Everybody Loves Raymond-Complete First Season (1996)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Ray Romano And Phil Rosenthal (Creator), Pilot And Episode22
Featurette-Making Of-Everybody Loves Raymond: How We Got Here
Featurette-Making Of-Everybody Loves Raymond: Casting The Family
Featurette-Making Of-Everybody Loves Raymond: On The Air
|Year Of Production||1996|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (5)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Smoking||Yes, only a very little bit|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, on some episodes|
American sitcoms have been bombarding our television screens here in Australia for virtually as long as television has been here, however, there have not actually been very many which have translated well and been really accepted by the Australian TV audience on a long term basis. Everybody Loves Raymond is one notable exception (although there are others). It has been popular with Australians for a number of years, placing in the top twenty rated series on television for the last three years.
Everybody Loves Raymond is a domestic sitcom, set around the titular character, Ray Barone (Ray Romano) and his family. The title is meant to be sarcastic and comes from Ray's older brother constantly being jealous of his success, family and popularity. It was developed after Ray Romano appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman on US television, doing stand-up comedy. The television network put him together with a writer, Phil Rosenthal, and together they developed a pilot for presentation to the network. David Letterman was also involved in the development, and his production company Worldwide Pants gets a credit on the show. The Letterman appearance which got Ray noticed is also included in the extras. The show first aired in the US in 1996 and slowly built an audience in its first year. It is now the highest rating comedy on US television. The show is currently in its last season in the US. Most of the cast have won numerous awards for their work in this show including many Emmys.
The main characters (in this first series) are:
Most of the comedy stems from the difficult and sometimes painful interactions between these characters, and interestingly a lot of the situations and even character traits come from the actual families of Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal. The show was shot on film which is different from a lot of domestic sitcoms. It was also shot in front of a live studio audience. One of the highlights of the show over the different seasons has been that each season has had its own opening credit sequence.19 of the episodes here have the same opening credit sequence which involves Ray raking leaves and the family passing behind him on a conveyor belt, with Robert speaking the title as he passes by. The pilot and one other episode have a different credit sequence, which only includes Ray attempting to put together a large children's toy. Both are amusing. In addition to the opening credits each show also features a 'teaser' before the titles which are mostly freestanding jokes unrelated to the episode, quite often featuring a guest sport star from the US.
In detail, the episodes included are:
1.Pilot - The basic premise is that Debra's birthday is coming up and she does not want Ray's parents involved - she would rather just have a day without them. This episode really sets up a large amount of the character interaction and running jokes which the show will be based on. It includes a fantastic sequence about the 'Fruit of the Month Club' which comes up again in future series. This was made some time before the other episodes and has a quite different look as the sets are quite different. The twins are played by different children and have different names, Gregory & Matthew, which are the names of Ray Romano's real life twins. You can see why the show was made based on this pilot, which is very funny.
2.I Love You - Ray doesn't tell Debra that he loves her and Debra wants him to. Ray is uncomfortable with it as his family does not say it much. Frank also tries to fix their bathroom after Robert breaks it. This episode introduces the twin actors who play the twins for the rest of the series. Their names have been changed to Geoffrey & Michael (Sawyer & Sullivan Sweeten). Also introduced in this episode is Nemo's, the local pizza restaurant, frequented by the characters as well as Ray & Debra's friends, Bernie & Linda (Tom McGowan & Maggie Wheeler) who appear irregularly.
3.I Wish I Were Gus - Ray's great uncle Gus dies and his dying wish is that Ray does his eulogy. Ray doesn't really want to speak in public but eventually agrees. Marie's sister, Alda, attends the funeral despite an ongoing feud with Marie. A very good episode.
4.Standard Deviation - As part of a training course, Robert gets Ray & Debra to complete an IQ test, which brings interesting results and causes various arguments. This is the first episode with Robert playing a major part. Very funny. Includes Nemo's and Bernie & Linda.
5.Look, Don't Touch - Bernie takes Ray to Nemo's to see the attractive new waitress. Ray is distracted by her and gets himself in trouble with Debra.
6. Frank the Writer - One of Frank's anecdotes gets printed by the Reader's Digest and Frank takes it a little too seriously. Robert is concerned that one of the twins doesn't like him. Guest Star : Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Funny episode.
7.Your Place or Mine? - A classic episode. Marie & Frank argue over a sandwich and Marie decides to move in with Ray & Debra. Frank works out how good it can be on his own. This episode includes some great jokes and one-liners and is one of the best in the first series.
8.In-Laws - Debra's pretentious parents come over for lunch with Ray, Debra, Frank & Marie. They invite everyone out for dinner at a top class restaurant which does not go well. Introduces Debra's parents, Warren (Robert Culp) & Lois (Katherine Helmond) who appear irregularly.
9. Win-lose-or-draw - Frank invites Ray to come to his poker night for the first time in Ray's life. Ray is not overly keen but is eventually convinced to attend.
10.Turkey or Fish - This episode starts the ongoing joke about Debra's cooking being not as good as Marie's. Debra wants to host Thanksgiving instead of it either being at Frank & Marie's or Debra's parents. She decides to cook fish instead of turkey. This episode includes Debra's parents and the first Debra/Marie reconciliation.
11. Captain Nemo - Robert is elected captain of the Nemo's basketball team which also includes Ray. Ray is very jealous. Cast includes Kevin James who plays Doug in The King of Queens.
12.The Ball - This is the other episode which has the same opening credits as the pilot. It is a Christmas themed episode, however the main storyline is about a baseball that Frank got Ray as a child, supposedly personally autographed by Mickey Mantle. A little sentimental but still very funny.
13.Debra's sick - Debra is sick and Ray needs to help out but focuses on his interview with Terry Bradshaw instead. He wants to get a deal to ghost write a book for him.
14.Who's Handsome - Ray gets very concerned that he is not handsome. Robert meets Amy (Monica Horan, who is actually the wife of creator, Phil Rosenthal) through Debra. They go out on a date. Amy appears irregularly at this stage of the series but becomes a regular character in future series.
15.The Car - Ray buys Frank's 20 year old Chrysler as a second car. He keeps the good car and wants Debra to drive the old car. It breaks down shortly afterwards and Debra wants him to return it and get their money back. Ray has other reasons why he wants the car. Includes a flashback sequence. Very funny.
16.Diamonds - Robert arrests a guy for selling fake goods who happens to be the guy from whom Ray bought Debra's engagement ring. Ray decides to try and replace the stone without Debra noticing, with very bad results. This is a Valentine's Day episode which also features Amy. A great episode.
17.The Game - This episode does not have a separate credit sequence and the names run over the start of the episode. With their cable TV out in both houses the family decide to play a game together called 'Scruples' which results in a very large argument.
18.The Recovering Pessimist - Robert gets a minor commendation and Ray gets nominated for 'Sports Writer of the Year'. Ray is very pessimistic about his chances and does not want to attend the dinner, but Debra convinces him to go. Guest Star : Katerina Witt.
19.The Dog - Ray brings home a Bulldog which he found and wants to keep it. Debra wants him to give it to Robert to replace a dog Robert used to have. Guest Star : Kristy Yamaguchi. Funny episode.
20.Neighbours - Frank is being more obnoxious than usual and is upsetting the neighbours with loud noise and bright lights. The neighbours approach Ray & Debra to get their assistance but Frank & Marie decide they are plotting against them.
21.Fascinatin' Debra - A radio psychiatrist comes to visit Debra after a conversation on her show. She wants to interview her for a new book but finds Ray's family much more interesting. Debra is not pleased.
22.Why Are We Here? - A flashback episode which explains how Debra & Ray came to live opposite his parents. Goes back 3 years to when Debra was pregnant with the twins and they lived in an apartment in Queens rather than Long Island. One of the twins plays Ally in the flashback.
This is a very funny TV series and definitely one of the best US comedy series in recent years. I know the fans may not agree but I prefer it to Seinfeld and Friends. Highly Recommended.
The video quality is very good, with no major issues.
The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. It does not have the clarity of films but this is to be expected. There was some very light grain throughout. The shadow detail was very good and is needed quite often for night time scenes in Ray & Debra's bedroom.
The colour was fine but could not be described as overly vibrant. It certainly looks better than it does on analogue television.
From an artefacts perspective there was some mild edge enhancement and some minor aliasing on a checked hat and a radio. I also noticed some shimmering on the menus and some minor jagged edges during the shows. During the pilot an occasional hair is visible but not during the main show. Generally, pretty darn good.
There are subtitles in 5 languages including English and English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read and very close to the spoken word.
The layer changes occur between episodes.
The audio quality is perfectly suited to the material.
This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in French.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Obviously, in a comedy show this is the most important audio item and it comes through here with flying colours.
The score of this series by Rick Marotta features the theme tune and some other incidental music. It does its job without standing out particularly.
The surround speakers added some mild atmosphere when played with Dolby ProLogic II.
The subwoofer added some bass to the theme tune but this is a function of my amplifier's bass management rather than the soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are located on Discs 1 & 5.
The menu included scenes from the shows, stills of the actors, the ability to select each episode, and a plot synopsis of each episode.
Each disc includes an index of all episodes showing which disc they appear on.
A commentary is available for the pilot episode from Ray Romano and creator Phil Rosenthal. Recorded 8 years after the pilot was made, they reminisce about what it was like trying to get the show off the ground and discuss some of the basic themes and feel they were going for. They discuss where the original sets came from, differences between the pilot and the other episodes, casting and other topics. This is a good quality commentary track which is amusing and well worth listening to.
Again this commentary is by Ray Romano and creator Phil Rosenthal. Although not quite as good as the first commentary, this one is still worth listening to and covers the writing of this particular episode (by Ray), how they tried to hide Patricia Heaton's pregnancy until this episode, how this episode started a pattern of making the end episode of each season a flashback and how the show fared ratings-wise during the first season and when it turned the corner.
A featurette which covers Ray's career prior to the show as a stand-up comedian, how he got noticed, how he was hooked up with Phil Rosenthal and how they developed the idea for the show from their own experiences. Includes footage of Ray on The Late Show and interviews with various CBS & HBO executives. Worth watching and definitely of interest to fans.
Another featurette which covers the process by which the actors other than Ray were cast. Brad Garrett was cast first and the featurette includes interviews with all major cast members discussing their casting experiences and their feelings about the show. Interesting.
This featurette covers the show's rollercoaster ride during its first season, when it moved timeslots and struggled early on to get good ratings. Also covers how the pilot was chosen to make into a series and why. Includes interviews with various executives from CBS and HBO. Also discusses Ray's issues with the title and his suggested changes. Again, well worth watching.
The original appearance by Ray Romano on The Late Show as a stand-up comedian. This is funny stuff and it is easy to see why he was asked to make a pilot.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The sets released in each region are identical except for PAL/NTSC differences and the fact that the Region 1 has an extra Spanish soundtrack. Let's call it a tie.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good, doing everything this show requires.
The set has a great selection of extras compared to most television show box sets.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|