I will review this product in three stages: the physical box, the DVDs, and the show.
First, the box. The cover is very well-designed, and the box is thicker than it appears to be in the picture. The DVD case, which consists of five plastic, page-like flaps which each hold a disc (like this Blackadder box set
), fits inside an outer sleeve. The pages each have funny Ted-Dougal conversations on the left. It seems fairly well-made, but mine has already been worn in some places from opening the box a lot as I watched the whole thing. The discs can be hard to get out (they use the DVDigipack, which is notoriously difficult to get discs out of).
Now, to the discs themselves. Each disc contains from 4 to 6 episodes, and from one to three special features (things like writer interviews, a Comedy Connections documentary, Comic Relief with Ted and Dougal, Tedfest 2007 videos, and some feeble biographies and sound effect galleries). I would rather they had put the episodes on the first four discs, and saved the last for special features, like in the aforementioned Blackadder set, but they are instead spread out over the discs. They are easy to locate, though, since the box comes with a guide to what is on each disc at the front, and a loose episode guide leaflet (which can get quite annoying when trying to close the box, but more than makes up for that in usefulness). The episodes also come with audio commentaries from one of the writers, Graham Linehan (whose other work, The IT Crowd
and Black Books
, you should check out). He is alone on the first two discs, but is joined by Ardal O'Hanlon (Dougal) on disc 3, and co-writer Arthur Mathews on discs 4 and 5. The DVD menus are fairly easy to navigate (they are all set in Funland from the first episode). Tip: if you're watching on a computer, you can use VLC (Google it) to skip all the 2entertain nonsense and go straight to the menu.
IMPORTANT: THIS BOX INCLUDES THE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL. DO NOT BUY IT WITH ANOTHER COPY AS AMAZON SUGGESTS.
Finally, the show itself. Father Ted is an Irish sitcom which was made in the late nineties, and stars three priests, Ted (the sensible and slightly immoral one), Dougal (the stupid one), and Jack (the outrageously drunk one), and their housekeeper, Mrs Doyle, all of whom live on Craggy Island, a remote and weather-beaten island off the western coast of Ireland. Each episode runs for around 25 minutes, has abridged (they shorten what the characters say) English subtitles, and is presented in the old 4:3 (square TV) aspect ratio. There are two audio tracks: the standard stereo English audio (with the show's original un-canned laughter track), and one with the audio commentary. The show is definitely one of the funniest sitcoms (even TV shows) ever made; although some of the jokes and situations are cheesy and predictable, the show still has its charm, and the outcomes are usually hillarious. Most of the episodes are great, although the best ones are "A Song For Europe", "New Jack City", "Flight Into Terror", "The Mainland" and "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse". The box is rated 15, but two of the discs are 12s. The show contains some (BBFC moderate) language, but anything stronger than "feck" (with an "e") or "bastard" is usually bleeped (watch out for the "fupp"s in "Old Grey Whistle Theft").
All in all, a great show, and a great box set. Five stars!