Absolutely Fabulous-Series 2 (1992)

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Released 28-Feb-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Gallery-Photo
Outtakes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 176:48
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (97:11) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bob Spiers
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jennifer Saunders
Joanna Lumley
Julia Sawalha
June Whitfield
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Julie Driscoll
Adrian Edmonson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Smoking Yes, constantly
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits Yes, hilarious in-credits jokes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Absolutely Fabulous is yet another comedy series filmed on the cheap by the British Broadcasting Corporation, and one that I frankly find has gradually less replay value every time I watch it. I suspect that this is due to the childish, often irritating antics of its main characters, because some of the jokes are exceptionally well-written, and the guest appearances by such British comedy alumni as Christopher Ryan certainly lend it a touch of class. I suppose that watching the show occasionally is the best way, because familiarity certain does breed contempt here.

    For those who want a rundown of the basic plot, here it goes: Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) is some kind of baron in the fashion industry, although what she actually does with herself on a day-to-day basis is anyone's guess. Her best friend, Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), also works in the fashion industry, posing as some kind of reporter for a magazine, and sometimes she actually bothers to show up for work. Her daughter, Saffron (Julia Swalha) is the real adult in this triangular relationship, often making apologies to all present for the truly childish antics that her mother puts on from crisis to crisis. They are also frequently visited by a very batty grandmother (June Whitfield) and the occasional ex-husband (Christopher Ryan being one of them), all of whom have their own commentary to share about the life and antics of the anti-hero.

    The list of episodes found in Season Two are as follows:

    This collection of episodes is a little more coherent in terms of storyline than the previous season, but the one limiting factor in its long-term value is how long you can stand two middle-aged women acting like spoiled children. The show constantly walks a fine line between low-brow humour and sheer annoyance, and I do not even recommend watching two episodes back to back. Still, if you found these episodes funny when taken one at a time, then this disc is for you.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    If you've read my review of Absolutely Fabulous, Season One, or any of the Doctor Who releases to date, then you know what comes next. Suffice it to say that this is another show which the British Broadcasting Corporation shot as cheaply as they could, and every hint of their corner-cutting is visible on DVD.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, as one would expect of a show that was obviously never intended to be seen as anything but an analogue broadcast, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.

    The transfer is as sharp as you can expect from a television show that was mostly shot on video, and it certainly looks better on this DVD than any other home format one can mention. The shadow detail is limited, but adequate to the show's needs, and there is no low-level noise.

    The colours usually appear stable and well-represented, but they become a little murky during scenes with a lot of smoke in them, which figure prominently during Birth and Morocco. Minor cross-colouration is occasionally evident in car grilles and striped clothes.

    MPEG artefacts were not noticed in this transfer, although the source materials and programme length do push the disc space to the absolute limit. There were numerous instances of film-to-video artefacts, specifically aliasing, in such places as the edge of a table at 2:56 during Episode Four. Film artefacts were not noticed in this transfer, although I feel certain that I may have missed some during the outdoor sequences.

    The English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles on this disc contain some major variations from the spoken dialogue, making it hard for me to endorse this disc to those who require them.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change taking place during Episode Four at 8:31. This is one of the most conspicuous layer changes I have seen for a long time, placed in the middle of a scene.

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

Audio

    Again, the British Broadcasting Corporation's insistence on filming with a budget that only Lloyd Kaufman would find generous introduces severe limitations into what can be done with the audio.

    There is one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kilobits per second.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at almost all times, although some of the babbling from Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley can get on the nerves. I did not detect any problems with audio sync.

    There is very little music in this series, with the only notable piece being a theme song called This Wheel's On Fire, performed by Julie Driscoll and Adrian Edmonson. Thankfully, the version found on this DVD is the original, almost pleasant-sounding version, as opposed to the one that sounds like it was recorded by a toothless drunk on The Last Shout.

    The surround channels and subwoofer were not used by this soundtrack at all.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, and not 16x9 Enhanced.

Photo Gallery

    This photo gallery is unannotated, and basically a series of shots from the episodes, making it of little interest.

Outtakes

    This featurette, entitled Absolutely Not, is a fourteen minute and four second collection of moments when the actors have fluffed their lines. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this is good for an extra giggle, and probably will remain more endearing in the long-term than the programme itself.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    It seems that information about television series on DVD are not easy to find on American sites. However, there does not seem to be any real difference between this DVD and the version sold in the USA. An extensive search of online retailers also failed to turn up any real difference between this version and the Region 2 version, making the local disc the version of choice.

Summary

    Absolutely Fabulous is good as a "watch occasionally" thing, but I still question how funny it is to have two complete morons acting this way. Still, with some sublime acting by Julia Swalha as the real adult in the mother-daughter relationship, this is still worth watching every now and again.

    The video transfer is reasonable given the source materials.

    The audio transfer is a good representation of cheaply-recorded source materials.

    The extras are sparse.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Sunday, March 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

Other Reviews
region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Magalie S
DVD Net - Amy F
The DVD Bits - Dean B

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