No. 42 - How Not to be Seen
Fri, 23 March 2007
by: Australian Ninja
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So epic is this Trilogy that we dare speak its name only in hushed voices.
So dark are the comedic arts used to craft this arcane DVD tome of lore, that surely only a deal with the devil could produce such an abomination - and woe to thee who does not succumb to its enchanted powers of laughology.
It would be known only as 'The Black Books'
"Manny, the hair, it needs to come off!"
You may notice the title of this review refers to a 'Trilogy' and not to any specific season of Black Books.
Why? Because all three seasons have been re-released in one handy dandy slim box-set, that's why. And if you are a sane little monkey then you best be pickings ones up for your own enjoyment unless you have it already, which you might.
But if you're reading these words in the hopes of learning how to be a voodoo death doctor, I'll find out! So don't try it.
I was in the process of reviewing all three series of Black Books, one DVD at a time but then along came this repackaged edition and blew that idea out of the water.
"Come on then, Ming the Merciless",
|Starring Dylan Moran as the 'Man Without Pants' |
All together Black Books ran for three seasons. Each season contained six episodes, and if I remember my times tables correctly, three times six equals 18 episodes in total. And yes I use the British 'series' and American 'seasons' interchangeably, they mean the same thing in regards to TV on DVD.
The original releases of Black Books contained the episodes, some out-takes and an audio commentary on Season One by Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig.
"You know what you are? You're a beard with an idiot hanging off of it!"
New to this repackaged re-release of all three seasons: Commentary on season two, 'Black Dolls', 'Bernard's Letter', all new excellent menu screens, deleted scenes, out takes for seasons two and three.
None of these extras make it worth buying a second time if you already own season two or three, but they are all good.
First up, the commentary on season two is a crack up. Definitely worth listening to [as is the season one commentary]. Basically the three main actors who play Bernard, Manny and Fran take the piss out of the show. Especially Dylan Moran, he swears frequently and criticises the show mercilessly.
"Who writes this drivel? Oh, it was probably me."
But it's all in good fun, and moments like Tamsin Greig going
"Oh here it comes, you can see my nipples in this shot, there they are!"
are hilarious and show that none of the 'actors' take themselves too seriously.
"I can't get too hot Bernard, I've got, I've got… Dave's syndrome."
'Black Dolls' is an amusing five minute show starring the puppets from the series three premiere 'Manny Come Home' where Manny works in a rival bookshop for Simon Shaun of the Dead Pegg.
|Guest starring Tamsin Greig as the 'Bitter Resentful Old Crone' |
Here, a 'Fran' doll is added to the Manny and Bernard dolls inside the doll house, and each is voiced by their respective counterpart.
It plays out just like the banter of any typical episode, except it's about 20% more insane due to the use of puppets in lieu of actors.
'Bernard's Letter' is another five minute or so distraction. Shot all in black and white with classical music playing in the background, Bernard is writing a letter, and doing a voiceover for his 'thoughts' as he writes the letter, with cigarette smoke wafting around. Apparently he has written a novel and been rejected by the publisher. So he vents his frustration by writing a letter basically saying that "I am rejecting your rejection letter"
It's suitably classy in how it is filmed and good for a bonus laugh.
"Look, there's an elephant. Oh no! He's lost his balloon."
At the super-cheap price of $30 for all three seasons [some stores charge up to $50] of Black Books in one fancy pants cover, it's just a steal - I mean this is what you would normally pay for each individual season, but here you get all three with new menus screens plus some decent bonus features and out-takes.
So if you don't already own Black Books - the best British comedy of this decade -now is the perfect time to pick it up. Shame on you if you don't.
If you don't like Black Books, then your brain is probably broken and nothing can help you. Well somebody had to say it.
"Bernard, I ate all your bees!"
|Special appearance by Bill Bailey as the 'Upperclass Twit of the Year' |
I'll leave you here with the 'introduction' written inside the DVD cover by Dylan Moran;
"This complete box set gathers together all nine hundred and fourteen episodes of the acclaimed documentary 'Black Books.' From the moment Ishmael finds the magic fleece in the golden ring we know we are in for a rollercoaster ride of hellz-a-poppin fun. And hey - what's a little breakfast nudity between such spirited protagonists as Dex, Taffy and Munkle, their trustworthy chimney sweep / computer genius / psychic.
Throughout their adventures in the parallel universe known as FlinpF-9, we laugh along as their small intestines shrink in the forbidding nitrous atmosphere. Not until King Pizzle unmasks the dread Triton of Ultragong will order be restored to the peaceful peoples of Wilberbilberwer. It's up to Dex, Taffy and Munkle and YOU ... Vote now for your favourite thing and you too, could win a thing.
© Dylan Moran
by: Australian Ninja
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More articles by Australian Ninja
You'll come for the Black Book, you'll stay to see the beard with an idiot hanging off of it eating bees.