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EXTRAS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
This box set stars Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in all 12 hilarious episodes from series 1 and 2 plus The Special TV movie.
In series 1, Andy Millman is a struggling actor who dreams of fame and critical acclaim.
In series 2 Andy's sitcom has been commissioned by the BBC and things are looking up.
The final Special reveals that although Andy has achieved a degree of fame and fortune, acclaim and respect are proving elusive. Cameo performances by Hollywood's finest are featured throughout this collection as well as DVD extras including Behind the Scenes, deleted scenes, outtakes and audio commentaries.
I had never seen Extras before. Somehow when it was on the TV I missed it; probably because my wife was watching something on the other side. Perhaps it was because the thought of Ricky Gervais gurning out of the TV was enough to put me off. Who can say.
So, when I received this copy of Extras: The Complete Collection, I put it on with not exactly high hope. I can honestly say all preconception I had about Extras was blown out of the water.
The concept of a bunch of extras, working with well-known celebs on movies and TV as a sitcom is novel to say the least, and well away from the tried and trusted formats that usually revolve around family or friends living together. And to me, it works well.
Particularly enjoyable were the Celebs parodying themselves for the sake of this sitcom: Ross Kemp, Samual L. Jackson, Robert DeNiro, Orlando Bloom and plenty of others. Sometimes they are the comics themselves, sometimes they are the comic backdrop that allows extras to shine. This is a particularly novel approach, and this may be what elevated Extras to the higher echelons than perhaps it would have done ordinarily.
Both seasons of Extras are quite stunning. One can see the characters and storyline evolve between the first and second series providing a greater depth in the characters themselves and at times you can predict what may happen (and sometimes I have been wrong) but this doesn't always happen in quite the same manner as you might expect.
My only minor gripe (and it is so minor, that it is hardly worth mentioning) is that Ricky Gervais does seem to play the same type of character as David Brent in The Office. One has the same gurning, the same silly expressions and the dialogue is remarkably similar. I don't suppose it is enough to put anyone off buying it - and why should it? Ricky Gervais is a little one-dimensional as an actor, but a far better writer.
The 'Extra' Extras is packed full of outtakes, deleted scenes and other things to tickle your funny bones.
All in all, this Complete collection is far more complete than many other so-called complete collections. I mean, you have the two series on two disks, and 3 DVDs packed with the specials you wouldn't normally see - making it excellent value for money and I can be safe in saying that it will be a welcome gift under the Christmas tree.
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"I like to pick up hitchhikers. When they get in the car I say, "Put on your seat belt. I want to try something. I saw it once in a cartoon, but I think I can do it."