“There’s nothing to tell” were the first words ever uttered on Friends, but there was plenty to talk about. Friends was less a sitcom and more of a soap opera with its continous storylines (i.e. the whole “we were on a break” dilemma). The show wasn’t a mere comedy, but a cultural event that changed contemporary fashion and launched a million “wanna-bes.” With nine of the show’s 10 seasons readily available on DVD, it’s not too late to catch up with America’s favorite sextet. The sets themselves don’t come with much in terms of extras, but the hilarious episodes more than make up for the lack in the special features department.
Courteney Cox was originally asked to play Rachel, but she asked to play Monica instead after reading the parts.
Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003)
Teenagers talking too intellectually, handling matters with too much maturity, and shrugging off the burdens of adolescence is what the Creek is all about. The DVDs for seasons one through four, as well as the finale, have been released. Hold onto your hormones though, because season five comes out May 5. The saga of four friends (with various others thrown in the mix, depending on the season) as they fall in and out of love is successfully captured for the DVD audience. Some seasons include fun extras like commentary, interviews and even a trivia game. So watch the Joey/ Pacey/Dawson love triangle unfold all over again.
The kiss between Kerr Smith’s character Jack McPhee and guest star Adam Kaufman’s character Ethan in episode #323 (“True Love”) was the first gay male kiss on prime time television.
The Office (2001-2003)
The American version of the British comedy hit is about to start its first season on NBC, but the first two seasons of the original BBC series already are available on DVD. The simple show is about a paper company’s office with some of the most oddball characters on TV: a boss who thinks he’s hip, his devoted employee Gareth and Tim, the office prankster. The comic timing is brilliant and adds enough silence to allow the audience to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. The DVDs includes commentary, deleted scenes and outtakes. Enjoy the comic stylings from across the ocean on DVD.
On Disc 2 of The Office series 1 DVD, click on the extended version of the poem “Slough,” read by David. When the light goes out, press enter on the remote and you will get the full version of the video that the staff watch in the episode “Training Day.”
Seinfeld took viewers by surprise when it premiered and has since refused to be forgotten. Who would have guessed that a show that proudly proclaimed to be about nothing would be so engrossing? It’s nearly impossible to turn away from the screen in fear that you just might miss what was going to happen next. While the individual members of the show may not have been able to recapture the same success again, they can take solace in knowing they created what is easily one of the funniest sitcoms of all time. With seasons one, two and three on DVD and season four’s release planned for May, Seinfeld will surely continue to entertain.
The Restaurant exterior belongs to “Tom’s Restaurant” (“Tom’s Diner,” from the Suzanne Vega song), near the Columbia University campus in Manhattan at 112th and Broadway.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Buffy is not to be dismissed as just a vampire series, but there’s more than meets the eye with this cult phenomenon. Creator Joss Whedon turned a potential series about a girl with the gift (or sometimes, the curse) to hunt the undead into a show carried not by the supernatural, but by strong performances and clever writing. Unlike its other contemporaries, Buffy dared to be different with episodes such as “Hush” (a.k.a. the silent episode) and “Once More with Feeling” (the outstanding musical from season six). The complete seven seasons of the show are available with a wide range of extras included. If you want to watch a show with some real bite, look no futher than Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Series creator Joss Whedon has said that the idea for Buffy came from all the horror movies he had seen featuring a helpless young blonde who would almost always be the first to die. He felt she needed a better image.
Sex and the City (1998-2004)
Much relief was given to Sex and the City fanatics when season six, part two, was finally released around Christmas. The HBO series is complete and available on DVD. Although it is now shown in syndication on TBS, the dirty fun is saved for the DVD version. Samantha has too many scenes that are not appropriate for the TV audience. Most of the seasons’ DVDs feature fun commentary about filming with the sexy ladies. The season six, part two DVD also includes the alternate series finale endings and the HBO farewell tribute. So pour a tartini and watch the Manhattanites live it up.
The medicine cabinet in Carrie’s apartment was first spied by Sarah Jessica Parker at a flea market shortly before filming began on the series. She and Matthew Broderick didn’t buy it, but reconsidered. When they went back, the cabinet was already sold to “some TV show.” When she showed up for filming, the medicine cabinet was there.