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Final Check! Final ... Come On!
on 6 January 2016
One of the often overlooked treasures from the British Comedy vault, Black Books sees misanthropic drunk - and book store owner - Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), his employee Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey) and oldest friend Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Greig), survive the despair of their own existences by drinking, arguing, passing-out and procrastinating through some very clever comic scenarios. Including being trapped in a piano; nearly having a breakdown at the thought of a parental visit; accepting hospitalisation as a genuine alternative to filling out a tax return and many others.
Black Books is a charming and very well constructed comedy, and while it’s not slapstick; it uses completely absurd situations and farcical set-pieces brilliantly, while all the while making them believable. But through it all, it’s the relationship between the main three characters that is the real draw.
Bernard, who is so distraught at his own existence, bounces off the happy but hollow Fran and the charming but weak Manny to the point it becomes clear that the three of them need each other completely. Drunken antics galore and a wonderful portrayal of the characters makes the show almost heart-warming, despite its near depressing outlook.
There’s a few great cameos in there too including Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, co-writer Graham Linehan plus others.
The boxset includes all 6 episodes from each of the 3 series, plus special features on each disc. From what I can tell they are the same releases as the individual series’ releases, just with a box around them.
Black Books has never been recognised as a classic, but for those who live and breath Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Father Ted et al, this is one of the funniest and traditional comedies you can get.