Friends series finale on DVD
TV on DVD is exploding — and the timing is perfect for devoted fans.
The shows involved include Friends, which went out with a whimper last Thursday after 10 years of phenomenal ratings, and Frasier, which signs off this Thursday after 11 successful seasons, a ratings fade setting in only recently.
In a precedent-setting move that could shake up the industry, Warner Home Video is rushing out a DVD of Friends: The Series Finale on Tuesday. Love it or hate it, it’s here.
Here is a guide to what else is in stores already, and coming soon, for selected shows on DVD:
Friends (1994-2004): Besides the Finale disc, the four-disc box set Friends: The Complete Seventh Season arrived Apr. 6 with the 23 episodes from 2000-01 plus bonus materials such as new footage, a gag reel and three episode commentaries. Also available: A new mega-box set of all seven years to date, as well as the past releases, year-by-year. These are better for devotees than earlier Best Of Friends DVDs.
Frasier (1993-2004): The four-disc box set Frasier: The Complete Third season arrives May 25 with the 24 episodes from 1995-96 plus decent extras including a conversation with Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce. The release pattern for the complete season sets has been slow so far but, with the show going, going, gone, it could speed up.
Cheers (1982-1993): As well as being a sitcom legend itself, it’s the show that launched Frasier. Cheers: The Complete Third Season arrives May 25 with the 25 episodes from 1984-85 plus bonuses, including the introduction of Frasier Crane.
The X-Files (1993-2002): It’s a wrap with the seven-disc box set The X-Files: The Complete Ninth Season, out tomorrow. It has the 19 episodes from 2001-02 and the usual strong extras that distinguish the X-Files season sets, including three new documentaries on the search for the Truth.
This ninth was obviously the worst season for the cult show but you have to buy it to complete the set — and it does have its moments, especially in the two-hour finale.
Survivor (2000-??): The five-disc box set Survivor: The Complete First Season is due on Tuesday and includes the earlier lame disc, The Greatest And Most Outrageous Moments from Season 1. Why anyone would want to see any of this again mystifies me but, based on e-mails and Web sites, true fans are eager to revisit every last minute of the reality show that launched a plague of locusts in this genre.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003): The six-disc box set Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Complete Sixth Season is out with the 22 sassy, moody and often sensationalistic episodes from this penultimate season. Buffy returned from heaven and the daring musical Once More With Feeling was staged. There is a strong lineup of extras, including a behind-the-scenes session on the making of the musical.
Have Gun — Will Travel (1957-1963): A blast from the past, western style. The six-disc, box set Have Gun — Will Travel: The Complete First Season is out Tuesday with the first 39 episodes. For boys who grew up in this era, Richard Boone as Paladin was our man of action on TV.
The elegant San Francisan would work as detective, bodyguard, bounty hunter, courier or gunslinger. Extras in the set are limited to production notes, bios and plot info.
The B&W episodes are decently restored for their visuals, but sound is sometimes muffled, which is not surprising for a vintage series.
Friends series finale on DVD