This final series of Blackadder brings together the best elements of series 2 and 3 to create one of the best series of any comedy ever. Set in the trenches of World War 1, we have Stephen Fry returning as Melchett (this time a general) and Tim McInnerny is brought back full time, though not as the dappy Percy of series 1 and 2, but as whole new character, Kevin Darling, who is very similar to Blackadder himself, only he has got the lucky break of an office job several safe miles behind the front line.
Whilst still a bit of an idiot, Baldrick does take on an extra dimension in this series as the 'honest Tommy' representing the everyday man who was caught up in the Great War. There are returns for Flashheart & Bob from series 2, as well as a new role for Miranda Richardson. The whole series hangs together very well, with familiar themes running through each episode, such as Blackadder's schemes to try and get himself as far from the frontline as possible. Suffused with a collection of the finest insults ever broadcast on tv, this is comedy of the highest order. Yet this series has one element to it that puts it head and shoulders above the other 3 series and above most other comedies. That element is the pathos of the final episode. Though it is riddled with gags (the cappuccino line still has me in stitches) the reality of the war is never made fun of. It is the absurdity of the war that is the subject of derision, in as fine a way that is the match of the War Poets, and there is a distinct Sassoonian air to the eventual demise of the characters, which is done in an utterly moving way. You would be hard pressed not to cry at the finale, which is the crowning glory of this great comedy epoch.