'Seinfeld' gets its yada yadas out

Complete-series DVD set offers new interviews, bonuses

One of the most popular TV series of all time is about to go out with a bang — again.

When "Seinfeld" went off the air in May 1998, its two-part finale scored huge ratings, with more than 75 million people tuning in. TV Land paid tribute to the celebrated sitcom about a neurotic New Yorker and his bumbling pals by airing no programming that night in the show's time slot, instead showing a photo of a closed office door.

Now "Seinfeld" is about to end its complete-season run on DVD. Season 9, a four-disc set with all 24 episodes from its final season, will be released Nov. 6 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

That same day, consumers will be able to buy an elaborate boxed set with all nine seasons. "Seinfeld: The Complete Series" weighs in at 32 discs and carries a suggested list price of $283.95. That buys consumers not just all 180 episodes but also a wealth of bonus features, both electronic and physical.

The highlight: a 226-page coffee-table book filled with photos, quotes, trivia and personal reflections from Jerry Seinfeld.

"When the show wrapped, the book, which had taken years to assemble, was privately shared with only the cast and crew," said Marc Rashba, vp marketing at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. "When we were launching the TV-DVD series sets five years ago, we loved it so much, but we took a look, and it was ridiculously expensive to put it out. Now, we reshaped and redesigned it, and we were able to make it happen. It's the first time the public will get to see it."

The book comes with a bonus DVD featuring a first-ever cast reunion round-table discussion with Seinfeld, creator Larry David and co-stars Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards. The hourlong discussion finds the cast and David together again on the ninth anniversary of the series finale.

Other special features in the boxed set include documentaries on all nine seasons, bloopers, deleted scenes, commentaries and more.

"We talked about this from the beginning, when we launched this," Rashba said. "We always knew we wanted to wrap up with something special."

From the start, Sony Pictures' "Seinfeld" DVD season sets were lauded for their innovative special features. Season 9 is no exception, including such novel extras as a restructured version of "The Betrayal," the notorious reverse-playing episode, shown going forward.

Rashba said he and his marketing team are fortunate that the creative talents behind "Seinfeld," including executive producers George Shapiro and Howard West, were intimately involved in each DVD season set as well as the DVD grand finale.

"What's been great is having mostly the same team in place that started planning this five years ago," Rashba said. "When we launched this, no one knew what the TV-DVD market would turn into. We just knew it was one of the most requested shows for DVD. So it's exciting to finish this initial run with a lot of the same team, and a lot of what we talked about in the beginning coming to fruition.

"We're one of the 900-pound gorillas in our world of TV and DVD, and thankfully the fans have been supporting us the whole way through."