DVD Review: Sex and the City Essentials - The Best of Mr. Big
Release Date: February 7, 2006
· Sarah Jessica Parker
· Kim Cattrall
· Kristin Davis
· Cynthia Nixon
by Alex Keen
Published: February 14, 2006
Sex and the City aired on HBO for six years, developed a rabid following, and nationally impacted an entire country's sex life. Since the show originally aired, TBS has begun to show edited reruns, and DVD box sets have sold quite well. Just in time for St. Valentine's Day, HBO has prepared a four disc Essentials set to lure unsuspecting men into purchasing. I've watched all four of the individual discs and will review them in four separate reviews. Each disc holds three episodes, and there are zero special features, booklets, or Easter eggs included.
Sex and the City Essentials - The Best of Mr. Big
Of the four discs in this series, The Best of Mr. Big is easily the best compilation. Fans of the series should be well aware of Chris Noth's cornerstone character, Mr. Big. His character is essential to the series and helps define the central protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw. Devoting one whole disc to this character isn't much of leap, despite the fact that the other discs have their focus on broader concepts.
This disc includes three episodes: "Sex and the City", "Ex and the City", and "I Heart NY". Because the Essentials series is more like a Greatest Hits compilation, these three episodes aren't consecutive. A warning to the viewer: if you have zero knowledge of this series, watching this disc won't make a lot of sense. Individually, they will be entertaining, but because there were literally seasons of storyline between each episode, it would be easy to get confused.
Despite the gaps in this series' core concept, this disc successfully works because it shrinks a larger storyline into a smaller portion. The pilot episode, "Sex and the City" introduces the audience to the idea for this show and became something of a revelation. While the style of the episode would change, the core ideals and focus stuck. Having been only an infrequent fan of the show, I had never seen the pilot and never knew the back story between Carrie and Mr. Big. I enjoyed the episode as a start, but am glad that some of the quirks (random people speaking to the camera) would soon disappear from the show.
The second and third episodes on this disc are two of the best of the entire series. "Ex and the City" focuses on Carrie's continued infatuation with Mr. Big and his recent engagement. "I Heart NY" is a great conclusion to this themed disc because it ends with the potential for a relationship, but nothing is definite. Had this episode been the definitive end of the series, I would have been just fine with Mr. Big leaving Carrie behind, but not completely out of his mind.
Overall, this disc is the best of the series, but it still suffers from flawed planning. Shows like Friends, The Simpsons, and Seinfeld can be watched out of continuity because most of their episodes aren't defined by a long term story. Sex and the City should be watched in succession, whether you are a die hard fan or a cursory one.