Spanish site Zona DVD is reporting that Warner Home Video is currently working on the first season of the acclaimed sitcom Friends for release on Blu-ray. This title will reportedly be, along with the Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition, one of the studio's major releases for 2011. The video will be remastered using the original film elements. Other details are still pending.
It must be noted that over a year ago (see Blu-ray.com, November 30, 2009), Zona DVD had also reported that Friends and The West Wing were going to be released in 2010, but the rumor was soon denied and neither of those series got a Blu-ray release then.
Friends is my favorite show of all-time (along with Supernatural) but I have it on DVD and I'm not about to upgrade. A full frame show that doesn't have any special effects or that would really benefit from the HD format (as opposed to Star Trek, for instance); no need for me to shell out the big bucks. Besides, if they release it one season at a time, it'll take years to have all 10 seasons...
I'm waiting on The West Wing Season 1. Amazon On Demand and iTunes already have a 16:9 version of Season 1 not available anywhere else. For that matter, I also wish Warner Brothers would put out a 16:9 Blu-ray of Everwood Season 1.
I am a pretty big fan of the show and I have the latest complete Friends Boxset of the series and I would never buy the show on Blu-ray unless they reframe it to fit widescreen TV's, which I know they will not.
Yeah, I also don't understand the fact that it 'mostly takes place indoors' etc as an excuse for it not to be remastered. It's the same line of thinking that states that dramas or comedies are not as worthy of a BD release as the latest summer blockbuster. I know that the soundtrack, in particular, can be pushed a lot further with those sort of releases but ultimately I buy a film or TV show because I like it, and I'll always want it in the best possible versions.
The broadcasts and earlier seasons of Friends look pretty terrible on DVD/TV. Just because its a sitcom it doesn't make me blind to compression artifacts, macroblocking, edge enhancement and so on. It's all just as distracting as it would be in the more visually interesting X Files or 24. So bring on this release, I say.
The reason I'm personally hoping for shows like Twin Peaks, X Files and West Wing more, though, is that I've seen Friends too many times to count. I'll probably end up getting the whole thing when its out on BD, but getting just the first season would be pointless for me, I'd never end up rewatching it all anytime soon.
As for the re-framing, there have been some screencaps of a New Zealand (I think) HDTV broadcasting of Friends in the Wish List forum. It shows the show being re-framed for Widescreen TVs through a mixture of cropping and exposure of more of the frame. It looks like the 'original film' was a 14:9 image, which was originally cropped at the sides for the 4:3 broadcast/DVD, but is now being re-cropped at the top to 16:9. I don't really know enough about film to explain this, but ultimately it doesn't look too bad... I'd have no problem with the OAR and am generally against cropping, but I'd guess that in most instances, if it is done like this, there wouldn't be much of an issue with information being lost.
Probedb, I can't speak for Paper Tiger but I owned the first few seasons of ER and they reframed for widescreen. However, they didn't just needlessly cut off the top and bottom and call it a day. They went back to the negatives and truly reframed it. I compared an episode to one showing in 4:3 on TNT and sure enough when pausing both there was only fractional info missing at the top, but the sides had gained significant more image. It looked so much better.
If they can do that for Friends, where they make it widescreen by pulling out unused sides from the old negatives, I'm in. Plus, I'm sure the last few seasons or so probably filmed in 16:9 but HD was still catching on with some people when the show ended so I can't be sure. I do know that in fall of 2004 I watched a couple 'Joey' episodes at somebody's house and it was HD widescreen.
This would actually make sense, I did some checking and it looks like the episodes have already been remastered, and according to Wikipedia, are currently airing on TV in New Zealand in 1080i widescreen.
who cares what they release on BD.. as long as everything gets released thats a great sign people!!! if BD is pushing out everything its a sign that its pushing to be the main format.. little steps arent a bad thing. patients everybody, if Friends is coming to BD then this gives hope for a lot of TV shows that people love
Excellent, I'm looking forward to this, and it also opens the way for ER. Friends and ER started running around the same time, and they're great shows. As long as they're treated properly, they should both be great on Blu-ray.
I am about as big of a friends fan as you can possibly get, and I think this is a real waste of time. I'm sure it will look great, but talk about a show that doesn't need a RESTORED bluray. Spend that time on stuff we actually want released.
Since I waited out on buying Friends on DVD, I probably would buy it on Blu-Ray if this rumor turned out to be true. I've Netflixed it on DVD over the years, and to be honest, the DVDs are very soft and blurry, especially when upscaled on a large TV. So I feel like it would benefit quite a bit for it to be in HD. And since it was originally shown in 4x3, that's how it should stay, unless there's enough extra picture on the sides to make it widescreen (like Everybody Loves Raymond) without cutting tons of picture off of the top & bottom (like Seinfeld).
KamiAmaya, go on amazon on demand or iTunes and look at the previews for the hd versions of West Wing Season One. The show was meant for 16:9 but wasnt presented that way originally because 1999-2000 was the test season of HD programs
If people are buying tv episodes like 'Family Guy', or 'South Park' (or even the old Charlie Brown features) on bd, where the upgrade to hidef is even more pointless -- given the low-fi animation -- there will definitely be a market for 'Friends'....fortunately, I'm not part of that target market....'Corner Gas' is more my speed -- yeah, how bout having this witty Canadian sitcom on bd, eh?
Friends were filmed in 16:9, I was surprised when I saw it. Season 1 currently airs in Germany, it's in fact in HD and in 16:9 (you can see more picture on the sides, compared to the DVD), and it looks pretty much great, considering it's old. Friends look better with every season, and from season 5 they look pretty much the same, should look awesome in HD.
I'd love to have "Friends" on bluray. It was a fantastic sitcom. Its release (maybe) has nothing to do with "Twin Peaks," "X-Files," etc. Different production companies, different networks. It's not a choice of one or the other; they are unrelated.
Harry Lloyd, are those pics genuine?! If so, then I hope they remaster the entire series 1-10 for widescreen HD. I have the dvd box set, but I would upgrade for remastered widescreen. I had no idea it was filmed that way, I just assumed it was 4:3. This is potentially great news! I just hope they do the whole lot, and not as someone else said, one series at a time.
I do however dread how much a complete box set would cost....
That comparison is interesting because the widescreen obviously opens up the frame on the sides (as opposed to just cropping the top and bottom of the image.) Seeing these images my guess is that when they shot the series (they shot it on film) they framed it for both 16:9 and 4:3.
The show was always very bright and colorful (most sitcoms prior had been rather dull in terms of "pop" and color) and I can see it transitioning well to BD.
I won't be picking it up because I'm not such a huge fan of the show -- but with 10 seasons I'd rather shows like this have "complete series" releases instead -- like what FOX did with Ally McBeal on DVD... These are already out on DVD and most of the fans have bought them, possibly multiple times... so not surprised they might milk each of the ten seasons again...
WB will probably give this DTS-HD audio too cause it's Friends. They should give their much better shows this kind of treatment like V and Human Target. Friends who gives a crap about Friends? And I agree with the fat girls unite comment that was just classic, man, just classic!
Great, I stopped getting friends after the first 4 seasons because I was starting to get into Blu-ray, and I just thought "this is going to be released on BD one day, why waste money now?" and as small as the change would be, my OCD tells me I need the BEST version.
I'd prob pass on this unless the complete series hit a good price. I have all the DVD seasons bought individually. I rarely watch them b/c it's on TNT or TBS. It looks like crap in HD by the way (at least on TNT/TBS). I can't believe how dull the picture is. "Seinfeld" started before "Friends," and that show looks great in HD.
I don't understand all the crapping a lot of titles get. I have no interest in owning Friends on Blu-Ray but there are people out there who do. Some people seem to think their taste is the only one that matters. Friends was a #1 show in the ratings and was massively popular. I didn't care for it but obviously the masses did. If you don't like the show, don't buy it, others will. I see people crap all the time if a movie they didn't like is announced, forgetting some people out there might want it. After all, no one is obligated to own every Blu-Ray ever released.
I hate rumors. I won't feel at ease until there is some straight facts or announcement from the studio. I've been waiting for friends on blu-ray for well over a year. I hope they finally do it this year. Either Friends or Seinfeld, both are must own for me.
tilallr1 - 1 day ago
"Will it be totally remastered from original film taken from the show? Also, re-framed for widescreen? That might make it worth it."
Cropping Friends is as stupid idea as Jim Cameron's lastest ideas.
insomniac013 - 1 day ago
"Okay, first of all: Does anyone REALLY want Friends in HD? A 4:3 framed, relatively dull looking sitcom, that mainly takes place indoors? WHY?? It's just pointless!"
Why do you own a BD player? I own it for better picture and better sound than DVD, both of which Friends BDs could have after being properly rescanned and remastered. What does the aspect ratio got to do with it?
I've seen several episodes of this show because my ex used to watch it. I never laughed once. It is sickeningly stupid. Nobody...EVER....has acted the way the assclowns on that show did. Anyone who laughs at that utter inanity is just as moronic as the people who created it.
Wasn't ER the first show that was broadcast in letterbox? I'm pretty sure it was, right from the first episode. TNT sucks ass and has a demographic of mummies, that's why they rebroadcast in 4:3.
Well, like a few people that have their comments hidden, I didn't like Friends at all, so I'll pass on getting the Blu-Ray. With that said, though, I'm not opposed to the show getting a release. The show was popular enough that there's a chance the Blu-Ray will sell well, meaning we could see other catalog TV shows get the Blu-Ray treatment as well.
As far as the aspect ratio goes, frankly, I'd rather they kept it in the 4x3 aspect ratio it was aired in, rather than reframe it or crop it. I wouldn't want Warner Brothers (or any other studio, for that matter) to release any shows I liked on Blu-Ray in any other aspect ratio that what it was aired in. It's the same thing as cropping films for pan & scan.
I hope this happens! And they better release it in the 16:9 ratio I've seen the Germany episodes in. IMO, a widescreen TV should display widescreen shows & movies. If they release this on Blu-ray with the original 4:3 ratio, I won't be buying!