I rented this instead of buying it. First disc has all five episodes of 'season' one, the next three have season two.
The packaging could use some work, it looks so generic and the photo is obviously taken from their later years. But that's just the box, the DVD's are VERY well done. Everything is restored, there's an easter egg on one disc that has a restoration demo and the only complaint I have is that they may have sharpened things a tad too much. Basically the quality's better than anything you'll see in syndication.
The bonuses are really complete and cool, they include EVERYTHING, from introductory promos of re-runs they aired during their fourth season, when they really took-off in the ratings (for some reason, these promos are low-quality from bad dubs. I guess they never saved the masters because they were just promos), all the commercials promoting the show, even things you don't see in syndication like the original music/theme on the first show, things like audio and shots that were re-done or re-dubbed for continuity (Newman was originally voiced by Larry David - long story that involves casting an Afro-American actor as Newman but was cut before shooting, but basically Newman was heard before ever appearing, and when that happened, it was Wayne Knight).
Easter eggs are mostly to be complete, but the one interesting one is a mini-documentary about a show that was written by Larry Charles where Elaine gets a gun. They mention one line where Elaine jokes with someone, "Where do you want it? You want the Lincoln (to the head) or the McKinley (to the back)?" They barely went through a reading and everyone at the table basically agreed this wasn't going to be filmed.
Commentaries are only available on some episodes, which is good, because it didn't seem like they had THAT much to say about each episode, and most of what they did say could've been applied to every episode - how they can tell Jerry is trying to remember his lines, acting techniques, etc.
Deleted scenes weren't bad, only a few, and the outtakes weren't bad. A few hilarious jokes from the stand-up material were left out, like the joke about being a ref for pro wrestling (think about it, you're refing a sport with no discernible rules of any kind. "You want to hit him with a chair? Okay...")
Best is the subtitles. They have 'notes' that explain EVERYTHING you could've possibly wanted to know about each episode, and the recurring stuff they do is GREAT. They go through the trouble of identifying guest actors, even those for minor characters with one or two lines, talking more about them, even going into their OTHER work before and after doing Seinfeld. They also COUNT every relationship encounter EVERY major character has, EVERY Kramer entrance, EVERY cameo by a stand-in who was with the show through its whole run and was always used as an on-camera extra in every episode...they will do this for the whole DVD series. Talk about detailed.
The best thing about the first package is that it traces every step of the way of Seinfeld's genesis, and it's so casual and dry, it's amazing it was ever a hit show. EVERY decision, rating, discussion after airing, even discussion as to which episode to air first (they didn't air them by production chronology) is detailed because everyone actually reflected NBC's feeling of whether to stick with the show. I got the feeling they had nothing else better to do so they just went with it...OVER and OVER again. No one, not even the optimistic, seemed to ever think it was going to be a hit show, or even last that long.
And after you see all the episodes, you can see why. There's maybe four or five good episodes here. Elaine's dad meeting Jerry and George, the pony remark episode, the Chinese restaurant...I can't think of the rest. The other episodes have a few good laughs, but they're usually off-the-cuff sarcastic remarks - "I had a friend who went on vacation (on the change he saved)." "Where'd he go, an arcade?" - and otherwise are mediocre. Even if you can clear your head of the other Seinfeld episodes and try to imagine watching them when they first aired, I guess you can say they're better than most of the crap that was on TV, but on their own terms, they're not that great.
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