This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. As its ratings following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, illustrated, Friends has matured into television’s most beloved comfort show. The peerless ensemble–Jennifer Aniston, a pre-Arquette Courtney Cox, Emmy winner Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer–makes a lasting first impression in the first season’s 24 episodes, which are presented chronologically on four discs. The perky “Pilot” introduces unlucky-in-love Monica, runaway bride Rachel, sad sack Ross, New Age ditz Phoebe, wise guy Chandler, and womanizer Joey. The focus of the first season is Ross’s unrequited love for Rachel, but we have these moments to remember: the arrival of Marcel the monkey (“The One with the Monkey”); Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe’s “cleansing ritual” (“The One with the Candy Hearts”); the escalating game of shower peek-a-boo (“The One with the Boobies”); Joey as Al Pacino’s butt double (“The One with the Butt”); Ross taking lessons from Joey in how to “talk dirty” (“The One with the Stoned Guy”); former “Must-See TV” stars Helen Hunt and George Clooney (“The One with Two Parts”); and Chandler spilling the beans to Rachel about Ross’s feelings for her (“The One Where Rachel Finds Out”). Though its devoted fans can recite these episodes chapter and verse, Friends maintains its sparkle through repeat viewings, a testament to the sharp writing as well as the cast’s lightning-in-a-bottle chemistry and lived-in performances. The episodes are presented uncut and extended, with previously unseen dialogue and scenes. And those who hate Friends and would like to drown the characters in the opening credits’ fountain are directed to the episode “The One with the Boobies,” in which guest star Fisher Stevens hilariously nails the “dysfunctional group dynamic … co-dependent, emotionally stunted, sitting in your stupid coffeehouse and you’re all like, ‘Define me, define me.'” –Donald Liebenson
All the laughs, all the loves, all the lattes – all yours! Settle in with the hilarious and acclaimed series about a family based on friendship. Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross were always there for each other. Now they’re here for you in the complete 10-season set of Friends.
• First time ever on Blu-ray. – All 10 Seasons – 236 original broadcast episodes on 21 discs completely remastered • Includes 2 Hours of all-new bonus content featuring: – Unaired footage – New one-hour documentary – New interviews – Never before released cast appearances and more. • Over 20 total hours of extras
The ultimate collector set features over 110 hours of content (90 hours of features and 20 hours of bonus content). All 236 original broadcast episodes. Highly Collectible Premium Packaging Lenticular Box Cover Hard-cover book that holds 21 discs 32-page episode guide with content from the Warner Bros. archives.
A sitcom-behemoth of the last 10 years, Friends shot out of the gate in 1994 with snappy writing and an attractive cast. The exploits of sensitive paleontologist Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), his obsessive-compulsive sister Monica Geller (Courteney Cox); Monica’s roommate Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), a spoiled rich girl trying to live on her own; earthy aromatherapist/masseuse Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow); and Monica’s neighbors across the hall–sarcastic Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) and his dim-bulb roommate Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) became a nationwide obsession, a pop-culture icon (remember “The Rachel” haircut?) and a top Nielsen hit for its entire run.
Most sitcoms run out of ideas by the fifth season, but Friends gave itself a refreshing jolt the minute Monica and Chandler wound up in bed together. Their budding romance was not only the one of the funniest arcs of the series, but one of the most sentimental, as they planned a wedding, struggled to have a child and eventually turned to adoption. By seasons seven and on, the characters had each “grown up” from young singletons to thirtysomethings finding permanence in their careers and love lives but never losing the laughs.The first two seasons were mostly centered on the on-off saga of Ross and Rachel, and while their relationship remained a strong presence through romantic rivals and even a baby, the other characters eventually moved from sideshow players into a shared comedic lead. But Friends was not without its heart. Most of the cast had dysfunctional relationships with their parents and went through loss, divorce, marriage, parenthood, and love triangles. The emotional pregnancies of Rachel (by Ross) and Phoebe (surrogate to her half-brother’s triplets) won the actresses Emmy Awards, and Joey’s tender feelings for Rachel in Season 8 won LeBlanc, the most improved actor in the series, a nomination.
Friends featured a parade of celebrity guests, but unlike Will & Grace, it actually utilized most of the stars as more than cameos: The sextet’s parents were all brilliantly cast, particularly Kathleen Turner as Chandler’s drag-queen father and Teri Garr as Phoebe’s dizzy mom. Everyone from George Clooney to Sean Penn to Julia Roberts to Bruce Willis has appeared on the sitcom, and Tom Selleck certainly enjoyed a career resuscitation after his recurring role as Monica’s older man.
But no star power ever penetrated the bond between the six stars, and their unmatchable chemistry worked for 10 seasons. Even if the show is on reruns daily, this boxed set of Friendsremains watchable over and over again–even if that theme song grates on your nerves.
Standout episodes include “The One with All The Poker” (Season 1), “The One with The Birth” (1), “The One with the Prom Video” (2), “The One with the Flashback” (3), “The One Where Monica and Richard are Just Friends” (3), “The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break” (3), “The One with the Embryos” (4), “The One with All the Wedding Dresses” (4), “The One with the Thanksgiving Flashbacks” (5), “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” (5), “The One Where Ross Got High” (6), “The One with the Videotape” (8), “The One with the Rumor” (8), “The One with the Male Nanny” (9), “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” (9), “The One with Ross’ Tan” (10), and “The One Where the Stripper Cries” (10). –Ellen A. Kim