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Everybody Loves Raymond - The Series Finale



Release Date: May 24, 2005 (HBO Home Video)
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 2
Running Time: 56 Minutes
Audio: English 2.0
Special Features: None


After 9 years, Everybody Loves Raymond comes to a close. The finale aired on May 16, 2005, drawing almost 33 million total viewers to see Ray (Ray Romano), Debra (Patricia Heaton), Robert (Brad Garrett), Amy (Monica Horan), Marie (Doris Roberts), and Frank (Peter Boyle) one more time. Back in 1996, the series started off, sans the character of Amy, rather quietly in the Friday 8:30 PM slot to mediocre ratings, with an interesting pilot in its normalness. In the pilot, Rayís family is established as nosy neighbors over constantly, always interfering in Ray and Debraís life. Almost a decade later ≠ nothingís changed.

Packaging / Menu Design and Navigation / Special Features:

The release is a single-disc keep case. The primary cast (Ray, Patricia, Doris, Peter, Brad) are in front of a solid-white background in formal clothes, with Brad and Peter holding cigars, Patricia and Doris holding glasses of wine, and Ray, in a chair, holding both. The rear is just the Everybody Loves Raymond logo in front of the same white background, with the standard synopsis text on the left, and a solo-shot of Ray in the chair on the right. Disc features the same photo as the front cover of the packaging. The episode selection/main menu is the sole menu on the set. To the left are two text options, one for the finale, and one for the pilot. To the right is the same cast shot from the front cover. The Everybody Loves Raymond theme plays in a loop in the background. For this release, there are no special features.

Video and Audio Quality:

The audio on both episodes sounds great. Episodes both use a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track with fairly even mix between audio channels. The video on the pilot is the same grainy, 4:3 aspect ratio, quality found on the first release. Also, although I really didnít notice it the first time I watched the episode on the Season One set; the video is a bit faded, but largely fine. Quality is neither better nor poorer on it compared to the Season 1 release. On the finale, the episode is 16:9 Widescreen ≠ its original aspect ratio ≠ and looks amazing. The video is sharp, clear, and vivid, and is overall quite outstanding. Due to the ages and mediums each of the two episodes were shot on, this may go down as the biggest difference in video quality between 2 episodes on the same set ever. Not that the video is flawed, mind you, just the inherit differences between a 1996-shot pilot, and a 2005-shot finale. One flaw with the release is that neither episode features subtitles OR closed captioning. Apologies to the fans with hearing problems are in order. Also, there are no chapter stops. Given that one episode is the finale -≠ and doesnít even have opening credits to skip past - ≠ itís less of an issue than on a full-season set.

Final Comments:

Thereís really nothing I can suggest, since this is a ďspecialĒ release, and not part of the main series order. There are one or two things I would have done differently with the set - commentary tracks, for one. The season one set already HAD a track on the pilot; they could EASILY have carried that over. Also, they REALLY should have included the captioning or done subtitles. Overall though, itís a great set. Obviously, those of you that are fans of the show should buy this release. Also, those of you that missed the original airing on CBS ≠ or those of you that have never seen the show - might want to pick up this CHEAP ($10) release. Furthermore, some fans will probably love seeing the show in the widescreen format for the first time, as itís still hard to find the DT/HD simulcast of programming in many areas. Fans with hearing difficulties will probably want to avoid the set due to the lack of closed captioning or subtitles, but otherwise, buy the set, you wonít regret it.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.3/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.0/5
Overall: 4.0/5

*Please Note: The video on the pilot is 3.5, while the finale is a 5, so Iíve averaged the two and rounded to the nearest tenth for the final video score.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/26/05

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