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Friends - The Complete Ninth Season



DVD Release Date: March 8, 2005 (Warner Bros.)
Color/MSRP: $44.95
Number of discs: 4
Number of episodes: 24 half hours
Running Time: 620 minutes
Languages and Subtitles: English Stereo;
English/French/Spanish subtitles; Closed Captioned.
Special Features: Total run time - approx. 30 minutes (not counting commentary)
• Producers commentary on 3 episodes
• "Behind the Style: The Look of Friends"
• The Flaming Lips: Phoebe Battles the Pink Robots" music video
• Gag reel
• "Who's Your Best Friend?" tivia challenge
• "Gunther Spills The Beans" about the final season


The show about six thirty-something friends living in New York complaining about everything from their jobs to their love-lives, or lack thereof continues is back in the ninth season DVD release! This season kicks off with the conclusion of Rachel becoming engaged to Joey instead of Ross and the aftermath of Emma's birth. The season continues with Ross and Rachel's parenting of Emma, as well as Monica and Chandler's efforts to finally have a baby of their own and even Phoebe gets her own love triangle! During the course of the ninth season, we get many memorable guest stars, such as Christina Applegate (“Married…With Children”) as Rachel's self-absorbed sister Amy, Hank Azaria (“The Simpsons”) and Paul Rudd as Phoebe's love interests to Aisha Tyler recurring as a love-interest for Ross. Also making appearances is film-star Dermot Mulroney as Rachel's foe/love interest Gavin as well as Freddie Prinze Jr. as a male nanny for baby Emma. Also making appearances are movie stars Selma Blair, Jon Lovitz, Jeff Goldblum and television star John Stamos (“Jake in Progress”).

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

For a show like Friends, it's difficult to single out just a few episodes that are considered "memorable" because to its fans, every episode has that one moment that just makes you laugh out loud or tugs at your heart-strings. Some episodes that pop into my mind as memorable are "The One Where No One Proposes" in which Rachel accidentally becomes engaged to Joey instead of Ross. "The One With The Pediatrician" in which it is revealed Ross still goes to his childhood pediatrician. "The One With The Male Nanny" in which Ross makes fun of an oversensitive male nanny. "The One With Rachel's Other Sister" in which Rachel's self-centered sister Amy ruins everyone's holiday dinner with her uncensored observations. "The One With Rachel's Dream" in which Rachel has a surprising dream about Joey after helping him rehearse an upcoming love scene. "The One With the Soap Opera Party" in which Joey attends a DAYS OF OUR LIVES party. "The One With The Donor" in which Monica and Chandler learn they cannot conceive naturally and finally "The One In Barbados" in which the gang travels to Barbados.


The package is a digipak in which you pull out another box and open it to reveal the four discs. There are four discs in total and contain 23 episodes (really 24 but "The One in Barbados" is considered an hour on this set and so it's number 23). Disc one has the FRIENDS logo with a shot of the entire cast in a photo that represents their looks in the ninth year. Disc 2 features dual shots of Monica & Chandler. Disc 3 is the same design and showcases Joey and Phoebe. Disc 4 features the same design with Ross and Rachel. The color is different on each disc (Disc One is purple; Disc Two is green; Disc Three is a dark pink; Disc Four is an olive color). It's a nice design--simple and easy. The box itself is yellow overall in color and has the same type of design as the season’s 1-8 releases.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menu has the FRIENDS theme playing, but with no vocals. There is a PLAY selection, EPISODES selection that leads to a new menu listing the episodes to choose from; a SPECIAL FEATURES selection which takes you to a new listing where you can choose the special features located on the disc; and finally a LANGUAGES selection where you can choose whether you want subtitles or not in English, French or Spanish. It's a nice layout and easy to use.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video quality was fantastic. I saw no glitches or anything. The color was great and it was as good as I expected. The audio was pretty good as well. It wasn't too low like a lot of releases have been that I've done, but this season is not old at all. Each episode usually runs like 23-24 minutes but several episodes are exceptions to that (due to the fact that NBC aired “super-size” extended episodes, so some actually run around 34 minutes). And like every Warner TV-DVD sets, there are no chapters or scene selections. Someone needs to tell Warner to add chapters to all TV-DVD sets at least!

Special Features:

There were several great special features. Discs 1, 2 and 4 have Audio Commentary by Executive Producers Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane on select episodes. Disc 4 contains the bulk of the features. "Behind The Style: The Look of Friends" in which costume designer Debra McGuire, Hair Stylists Chris McMillan and Jonathan Hanousek and Makeup artist Robin Siegel offer an inside look at FRIENDS, Fashion, Hair and Makeup over the years. It runs approx. 19 minutes. "The Flaming Lips: Phoebe Battles the Pink Robots" music video featuring Lisa Kudrow and Directed by Kevin S. Bright runs approx. 2 minutes. The gag reel features numerous outtakes from the course of the ninth season and runs approx. 6 minutes. "Who's Your Best Friend?" trivia challenge tests your knowledge of Season 9. And finally, "Gunther Spills the Beans about Next Season" in which the character Gunther previews what you can expect to see on the season 10 DVD (it's just a montage of scenes from Season 10) which runs approx. 3 minutes.

Final Comments:

Overall, I think this set is great. The trivia game is always fun to play. The commentary is always great and interesting to listen to. Overall, Warner did another great job with the special features and the layout of the discs. Everything about it is great. I can't think of a thing I would change or expect on future releases. But I do think original promos before the episode would be a neat feature but it’s probably not likely. One more season to go before we can finally complete our Friends DVD set!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed Shawn Eaton (TVJunkie101) on 03/24/05

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