TITLE: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON - THE DUCKY TIE EDITION
DVD Release Date: October 2, 2012 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Packaging: Viva case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 23 (double-length season finale)
Running Time: approx. 523 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 42 minutes (not counting the commentaries)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, Spanish, French
* Neil Patrick Harris Gets His Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
* Guest Star Powers Featurette
* How We Wrote Your Mother Featurette
* How We Make Your Mother Featurette
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* Auddio Commentary on 3 Episodes
With both a baby and a wedding on the way, change is in the air and awesomeness abounds in the hilariously unpredictable Season Seven of How I Met Your Mother. As Marshall and Lily move away to start their family, Ted continues the search for the woman of his dreams. Meanwhile, Robin reveals a shocking secret and special guest star Katie Holmes joins the fun in the long-awaited return of the Slutty Pumpkin! And, wedding bells are ringing at last for confirmed bachelor Barney, but why is he wearing that ridiculous ducky tie, and just who is the "lucky" lady?
Barney and Ted reminisce about Ted's old friend's wedding, including Marshall's impromptu toast in "The Best Man." Marshall receives the job offer of his dreams, but worries that videos he made in the past will resurface during the company's standard background check in "The Naked Truth." Ted reconnects with an old flame, and Lily, Marshall and Barney make a bet that could result in Barney wearing Marshall's ducky tie in "Ducky Tie." Robin begins court-mandated therapy sessions after assaulting a girl in "The Stinson Missile Crisis." Marshall is surprised by his boss's settlement with a million dollar company in "Field Trip." The gang interferes when Ted attempts to go on a date without researching the girl on the internet first in "Mystery vs. History." Everyone realizes that their significant other reminds them of one of their parents in "Noretta." Ted finally meets his mystery girl in the Slutty Pumpkin costume in "The Slutty Pumpkin Returns."
While the gang reminisces about Hurricane Irene, Barney tries to cut a deal with Marshall and Lily to get out of wearing the ducky tie in "Disaster Averted." Robin and Barney hide a secret from their significant others in "Tick , Tick Tick..." Ted and Barney consider making a life-changing decision together in "The Rebound Girl." Robin receives shocking news and hides it from the gang in "Symphony of Illumination." Marshall visits his father's grave to carry on their tailgating tradition and tell him about New Year's Eve in "Tailgate." On the 150th episode of How I Met Your Mother, Lily's overbearing father refuses to move out of their house in the suburbs in "46 Minutes." Marshall and Lily's housewarming party goes awry in "The Burning Beekeeper." Marshall, Lily, Robin and Kevin celebrate Valentine's Day with a weekend getaway in "The Drunk Train."
Ted confesses his feelings to Robin, and Barney finds something personal of Marshall and Lily's in "No Pressure." Barney tries to convince Quinn to date him after realizing he has feelings for her in "Karma." Barney reveals his plans to move in with Quinn, leaving Ted and Robin fighting over subletting her apartment in "The Broath." Marshall, Barney and Ted envision what their lives will be like in another three years in "Trilogy Time." Barney tries to lure Ted into making every night "legendary" in "Now We're Even." Marshall freaks out when he realizes the baby is coming soon in "Good Crazy." Marshall and Barney desperately try to get back to New York when Lily goes into labor in "The Magician's Code, Part 1." On Barney's wedding day, the gang reminisces about when they encouraged Ted to chase after the one that got away in "The Magician's Code, Part 2."
Notable season seven guest and recurring stars included Ashley Williams (4 episodes), Martin Short (3 episodes), Alexis Denisof (4 episodes), Jeff Probst, Ray Wise, Chris Elliott (5 episodes), 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Frances Conroy (2 episodes), Bill Fagerbakke (2 episodes), Wayne Brady (2 episodes), Kal Penn (9 episodes), Katie Holmes, Ernie Hudson, Vicki Lewis (3 episodes), Will Sasso, Becki Newton (7 episodes), and Conan O'Brien (as a background bar patron at MacLaren's).
All of the episodes have running times of 20-21 minutes, except for the season finale. "The Magician's Code" originally aired as an one-hour episode and is presented that way on DVD. There have been some music substitutions on previous releases, but it seems to have been less of an issue in recent seasons when they've used fewer songs. Hopefully any music substitions are very minor. Here are the runtimes:
The Best Man (21:36)
The Naked Truth (21:36)
Ducky Tie (21:37)
The Stinson Missile Crisis (21:37)
Field Trip (21:27)
Mystery vs. History (21:36)
The Slutty Pumpkin Returns (21:36)
Disaster Averted (21:32)
Tick, Tick, Tick... (21:36)
The Rebound Girl (21:36)
Symphony of Illumination (21:36)
46 Minutes (21:27)
The Burning Beekeeper (20:26)
The Drunk Train (21:36)
No Pressure (21:35)
The Broath (21:36)
Trilogy Time (21:28)
Now We're Even (21:35)
Good Crazy (21:36)
The Magician's Code, Parts 1 & 2 (43:22)
All 23 episodes from the seventh season (2011-12) are included. The packaging is a clear plastic Viva case. Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor are featured on the cover. A neon show logo and yellow umbrella is above them. The release is titled "The Ducky Tie Edition" at the bottom and on the spine of the case. On the back of the case, there's another photo of the five main cast members. There are four small episode snapshots below it, including Katie Holmes as the Slutty Pumpkin. A synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features, and the DVD specs are provided. Opening up the case, there's part of a ducky tie on the left panel. There are three more episode snapshots on the right panel. The episode titles and special features are listed by the disc number. Some episode summaries or an episode guide booklet would have been nice. Discs 1 and 2 are in a flip holder in the center of the case. Disc 3 is an embedded holder in the back of the case. The discs have the show logo in neon and a different item in neon on each disc. Disc 1 has a duck and contains episodes 1-8. Disc 2 has an umbrella and contains episodes 9-16. Disc 3 has a heart and rounds out the set with episodes 17-23.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are colorful and easy to navigate. They open with a series of rotating video clips and still images. Each disc has a different set of video clips and photos. Once again, there's a different remixed version of the theme song or a music cue that loops after about a minute on each disc. There are options for play all, episodes, set up and extras at the bottom of the screen. There's a red ring next to the option you highlight that turns yellow upon your selection. When you select episodes, it takes you to a seperate menu that has a different photo and music cue that loops after about 30 seconds on each disc. The episode titles are listed vertically in white text with a red border. A different photo and music cue is used on each set up menu. You can turn/off the English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing here. Subtitles are also available in Spanish, French and I believe Mandarin. The extras menus also feature a different photo and music cue on each disc. When you first insert Disc 1, there are promos (1:37) for various 20th Century Fox shows on DVD, including New Girl. Chapter stops are placed at the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality is excellent, as usual. The episodes are presented in their original widescreen 1.78:1 format and in their broadcast order. With these episodes just airing last season, they look great. How I Met Your Mother is shot with four cameras and no studio audience. This allows them to use many different sets and to edit together many different scenes. The episodes are designed to look like mini-movies. With minimal outdoor scenes, the lighting is important on the sets. The episodes always look well lit to set the mood and have excellent camera work. Unforutnately, only the fourth season was released on Blu-ray. Hopefully one day we'll see all the seasons available on Blu-ray. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is the Carter * Bays - Muttnik stamp logo, followed by one for 20th Century Fox.
The audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track. The volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to understand. They don't use a "canned" laugh track. The scenes are shot without a studio audience. Then they are edited together and shown
to an audience for their responses. Closed captioning is available for all of the episodes.
Subtitles are offered in English for the deaf and hard of hearing, Spanish, French and Mandarin. Special Features are not rated or closed
All of the How I Met Your Mother sets have plenty of special features. This season is no exception. There are three audio commentaries by the cast and crew, a featurette on Neil Patrick Harris receving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, short interviews with many season seven guest stars, two behind the scenes featurettes, deleted scenes for ten episodes, and a gag reel.
Audio Commentary on "The Best Man" by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas (21:36) - The creators and executive producers talk about the season premiere. This commentary's focus is more on the entire season and contains spoilers, so don't listen to this before you've seen the rest of the episodes.
Neil Patrick Harris Gets His Star (4:32) - Neil Patrick Harris received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 15, 2011. Some clips of his acceptance speech are shown. Jason Segel and Joss Whedon were also there. These are some of the highlights, but it would have been great to see the entire speech and tribute.
"The Naked Truth" (1:31) - The gang talks about Marshall passing a background check. Some videos of Marshall in flashback scenes are shown.
"Ducky Tie" (1:13) - The gang talks about a girl in Ted's past.
"The Slutty Pumpkin Returns" (1:20) - Ted tells everybody that he has found the Slutty Pumpkin.
Audio Commentary on "The Drunk Train" by Craig Gerard and Matthew Zinman (21:36) - The writing team discusses the episode. This was the fourth episode they wrote. Becki Newton makes her first appearance as Quinn.
Guest Star Powers (3:32) - Some seventh season guest stars are interviewed. They are asked what they are doing this week on the show. Next, they are asked about any special skills or hidden talents they have. Wayne Brady is asked about anything he's not good at.
"Disaster Averted" (2:06) - Barney talks about Marshall and Lily. Barney talks to Robin. Everybody does quotes with thunder in the background.
"Tick, Tick, Tick..." (:20) - Sandy gives somebody a promotion.
"The Drunk Train" (:21) - Robin and Kevin talk. Marshall and Lily talk about the proposal.
Audio Commentary on "Karma" by Neil Patrick Harris and Becki Newton (21:35) - There's some good behind-the-scenes details in this commentary.
How We Wrote Your Mother: The True Stories Behind Some of HIMYM's Bits (9:48) - Executive Producer Craig Thomas, Story Editor Craig Gerard, Story Editor Matthew Zinman, Executive Producer Jamie Rhonheimer and Executive Producer Kourtney Kang talk about where the ideas this season's episodes came from. Craig Thomas also talks about the inspiration for the character of Garrison Cootes, who was played by Martin Short.
How We Make Your Mother: Behind the Scenes of "The Magician's Code, Part 2" (9:05) - This featurette focuses on the second part of the season finale. Some behind-the-scenes shots are shown of the cast rehearsing and reading the script. They talk about the airport security set, the bomb prop, the magic tricks, the church set and the bride's wedding gown. Interviews include Director Pam Fryman, Becki Newton, Executive Producer Craig Thomas, Production Designer Steve Olson, Property Master Dave Baker, Magic Consultant/Guard #2 Ed Alonzo, Set Decorator Susan Eschelbach, Lead Person Ron Shulem, Costume Designer Reiko Kurumada and Josh Radnor.
"No Pressure" (1:50) - Ted and Robin talk on the roof. Barney talks to the cleaning women.
"Karma" (:29) - Ted talks to a stripper.
"Good Crazy" (1:44) - Ted talks to Marshall and Lily about their coming baby. Barney talks to Herm.
"The Magician's Code, Part 2" (1:24) - Barney talks to Robin and Ted. Victoria talks to Ted.
Gag Reel (4:42) - Some funny moments here. Unfortuantely, the gag reel isn't as long as some of the previous seasons.
Season seven was another solid season. There was a bit more drama, but they still had many hilarious moments. They filmed their 150th episode this season. It's unusual to see a show set a record for viewers in their seventh season, but this was the most watched season yet. They had the highest average in viewers this season and best 18-49 rating. I think they've really benefitted from the show being shown daily in syndication. Season eight could be the final season, but I hope they continue for at least a ninth season. The show is still very fresh and funny. I have a hard time believing that the show will end when the ratings have grown in recent seasons.
Overall, this is a very nice set like the previous releases. The behind the scenes featurettes are always very interesting to see how the episodes are made. It's nice to see some deleted scenes included for the first time. I wish the gag reel was a bit longer like the previous seasons. It would have also been better if they released this season a few weeks before the start of season eight.
If you're a fan of the show, you probably also enjoy the music. A soundtrack entitled How I Met Your Music was recently released digitally on iTunes. It includes classics like the "Let's Go to the Mall," "Sandcastles in the Sand," "Nothin' Suits Me Like a Suit" and "You Just Got Slapped." It's a legen... wait for it... dary compilation of some of the original songs that have been used in the show's first seven seasons.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/07/12
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