TITLE: EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND - THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON
Release Date: September 18, 2007 (HBO Home Video)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 16
Running Time: 480 minutes
Total Running Time of Special Features: approx. 272 minutes, with commentary included
Audio: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
* 8 Audio Commentaries
* Bloopers and Deleted Scenes
* The Last Laugh: Behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast members
The Complete Ninth Season is here on DVD! And with this, the complete run of Everybody Loves Raymond is now on DVD. One last time, join the clinically insane Barone family -- Ray (Ray Romano), Debra (Patricia Heaton), Robert (Brad Garrett), Marie (Doris Roberts), Frank (Peter Boyle), and Amy (Monica Horan) for 16 final episodes.
With the cancellation of Friends the previous year, Everybody Loves Raymond became the highest rated sitcom remaining on television. While a nice position to have, the show was showing its age, and it was fairly evident going in that this would be the final season. As such, this isn’t even a full season -- the show only has 16 episodes instead of the usual 22-24 episodes they usually have.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
I am going to be honest. The majority of the final season didn’t thrill me that much. While the show is still consistently funny, to me the only truly standout episode is the “Finale.” The plot arc with Marie and Frank moving away in the beginning of the season started well, but in my opinion was ended a bit abruptly and not completely drawn out.
The “Finale” is a good one though. Ray goes in for an appendectomy -- but is extremely scared of the procedure. He eventually gets talked into it. At the hospital, while Marie is in the restroom, a nurse informs the family they’re having trouble waking Ray up from anesthesia; though 30 seconds later the doctor comes out and tells them Ray is just fine. They all agree to not tell Marie OR Raymond. However, eventually Frank blabs to Marie, sending Marie rushing in a panic to Ray’s house, where she smothers him with affection -- right when he is in bed with Debra. To close the show, the family sits down to dinner, and that’s that.
In terms of guest stars, this season didn’t really have any. The only guests are the recurring ones -- the extended family featuring Debra’s mom and dad played by Katherine Helmond and Robert Culp, and Amy’s relatives played by Fred Willard, Georgia Engel, and Chris Elliott. The latter three especially shine in their roles.
You should know exactly what to expect here, though there IS a minor difference. As always, the packaging is a hard plastic book-style case. The main family -- Frank, Marie, Ray, Debra, Robert, Amy -- appear on strips along the top on both the front and rear. The lower two-thirds of the front and rear feature a shot of Ray (differing shots used on each side). Front cover features the logo to Ray’s left, while the rear displays the features list. Opening the package 1 level reveals the disc holders for discs 1 and 2. Opening the package the 2nd level reveals the disc holders for discs 3 and 4 on the center-left and center-right panels, with the disc breakdown spanning the left-most and right-most panels. As the show only had 16 episodes this season, they only used 4 discs. While some people may believe that they could have easily gotten the episodes onto just 3 discs, doing so would have probably required a different packaging type, which would create shelf-space problems. Conversely, given the lack of the 5th disc, disc 4 features the only departure from the Ray-Debra-Robert-Marie-Frank disc art scheme in the entire 9 sets. Disc 4 contains a shot of both Frank and Marie together.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Consistency is the key with this show’s DVD releases. Menu animates in with various clips, as always. Theme plays in background of the main menu. Episode selection is a list of episodes on that disc. Selecting the episode name takes you to an episode-specific menu, where you can play, play with commentary (where applicable), watch deleted scenes (where applicable) or do other episode-specific tasks. I can’t say these menus will win awards for originality, but they’re well done, and of a consistent quality, and I like that.
Video and Audio Quality:
Being a relatively new show, I would expect the audio and video quality to both be extremely nice. And for the most part, they are. A couple of things, and they’re more minor nitpicks than anything, but as a reviewer nitpicking’s what I do. For a 2004-05 show, I’m honestly surprised the series isn’t using 5.1 audio. Admittedly, this is one of those “having for the sake of having things,” but if other shows from the same period gets to have 5.1 audio tracks, why not Raymond? Considering they made the HD transition extremely early into the run, I’m surprised this show avoided 5.1. The second nitpick is with the video. The colors seem a bit soft, and the video a bit less sharp than I’d like. It’s nothing overwhelmingly, but just enough to bother me. Otherwise, the presentation is nice. The dialogue is presented at a nice balance with the music. The audience laughter can be a bit overwhelming, but as it’s not a laugh track, that’s a reassuring thing by and large -- if anything, by this point the audience is finding funny things even where there isn’t necessarily humor. Chapter stops divide the scenes.
The Home: 22:25
Not So Fast: 22:31
Angry Sex: 22:30
Ally’s F: 22:21
Boys’ Therapy: 22:30
Debra’s Parents: 22:31
A Job for Robert: 22:31
A Date for Peter: 22:24
The Faux Pas: 22:19
Tasteless Frank: 22:19
The Power of No: 22:26
Pat’s Secret: 22:18
We have deleted scenes, audio commentary, a finale special and some bloopers.
The Home: 2 scenes that run 2:19
Not So Fast: 1 scene that runs 3:16
P.T.&A: 1 Scene at 1:30
Ally’s F: 2 Scenes at 1:26
Boys’ Therapy: Deleted Scenes Total: 1:10
Debra’s Parents: Deleted Scenes Total: 1:51
A Job for Robert: Deleted Scenes Total: 1:27
A Date for Peter: 2 Scenes run 1:21
The Faux Pas: 2 Scenes run 3:13
Sister-in-Law: 2 Scenes run 1:49
The Power of No: 2 Scenes for 2:07
Pat’s Secret: 2 Scenes for 1:17
Finale: 2 Scenes for 2:01
The Home (22:25): They actually recorded this commentary last, making it the final one. Commentaries by: Phil Rosenthal, Ray Romano, plus Tucker Cawley and Jeremy Stevens. People thought that the show would do a “move away” episode at the end, so they decided to flip things around to screw with folks heads.
Not So Fast (22:31): One of the rare episodes to use a “Previously On” gag. “Schmuckbait.” A plot point that can’t possibly come true. The reverse took place on Star Trek with the crew member in the red shirt. Another Ray + Phil + Writing Staff commentary. I wish they had done more with actual cast members.
Debra’s Parents (22:21): When you hear the music, it is time for the music. The commentary is by Phil, Ray, plus Katherine Helmond and Robert Culp. Katherine is able to remember that she and Robert had worked together on Who’s the Boss. That had completely slipped everyone else’s mind, including Robert.
A Date for Peter (22:24): Ray, Phil, and Chris Elliott comment!
The Faux Pas (22:19): Phil, Ray, plus Lew Schneider and Tucker Cawley -- who has no business being there for this episode, but doesn’t really have anything else to do. And Jeremy Stevens is sitting in the room but isn’t saying anything. They spend 3 minutes explaining whose going “commando” for this commentary track. OK yeah next episode please.
Pat’s Secret (22:18): Ray, Phil, Tom Caltabiano, Mike Royce, plus Georgia Engel! Georgia was nominated for an Emmy for this episode.
Finale (22:24): Ray, Phil, Tom, Mike, Aaron Shure, and Steve Skrovan. The premise of this episode was thought of the year before, but they weren’t intending it for the series finale.
The Last Laugh (43:54): The behind-the-scenes special that aired on CBS prior to the finale. A commentary track on this special is also available from Phil, Ray, Mike, Jeremy Stevens, Aaron, Steve, Tom, Tucker.
Blooper Reel: 1:49 worth of bloopers, the first minute of which is just alternate takes of Ray and Brad reading different names for Frank’s…”herbal pills.” A bit low on the blooper count, if you ask me.
Total Running Time of Special Features: 271 Minutes 46 Seconds
And with that, the complete series of Everybody Loves Raymond is now on DVD. For quick reference, here are the reviews for the previous 8 seasons DVD releases:
Season 1 Review /
I encourage those of you new to the show to sample a couple of episodes in syndication or on cable (check local listings) to try before you buy. And once you realize that this is a VERY funny show, please pick up the show’s DVD releases. Obviously, there are a few things I wish had been done differently (slightly more complex menus, packaging that wasn’t susceptible to breaking, more special features), but what’s here is a very good group of releases for a very funny show. And for those of you who’ve dutifully purchased the previous seasons, I thank you for ensuring the entire run of the show’s release onto DVD. The complete series set comes this fall! Strongly Recommended.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Final Score: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 09/08/07
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