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4.4 out of 5 stars62
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 12 September 2005
They have followed the hardest act in the world with another piece of unique and brilliant television. The nuanced perfection of each episode is astounding. In Andy we get a very likeable everyman, intelligent, self aware and, despite what some critics might say, very far away from Brent (with the exception of an uncanny physical resemblance). Merchant excels as his hapless agent, providing a admirable haul of fall-off-the-sofa laughing moments. But the real gem of this series is getting to know the loveable Maggie. She is brilliant; funny, warm and just the right side of silly, it's like you've known her all your life. Brilliantly written and brilliantly performed, Maggie is actually the beating heart of the series (and as long we are using vital organ metaphors, Andy is the brain and his agent is the erm... spleen). The guest stars are all great in their own way, but I think Les Dennis shades it as the most darkly comic - can't imagine what they'll make of him in the US. Kate Winslets advice is hilarious, as is Patrick Stewarts idea for a script, but Ross Kemps collapse in the face of brutish Vinnie Jones is a class act. If you missed this on the telly, buy it, take the phone off the hook, close the curtains, and watch the whole thing from start to finish. It is further proof of the genius of Gervais and Merchant. Well done lads.
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on 10 October 2005
Yes, Gervais (and Merchant) have done it again. A comedy that breaks new ground in many ways and will permanently alter the TV landscape. Once again, the currency is humiliation. And what could be more demeaning that working as an extra along side the A-listers from the TV/film world.
What is new is that real stars have been persuaded to appear, as themselves, and get ripped to shreds in the process. Only Gervais's huge credibility could have made this possible.
Gervais plays Andy Millman, a theatrical extra in desperate search of a speaking part. He comes close several times but his political incorrectness always trips him up.
Also new is the touching and very credible friendship between Andy and Maggie, a sort of female alter-ego of Gervais's character.
If you caught it on BBC2 you'll be ordering the DVD 'like a rat up a drain-pipe'.
TV comedy perfection.
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on 26 March 2006
I must admit, when "Extras" was getting it's first run on BBC2 I only managed to watch 2 episodes. This annoyed me, because I'm big fan of the Gervais/Merchant classic "The Office", and was very interested in seeing what their next project would offer.
So, thank goodness for this DVD, because now I know. I'm not disappointed.
Aspiring actor Andy Millman (Gervais) is desperate to become a credible actor, or at least see his screenplay garner some success (a reference to Gervais' pre-"Office" struggles perhaps?) but is continually pushed into non-speaking roles by his inept agent (Merchant). His sweet natured but incredibly naive companion Maggie (Ashley Jensen) provides moments of hilarity and non-belief in equal measure.
A simple enough format, but the central foundation of the show, and it's brilliance, is not the plot (which develops slowly and predictably) but the relationships between the principle characters and the variety of people that they encounter.
There are some high profile celebrity guest stars that merit mention here - Samuel L Jackson, Kate Winslet, Les Dennis, Ben Stiller, Patrick Stewart and Ross Kemp. All bring unique parodies of their "real-life" characters to the screen, Les Dennis standing out especially for his excellent performance of himself, all washed up and full of pent up sex and depression.
There's the usual Gervais material under the surface of this well produced and cleverly written sitcom - race, disability and machismo are all given smart treatment through Millman's eyes.
Andy Millman is effectively a slight extension of Gervais himself. This is a pleasure or a pain, depending upon your opinion of the man.
"Extras" has recieved a small bashing at the hands of critics who believe it to be "unoriginal", "not as good as the office" etc etc. Comments like this demonstrate a single minded lack of originality on the part of the critic more than the artist. Considered as a piece of work in it's own right "Extras" is both excellently written and acted out.
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2006
I must confess, when I heard about this I was worried. The idea of Ricky Gervais following up the mostly brilliant "The Office" with a sitcom about wannabe actors featuring appearances from the likes of Ben Stiller and Samuel L Jackson, smacked of "difficult second album" syndrome in epic proportions.
Against all odds, though, it works. By and large, this is another brilliantly observed, funny and cringemakingly embarassing minor masterpiece of a programme. Stephen Merchant's hilariously inept agent - whose qualification is, in the words of Gervais' character Andy, that he printed out some business cards saying "agent" - together with Ashley Jensen's gaffe-prone Maggie, ensure that, unlike in "The Office", Gervais is not the most embarassing and useless character; indeed, he often comes across as quite witty and smooth, especially when his response to a prima donna-ish Benm stiller's demand of "Do you know who I am?" is an indifferent "Starsky or Hutch, I can never quite remember".
Indeed, the fact that each episode has a different star playing themselves (and usually poking fun at themselves big time) keeps the programme fresh. The famous Les Dennis episode is a definite standout, and the sight of him demonstrating his sexual prowess to Gervais - while naked, of course - is one of those horrid
mental images that will stay with you forever.
However, there are also a wealth of diferent characters in each episode, who often contribute more to the programme; for instance the ultra-clingy Welshman who just wants to be friends defines the fifth episode to a far greater extent than Samuel L Jackson.
Overall, this is not quite as great as "The Office"; it lacks the subtlety and character development of that programme (and it lacks the dance too, but it seems unfair to penalise for that). Also, at times it takes the pleasure/pain balance of watching - which is an occupational hazard of Rocky Gervais sitcoms - too far in the "pain" direction. This is the case for much of the Kate Winslet episode, especially during the excruciting scene where Gervais tries to persuade people that he is Catholic by claiming he attended the sermons of Father Michael O' Flatley.
These are relative nitpickings, though. Gervais has, somehow, managed to do it again. Whether he can keep up the quality in series 2, though, remains to be seen.
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on 20 October 2006
Which is?...make you laugh. If you caught a couple of episodes on its first run and wondered what on earth it was all about, or if you missed the whole lot, then this DVD is a real treat because the six episodes hold together as a "story" and, as you start to understand what's going on, the three main characters just get funnier & funnier. And, like all great comedy, it gets better with repeat viewing. Gervais' acting is superbly understated, Ashley Jenson is his perfect foil as the "put upon" extra, Stephen Merchant is a perfectly cast comic revelation as his fast-talking but hopeless agent, and the idea of making famous stars make fools of themselves is excruciatingly embarrassing and, as a result, brilliantly funny.

Sure, some episodes work better than others, but with the possible exception of Fawlty Towers, no "classic" comedy series has hit the bull's-eye every single time and there are more than enough winners here to put it straight into "classic" status. The result? A full evening's worth of great comedy that you'll watch over & over again. Not bad for a "follow-up".
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on 30 June 2010
outstanding! incredibly hilarious and what a stunt to have all those celebrities make fun of themselves and enjoying it! quite a blast.
with every view you find new details that make the joke even funnier.
this is very intelligent tv
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on 14 August 2006
I absoloutly love this dvd- could watch it over and over.

Ricky Gervais has produced an absolout stunner of a series and the celebrities in it do a great job and fit in with his comedy style well.

The dvd is realy well produced- and even though the series itself is so brilliant you can watch it on a loop for ages- it has really good features you can watch again and again too - not joking i almost wet myself laughing with some of the behind the scenes stuff!

and i must add- i have a very good taste in comedy- i am extremely picky and hard to please- but this certainly pleased me!
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on 20 February 2012
As far as Ricky Gervais goes, I love him and loath him. His shows a hilarious but I cant bare to which him live. Extras is a fantastic show, an absolute must for a Gervais fan, or even just a fan of classic British Comedies. Gervais goes from Extra to Writer and Star of his own show, but nothing is a simple as it seems. The hilarity that ensues throughout the two seasons of Extras is very much down to the brilliant writing, and perfect casting. A great show, a great cast and a laugh a minute. Extras should definitely be part of you DVD collection.
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on 8 October 2005
Side splitting stuff from Ricky Gervais' long awaited return to the
big screen. Different concept to The Office and takes a couple of episodes to get into but becomes compulsive viewing. One positive is I found Gervais' character Andy much more likeable than the cringe worthy David Brent. Manages to pull off a risky last episode tactfully leaving you wanting the second series now. Well luckily BBC have signed Ricky up for a second series and I just can't wait. More of the same please. Evidence that Ricky Gervais is a comedy genius.
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VINE VOICEon 4 July 2007
I found the first series of Ricky Gervais's "Extras" to be mildly amusing and clever,but certainly not as funny as "The Office".I thought that the series bore certain similarities to "I'm Alan Partridge" as well ; down on his luck middle aged man seeking his big break working alongside a slightly dysfunctional but loyal female.But again the "Partidge" series was much funnier and at times hilarious. Each of the six episodes of "Extras" are set on different film sites with each one featuring different guest stars,such as Les Dennis , Ben Stiller and Patrick Stewart. Gervais plays an extra alongside his friend and fellow extra Maggie,a Scottish wannabe maneater, and it is their relationship that is the highlight of "Extras" and what helps to makes it so entertaining. There are no particularly memorable scenes , or especially hilarious ones, but there are good, well developed characters in every episode of the series and intelligent and humourous scripts. The Stiller and Dennis episodes were probably the best of the bunch in my opinion.
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