The Office-Series 1 (2001)

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Released 30-Jan-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette
Deleted Scenes-6
Easter Egg-Disc 1: Freelove Freeway
Easter Egg-Disc 2: Who Cares Wins
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 176:21 (Case: 220)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (92:15)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ricky Gervais
Stephen Merchant
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ricky Gervais
Martin Freeman
Mackenzie Crook
Lucy Davis
Ralph Ineson
Oliver Chris
Stirling Gallacher
Sally Bretton
Joel Beckett
Vincent Franklin
Robin Hooper
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $49.95 Music Mike d'Abo


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 Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, in Episodes 4 and 5

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Office was a surprise comedy hit for the BBC. It is constructed as a "mockumentary", showing the politics, relationships and going-ons in a fictitious branch office set in a dreary nondescript English town called Slough. Anyone who has ever worked in an office environment will either cringe with embarrassment watching this or roll on the floor laughing.

    Although we never see the camera crew, the characters all know they are being filmed, because they are perennially self-conscious and occasionally speak to the camera.

    Wernham Hogg is a paper merchant with a number of sales and distribution branches across the United Kingdom. Each branch has a branch manager, some sales reps, accounts personnel and rowdy boys in the warehouse.

    The manager of the Slough branch, David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is the worst kind of boss you can ever get, mainly because he thinks he is funny, everyone's mate, considerate, fair, tolerant, selfless and open-minded, but in reality he is almost exactly the opposite of his perception of himself.

    Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook) is the Assistant Manager and Team Leader, and very full of his own self-importance. He is extremely possessive and territorial, and constantly reminds himself and others around him of his "military" background (he used to be part of the Territorial Army).

    Gareth is frequently teased by the office misfit, sales rep Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman) - who is probably the smartest of the lot except he has resigned himself to his dead-end job.

    The long-suffering receptionist, Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis), has to suffer the indignities of the patronising and borderline sexual harassment of boss David, the puppy-dog affections of Tim, all the while trying to maintain a relationship with warehouse worker Lee (Joel Beckett).

    There are six episodes in Series 1, each lasting approximately half an hour.

Episode1: Downsize (29:43)

    David's boss from Head Office, Jennifer Taylor-Clark (Stirling Gallacher) informs David that the company is "downsizing" and either Slough or the Swindon branch will have to close and merge into the other, depending on which one is less efficient. Even though Jennifer says there will be redundancies, David promises the staff there will be no redundancies, thinking that will make him popular. A new temp, Ricky (Oliver Chris), is introduced around the office - which is also an opportunity for us in the audience to get to know who's who. A fight over a stapler between Tim and Gareth leads to the construction of a "Berlin Wall" of box files. David gets Dawn upset by pretending he is sacking her for stealing office supplies.

Episode 2: Work Experience (29:10)

    Whilst showing Donna (Sally Bretton) around the Office, David is infuriated when he discovers an email containing a doctored pornographic image featuring himself doing the rounds. He enlists Gareth to find out who did it. Gareth immediately uses the opportunity to use one of the meeting rooms as his "office" for conducting Gestapo-like investigations. In the meantime, Jennifer is not impressed when she catches David lying to her regarding making efficiency improvements. Gareth concludes his Spanish inquisition by naming Tim as the perpetrator, but it turns out the person who really did it is (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) none other than David's drinking buddy Chris Finch.

Episode 3: The Quiz (29:25)

    It's Tim's 30th birthday - he gets an FM Hat from Mum, a card from Dawn, and an inflatable erm, appendage, from Lee which predictably leads to lots of jokes from David. It's also Quiz Night, which means Chris Finch (Ralph Ineson) will be visiting. Ricky boasts that he has appeared on "Block Busters" - which leads to a game of trivia one-upmanship between David and Ricky over Dostoevsky. This continues on until the Quiz itself - leading to a battle of wits between David/Chris and Ricky/Tim.

Episode 4: Training (29:13)

    It's training day at Wernham Hogg. Rowan (Vincent Franklin) is the facilitator, but he keeps getting interrupted and undermined by David. Dawn is upset as she's just had a big fight with Lee. David reveals that he was once a singer-songwriter in a band, and the next thing you know, he's got a guitar and is singing some of his songs. He even sings a song "specially written" for Dawn - except it seems more like it's about Princess Diana. Finally, Tim decides that he's had enough, and quits.

Episode 5: New Girl (29:34)

    Donna arrives late at work, and gets her night life quizzed by David. David is interviewing for a secretary and the two candidates are Stuart Foot (Robin Ince) and Karen Roper (Nicola Cotter). Guess which one he chooses? Meanwhile, Gareth holds his Heath and Safety training seminar to an audience of one - Donna. Later on, the team heads off to Chasers, the local nightclub, where Donna's secret boyfriend is finally revealed.

Episode 6: Judgement (29:16)

    David makes Alex redundant, which Alex is not too happy about, and it ends in a session where Alex lectures David and Gareth on the differences between midgets, dwarves, and elves. David tries to persuade Tim to stay, but it goes horribly wrong. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Jennifer arrives to inform David that she's been made partner, but the board has voted to offer David her old job at the expense of sacrificing his branch. He agrees happily, but funnily enough his staff are not quite so happy. However, he later announces he won't be accepting the promotion after all. Wonder why?

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I assume this is the intended aspect ratio, suitable for broadcast on UK Digital TV.

    Although the transfer appears to have reasonable colours and looks very clean, it is plagued with pixelization, often at annoying levels. I wonder whether this is due to an error in the MPEG encoder as I wouldn't have expected high compression ratios to be required. The pixelization is not really noticeable on small screens, but is rather distracting on a large display.

    There is an English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle track. It seems to be reasonably accurate, although it does not really have dialogue attribution.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). For some reason, the layer change does not occur between Episodes 3 and 4 (as I would have expected) but about 3:57 into Episode 4 (Title 4, Chapter 1).

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    What can I say? This is obviously made for TV broadcast, and is very dialogue-focused.

    The opening theme song (by Mike d'Abo) is a light jazzy instrumental, and comes through loud and clear.

    Likewise, there were no problems with understanding the dialogue and there were no issues with audio synchronization.

    The audio sounds somewhat dynamically compressed in that there are no extremely soft nor extremely loud noises in the sound track.

    Needless to say, there is no surround nor subwoofer activity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This is a two-disc set. Disc 1 contains all six episodes and has no extras. Disc 2 contains a featurette and some deleted scenes.

Menu

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced. There is also a menu introduction and menu transitions. The main menu includes background audio.

Featurette - How I Made The Office by Ricky Gervais (39:18)

    This is presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). It mainly features Stephen Merchant (co-writer/director) and Ricky Gervais (co-writer/director) sitting side by side on chairs talking about the series. Ricky seems to be "in character" - or maybe this is his real obnoxious self!

    It also includes interviews with

    This includes excerpts from the TV series, bloopers, deleted scenes, and demo tape. Ricky and Stephen talk about the origins of the TV series, casting, the creative process, various scenes and members of the cast.

    The featurette ends with an "FAQ" section (Frequently Asked Questions) which the pair attempt to answer.

Deleted Scenes-6

    This is a set of deleted scenes, all presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). Each is preceded by a "still" that runs for 0:29 of a flickering fluorescent lamp and a brief text description of the scene and comments from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

Easter Egg (Disc 1) - Freelove Freeway (2:48)

    Hit "Enter" when the phone rings on the main menu and you will be rewarded with David Brent performing this song with his staff. This is presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

Easter Egg (Disc 2) - Who Cares Wins (3:47)

    From the main menu, select "Deleted Scenes." Then select "'Slough' by John Betjeman". Hit "Enter" when the room becomes dark in the submenu. This is the extended version of the training video featured in Episode 4. This is presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

R4 vs R1

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

    This title does not appear to be currently released in Region 1.

Summary

    The Office contains all six episodes from the first season of this cynical comedy about life in a branch office of a paper merchant.

    The video transfer is somewhat pixelated.

    The audio transfer is okay.

    Extras are on a second disc and include a featurette and deleted scenes. There are also two Easter Eggs.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Monday, March 10, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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Comments (Add)
Same as R2... - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!)
Video quality - Anonymous
One of the best comedies ever. - barag
Season 2 going to be released??? - HooverDST