164 of 186 people found the following review helpful
Blackadder - brilliant,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Complete Blackadder - All Four Series [DVD] (DVD)
From the cowardly, power seeking, Edmund Duke of Edinburgh (the slimy one), to the cunning, witty, respected captain during 1st World War; this strange and complex character known as Edmund Blackadder has entertained myself and the everyone I know. A satirical lesson in British history, seen through the eyes of the ever cynical Edmund; not only is it historically accurate-ish, it truly does include clever comments on the British society's that Edmund finds himelf in. Addmittedly the first series is very different to the other, more evolved, series, but it provides 3 hours of great viewing. In hindsight the first series did lack the input of Ben Elton, who, joining Richard Curtis, took over the writing duties of Rowan Atkinson for the later series. But I always laugh whenever I watch Edmund trying to worm his way to the very top. This series, set just after the Wars of the Roses, is greatly benefited by the presence of the hilariously ludicrous King Richard the Fourth (Brian Blessed), anyone who has even glanced at a historical book could probably tell you that Henry VII became king after defeating Richard III at Bosworth Field, but that obviously does not get in Atkinson and Curtis' way when they wrote this series. See how to make money out of being Archbishop of Cantebury, and how to get rid of a troublesome Scotsman.
The second series shows a major transition from the slimy prince to the major favourite in the court of Queen Elizabeth I (Mirander Richardson). Even more cynical and witty, our hero thrives in this new environment. Forever flirting with the glorious gloriana, Edmund's pursuit for power has not been lost. Aided by his dogsbody, the increasingly dimwitted Baldrick, and the pea-brained Lord Percy, Blackadder finds love with his man servant! Finds the threat of a hot poker up the bottom to hot to handle, and finds that finding France is not as easy as it may seem.
A couple of centuries down the line we find that Edmund is butler to the prince regent (Hugh Laurie). Baldrick now seems to have quite an interest in turnips and proves it by buying the biggest turnip in the land for £400,000. Edmund, no longer a prince or peer of the realm, holds more sway in the princes spending plans than ever before. After dabbling in politics, he attempts to rewrite the dictionary - one of Baldricks many cunning plans, also a night as a highway robber precedes the time he duelled with the insane Duke of Wellington, brilliantly played by Stephen Fry. Robbie Coltrane is another actor who revels in the roles that Elton and Curtis put together, playing that 'splendid brainbox Dr Johnson' in 'Ink and Incapability'.
The final and, some say greatest series sees Captain Edmund Blackadder, 'hero of Umboto Gorge', pitting his wits against the ridiculously insane generals of the time. Stephen Fry inevitably plays the role of possibly the most insane general of them all, General Sir Anthony Hogmony Melchet. The battle dodging Blackadder spends all 3 hours looking for ways of evading the threat of the order to advance on the enemy, going to such lengths as becoming a cook, a director, and medically insane to escape the inevitable order. This series is a masterful mixture of comedy and emotion, all the way through the viewer is reminded of the horrors that people fighting the war faced, the final five minutes or so are, in my humble view, some of the best writing ever. The series reflects the attitudes of the people at this time, exploiting the propaganda used to ensure that every line engraved on your mind forever. A wonderfully amusing series.
I thoroughly recommend this fantastic collection. There are four series, each with six half hour episodes that will have you laughing with the endless repetitions that never gets old ('I have a cunning plan'), and thinking about the way in which people lived during the times portrayed so brilliantly by all the actors and actresses. I guarantee that the jokes will never leave you and that during a rather strenuous day at the office, or a terribly boring car journey, you will be kept alive by thoughts of Blackadder.