Sex and the City: The Complete First Season on DVD

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth. Various directors. Aspect ratio: 4:3 (full-screen). Dolby Digital 2.0. 364 minutes. 1998. HBO Home Video 99330. NR. $39.98.

Sex and the City is one of HBO's genuine triumphs—a compellingly watchable sitcom that follows the travails of four thirtysomething single women as they attempt to cope with the changing rules of sex in the 1990s.

Based on the book (and the columns that inspired it) by Candace Bushnell, the show is witty, tightly written, extremely New York–centric, and drop-dead gorgeous. The production values are high, and the city of New York is so central to the plots that it deserves an actor's credit.

Each episode deals with a different dating dilemma: the modelizer (a man who dates only models), the secret affair (in which your friends never meet your significant other), requests for kinky sex—even the age-old question "How many dates until you put out?" gets kicked around. Admittedly, these aren't earthshaking plot points, but the vivid dialogue and unfettered girl talk have the ring of truth and go a long way toward redeeming the episodes. When they're on target, they rank among the funniest television being produced today.

The 12 episodes collected here (along with a short "making-of" feature) should provide a good season's worth of entertainment. I watched them over the course of a week, which proved too much, too soon; spread over three months, they'd probably retain their freshness and sparkle.

This DVD has good two-channel sound, but its real selling point is its phenomenal picture clarity. Cable never looked like this!