Friends: The One with All the Weddings appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While the series looked iffy in its early years, it stabilized as it progressed. Since these shows came from its mid to late seasons, they mostly looked nice.
“Ross’s” and “Vegas” were the weakest of the four. Sharpness was inconsistent. Much of the time, the shows looked acceptably well defined and concise. However, more than a few soft spots popped up along the way; more than occasionally, the programs were moderately fuzzy. Periodic examples of jagged edges and moiré effects occurred, and I also noticed some edge enhancement. Source flaws appeared largely absent, though.
The shows generally presented fairly lackluster colors. The tones tended to come across as somewhat drab and listless much of the time. Some shots appeared more vivid than others, and I never felt the hues were terribly incorrect, but they simply lacked much life. In addition, blacks seemed a bit flat, and shadows usually looked a bit too dense and thick.
When we got to “Chandler’s” and “Phoebe’s”, matters improved a lot. Sharpness was mostly positive. A few slightly soft shots occurred, but none of these were terribly intrusive. The shows could have been a little tighter, but I was satisfied with their definition. Only minor examples of shimmering, jagged edges and edge enhancement showed up, and source flaws were rare. The programs could be a little grainy, and I noticed a few small specks, but that was it.
Colors worked well. The show presented nicely vivid and bright tones, and the DVD replicated them concisely. Blacks also seemed firm and rich than in the past, and shadows were reasonably distinctive and not too dense. Despite the inconsistencies among these four shows, the visuals were decent to good.
Friends offered Dolby Digital 5.0 audio. The scope and quality remained very similar through all four shows. Dialogue dominated the episodes and stayed oriented toward the front center. As always, music presented solid stereo presence over the front speakers, and the surrounds echoed the tunes moderately. The rear speakers added nice ambience in a few scenes like at the airport, in the park or at an arena, but otherwise the music was the main element from the back.
As usual, audio quality was fine but not spectacular. The lines seemed concise and fairly natural, and they lacked edginess or problems with intelligibility. Effects seemed acceptably accurate, but they never taxed the track at all. At least no problems occurred with those elements, and the music came across as pretty bright and bouncy. The rock-oriented score sounded clean and distinct, and bass response was tight and fairly rich. Nothing special occurred, but the mix rendered the audio appropriately well.
Only a few extras appear here. As already noted, many of the episodes themselves include bonus footage. The amount of new material varies from show to show. I don’t know Friends well enough to recognize most of the new shots, but I think it’s cool that we get the uncut programs.
In addition to a Best of Friends trailer, one audio commentary appears for “The One with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding”. We hear from executive producers Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane. All the participants were recorded separately for these tracks, and the results were edited together. Some of the remarks related directly to on-screen activities, but most dealt with general issues.
The participants cover a mix of topics related to the series. We get some notes about the specific episodes themselves, and we also hear about general issues that deal with the show. “Wedding”’s best moments delve into challenges of the scenario as well as other casting concepts for Chandler’s dad. The information occasionally seems useful and enlightening, but the participants go silent too often and don’t always offer interesting remarks. As in the past, the comments seem sporadically compelling but not consistently. Still, it includes enough to merit a screening.
One strange choice: on the original DVDs, both “The One with Ross’s Wedding” and “The Last One” offered commentaries. Why don’t those appear here? I don’t know, but that decision comes as a disappointment.
Friends: The One with All the Weddings collects the shows in which the main characters get married. That makes for an interesting theme, but the episodes themselves are generally lackluster. The programs offer erratic but usually decent visuals along with fairly good audio. Supplements are lacking, though, especially since the DVD drops some existing audio commentaries. This package acts as a passable sampler but I’d recommend the season sets instead, as they seem like a much more satisfying way to watch the episodes.