Seinfeld isn’t exactly the easiest show to review. It’s almost universally considered one of the best sitcoms ever made and calling it anything less would target the reviewer as an idiot and one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. While those things may be true about me anyway, I thankfully don’t have to worry about them being said about me in relation to Seinfeld, as I’m inclined to agree with all the positive things that were ever said about this show—it really is one of the best sitcoms to ever grace television screens.
With Seinfeld’s ninth and final season we get twenty-four more fantastic episodes (well, one is a clipshow, but still), running straight out of the gate with “The Butter Shave”, a classic episode where Kramer begins shaving with butter and eventually bakes his skin while catching some rays on the apartment roof. The classic image of Kramer as a turkey, waving his wing at Newman, makes its debut in this episode and is undoubtedly one of the biggest stand outs from the series lengthy run. Of course as great as the season begins, it must eventually come to a close with the one-hour “The Finale”, which, even for Seinfeld, is one quirky episode. Seeing an influx of classic one-shot characters return for the court room scene was priceless and despite what the initial reaction to the shows final seconds was after it first aired, it’s clear now that Seinfeld went out on the same note that it started: a high one.
Of course in between the season premiere and the series finale we get a plethora of outstanding episodes, none of which I found to be anything short of absolutely entertaining. While “Serenity Now” may have faltered at times, “The Betrayal” is perhaps one of the funnier episodes of Seinfeld to have ever been made. As a bonus treat, “Betrayal” is presented here on the DVD from “front-to-back.” Of course the charm of the episode was the fact that it was backwards to begin with, so seeing it in the “proper” format left a little to be desired, but still—the more Seinfeld the better, right?
Throughout the entire season we are entertained and I’m continually surprised with just how many episodes of this show I’ve already seen. I never watched it when it was on (I was a wee bit too young), but I’d catch the occasional syndication airing, but never too many—or so I thought. To my surprise (and disappointment) I found that I’d already seen over half of the episodes on this set, making the experience a tad less “fresh.” Of course it didn’t make the episodes any less hilarious; Seinfeld is hilarious no matter which way you cut and how many times you watch it.
Some may still be upset at the series for ending the way it did, but it’s hard to fault Seinfeld for wanting to end it when they did. It was a remarkable show that will undoubtedly live on through its numerous airings in syndication and, of course, on DVD. Like all seasons of Seinfeld, this one is worth owning. It’s the type of show you can watch again and again and really makes superb use of the DVD format, offering the viewer’s way more than just the seasons that are released. Even as a stand-a-lone, however, Seinfeld’s ninth and final season is a must-see and comes Highly Recommended.
As Jerry Seinfeld has said in many interviews since these DVDs have begun releasing, why bother releasing just the episodes on DVD when the DVD format can offer so much more to the fans of the show? This eighth volume makes a clear case for the DVD format, offering the viewer a ton of bonus content, ranging from cast and crew interviews to commentaries to the “notes about nothing”, which graces every episode.
Packaged in the same slip-case and thin-pak style as past seasons, Seinfeld – Season 9 comes with full color inserts for each thin-pak, along with disc art for each character that graces the covers. Backdrops on the interior of the inserts are the same for all four discs—a shot of the courtroom from the series finale. Menus, like past releases, are plays on specific episodes contained on that disc and feature clips from the episodes they represent, whether in video or simply audio form.
The remastered video and audio sound terrific, offering the show in a clarity never seen before. It’s nothing that’ll win technical DVD awards, but it sure is pretty compared to other shows of its age that pop up on DVD.
So now we dip into the thing that makes these DVD releases so worth owning. Right out of the gate we get a healthy amount of extras, including featurettes, commentaries, deleted scenes and the notes about nothing. First up is “The Last Lap” featurette, which talks about this final season and the series finale and the ideas that went behind it, as well as critical and fan reaction. This is a great little extra that gives the viewer plenty of insight into the crazy security that went into keeping the series finale a secret.
“Sein-Imation” makes appearances on the first three discs, while “Yada, Yada, Yada”, “In the Vault”, “Inside Looks” and, of course, “Notes about Nothing” grace all four. The amount of bonus material in this set is astounding, all of which totals up to near thirteen hours of extras. The deleted scenes are an especial treat as they’re almost mini-episodes in of themselves at times and the “Notes about Nothing” is wonderful to have on while watching the episodes—having them on while listening to the commentary is doubly interesting, although trying to pay attention to both is a bit difficult at times.
Residing on the third disc is my favorite aspect of any DVD release, the bloopers. “Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That” seems to collect from all episodes but the season finale, likely due to the secrecy that surrounded it. Still, what’s here is absolutely hilarious and well worth checking out—it’s nice to see that even on the series last season they were able to work in a relaxed environment where flubbing lines and laughing at one another was the norm.
On the fourth disc we have an “Introduction on the Chronicle”, which I assume aired prior to the original episodes airing. It’s short, but nice to have on the DVD.
Past that we have the usual amount of commentaries and inside looks into the episodes, all which detail information about the chosen episodes that was either previously unknown or just worth mentioning again. There’s plenty of extras to watch here, but considering this is the eight volume, fans will know what to expect from the commentaries and other extras—they’re all hilarious and highly entertaining.
As with the eighth season, I found myself watching episode after episode of this season and, before I knew it, I had completed the DVD set. It’s a quick watch and one that is enjoyable through and through. Like the series and the previous volumes, this set comes Highly Recommended. It’s sad that there will be no more volumes of Seinfeld to look forward to, but who knows…maybe someday they’ll all be broke and be forced to do a reunion special.
Seinfeld: Volume 8, Season 9 is now available on DVD.