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The One where it all began...
on 3 January 2006
Few shows maintain the adoration and popularity that has been afforded to the Friends story, which began almost 11 years ago. The tales of Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Monica are ones that fans know just as well as their own friends' lives, such is the addictive nature of this show.
Like all shows with the longevity of Friends, dips in quality are innevitable over time, but this first series reminds you why you ever fell in love with the show.
It begans, infamously, with the scene in which Rachel storms into Central Perk wearing her wedding dress as Ross professes "I just want to be married again". In walks Rachel and so Chandler exclaims, "And I just want a million dollars". The first series establishes the gang's relationships, as Rachel settles into independent living with the support of her new best friends and the show gives us, the viewer, a warm and reassured glow.
Throughout the series, snippets from the lives of all 6 characters are presented, including Joey's infamous "Butt-role" and Chandler's early encounters with the somehow-adorable Janice. We also see the early signs of Ross and Rachel's attraction, the outcome of which requires one to watch about 300 episodes through to the show's series 10 finale...something that is well worth doing!
This particular DVD box-set is dissapointing in its lack of behind-the-scenes footage and bonuses. Indeed, there are only 3 discs and one is required to flip the discs with 4 episodes on each side of each DVD. Needless to say there is plenty of room for more on a DVD, but no such interest has been taken. This flaw is slowly being corrected following the US release of a new set of DVDs featuring the 'Director's choices' with bonus material...maybe that will make the transition over the pond soon.
However, this DVD does provide excellent value for money, with all episodes from series 1 present and there to enjoy all over again - if the Channel 4 repeats fail to suffice. Fans of the series will now no longer have to worry about wearing out their videos of 1994/95 series 1, if they can tollerate the dissapointing lack of extras.
For comedy, romance and a general feel-good factor, this show is the perfect source. Those unfamilair with Friends, this is your starting point...it's comparable with Cheers, but largely, better written.