I didn’t realize until watching the first disc of Seinfeld – The Complete 8th Season how ultimately futile my efforts were going to be sitting through this set. It’s Seinfeld, on DVD and loaded with extras. There’s really no higher endorsement you can give a DVD than by saying it “it’s Seinfeld.”
Still, that wouldn’t make for a good review to just say that. The eight season of Seinfeld quickly picks itself up from the seventh season finale and dusts itself off and prepares for another immaculate run of twenty-two episodes. There’s no doubt that the eight season, while a bit “goofier” in some respects, largely due to Larry David’s guiding hand having left the show, is one of Seinfeld’s more entertaining seasons. The season houses two of the biggest fan favorites, “The Yada Yada” and “The Bizarro Jerry” which hold up even to this day. Also present is the strong continuity that show continues to run with, with episodes referencing back to each other with throw-a-way lines that only the loyal viewers would get. There isn’t a single dry moment in this season and I found myself watching episode after episode without realizing the time whizzing by (I had quite literally started at about 6pm and when I glanced down at the clock it was past 1am). It’s also because of this the whole season is now a single blur in my head, but it was without a doubt one of the more enjoyable DVD experiences I’ve had this year.
Those who have picked up past seasons of the show know exactly what to expect from these DVDs and the eighth season is no different. Packed onto four discs inside thin-pak cases inside a sleeve that is inside a slipcase, the packaging matches the past seasons perfectly. My one complaint about some other TV shows releases is the use of the thin-paks with no backing, leaving the cases ample room to fall out, but Seinfeld rectifies this qualm with the extra slipcase. Some may find it unnecessary, but I see it as a necessary addition.
Now that I’ve yada-yada’d about the packaging longer than anyone should have, we can move onto the discs themselves. All of the content is placed onto menus that mirror specific areas of the more popular episodes of the season and the special features are easily some of the best I’ve seen on a TV show release. While not all episodes have commentary, at least half of each disc contains “Inside Looks” into certain episodes. These “Inside Looks” cover every aspect of the episodes and include interviews with cast and crew and what’s left off is covered on the commentaries, which are in-depth and almost as entertaining as the episodes themselves.
The behind-the-scenes documentary for this set covers Jerry Seinfeld’s increasing concerns over the show due to Larry David’s leaving and how he (and the cast and crew) dealt with the new found senses concerns and freedom. It’s a great look at the show and this season in general and well worth watching if you want to catch up on your Seinfeld history.
“In the Vault” gives us plenty of deleted scenes from the episodes that have never been seen before. Like most deleted scenes, there is some that was clearly cut because the material didn’t work, but most of it is just worth watching merely for the fact that it’s more Seinfeld. “Sein-Imation” is perhaps the most uninteresting extra on the set, as it’s merely Seinfeld put to animation. It reminds me of Dennis Leary’s Shorties Watchin’ Shorties that ran on Comedy Central for awhile…and even then I didn’t find it funny. “Notes About Nothing” runs throughout the episodes and gives up some neat extra behind-the-scenes info on the episodes.
One of the things I cherish most about DVD sets is the blooper reels. The one included in Seinfeld’s eight season is no slouch, as it runs nearly the length of a full episode. There’s something about seeing people flub their lines and the ensuing torrent of profanity that ensues that never ceases to amuse me. By the end of this blooper reel I was nearly in tears—there’s some great stuff and it’s funny to see just how often Julia Louis-Dreyfus ended up laughing during filming. I’m sure those who have been watching past seasons of Seinfeld are used to seeing the dialogue gaffes, but this is my first time watching Seinfeld on DVD, so it only served to amuse me more.
On the video and audio front the show has never looked and sounded so great. The videos been re-mastered in high definition, so it looks as clean as it ever will, though getting close up on the video does show some compression and I did notice slight ghosting in some sequences, but other than that the video and audio are remarkable, which is good as the latter half of the season features a huge amount of guest stars that are now that I had to do a double take on. It’s amazing how many girlfriends Jerry had in the final two discs of this DVD set.
Overall this set is hard to pass up. Be forewarned though—if you’re like me and end up picking up the eight season of Seinfeld for whatever reason, you will end up purchasing the rest of the series. Once you buy one set, it’s hard to resist buying the rest. True, you could just watch the show in syndication but the DVD sets offer up so much more content that you can’t get from just watching the episodes. Either way, regardless if you own the past seasons or not, Seinfeld – Season 8 comes Highly Recommended.
Seinfeld – Season 8 arrives on DVD June 5th.