Black Books: Series 2 [DVD]
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Complete second series of the situation comedy based on the testing times of Bernard Black (Dylan Moran, who also co-writes), misanthropic bookshop owner extraordinaire. In 'The Entertainer', ever keen to distract herself, Fran (Tamsin Greig) takes up the piano, ever keen to delude himself, Bernard falls in love, and all Manny (Bill Bailey) wants is a break. 'Fever' sees Fran unable to sleep in the heat, so Bernard helps her by brushing up on the law and finds himself a 'summer bunny'. Meanwhile Manny is worried about the reliability of his magic hot water bottle. In 'The Fixer', Manny uses his underworld connections to find Fran mysterious employment. In return all Bernard and he have to do is educate a psychopath. But will they succeed in teaching dodgy Danny to read? 'Blood' sees an unemployed and restless Fran taking comfort in the discovery of her exotic new found cousins. In pursuit of Michelin stars, Manny and Bernard transform the infested bookshop into a restaurant. In 'Hello Sun', Fran tries to discover her inner karma at the advice of her disapproving friend Eva, and Bernard finds positive proof that Manny is mad. Finally, in 'A Nice Change', Bernard and Manny can't hear themselves argue because of the builders next door, so Fran suggests a holiday. But how will the three of them fare when they attempt to venture abroad together?
One of the few genuinely outstanding British comedy shows of the past decade, Black Books unites excellent comedic performances, very funny scripts, and plenty of rewatch value.
The concept is simple enough. Bernard (expertly played by Dylan Moran) runs a bookshop. The only problems are he can't stand people, hates customers, and would far prefer to be barking out cutting remarks and drinking wine. Still, it's after drinking much of the aforementioned wine that he offers Manny (Bill Bailey, again in terrific form) a job. Manny accepts, and finds his daily life involves taking abuse from Bernard, while remaining strangely and resolutely upbeat. Fran (Tamsin Greig) meanwhile also likes her wine, and finds herself stuck between the two of them, with a few odd encounters of her own thrown in too.
So far nothing particularly out of the ordinary, right? Well, mix in some of the creative force behind Father Ted, combine those aforementioned performances, and simmer to the point where episode after episode garners a cocktail of sniggers and belly laughs, and you have something really rather special. Like many of the best shows, the curtain has come down on Black Books after only three series. But the long-lasting legacy are episodes that are set to be enjoyed for a long, long time to come. --Simon BrewSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This series starts with 'The Entertainer' which revolves around Fran's attempt to learn to play the Piano. There is a great scene where Manny discovers that he can play the Piano. Of course Bill Bailey is a good Pianist and infact apart from the duet actually played all the Piano music used in this episode. The episodes keep up the high standard set by this opening episode. There are a few memorable guest appearances, best of which is Rob Brydon's in 'The Fixer', in which he plays Fran's boss at her new job.
The extras are good, with the audio commentary by Dylan Moran, Tasmin Greg and Bill Bailey being almost as entertaining as the show itself. There are also some very funny out-takes and a trailer for series 3.
As with the first series, we see a host of up and coming stars making early appearances, such as Rob Brydon and Nick Frost. The first two episodes stand out as the highlight of the series, but after then there is a distinct lack of spark in the script. The performances from the 3 leads is still fantastic, and it was great to see Bill Bailey's piano skills on display; something that went on to play a major part in his stadium-filling stand-up shows.
However, if we temporarily put the series to the back of our minds and judge this series on its own merits, it is still one of the best sitcoms of the decade. I think one of the reasons that Bernard Black is such a great comic creation is that he represents a little bit of all of us, who are just a bit more restrained than he is when it comes to wreaking vengeance on those who annoy us. His petty-minded, self-centredness is both a caricature and yet totally believable at the same time, which is a hard act to do and deserves full admiration.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent DVD. Moran and Bailey with great supporting cast are hilarious in this 'sit-com'. We laughed til our sides ached. Highly recommended!Published on 27 Oct. 2012 by Mr. Huw Morris