Extras-Complete Second Series (2007)
Featurette-Making Of-Extras Backstage
Featurette-The Art of Corpsing
Featurette-Taping Nigel II: The Gimpening
|Year Of Production||2007|
|Running Time||171:35 (Case: 282)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Following up The Office was never going to be an easy task for Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, but the pair managed to go from strength to strength with Extras. The first series of Extras was a very good, but in this second series the show truly makes the leap from good to great.
The hapless Andy Millman (Gervais) was a lowly extra whose career had been constantly sabotaged by his incompetent agent, Darren Lamb (Stephen Merchant), who was far more interested in finding work for "Barry from Eastenders" (Shaun Williamson). At the end of the first series, Andy managed to successfully pitch a sitcom idea to the BBC. This second season sees Andy make his sitcom, When the Whistle Blows, a commercial success, though a critical failure, and begrudgingly sell out all his artistic integrity. Meanwhile, his long-time friend and fellow extra, Maggie (Ashley Jensen), continues life as an extra.
Each episode features one or more guest stars, playing themselves, around whom much of the comedy revolves.
On paper it sounds like a pretentious vanity project, but Extras couldn't be further from it. There could not be a more poignant satire in this world where tabloid fascination of the private lives of celebrities is so rife.
The only real flaw of the first series was its tendency to be a little formulaic. Each episode was set during the making of a different film or show and we saw a variety of guest stars parody themselves backstage. Realising the limitation of this formula, the second series follows much more of a story arc between the episodes and jettisons the formula of the first series. Celebrities get the opportunity to lampoon themselves anywhere and everywhere - on set, at awards ceremonies, in hospitals. The resulting episodes are more varied, easier to relate to and, most importantly, funnier than those of the first series.
The episodes in this series are:
Whilst Andy is coming to terms with how broad and "lowest common denominator" his sitcom is becoming as they film the pilot episode, Maggie is an extra in a courtroom drama featuring Orlando Bloom. In between trying to convince himself that everyone likes him better than Johnny Depp, Orlando becomes infatuated with Maggie as she is the only woman on set not fawning over him. Meanwhile, Andy runs into some problems when TV presenter Keith Chegwin joins the cast of his show.
After Andy is recognised by oddballs whilst at the local pub, Andy, Maggie, Darren and "Barry" head to a nearby club that allows a little more discretion to celebrities. Andy's VIP status at the new club doesn't last long, however, as he is out-VIPed by David Bowie.
Andy has a bit part in a new fantasy film starring Daniel Radcliffe, who turns out to be a desperate teen trying to seduce any woman on set (including Maggie and Diana Rigg). In-between filming, Andy takes Maggie out for a meal and accidentally insults a disabled kid which lands him in all the tabloids. A series of further mix ups wind him in the papers again for fighting with dwarf actor Warwick Davis.
After Chris Martin from Coldplay makes a painfully contrived guest appearance on When the Whistle Blows, Andy is nominated for a BAFTA. At the BAFTA award ceremony, even more things go wrong for Andy than usual. His new action figure drives Richard Briers mad, he falls in with the wrong crowd (namely Ronnie Corbett) and gets embarrassed by an ex-girlfriend (Patricia Potter from Holby City. This episode also features Moira Stuart, Davina McCall, and Stephen Fry.
In an attempt to regain some artistic credibility and critical respect, Andy stars in an artsy homo-erotic play being directed by Ian McKellan. All is going well enough until Andy discovers that a number of old school friends will be in the audience on opening night, watching the incredibly straight Andy make out with another man. Meanwhile, Darren and Maggie go on a date.
Trying to shed the image of his sitcom and avoid his bumbling agent, Andy launches into self-promotion in the media and becomes good friends with Jonathon Ross in the process. Trying not to get fired, Darren promises Andy a meeting with Robert De Niro. Based on past experience, Andy doesn't believe him. Meanwhile, Andy tries to get out of seeing a boy with cancer in the hospital by sending Maggie along, but gets in a game of one-upmanship over the boy with Robert Lindsay of My Family.
The film is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video is of a very high standard. The image is clear and sharp. There is no distracting grain or low level noise noticeable in the episodes. The colour palette is bold and natural. A good level of detail is visible in dark areas and shadows.
There are no noticeable film artefacts at any point (from the look of the show, it seems likely that this was a purely digital transfer). There are no issues with noticeable MPEG compression artefacts visible at any point in the episodes.
English subtitles for the hearing impaired are present and appear to be well timed and accurate, based on the portion that I sampled.
This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs between the third and fourth episodes at 87:11 and is consequently not noticeable.
There is one surround-encoded Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kbps) audio track present.
The dialogue is clear, at a good level in the mix and appears to be well synchronized with the video.
The only music in Extras is the irritatingly bouncy and catchy theme to the show-within-a-show When The Whistle Blows and Cat Stevens' Tea for the Tillerman over the closing credits (and a cover of it by Chris Martin over the credits of the fourth episode) . This deliberate avoidance of a score and incidental music helps maintain the fly-on-the-wall style of the show.
There is modest prologic surround usage in the soundtrack that enhances the background environmental sounds in the show. Though the dynamic range in the soundtrack is quite good, there is no discernable subwoofer usage. Then again, there really isn't any need for any subwoofer in this particular show.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras on Extras (must try to resist puns!) are top notch and are plentiful enough to fill a single sided disc. The video quality on these featurettes is not quite up to the standard of the show itself, however, and occasionally displays mild MPEG compression artefacts such as pixelation.
6 backstage featurettes, one based around each episode, that each run for about 10 minutes. Each consists of interviews with both the principal and guest cast, along with backstage footage from the episodes. Each featurette features plenty of funny anecdotes to do with production as well as other amusing nonsense. These featurettes are well worth watching.
"Corpsing" is actor slang for getting the giggles while filming. Needless to say, it happened a lot during the filming of Extras and it became a game to try and make other actors corpse without doing so yourself. This brief featurette explains the whole phenomena and shows of plenty of examples picked up from the cutting room floor.
Ricky Gervais has a "special" relationship with his film editor Nigel Williams. Ricky likes to tape Nigel up into embarrassing poses and outfits, with lots of sticky tape, and he likes to tape home movies of it all. This bizarre extra is a collage of some of their greatest collaborations. Yes, this is Ricky Gervais' and friends' home movies. They are a little overlong, but hilarious in an off-the-wall, puerile kind of way.
A collection of fairly amusing outtakes, though it does feel a little like The Art of Corpsing part 2.
A brief Easter Egg can be found by pressing up twice when the menu first appears on the special features disc (an asterisk appears over the left puff of smoke on the menu). It features a panel discussion show tongue-in-cheek slagging off Ricky Gervais and Gervais' concise response to them.
Another Easter Egg, featuring Stephen Merchant and Shaun Williamson dancing in Darren Lamb's office, can be seen by highlighting asterisk on the right puff of smoke on the menu.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1, Region 2 and Region 4 editions of Extras all feature the same content, albeit slightly re-ordered between the two discs in Region 1. I'd suggest choosing the Region 4 edition as it features the original PAL formatting of the show.
Another classic show from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Andy Millman's unfortunate luck will be remembered for years to come. Extras is guaranteed to have anyone looking for more than the odd fart joke wincing with laughter for hours. There may only be 6 episodes in the season, but each bears repeat viewing.
The video quality is excellent. The sound quality is very good. The extras on Extras are plentiful and well worth a watch.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|