Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Season 8 - The Yellow Umbrella Edition DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson 
In the uproarious Eighth Season of “How I Met Your Mother,” the arrival of baby Marvin reminds Marshall and Lily of things they need, like sleep, better jobs and sex! Meanwhile Barney uses his playbook to win over Robin, but not her scary dad. Marshall tries to right a wrong in court in hopes of becoming a judge, and Robin’s past is judged. Ted designs an amazing building, and also has designs on Barney’s half-sister! But does he meet his future wife? Check out all 23 hilarious, legend – wait for it – dary 23 Season 8 episodes, featuring guest stars like Paul Shaffer, Ralph Macchio and Kyle MacLachlan!
Show (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
By the time any show gets this far along, I feel like you have to start with season one. You could easily figure out who the characters are and how they relate to one another but you've just missed too much history to fully appreciate the story.  For those that want to jump in way down the story line, "How I Met Your Mother" centers around a group of thirty something friends living in New York City. Ted Mowsby (Josh Radnor) is an architect and the show often cuts to his future voice (Bob Saget) talking to his two children about how he met their mother. Ted and Robin Scherbotsky (Cobie Smulders) had a serious relationship but it's been made clear that in the future, she is”Aunt Robin” to the children, not their mother. Ted's college roommate Marshall (Jason Segel) and his wife Lily (Alyson Hannigan) are close friends in a group rounded out by the oddly lovable womanizer Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).

In the season 7 finale, Ted's former flame Victoria has run out on her own wedding (to be with Ted) and it's Barney's wedding day. Season 8 picks up right where the previous season left off. Besides the wedding dramas, the big change is that Marshall and Lily are new parents to son Marvin. Marshall and Lily struggle to adapt to their new roles as parents and still remain active in the lives of their closest friends. The pair are sleep deprived and are in need of childcare, parenting advice and Godparents. The perfect nanny is out of their budget and they decide to solve the Godparent issue with a made up game show.

In Season 8 Barney gets engaged, un-engaged and engaged again. Lucky the final engagement is to Robin and we learn that the wedding will bring “the mother” and her yellow umbrella into Ted's life. Barney's character has undergone a lot of changes but we learn more about Robin this season as well. We get to look back at her days as Canadian pop-star Robin Sparkles and see her darker side, Robin Daggers.  In one of my favorite episodes Barney gets jinxed and can't talk. No one will say his name in this funny episode. Simple things like the group's telekinetic conversations are brought back and wouldn't really be understood or that amusing if you jump in at season 8.

Season 8 has many new and returning guest actors including James Van Der Beek, Joe Manganiello, Jason Priestly, Seth Green, Alex Trebek, Ralph Macchio, Paul Simon, Alan Thicke, Alexis Denisof, Peter Gallagher, Chris Elliot, and Bob Odenkerk and Kyle MacLachlan.  This is a show that I expected to end much earlier as I'd thought that we would have met the mother long before now. Over the years I've been surprisingly not annoyed by the lack of answers in this show and I often forget that I was ever waiting for them.  I really liked season 8 because it's not Ted but Barney that is my favorite part of the show. It's a little strange to see Barney thinking about settling down and setting aside his womanizing ways. It will be mildly sad if season 9 truly tames Barney but I hope that even as a one woman man, he will still remain legendary.

Video (3 out of 5 stars)
Fox presents the show on DVD in a widescreen 1.78:1 ratio. I never expect much from a television show on DVD but on the bright side, I'm not usually disappointed. In the darkness of MacLaren's pub, outside on the New York City street, or inside Marshall and Lily's apartment the video quality is sufficient. I don't feel I missed a detail and this isn't a show that really needs to be on Blu-ray (although all things are better on Blu-ray).

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
As with the video presentation for this type of show good enough is....good enough for me. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound contains always intelligible dialogue without adjusting the volume. Subtitles are available in English SDH,French and Spanish.

Extras (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The special features are spread out amongst the three DVD discs. There are two solid and enjoyable commentaries as well as a gag reel and numerous deleted scenes.

Disc One Extras:
  • Deleted Scenes – Deleted Scenes from The Autumn of break-ups, Nannies and Splitsville are available by Episode or with a play all feature.
  • Audio Commentary on Farhampton by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas – The two writers discuss one of the bigger episodes of the season.
Disc Two Extras:
  • Deleted Scenes – Scenes from The Over Correction, The Final Page, Ring Up!, P.S. I Love You and Bad Crazy are available by episode or with play all function.
  • The Making of P.S. I Love You – Robin Sparkles is back in a big episode with Canadian guest stars. Contains behind the scenes footage and interviews.
  • P.S. I Love You – Robin Daggers music video for P.S. I Love You
  • Audio Commentary on The Final Page by Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders and Craig Thomas – Stars and creator/writer discuss the two part episode.
Disc Three Extras:
  • Deleted Scenes – Deleted Scenes from Weekend at Barney's, The Ashtray, The Fortress, The Time Travelers, Something Old, Romeward Bound, and Something New are available by episode or with play all feature.
  • Where We Make Your Mother: Set Tour with Josh Radnor – The actor who plays Ted Mowsby leads a tour of the Fox lot and the How I Met Your Mother set.
  • Gag Reel- Props fail, lines get messed up and the actors crack themselves up in the lengthy gag reel.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
"How I Met Your Mother" is the kind of show viewers will either love or hate. I happen to love it and I'm excited to see where season 9 takes the characters. I do agree that it's probably time to end the series. You can only draw out the mother's reveal so long and eventually the show won't have a point. If anything about Ted, Barney, Lily, Marshall and Robin irritated you in previous seasons I'm afraid to say it's only going to get worse for you. I've grown to love Barney much more than Ted and I enjoyed that this season was often all about Barney. This season brings back many great guest stars from the past and introduces some new ones. It's just as enjoyable as seasons 1-8 and sets up an interesting season 9. Highly recommended to fans of the show, prospective fans should probably start at season 1.

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