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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Britcom > The Complete Black Books (British TV Sitcom/BBC DVD)

The Complete Black Books (British TV Sitcom/BBC DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Episodes: B-



The mom and pop bookstore is almost as much in jeopardy as the mom and pop bakery, both staples of a healthy society disappearing at a disturbing rate.  Chains and processed food, along with processed commercial books that say nothing only hurt a society in the long run.  That is why the premise of the Britcom Black Books is so appealing, a comedy about the happenings in such a book store owned by Bernard Black (Dylan Moran) who is miserable, unhappy and is not in the best of moods… ever.


As he becomes less grateful for what he does have, become more of an alcoholic and has an assistant (Bill Bailey as Manny) that only increases his odd behavior because her is even weirder makes for a zany comedy.  Though it can be uneven and go off the deep end so often that many opportunities for big laughs are squandered, which is why the show only lasted three seasons/series.  Now, BBC DVD has brought together all three in a DVD set dubbed The Complete Black Books.


The show ran from 2002 to 2004, logging up 18 half-hour shows.  For fans of comedy, Britain, wittiness, books and wackiness, you might find this a show you’ll really enjoy.  Throw in Tasmin Greig as the unstable Fran and you’ll want to give this a chance if you like comedy.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is consistent throughout the three seasons and looks good for HD recording, but has its motion blur issues.  Still, they have some character to their look, which is more than can be said for many theatrical feature film productions lensed the same way.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is simple and clean, with no surrounds, but dialogue is usually just fine.  Extras include preview trailers for later seasons on the earlier ones, stills and outtakes on all three volumes, cast commentaries on the first two, deleted scenes on the last and Bernard’s Letters on the last.


All in all, this is more than amusing enough to take a look, but if you are not certain, try the first volume, sold separately.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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