Written by and starring Rob Brydon and Julia Davis, Human Remains
features six different "mockumentaries" with the pair playing couples caught in bizarre, dysfunctional or hopelessly imbalanced relationships. These include an upper-class couple, in which wife openly pines for her first, lost love, whom she has buried on the grounds; a thoroughly homely hubby and wife who run a guest house in the Midlands that features an S&M parlour; and a ghastly pair of God-botherers who live in a state of curtain-twitching loathing of their neighbours.
While the sheer range of characters depicted in Human Remains represents a prodigious feat on the part of both actors, the show has much in common with Brydon's other hit Marion and Geoff. The strangeness or awfulness of each couple's situation generally takes a while to come into focus, the deeper truths conveyed through low-level bickering, cumulatively revealed in deceptively banal interviews to camera. Brydon and Davis are sometimes merciless in their satirical savagery, as with the Alanis Morissette wannabe Fonte Bund; at other times, Human Remains is too bleak to watch. However, the sheer acuity and detail with which these characters are unwittingly realised, coupled with the brilliance of the (semi-improvised) monologues/dialogue means that our encounters with them, although mercifully brief, are both hilarious and touching. This is an exceptional series.
On the DVD: Human Remains features a generous package of extras, including deleted scenes and outtakes, among them an extension of the "healing" scene featured in the episode with the S&M couple, footage of the early rehearsals and improvisations from which the characters took shape, a commentary in which Davis and Brydon recap on the circumstances of the filming, an excerpt of the pair in S&M gear singing "American Pie" in rich Brummie accents and, best of all, the Fonte Bund Band in which the folk-rock duo featured in the series have an added, Spinal Tap-type documentary also starring John Martyn (who supplies the series' theme). --David Stubbs
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Deleted Scenes, Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Human Remains' is a darkly comic series about six very different, very offbeat, and very engrossing couples who unwittingly expose the dynamics of their dysfunctional relationships. From a bald neurotic to a male chauvinist fiancé, the characters conduct open, honest and shocking interviews as the series sets new boundaries for extraordinary relationships in a seemingly ordinary world. 'Human Remains' takes a documentary-style look at the lighter side of unconventional couples, as each episode develops into something funny and touching, and deeply absorbing. ...Human Remains - Series 1