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2 reviews in total 
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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
An Opening Salvo of Mediocrity, 27 July 2012

Friends is over-bloated by quick punch-lines and a soap-opera style plot line that is heavily indebted to Seinfeld for its conversational approach to hot topics like sex and relationships and for a story that actually develops and introduces a slew of guest appearances under the guise of "dates". Jennifer Anniston comes off very underwhelming and never really sells the rather boring and cliché lines she is given to explain her leaving at the altar and moving into the apartment bloc. The show would start to find its niche and chemistry in later seasons, but this first episode showed enough potential for NBC to bite on it. This is very forced and very unrealistic stuff, not as brilliant or hard-hitting as some would like us to believe. Very humble origins indeed.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A brilliant introduction, 6 February 2012

A tour de force for Ian McShane, who brings to life one of the great characters of television ever conceived from his first appearance, setting the tone for the show itself. A true three dimensional figure of Al Swearengen, written and acted to brilliance. Lays most of its chips on set pieces and snippets that generally take place in saloons and hotels and make use of natural light and wonderful set making to give it a gritty and primal feel. Keith Carradine does a magnificent job of recreating Wild Bill Hickock thanks to a fantastically researched costume and research team that has truly created an artistic work of serious significance. Beyond the gritty vocabulary and dirty sets is a load of substance and historical accuracy that gives full range to the genre and goes beyond almost anything this side of Sergio Leone. Smart, witty, involving and complex. Takes a few viewings to really digest and pick up all the wonderful attention to detail, the brilliant background action (i.e. 19th century dentistry). A lot of foreshadowing and use of close-ups to insinuate meanings and imply past tensions between characters. Very well written and smartly cast and executed.