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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Episodes-Series 1 (2011)

Episodes-Series 1 (2011)

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Released 2-Aug-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Making Of-Making of Extras (18.03)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 214:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jim Field Smith
James Griffiths

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Matt Le Blanc
Tamsin Greig
Stephen Mangan
John Pankow
Kathleen Rose Perkins
Daisy Haggard
Joseph May
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Mark Thomas

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Episodes, a new TV sitcom, has as its tagline the words: "a new British comedy" with the word British scratched out and American inserted. In many ways the fact that this series is neither fully British nor fully American makes it interesting and different but also creates a conundrum when the two types of humour do not match.

     The plotline for the series is pretty straightforward with an interesting twist. Beverley and Sean Lincoln (Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan) are a married couple who are also a successful script writing team for a multiple BAFTA award-winning show Lyman's Boys. At the most recent BAFTA awards they are met by American TV industry heavyweight Merc Lapidus (John Pankow) who regales them with stories of how much he "loves, loves, loves!" the show. He invites them to make it big in Los Angeles where he will get them to adapt it for the American audience and after some nervousness and trepidation the pair agree.

     Once in LA they are given a fast convertible and a fancy house, all part of the trappings of success. Life is looking up! Of course, things are never quite what they seem. The first warning should have been the fake pillars inside their mansion. It turns out that the fancy house is often used as a set for reality shows; it recently hosted a bunch of models. Things take an even more troubling turn when they meet Merc's production crew Carol (Kathleen Rose Perkins) Myra (Daisy Haggard) and Andy (Joseph May). They make it very clear that not only has Merc in all likelihood not seen their show at all, but that they are free to do anything they like with the show as long as it is exactly what Merc wants!

     Rock bottom is hit (actually the first of a few rock bottoms!) when their pre-cast lead actor, Richard Griffiths (Pie in the Sky and the Harry Potter films) comes to town. They are embarrassed to tell him that Merc has asked him to do a reading. It is a pure formality, of course, he already has the part. Undeterred, the veteran actor, who played the lead in the show to great acclaim puts on a brilliant performance for the Los Angeles crew. Unfortunately, they find it too … "English" and ask him to do it in an American accent. For Sean and Beverley the oxygen starts leaking out of the room. He bombs badly. Sean and Beverley are aghast that their lead will not be appearing in the US version of the show but that pales into insignificance when the replacement is suggested - none other than Joey from Friends, Matt Le Blanc!

     This series follows the trials and tribulations, actually mostly trials, as the show gets further and further from the original origins and Sean and Beverley's faith in their abilities as well as their relationship with each other is tested.

     The idea of Hollywood corrupting creativity and changing original material to make it more generic is nothing new. Films like The Player have delved into the dark world of Hollywood studios and Ricky Gervais' series Extras followed the path of a writer dumbing his work down for the masses. Is it any surprise that a TV series about the ups and downs of life for a headmaster at an elite British boarding school needs to get twisted around in order to make sense in America? Perhaps not, there are enough Ivy League colleges around to make the issues pretty much the same whichever side of the Atlantic you are on. The truth is that it makes it funnier to see the idealistic and slightly pompous script writers under siege.

     The big twist in the show is having Matt Le Blanc play himself. Or at least, I should say, play a representation of Matt Le Blanc. The constant theme is that Le Blanc is an oafish and generally unlikable man who is yet possessed of the ability to charm his way through the most difficult situations and is possessed of a keen knowledge of the way the industry works.

     In an early episode there is a debate about whether one of the lead characters, a meek librarian in the British series but a still-hot actress called Morning Randolph in the American series, should be a lesbian. Beverley and Sean argue that it brings poignancy to the relationship between the headmaster and the librarian that he pines for her and she adores him but they can never be together. Le Blanc is brutally frank. The British series ran for four seasons. Friends ran for nine. Do they seriously expect the audience is going to wait around to watch his hockey coach lusting after a woman for eternity when it is a woman he cannot possess? Oh, did I mention that the character of the head of an elite British boarding school became a hockey coach and the show's name changed from Lyman's Boys to Pucks!

     Episodes is a satire on popular television. The series is enjoyable throughout though a justifiable criticism of it is that it tends more towards being clever than genuinely funny. The two leads are excellent in portraying the precious script writing couple and Mad about You alumni Pankow is also devilishly funny as the fear inducing mogul. But acclaim really does belong to Le Blanc who demonstrates what a fine comedy actor he is creating a character of himself that is equal parts cad and charmer. He won a Golden Globe for his performance. A final mention for the excellent Kathleen Rose Perkins who brings poignancy and expert comic timing to the lovably shallow assistant. This series is directed by James Griffiths, an English director, but was created and scripted by David Crane and Geoffrey Klarik, responsible for Mad about You and Friends respectively. That's an awful lot of television comedy mega wattage.

    Episodes has completed a second season and been greenlit for a third. Even those who weren't friends of Friends will enjoy the show.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     Episodes was shot on high-definition digital video. It comes to DVD in a 1.78:1 transfer consistent with the original television aspect ratio. It is 16×9 enhanced.

     As might be expected from a recent television show, filmed with the latest technology, this is a good looking series. The image quality is pretty much crisp and clear throughout. The sections that aren't as clear appear to involve effects shots. It was a genuinely surprising revelation to hear that the series, including Le Blanc's Malibu beach-front house, was shot in the UK. Kudos to the production team as it all looks very LA.

     The colours are clear and vibrant.

     The flesh tones are accurate and the level of detail is pleasing throughout.

    There are no technical defects with the transfer.

    There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Episodes features an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack running at 192 Kb/s. That is a little low for a recent TV show but the truth is that the show consists mainly of dialogue from the centre channels with little opportunity or need for surround sound. Still, I would have liked an increased bit rate to give a bit more depth to the soundtrack.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout.

     Music is by experienced television composer Mark Thomas who scored an Emmy nomination for his jaunty main theme.

    There are no technical defects with the sound transfer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There is only one extra included with this DVD.

The Making of Episodes (18.03)

     This decent featurette introduces us to the cast and crew of the show. Most time is given to David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik and British producer Jimmy Mulville. They talk about the origins of the project and key cast members Matt Le Blanc, Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan discuss their joy at working together. Lightweight but interesting.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.


     The Region B version is identical to the Region 4. The Region 1 misses the extra but gets character bio and 5.1 sound. Let's call it a tie.


     Episodes is another television series that blurs the line between fiction and reality. It is a little too dark and perhaps close to home to be gut-busting funny but it is consistently entertaining.

     The DVD looks good and sounds good although a more expensive soundtrack would have been appreciated.

    The only extra is a little insubstantial.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, November 12, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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