The first two seasons were mostly centered on the on-off saga of Ross and Rachel, and while their relationship remained a strong presence through romantic rivals and even a baby, the other characters eventually moved from sideshow players into a shared comedic lead. But Friends was not without its heart. Most of the cast had dysfunctional relationships with their parents and went through loss, divorce, marriage, parenthood, and love triangles. The emotional pregnancies of Rachel (by Ross) and Phoebe (surrogate to her half-brother's triplets) won the actresses Emmy Awards, and Joey's tender feelings for Rachel in Season 8 won LeBlanc, the most improved actor in the series, a nomination.
Most sitcoms run out of ideas by the fifth season, but Friends gave itself a refreshing jolt the minute Monica and Chandler wound up in bed together. Their budding romance was not only the one of the funniest arcs of the series, but one of the most sentimental, as they planned a wedding, struggled to have a child and eventually turned to adoption. By seasons seven and onwards, the characters had each "grown up" from young singletons to thirtysomethings finding permanence in their careers and love lives but never losing the laughs.
Friends featured a parade of celebrity guests, but utilised most of the stars as more than mere cameos: The sextet's parents were all brilliantly cast, particularly Kathleen Turner as Chandler's drag-queen father and Teri Garr as Phoebe's dizzy mom. Everyone from George Clooney to Sean Penn to Julia Roberts to Bruce Willis has appeared on the sitcom, and Tom Selleck certainly enjoyed a career resuscitation after his recurring role as Monica's older man.
But no star power ever penetrated the bond between the six stars and their unmatchable chemistry worked for ten seasons. Even though the show is probably repeated somewhere in the world every day, this boxed set of Friends remains watchable over and over again -- even if that theme song eventually grates on your nerves! --Sally Giles
As this set is truly for the die hard fans of Friends, I think individual end of series interviews with the cast and writers would have been great. With the re-runs on C4 and E4 currently showing, it is possible to watch 4 different episodes every week day. So with that in mind, I believe a little more effort in the DVD content, to match the effort of those who designed the box would have made a super package.
The last series only had 18 episodes - the last disk in the set only contains the final double episode and therefore is not a double sided disk. I think this was a wasted opportunity - they could have added the cast interviews from Oprah for instance on this disk, fact files, trivia questions, music from the show (other than the theme tune, which shows up at least 9 times!). What happened to the Barbados special?
Basically this is a bit of a let down for the true and very loyal fans of this show. I gave 3 points: 1 for the packaging and 1 point for the fact that most of the DVDs are double sided and so saves on shelf space. The last point was given because it is in my opinion a great series. The DVDs will come into their own once the TV re-runs stop. However, Warner Bros. should stop exploiting fans of Friends with such a lame effort.
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