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Customer Review

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Adder, 23 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Blackadder - The Historic First Series [1983] [DVD] (DVD)
There's a commonly held belief that "The Black Adder" ( not "Blackadder" or even "The Blackadder" ) is the weakest of all 4 series. Even Atkinson himself is quoted as saying "a haircut & a codpiece do not a funny character make" & the unaired pilot has more in common with "Blackadder II". However, for more discerning viewers, the first series will remain the best.

The inclusion of Ben Elton in the writing process reduced the show to a predictable farce. A succession of cheap bum jokes, tiresome puns & saccharine sentimentality. Worst of all was the decision to invert the relationship between Edmund & Baldrick and therefore the relationship between Baldrick & Percy. No doubt it made scripting the show a much easier task as the characters became caricatures, but to suggest that subsequent series were funnier as a result is nonsense...unless you prefer characters to behave entirely predictably. One script fits all as far as series 2,3 & 4 go.

The audience for the first series is naturally smaller...it took time for the masses to latch onto the show & once they did, the otherness of the first incarnation was too much for them. A series for those with the imagination to appreciate dark humour rather than juvenille punning & for those who prefer Atkinson's grotesque & occasionally moving performance, rather than the smarmy, one dimensional character he later became.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Dec 2012 21:28:48 GMT
"for those who prefer Atkinson's grotesque & occasionally moving performance, rather than the smarmy, one dimensional character he later became."

Very well put. There is something almost moving about Atkinson's performance - e.g. the scene where he's pathetically listing the possessions he's willing to give up to save his skin in the "duel sequence" in the second episode. He's a very odd character in this series - part heartless murderer, part charity case - that just isn't seen on TV these days, far less in a comedy.

Posted on 21 Dec 2012 23:57:54 GMT
Always a pleasure to come across someone who fully appreciates the "dark humour" of the 1st series (my favourite too!)..... Even better to see that the reviewer has nailed the viewing experience with a well-crafted post which perfectly sums up what makes this first incarnation so different from the rest. My fave 3 episodes would have to be "The Foretelling" also "Witchsmeller Pursuivant" with the cherry on the cake being "The Queen of Spain's Beard". IMO the interaction between Edmund, Baldrick & Percy was never bettered - nor ever funnier. I like the three further series but I agree that the change around in personalities was regrettable.... Good review, George - thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Posted on 29 Nov 2013 17:00:18 GMT
Nick says:
Fully agree and great (and to be frank, heartening) review. All are excellent, but the final episode is simply inspired. Thus, we went from Sean the Irish Bastard and Sir Wilfred De'ath to Nursey and Queeny. Can't take The Young Ones away from Elton, but I think maybe by the subsequent Blackadder series, we'd just all grown up by then. Always thought Mr Bean was Atkinson's way of patronising the hard-of-thinking following he'd by then attracted, conscious that his deeper talent would only ever find minority appeal. But that's probably a bit of a stretch and, at the very least, unfair.
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