by Rob Vaux Posted: November 13th, 2012 at 6:41 am
It’s hard to believe eight years have passed since Friends went off the air. Harder still to believe just how much television has changed in that time. Friends may have been the last of the network behemoths: old school dramas and comedies that everyone watched and chatted about over the water cooler the next morning. The environment in which it thrived no longer exists, replaced by the long tail and cable shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad that now command our cultural attention. Which is why the new Blu-ray set covering the entire series feels more like a nostalgic throwback than a white-hot imperative. Hit the jump for my full review.
Though the term “sitcom” has become a dirty word nowadays with exceptional single-camera TV comedies dominating the airwaves, multi-cam comedies were the norm way, way back in the 1990s. A number of 90s sitcoms were successful enough to be deemed “appointment television,” but two shows invaded the zeitgeist like no other: Seinfeld and Friends. The latter is still one of the most successful television shows ever made, and its influence is ever-present as contemporary comedies are still trying to emulate its “formula.”
Friends is now—finally—coming to Blu-ray later this year with completely remastered versions of all 236 episodes in 1080p HD video, 16×9 widescreen format and 5.1 audio. Moreover, the complete series set will include over 3 hours of new bonus features. Hit the jump for more details.
All the casting news that money can buy:
- Hailee Steinfeld is in negotiations to star in the high school comedy Why We Broke Up
- Matt LeBlanc will headline the indie rom-com Lovesick
- Scoot McNairy and Ruth Negga will join Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender Twelve Years a Slave
More on each project after the jump.
I’ve just spent the past three hours watching and live-blogging the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. My brain feels mushy. After the jump and presented without comment is a list of this year’s winners. If you don’t even want to hit the jump, The Artist and The Descendants won Best Comedy/Musical and Best Drama, respectively. If you want to awards prognosticate, I’ll save you the trouble: both were nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Those nominations haven’t been announced yet, but they were nominated. Trust me. I’m a professional.
Also, feel free to sound off on the winners and losers. Lord knows I’ve been doing it for the past three hours.
Since Matt LeBlanc had some trouble being anybody but Joey Tribbiani from his breakout work on Friends, maybe playing a fictional version of himself on a cable series will help. That’s the idea behind Showtime’s forthcoming new series Episodes, which follows a British couple who has their popular TV show in the UK being remade for American audiences. The duo find themselves pressured by executives to cast Matt LeBlanc, a washed up TV star, in the lead role.
While this sounds like it hits a little too close to home for the actor, LeBlanc told journalists at the TCA press tour that “It’s not really myself. It’s a character that David [Crane] and Jeffrey [Klarik] wrote that happens to have the same name as me. There are some similarities, but for the most part it’s a fictitious character.” You can judge for yourself by checking out the first trailer for impressive-looking new series after the jump.
There are both rational and irrational reasons for hating the prequel trilogy. With the rise of Red Letter Media, that internet phenomenon that has made a name shit-talking the Star Trek: Next Generations films, and The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, there is a more present sense of disappointment with the Lucas empire- but it’s something that has been haunting Lucas about a couple days after people started seeing TPM and word set in. But as not great as the prequels were, there’s other reasons to be bummed about those films besides just fan service. Until he made the prequel trilogy, George Lucas had a stunning cinematic record as a director. His first film THX 1138 is a classic, and deserves to be appreciated. Another reason to be disappointed is that he led the way for films like Lost in Space, the 1998 warm-up for the prequel trilogy. Lucas whetted a lot of appetites, but the man also showed a talent for the game. My review of both THX 1138 and Lost in Space on Blu-ray follow the jump.