TITLE: EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND - THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON
Release Date: May 8, 2007 (HBO Home Video)
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 690 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 317 minutes, 21 seconds (includes commentaries)
Audio: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
* 8 Audio Commentaries
* Bloopers and Deleted Scenes
* Museum of Television and Radio Panel Discussion with Phil Rosenthal and writers
And the series of Everybody Loves Raymond DVD releases is now in the home stretch. Season 8 of 9 of this wonderful show is now on DVD, leaving only the final season not on DVD (except the final episode, which was released in 2005). By this point, we were all beginning to wonder when the show would end -- but the show still had another season left.
Everybody Loves Raymond is a show about family. Just…a family that doesn’t necessarily like each other. Ray is an average guy, a sports column writer for Newsday. He is married to Debra (Patricia Heaton), who is constantly at odds with Ray’s overbearing but caring mother Marie (Doris Roberts). Marie is married to Frank –Peter Boyle (who sadly passed away last December). Jealous of Ray’s success is his older brother Robert (Brad Garrett), who is finally married to Amy (Monica Horan).
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
One of my favorite episodes this season is the Thanksgiving episode, “The Bird.” Robert and Amy’s families get together for Thanksgiving dinner, causing an interesting conflict of living styles, and causing a generally lively time. All is well though until a bird flies in the house, causing Pat (Georgia Engle) to want to “put it out of its misery.” There are definitely other quality episodes this season. One I became fond of while reviewing the set was Fun with Debra -- the 8th season premiere. After Ray takes the twins to the golf course for the day and they all have a great time, Debra wants to spend the day golfing with Ray. Except it doesn’t go so well.
In terms of special guests, first off is the trio of Chris Elliott, Georgia Engel, and Fred Willard, who guest as Amy’s brother and parents on a semi-recurring basis. The only other guest this season is Katherine Helmond, who reprises her role as Debra’s mother in The Surprise Party.
I’ve been a big fan of Everybody Loves Raymond’s packaging, despite my general resistance to digipak-like unfolding cases. The hard-plastic construction of the case is what ultimately wins me over. It just feels nicer and more sturdy that other similar packaging setups. As always, the first two discs can be accessed by opening the case 1 level, while the other three and disc/episode breakdown can be accessed by opening the case up the rest of the way. The primary difference this time is the color, which is a purplish-pink color. The discs feature the same actor on the same disc as always, and each disc has five episodes. Disc 1 is Ray, and holds 1-5. Disc 2 has Patricia Heaton, and is 6-10. Disc 3 is Brad Garrett, and has 11-15. Disc 4 is Doris Roberts, and has 16-20. Peter Boyle is on the final disc, which holds 21-23 plus the features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are the same theme as the previous seven sets…white background, same show font, with video clips scrolling by in the bar on the Title Menu. Play All, Episode Selection, Language Selection, and Bonus Material options appear at the bottom. Submenus animate in, with a widescreen still photo in the center of a strip with smaller other photos from that season (and on each episode’s menu, that episode). Episode number is present on episode selection.
Video and Audio Quality:
The episodes are presented in their native widescreen format with 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo sound. I can’t find a thing wrong with the audio -- music is nice, loud, and clear, while vocals are crisp and loud and aren’t overpowered by the other sounds going on. The video is not perfect, but it is pretty good. The colors are a bit overly warm -- the video seems to be shifted slightly to the red side. Flesh tones are a bit oversaturated. It is a bit of a problem, but it is not overly problematic. There are no grain or compression issues. Chapter stops placed at each commercial break.
Fun With Debra: 22:25
Thank You Notes: 22:25
Home From School: 22:15
Misery Loves Company: 22:21
The Contractor: 22:32
Peter on the Couch: 22:22
The Surprise Party: 22:09
The Bird: 22:24
Jazz Record: 22:24
Debra at the Lodge:22:31
Whose Side are you On?: 22:32
Party Dress: 22:30
The Ingrate: 22:32
Crazy Chin: 22:28
The Nice Talk: 22:29
The Model: 22:17
The Mentor: 22:27
Golf For It: 22:29
Commentary of Episode 4, “Misery Loves Company” (22:21): with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, plus writers Tom Caltabiano, Mike Royce, and Aaron Shure.
Commentary on Episode 5, “The Contractor” (22:32): with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and Jon Manfrelloti.
Deleted Scenes, Episode 4, “Misery Loves Company”:
*Ray has a choice of watching the game or helping out Debra. (0:37)
*Ray has a new use for Marie’s book on marriage. (0:24)
Commentary on Episode 7, “Liars” (22:24): with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, and writer Tucker Cawley.
Commentary on Episode 9, “The Bird” (22:24): with Ray, Phil, plus Chris Elliott & writer Jeremy Stevens.
Deleted Scenes, Episode 6, “Peter on the Couch”:
*Ray drives Peter and Ms. Puss home to stay with the family. (0:41)
*The family awaits Ray’s return home with Peter. (0:38)
Deleted Scenes, Episode 8, “The Surprise Party”:
*Debra’s mother’s visit provides the family with some awkward moments. (1:13)
*Debra discovers what Ray really thought about dinner. (0:26)
Deleted Scenes, Episode 9, “The Bird”:
*The family shares their displeasure at the prospect of celebrating Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania. (1:33)
*Frank skips dessert in order to retire early. (0:49)
Deleted Scene, Episode 10, “Jazz Records”:
*The family prepares to trim the Christmas tree. (0:28)
Commentary on Episode 11, “Debra at the Lodge” (22:24): with Ray Romano, Phil Rosenthal, Albert Romano & Max Rosenthal.
Commentary on Episode 14, “Lateness” (22:25) with Ray, Phil, Andy Kindler & Tom McGowan.
Deleted Scene on Episode 14, “Lateness”:
*While at an thing with the guys, Ray realizes what time it is. (1:20)
Deleted Scenes on Episode 15, “Party Dress”:
*To the dismay of Ray, Debra has seized control of the TV set. (0:36)
*Debra justifies a rare moment of rest to Marie. (0:36)
Commentary on Episode 18, “Crazy Chin”(22:28): by Ray, Phil, Richard Romano, & Tom Caltabiano.
Deleted Scene on Episode 16, “Security”:
*Robert has to make some tough decisions. (2:17)
Deleted Scenes on Episode 17, “The Ingrate”:
*The family teases ray about the honorary doctorate he is being awarded. (1:08)
*Debra makes a point with Ray before turning in. (1:14)
Deleted Scene on Episode 18, “Crazy Chin”:
*Amy comes to grips with some of Robert’s eccentricities. (1:05)
Deleted Scenes on Episode 19: “The Nice Talk”:
*The family prepares for company. (1:48)
*Ray, once again, outshines Robert. (0:42)
Deleted Scene on Episode 20: “Blabbermouths”:
*Debra shows Amy the ropes with regard to matrimony. (2:15)
Commentary on Episode 23: “Golf For It” (22:29): with Ray, Phil, Tom Caltabiano, Tucker Cawley, and Mike Royce.
Deleted Scenes on Episode 22: “The Mentor”:
*Robert teases the twins. (1:02)
*Debra learns the true value of a hug. (1:25)
Deleted Scenes on Episode 23: “Golf For It”:
*Marie lays a guilt trip on Ray and Robert. (0:50)
*Robert and Ray struggle to build a piece of furniture. (0:43)
Bloopers: A season’s worth of screw-up’s. These are some hilarious moments, and there are definitely a lot of them. Approximately 12 and a half minutes.
Museum of Television & Radio Panel Discussion with Phil + Series Writers (1 hour, 44 minute, and 15 seconds): To me, the first one was better, but that is just because it featured the cast. Still, this is a great feature, and I really wish more shows would include these. Discussion occurred March 1, 2004.
Total Runtime of Special Features: approximately 317 minutes, 21 seconds
I am glad to see that HBO continues to put effort into each and every Everybody Loves Raymond set. It is reassuring of the quality they put in their work -- it is one of the highest standards of DVD sets in TV DVD.
The only two flaws are the oversaturation of the reds in the visual aspect, and the lack of other cast members doing commentary: Were Patricia, Monica, Brad, and Doris not available? There has been at least one other cast member doing commentary on all previous sets until now. It is a small thing, but it helps.
The quality of the show itself was good until the end. There is absolutely no reason not to purchase this show unless you have never seen a full episode of it, ever -- in which case catch the show on cable or syndication (check local listings). Then, once you have come to enjoy it, buy these DVDs. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Overall Score: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/08/07
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