DVDs in Review #54: How I Met Your Mother: Season One

Category: , , By Rev/Views

Josh Radnor as Ted Mosby
Jason Segel as Marshall Eriksen
Cobie Smulders as Robin Scherbatsky
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson
Alyson Hannigan as Lily Aldrin
and Bob Saget as The Narrator/Old Ted

The Show:

If I was to sum up "How I Met Your Mother" in a single sentence it would be "It's Friends for the new millennium, but funnier --". HIMYM is a light hearted sit-com build around a simple principle, it's a story told in retrospect by Father Ted Ted -- father -- to his son and daughter about how he met their mother. Unlike most people who've told a similar story about how they met their partner Ted likes to start from the beginning, or at least a beginning. As a consequence his children have been sat in their chairs listening to him drone on for about three and a half years now, needless to say they often look bored and unimpressed. But you certainly won't be either while watching this comedy offering.

The first season begins with Ted's initial decision to go out and discover Mrs Right-for-him, a decision which was brought about by two of his best friends Marshall and Lily got engaged. Despite his other best friend Barney's attempts to dissuade him from this path Ted meets the beautiful Robin and he decides to take a risk with her. But fate has a different path in mind for him.

HIMYM describes itself as "A love story in reverse" and while that is certainly the core concept behind the show it's not taken too far. The flashback nature of the show is used well, often teasing information about the potential identity of the mother to the viewers or hinting at events due to arrive later in the show. As a consequence this show has a solid chronology and a genuine sense of passing time, this is unusual as many sit-coms feel 'timeless' and frozen in their era.

Neil Patrick Harris is the stand out performance of the cast, he's consistently funny as the permanent bachelor and rampant womanizer Barney Stillson, he also provides the vast majority of the catchphrases and amusing side stories/stunts and performs them with Neil is an accomplished actor but he's not the only stellar member of the cast. Both Jason Segal and Alyson Hannigan are superb as the newly betrothed Marshall and Lily, Marshall is essentially a large boy in a man's situation -- clinging to his childhood while trying to confront the pressures and demands of modern life -- while Lily is normally the voice of sanity and observation in the group, normally.

Cobie Smulders is fantastic as the Canadian love interest/friend Robin, showing a genuine talent for comic timing and a willingness to make a fool of herself. As such it's only Josh Radnor as Ted who suffers in the show, he's often stuck with the straight man/sensible/boring role around which the more serious situations rotate. He's not bad in it, but he's just stuck with a semi boring role (much like Ross in Friends).

HIMYM is a great modern comedy with a lot to like, it's light-hearted fast paced and highly enjoyable. The first season is filled with great episodes and hilarious moments which will have you shouting "Suit Up!" at any suitable moment. The only annoying thing for those of us in region 2 is the lack of any later seasons being released on DVD so far.

The Other Stuff:

The Packaging:
The first season set is a wide plastic DVD case which holds all three discs, this case is contained in a cardboard dust cover which has an exact duplication of the case cover on it. This is a little redundant, but as I'm a fan of cardboard I shouldn't complain too loudly.

The front and back covers themselves are rather simple in design. They do the job and I'm rather fond of the clever lips sofa used on the front and the beer mat on the back. Nice reminders of two major facets of the show -- drinking and "relations".

The Extras:
There are just a few smatterings of extras provided in this set, there is audio commentary on a few of the episodes -- I can confirm that this commentary is excellent and entertaining. A Video Yearbook featurette, a Happy Hour Blooper Reel and two selected montages of scenes. Nothing amazing, but they're still worth a look, especially the commentaries and bloopers.

The Details:
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 (cropped from original Widescreen format)
Rating: 12
Region: 2 PAL
Runtime: 462 mins
Sound: English 5.1
Subtitles: English, Swedish

The Price:
As always I am surprised and pleased to be able to say that it's actually HMV who has the lowest price out of the normal sites I check. They have it at £13.99 which is a respectable 3 ppm.

The Final Word:

Neil Patrick Harris... I mean, Neil Patrick Harris... COME ON! It's Legendary! Seriously, suit up, go out and get yourself a copy.

And in case you're not convinced, here's a "Best of season one video", naturally spoilers abound!


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