Mad About You-(Best of) Collection (1992)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Episode Introductions-Paul Reiser And Helen Hunt
Audio Commentary-Paul Reiser And Helen Hunt - Pilot & The Final Frontier
Outtakes-The 7 Warning Signs Of Madness
Featurette-Paul Reiser And Helen Hunt Are Mad About Guest Stars
Featurette-Paul Reiser And Helen Hunt Are Mad About The Theme
Theatrical Trailer-Mad About You Promos
Trailer-Bewitched TV, Stuart Little, A League Of Their Own
|Year Of Production||1992|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
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 Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
So, one of the favourite and most successful sit-coms of the nineties comes to DVD. The show initially ran from 1992 to 1999, covering 7 seasons and a total of 164 episodes. It rated very highly both here in Australia and in the US. I remember it being a viewing staple in our household during its run. It was created by one of its stars, Paul Reiser, and Danny Jacobsen and during its run won numerous Emmys including four for Helen Hunt, who stars as Paul wife.
The basic premise of the show is that it focuses on the lives of a married couple, living in an apartment in New York. There are obvious parallels between this series and Everybody Loves Raymond and to a lesser extent Seinfeld. The couple are Paul Buchman (Reiser), an independent filmmaker and his neurotic wife, Jamie (Helen Hunt), who has a number of different occupations during the series. The show kicks off early in their marriage and includes some flashback episodes to before they married, when they met and other important occasions. The humour revolves around domestic situations and the normal things which happen during marriages. As the series develops, there is also an increasing amount of human drama involved such as divorces, infidelities, deaths, births and other things which fill normal people's lives. This is certainly a very amusing show and features some great writing and excellent acting from the leads. Another very memorable part of the series is the great theme tune, The Final Frontier. Other important ongoing characters include Jamie's sister, Lisa (Anne Ramsey), Paul's cousin Ira who was not in the series at the beginning (John Pankow) and Jamie's best friend Fran (Leila Kenzle). Fran's husband, Mark (Richard Kind), appears irregularly throughout the series as do both Paul and Jamie's parents.
Unfortunately, the format of this set is not to my liking. Rather than being a set of an entire series, this set of four discs includes highlight episodes from across all seven series, as chosen by the stars. I found it very difficult to keep track of the changing support cast and things which had happened in other episodes not included but referenced in these episodes. I believe that the quality of these episodes is reduced by not being able to follow the ongoing story of the lives of Paul and Jamie. Having said that, most of the episodes included are excellent, containing great moments from the series and some excellent comedy.
The set includes 21 episodes from all seven seasons. The episodes included are:
1. Mad About You - Pilot (21:13) (Ep 1 - Sep 92) - A great start to the series which is set after they have been married for 5 months. They are planning a night alone together but their plans are thwarted by their friends.
2. Met Someone (22:18) (Ep 11 - Dec 92) - A flashback episode to when they met fighting over the last copy of a newspaper. He then tracks her down from her dry cleaning receipt. Lisa Kudrow guests as Ursula Buffet, sister of Phoebe who appeared in Friends. Excellent episode.
3. Virtual Reality (22:46) (Ep 37 - Feb 94) - Ira wants Paul & Jamie to invest in a new invention, virtual reality. Guests include Christie Brinkley and Andre Agassi (with hair). This is a funny episode but the concept is quite dated now.
4. Cold Feet (22:43) (Ep 38 - Feb 94) - Flashback to before they were married and they are looking at apartments. Paul decides to ask Jamie to marry him but gets cold feet. Excellent episode. Also features Lisa Kudrow.
5. Giblets for Murray (22:45) (Ep 55 - Nov 94) - Jamie & Paul are hosting Thanksgiving for the family but are trying to do it their own way. They go crazy trying to please everyone and many mishaps befall them. Funny stuff.
6. Our Fifteen Minutes (22:47) (Ep 58 - Jan 95) - Paul is asked to make a 15 minute film of their lives for a PBS special. They have great difficultly being natural in front of the camera.
7. The Alan Brady Show (22:25) (Ep 63 - Feb 95) - Paul is making a documentary about the history of television and wants one of his heroes, Alan Brady, to do the voiceover. Unfortunately, Alan is very difficult. I thought this episode was quite ordinary and must have appealed more to a US audience.
8. Yoko Said (22:53) (Ep 77 - Nov 95) - Paul wants to make a film about Yoko Ono's latest art project and he and Jamie go to meet her to discuss the idea. Yoko Ono guests and the episode includes some great jokes about The Beatles. Top quality episode.
9, 10,11. The Finale (Season 4) (22:55, 23:28, 20:00) (Eps 93,94,95 - May 96) - A Triple episode which ended the fourth season. Paul is out of work and meets another woman. Jamie is working out of town and kisses a co-worker. Paul & Jamie have struggled to have a baby. The episodes follow the fallout from these issues in their relationship. This is a touching and well handled set of episodes.
12. Citizen Buchman (23:07) (Ep 110 - Feb 97) - Paul is making a doco about his family. Uncle Marty dies on camera and they try to work out the meaning of his last words.
13. The P**** (22:42) (Ep 109 - Feb 97) - Jamie is pregnant and they agree not to find out the sex of the baby but Paul sneaks a peek at the ultrasound. Features Uncle Phil (Mel Brooks in a very funny appearance).
14,15. The Birth (20:00, 27:52) (Eps 118,119 - May 97) - This two-parter starts a week before the due date and covers the false alarms and Paul's difficulties in getting to the hospital on time. Funny episode which includes the first appearance of Hank Azaria (in this set) and a funny cameo from Bruce Willis.
16. Letters to Mabel (22:25) (Ep 121 - Sep 97) - Jamie decides to write a letter for Mabel to read on her 18th birthday. Everyone gets in on the act but Paul has trouble getting started..
17. Moody Blues (22:14) (Ep 124 - Nov 97) - Jamie is depressed after the birth of Mabel and Paul is trying to direct his parents in a production of The Pirates of Penzance.
18. Le Sex Show (22:21) (Ep 126 - Nov 97) - Jamie agrees that she is ready to have sex again but then admits she lied to Paul about the length of time they needed to wait after she gave birth. Very funny episode.
19. The Conversation (22:22) (Ep 128 - Dec 97) - This episode was done all in one shot and focuses on a conversation between Jamie & Paul as they try to get Mabel to go to sleep using Controlled Crying. Very Good.
20. Paved With Good Intentions (21:14) (Ep 161 - May 99) - Jamie & Paul decide to formally tell all their friends and relatives that they love them, with interesting results. Features Hank Azaria. Ok, but not a great episode.
21. The Final Frontier (44:55) (Ep 163,164 - May 99) - The final episode which is set years in the future when Mabel has grown up (Janeane Garofalo). She explains her attitudes toward her parents by making a film called Why I'm Like This. Also covers the future lives of Jamie & Paul. A poignant finale.
One of the best sitcoms of the 1990s, but a series by series release would have been better.
The video quality is very good for a TV series of this age but does have some minor issues.
The episodes are presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very good especially considering this is early 90s television. There is light grain throughout.
The colour was quite good but a little dull.
The only significant artefact was aliasing which was quite regular but generally mild in nature such as on blinds, jars and lights. The only really obvious bit was on Paul's shirt in Episode 1, and they comment on this in the commentary, indicating that it was the shirt itself causing the problem initially. There are also occasional hairs and specks.
There are subtitles in 7 languages including English. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.
The audio quality is also very good.
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.
The music includes the well known theme song and some classy guitar incidental music. Nice stuff.
The surround speakers reproduced some laughter when played using Dolby ProLogic II.
The subwoofer was not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
There is a good selection of extras spread across the four discs.
The menu included the theme tune and the ability to select episodes, scenes, languages and subtitles.
Introductions are included for all episodes running from 4 to 8 minutes each. They are done in an interview format with a Professor from NYU interviewing Paul & Helen. I found these introductions very annoying - they were not particularly informative, included long segments from the episode in question and were followed by over 1 minute of credits. Give one or two a try but I can't see much value in them myself.
Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt do a commentary for this first episode where they discuss props, the strobing shirt, trivia and generally reminisce about the show. Not bad but not great either.
A decent quality selection of bloopers with some more interview footage at the end.
Another interview segment with the Professor from NYU which discusses the process of getting guest stars and the numerous guests who were used. Includes footage from the episodes featuring Bruce Willis, Sid Caesar, Richard Belzer, Nathan Lane, Michael Moore, Fred Willard, Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis and many more. Not bad.
A featurette about the theme song which was written by Paul and Don Was at the last minute. Not bad.
A collection of TV Spots used to promote the show. This is one of the best extras as it includes funny stuff which is not in the episodes.
Trailers for Bewitched, Stuart Little and A League of their Own.
A short set of behind-the-scenes footage with music and pop-up trivia. Nothing to get excited about.
Another commentary from Helen & Paul. They discuss how the finale was developed, guest stars and casting. They tend to describe what's going on a little too much. Decent but not spectacular.
This set has been released in the same format in Region 1, however individual sets of Seasons 1 & 2 are also available in the US.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.
The set has a large collection of extras which are unfortunately of average quality.
|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)|