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Comic Strip Presents: The Complete Collection DVD Review

Comic Strip Presents- The Complete Collection DVD

“Comic Strip Presents” is strictly for fans of the British comedy troupe.

In case you aren’t familiar with “Comic Strip Presents,” it can be best described as an alternative comedy series. It’s not exactly a sketch comedy series as every episode is something new. Each of the 38 episodes (and the 90 minute movie “The Supergrass”) is essentially only one long scripted skit. The subject matter of the episodes involve spoofs of Beatniks, heavy metal band, students, chat shows, porn, a teacher, westerns, a thief, gangs, “Rebecca,” a miner’s strike, criminals, a resort, the adventures of a security service driver, fake Hollywood movies, Oxford, a family feud, a clown, a soccer player, a turkey (don’t ask), aliens, the Devil, and married couples.

Right away, it is evident that the cast of “Comic Strip Presents” is incredibly talented. Film and TV fans will notice many actors and actresses who have gone on to have major careers such as Robbie Coltrane, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Jennifer Saunders, Keith Allen, Nigel Planer, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson and Alexei Sayle. With all of that said, “Comic Strip Presents” isn’t exactly their finest hour.

Like any sketch or similarly related comedy show, ‘Presents’ is highly uneven. For every amusing episode like “The Silence of the Lambs” parody “Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase” or the western centric “A Fistful of Travellers’ Cheques,” there are profoundly weird episodes like “The Yob” or obscure parodies of series like “The Famous Five” (as with the first episode). Sometimes it seems like the comedy troupe is making the material feel too much like an inside joke. This, in turn, makes it hard to connect with the series at times as you feel left out of the jokes.

Note: This set bills itself as the “Complete Collection,” but it should be noted that the 2 episodes “…Sex Actually,” “The Hunt For Tony Blair,” and the other movie “Eat The Rich” are missing.

Video/Audio:

All but 2 episodes and the movie are presented in fullscreen and, for the most part, the footage varies in quality as the episodes are from different eras. A lot of the episodes are a bit rough looking as the colors have faded, but the more recent episodes look clean enough.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track isn’t going to win any awards, but all of the dialogue is audible enough to satisfy fans.

Extras:
* “The Comic Strip: A Retrospective”- A 53 minute documentary containing interviews with most of the cast, clips, behind-the-scenes stories, etc.
* “First Laugh On Four”- A 2 part documentary that contains interviews with the whole cast chatting about the series. Truthfully, these documentaries are more entertaining than the actual series.
* “The Comic Strip”- The 1981 half hour movie that launched the series.

Summary: I’m sure “Comic Strip Presents” has a loyal fanbase, but it’s not my jam. Fans of British comedy may want to give it a rent, but I can’t recommend it to anyone outside of that.

April 20, 2013 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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