of the public comments posted about the higher pitch of the voices on the DVD, I went back and listened to the DVDs. Due to the PAL speedup, the voices are noticeably higher pitched than the version shown on TV (in Australia). Jerry's voice, which is normally quite high, sounds almost shrill at times!

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

Extras

Menu Audio and Animation

    Each disc has a differently themed menu which is wonderfully done with short excerpts from an episode, as well as the theme music playing on a long loop. Each submenu is also themed accordingly.

Alternate Version

    There's an alternate version of the original pilot provided. There are very minor differences, mainly in the theme music and the appearance of the title credits.

Informational Subtitles

    Continuous stream of background information that can be switched on via the subtitle stream. It is available on almost all the episodes.

Featurette - Inside Look

    Relatively short compilation of recent interviews with cast and crew members with excerpts from the relevant episode.

Episode Introduction

    Original episode introductions on two of the episodes.

Audio Commentary

    Commentary on some episodes. Jerry and Larry David do some. Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander do others. A couple of others are done by writer Larry Charles.

Deleted Scenes

    Provided for some of the episodes. Mainly extensions to scenes.

Featurette - Master of his Domain (runtime 7:08)

    Excerpts from Jerry's various stand-up comedy routines filmed for the episodes but not actually used.

Outtakes - Not that there's anything wrong With That (runtime 13:42)

    A nice collection of bloopers from various episodes.

Featurette - Making of - How it Began

    A 1 hour detailed documentary on the history behind the making of the Seinfeld TV series. There is plenty of background information about the creation of the series with many segments of interviews with Jerry, his managers, and the show's creators.

Featurette - The Tonight Show Appearances

    A fantastic collection of 3 separate appearances on the long running American Tonight Show.

    1. Jerry in 1981. It is great to see a young looking Jerry doing his stand-up routine. The sound fades out for a few seconds.

    2. Jerry in 1990. Interviewed just prior to the airing of the pilot show.

    3. Michael Richards (who later plays Kramer) - in 1989 doing his own comedy routine, more prop-oriented humour.

TV Spots - Sponsored by Vandelay Industries

    A collection of original US TV advertisements for the show.

Photo Gallery

    A superb collection of photos from the set, as well as publicity stills. They advance automatically after about 5 seconds, and have the theme music playing in the background.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R4 version appears to be identical to the R1 release. There may be some differences in the cover artwork.

    The R4 version is the one to go for unless there are real savings to be had from overseas vendors (and your player is R1 compatible of course)

Summary

    What can I say? The finest comedy to come out of America, one which combines great characters, great acting (in the main), and snappy direction, is now available as a well crafted 4-disc box set. I've seen most of these episodes countless times on TV, and yet viewing them again made me laugh just as much. Yes, there are a couple of episodes that were a little dull, and yes, Jerry's acting leaves a bit to be desired, though you get used to it after a few episodes.

    There's a noticeable improvement in acting by all the cast as well as in the directing between Season 1 and 2. The later season, and those following it, became much 'snappier'. Some scenes in some episodes in season 1 tended to be a little slow and dragged on longer than necessary. It was also obvious that as the cast and crew became more familiar and comfortable with each other that the episodes flowed more smoothly. Seinfeld (the show), especially from season 2 onwards, has those ingredients vital to comedy; timing of delivery and situations in which the viewer could picture themselves (sometimes!). It all came together somehow just 'right' in this show.

    There are real laughs to be had, even after many repeat viewings of the episodes. This is a very well packaged box set with good picture and sound quality on all episodes. It's great to see each episode in complete form, without the loss of words during fadeouts to commercials. The bountiful extras on these discs add even more to the enjoyment.

    Don't wait in hope for the show to re-appear on TV - its time slot is now frequently occupied with junk 'reality' shows. Buy this box set and enjoy the show forever! Maybe watch an episode a night, or enjoy a marathon viewing of the whole season. The extras are plentiful and valuable, and the presentation, such as the themed menu design, just shows that a lot of love and care was taken in preparing these box sets. Keep plenty of space on your shelf for the remaining sets as they become available...

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Satish Rajah (don't read my bio!)
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplaySony KV-XA34M31 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMain: Mission 753; Centre: Mission m7c2; rear: Mission 77DS; Sub: JBL PB10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
on New Yorkers... -
RE: New Yorkers - Tom G
Jerry's acting -
The banned Episode - REPLY POSTED
Episode Order -
Re: Episode Order - Corey (mmmmmmmmmm.........bio)
re: Episode Order -
re: The Banned Episode -
RE: New Yorkers -
other seasons - donsrule
Are the deleted scenes in Heart Attack R1?The voices are deeper. -
Re: Deeper Voices -
The voices are lighter in R4,just check out the interviews and deleted scenes for comparison. -
reguarding audio pitch -
Stereo Sound? -
Correcting PAL sound - ? -
Why all the sudden concern over PAL speedup? - Jace
re:Jace pal speedup -
re: Correcting Pal Sound (Neil) -
How can there be PAL speedup -
24 FPS DVD Player -
Re: 24 FPS DVD Player -
missing features compared to r1 -
Fixing audio pitch problems -