Plot: What’s it about?
With the unparalleled success of the first season, a second season was a given. Friends quickly became the number one watched television show in America. The cast clicked and it was time to introduce some higher profile talent, in the form of guest stars, to the show. Monica (Courtney Cox) and Ross’ (David Schwimmer) parents were featured as were a slew of moviestars. Julia Roberts, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Charlie Sheen, Chris Isaak and Jean-Claude Van Damme just to name a few. Things between Ross and Rachael were heating up, which are only starting to get interesting again as the show enters its last season. But one thing that I liked is the fact that they were all still “Friends”. Monica and Chandler (Matthew Perry) weren’t married (if I spoiled that for anyone, sorry) yet and there was no love triangle between Joey-Ross-Rachael. It was just a simpler time for the Friends and I, for one, liked seeing them in their adventures minus all of the romance involved.
Season Two of the show features some of the better episodes in the series. We’ve already been exposed to two volumes of the “Best of…” episodes and it’s amazing how many of these were originally aired during the second season. My personal favorite of the year is “The One where Eddie Moves In”. Eddie (Adam Goldberg) takes the place of Joey after he has moved into a luxury apartment elsewhere in New York. Eddie is a less than perfect roommate and I personally think it’s one of the best episodes…ever. Never mind the fact that the cast is now getting 1 million dollars an episode (per person), and the new episodes don’t pack quite the punch that these did, but sit back and enjoy the second season of Friends.
Video: How does it look?
There’s both good and bad news for fans of Friends in that, yes the episodes are now available in full 1080p video presented in a 1.78:1 AVC HD image. That’s the good. The bad is that the “purists” out there will most likely want these to appear in the original 4:3, full frame aspect ratio. As for me, I really don’t care. Yes I’m sure if you were to sit there and compare the episodes side by side you might miss a bit here and there, but I’d rather the shows filled up my HDTV. Colors are bright and bold, there is a tad bit of grain in some of the interior shots, but by and large these look much better than their 4:3 counterparts (and I actually still have the original seasons, so I went back and checked them out). Contrast is strong, detail improved and all in all it’s the best they’ve ever looked. But fans will still want a choice, so if you’re one of those then this isn’t the set for you.
Audio: How does it sound?
When Friends hit DVD about a decade ago, it had been re-mastered in Dolby Digital 5.0 sound (no LFE) now, a decade later; we’ve got Friends in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Yep, that’s right it’s taken us ten years but we finally got that .1 channel! Yay! All kidding aside, the episodes really sound just about the same. Maybe they’re a little more robust on Blu-ray, but aside from the laugh track and the ever-so-familiar music that plays in the interlude, it’s really all the same.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Continuing the trend that the first season started, we find a surprising lack of supplements on this sophomore season. Again, I went and dug out my old season two DVD and to my surprise, we’re actually missing a LOT on this one. This Blu-ray features the “Friends of Friends” guestbook, the uncut version of “Smelly Cat” and “What’s up with your Friends?”, a glorified montage of scenes with the character that you pick. Here’s what’s missing: the commentary tracks on two episodes: “The One with the List” and “The One with the Prom Video”, “Open House at Monica and Rachel’s place which allowed you to pick objects from their place and you get a little information about them. The trivia quiz and interactive map are both nixed as well as the video character bios.