I'm a huge fan of "Friends," in fact it's probably my favorite TV show of all time. Interestingly, I didn't start watching the show until it was in its 9th season. I dismissed it as a "chick show," but when I finally started catching re-runs when I was in college, it had me rolling! It was right at this point that they began releasing the full seasons on DVD. So every time a new season was released on DVD I went right out and bought it. The first time that I saw many of these episodes (probably 80% of the series) was on DVD. For those of you that don't know this, the DVDs actually contained longer episodes than what had been originally broadcast on NBC. Each 20-minute episode contained another 2 or 3 minutes of dialogue/story. And it wasn't excessive stuff that needed to be cut, many of my favorite lines in the show were in these extended scenes. In fact, when I go back and watch re-runs of the show now I can't believe how much of it is missing. I still love my DVDs though, special features and all! But when I watch them now on my 47" TV I notice that they look pretty rough. There's lots of pixelation and fuzziness, and the episodes aren't formatted for widescreen. Certain channels have been showing the episodes in HD and they look gorgeous! I thought to myself, "I would actually buy the whole series over again on Blu-Ray if it had all the extended episodes and bonus features from the standard DVD set."
When I learned that "Friends" was coming to Blu-Ray I was so excited, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Then I learned that this Blu-Ray boxed set would not contain the previously released extended episodes, but would instead have them as they appeared in the original NBC broadcast. Warner Home Video's reason for this is as follows: "The extended cuts were special versions created for the DVDs and no longer exist in a form that could be used for a Blu-ray release." ...What does THAT mean? You can transfer the short episodes but not the long ones? That makes no sense! Whatever was done to clean up the episodes that they've been showing on TV in HD, they can do for the extended episodes. I think someone just got lazy and decided this would be good enough. While I desperately want my favorite show in HD, I will not fork out over $200 for an inferior product! I know these (extended) episodes like the back of my hand, and I won't be able to truly enjoy the show with the absence of so many great scenes and lines. I'd rather watch bad resolution "Friends" in its entirety than watch a cleaned up abridged version. The only reason I'm giving this 2 stars is because it's still an awesome show, and for casual fans this might be enough. However, for fans like me this will simply not do. This reminds me of George Lucas only releasing the versions of Star Wars that nobody likes, or Peter Jackson putting out The Lord Of The Rings trilogy on Blu-Ray but waiting over a year to put out the extended versions. Warner Home Video won't be getting my money this time. Try again, guys!
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