Top critical review
Disappointing manufacture error in the 2019 packaging; try to find another set.
Reviewed in Canada on May 2, 2021
This particular DVD set of Friends is one of many different DVD sets Warner Bros. has released. This is the 2019 version as that date appears on the bottom of the box. However, this one has faulty plastic cases that flip and are not attached by the spine to the box. The inner rings with the teeth that hold the discs do not release them, except for the ones on the sides of the box with a normal inner ring style, that pops in and out. All the ones in the flipping pages are so wedged permanently that I could only remove 3 of them with great effort. The discs I could get out were playable. I have returned it because it is unusable if I can't get most of the discs out! But I will review the general presentation. The extras are very few and far between. There is one good documentary, and only a few director commentaries and interviews. The episode guide book is only 36 pages and mentions only two of the three plots that are in every episode. The picture quality of the shows on DVD is blurry. Yes, this and all other DVDs have the full, uncut, extended versions of each episode, and that's why I got it. A DVD set of Friends is a must have for true fans, because the edited episodes on Netflix, TV, and Blu-ray leave out many scenes. The show creators explain in the documentary that they were forced to cut a few minutes of every episode that ran too long for TV. The DVD versions are the original before they were cut for broadcast. It is not edited for content. All of the controversial and important scenes are there. It was randomly edited for time, thus removing lots of charming scenes that were not deemed essential for the stories. For this reason fans do need the DVDs. Just don't get this 2019 version with terrible packaging. About the quality: The DVDs will never look sharp. The widescreen Blu-rays were remastered in 2012 from the 35 mm film, and have a sharp, clear, beautiful picture, and all the material on the edges of the screen including many glimpses of the cameraman and cameras, set walls that end, and other things that were not meant to show, but are so much fun to spot. Except for some that they manipulated, zooming in to remove the edge of screen content, such as episode 10-9, where the real HD scene can only be found on youtube. This review is not for the Blu-ray. I am just explaining the difference. To recap: The DVD version has the full, original, uncut episodes, but it is low definition and has the sides of the picture cut off, so we have to choose either beautiful picture but truncated episodes, or poor picture but complete episodes. I am going to be buying the seasons used, individually. I have a hunch that Warner Bros.' next release will have both versions, due to many buyers complaining about having to choose between the blurry uncut episodes, or the widescreen remastered with cut episodes. Older sets have better packaging because I got an older set from my library years ago and it wasn't made poorly. The discs went in and out like butter, as does every other disc I ever had. The older releases are not easily available anywhere and are priced unreasonably high, and may have deteriorated, even new (I've read a lot of reviews). Most sellers don't identify the year or the content. So the bottom line is, get the DVDs to see the full episodes, but find the older sets that are better made, and if you don't care about the extra content, get the Blu-ray versions to see the HD widescreen cut versions. It's still obviously still a great show even cut, but the extra scenes and dialogue in the DVDs add so much to the experience of rewatching the series. For me, it was like finding lost episodes I had never seen.