English, Spanish, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Finnish
TV spot - guest appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno
Seinfeld - Complete Seasons 1 & 2
Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 0 mins .
E . PAL
July 5th, 1989. A date in TV history where a so called failed pilot for a sitcom gets its air time on NBC. The show is The Seinfeld Chronicles and after the executives and test screenings gave it a 'weak' review, nothing was expected to come of it. But when aired, there was a lot of interest from comedians and other people within the improv and TV industry. Something was triggered.
Stand up Philosopher.
Senior Vice President for specials at NBC Rick Ludwin was a champion of the show and so took some of his own development budget, something like $200,000, and split it across 4 shows to further push the possibility of a series that had some real potential, for those who were able to connect with the comedy. These 4 episodes ended up as the first season. The rest as they say is history.
Jerry, the stand up comedian getting into various situations and producing a funny conversation about nothing in particular. George, his neurotic high school friend suffering from low self esteem and constant bad luck. Kramer the pop-in neighbour with ideas for everything but success in nothing and Elaine the ex-girlfriend now best female friend with the high hair and big teeth. A group of nobodys doing nothing in nowhere in particular but it's the jokes about nothing that make it really something.
Whilst one could give an episode by episode synopsis, there are already plenty of sites out there that do so and do so better. The first Volume is broken up over four discs with the first showcasing the pilot episode The Seinfeld Chronicles in its original aired release as well as the revised pilot edition. Following on are the 4 episodes from season one where Male Unbonding occurs between Jerry and an old school friend. To make up for his loneliness, George convinces Jerry to go on a Stakeout for a girl he met at a party. The Stock Tip that George gives Jerry is solid but when Kramer leaves Jerrys apartment door open, the subsequent Robbery almost convinces Jerry to move out.
Put your hands up in the air...
Disc 2 begins with Season 2 as Jerry deals with Georges Ex-Girlfriend. The Pony Remark leaves Nania out in the cold and so do Georges attempts to help a Bus Boy. When Elaine organises a Baby Shower at Jerrys, Kramer interrupts with two Russians brought in to install illegal cable but this doesn't cost Jerry as much as The Jacket made of suede.
Disc 3 sees the gang wait patiently or impatiently for a table at a Chinese Restaurant. The Phone Message George leaves his girlfriend becomes a mission impossible for the dynamic duo as they try to retrieve the tape before she hears it. When ex-girlfriends get too close, having her move into The Apartment upstairs, especially when it's Elaine. Never get Stranded at a party you were never invited to if your driver leaves home early with a new date and always make sure your house cleaner doesn't take The Statue whilst your out.
Disc 4 gets the ticker pumping but George can't handle the pace and has a suspected Heart Attack. Everyone seems to be getting Revenge against alot of other people for some reason in a classic episode. When Jerry and Elaine get the idea of getting back together every so often, they organise a Deal by coming up with a set of relationship rules that is sure to backfire.
What's in the vault?
We are presented with the show in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. The quality is up to scratch for the footage encoded here. If you're expecting a restoration you'll be disappointed but then again the show has never looked this good. As a fan you're probably not watching these DVDs for their video quality but the comedy right.
Interestingly, even the menus are presented in a 4:3 format to compliment the shows themselves but the opening Columbia Tristar splash screen is anamorphic widescreen. A small gripe I'm sure, but what makes up for it is during a fade to black when you expect the commercials to kick in and the show fades back in you get that little smile on your face as you continue where you just left off.
All episodes and extras are presented in Dolby Digital Stereo as was originally recorded. The quality of the audio improves from the pilot, through season one and into season two but the representation here on DVD is as good as it gets for what was originally recorded over a decade ago.
A great series on DVD needs a great selection of extras and there is plenty here for the fan of the show. Each disc has it's own combination of available extras but they all follow the same theme whereby commentaries are classed as the Yada, yada, yada option. Here, we get a select cast and crew talking about their experiences in making that episode as well as little anecdotes we might not normally know about. Not all episodes have commentaries as it's most likely a chosen episode per disc. To compliment the commentaries there are Notes About Nothing that can be activated for each episode where little notes pop up in the subtitle stream providing information about anything and everything to do with that show.
When you're In the Vault you'll get to see a deleted scene from the episode in question. Usually it is an extension of a scene rather than a total deletion. The Inside Looks are short sub 5 minute interviews with cast and crew about the episode in question and how the idea for the episode came about, usually because of creator Larry Davids experiences.
Give me a head with hair.
Promotional material in the form of TV Appearances on the Tonight Show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno as well as NBC Promos and trailers for the show that really do look dated, sponsored by Vandelay Industries. It is sometimes hard to imagine how old this show is when you look back on it, much like the Simpsons. A selection of stand-up material is available in the Master of His Domain feature.
One of the more interesting features is the How it Began making of documentary on disc 4. This hour long doco traces the creation of the show and how all the characters came about. It's amazing how close to reality the show was birthed out of with Larry David being the basis for George Costanza and his real life neighbour Kenny Kramer being the basis for, you guessed it, Cosmo Kramer. A whole swag of information is available here with specific focus on choosing the actors and what happened during the auditions. Fascinating stuff considering how poorly the pilot was received, yet still went on to become one of the great sitcoms of all time.
A collection of Bloopers is included that don't really get that much of a laugh out of this reviewer, Not that there's anything wrong with that. To complete the list there is a Photo Gallery with a collection of um, photos. Oh and there's an easter egg in there too.
There are some great episodes in this collection for fans of nothing that will keep you entertained on demand. When DVD first came onto the scene Seinfeld was undoubtedly the most requested TV series by fans to make it to the format and now, after all these years it has finally arrived.
Definitely a must have collection for any fan of Jerome, Cantstandsya, Cosmo and Eeeelaayyne.