Blackadder: The Black Adder - The Queen Of Spain's Beard 
Three episodes from the original Blackadder series, set in a medieval court. 'The Queen of Spain's Beard' sees Edmund engaged to be married to the elephantine Queen of Spain, while in 'Witchsmeller Pursuivant' the Adder is accused of witchcraft. In 'The Black Seal', Edmund sets out to seize power for himself, and only one man can stop him - the Hawk.
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Most people here are probably already aficionados of the show. I love it for its intelligence, clever lines, and history (as well as the puns and bad jokes), and the fact that it shares aspects in common with a really good play.
I agonized for months over whether to "duplicate" my purchase of the previous boxed set with this one. When it went on sale again, I finally took a chance and bought it and in my case am quite glad I did! I already knew I loved the material, and I read the general opinion that the remastering was good but not necessarily good enough to buy the set. It turns out to be a pretty high quality box set, both in "build quality" (if you will) and content.
The set comes in a comparatively solid outer box (pictured on the product page), into which the disc set slides like a book. The discs themselves are in a "booklet" of thin but sturdy plastic disc holders (which securely hold the discs but the discs are not too difficult to get out) and "bound" in a nice cardboard cover with an etching-like picture covering Edmund through series I to IV. The outer cover folds out into "Baldrick's Family Tree" which contains "Primeval Soup," "Worms," "Viagra," and the like, and a lot of "Baldricks." The discs also look nice and are clearly labeled with their contents. After having purchased some quality shows with really flimsy disc packaging, this was a nice surprise.
But the real treat is the new content. These are the extras labeled on the respective discs; and most of the discs have extras.
Disc One: The Black Adder [ no extras listed ]
Disc Two: Blackadder II, Audio Commentaries on Bells, Money, and Chains
...(Bells: Ben Elton, Richard Curtis, and John Lloyd)
...(Money: Tony Robinson and Tim McInerny)
...(Chains: Stephen Fry)
Disc Three: Blackadder the Third, Audio Commentaries on Ink & Incapability, Amy & Amiability, Duel & Duality
...(Ink & Incapability: Rowan Atkinson and John Lloyd)
...(Amy & Amiability: Ben Elton, Richard Curtis, and John Lloyd)
...(Duel & Duality: Stephen Fry)
Disc Four: Blackadder Goes Forth, Audio Commentaries on Major Star and Goodbyeee
...(Major Star: Tony Robinson and Tim McInerny)
...(Goodbyeee: Rowan Atkinson and John Lloyd)
...Blackadder's Christmas Carol
...Blackadder The Cavalier Years
...Blackadder Back and Forth
...Baldrick's Video Diary
...Blackadder Rides Again
...Exclusive Extended Interviews & Costumes Revisited
I am working my way through the set; and I have to say I am very glad to have it. It might be just because I have old equipment, but the remasters look a lot better than the previous edition on my setup. I love having the book format instead of the fold-out; it's easier to find the disc I am interested in and get it out. I love the commentaries so far (have just listened to series 2 and commentaries). For some reason they didn't do any commentaries on series 1, which I found a big disappointment. As it wasn't one of my favourite series, I was really interested in what they thought about it, and what it was like making it. I enjoyed the commentaries for series 2, although for some reason when they mixed "Money" with Tony Robinson and Tim McInerny, they mixed the episode full-volume and you couldn't hear them half of the time, so that was disappointing. I still love the set and am quite glad I got it.
love the Black Adders series. There is a lot less physical humor in the Adder series and more tasty bon
mots; so this entire series should be sub-titled, "The Art of The Insult".
The main character, Edmund, the Black Adder, continually lambastes those of lower rank and peerage
than himself throughout each episode and throughout the series as he attempts to gain favor with his
higher ups thus gaining more power and money. The main target of his disdain and disgust is Baldrick,
his servant, as well as others too dense to understand his thinly veiled attacks.
The series characters are multi-generational descendants throughout British history. The titles are:
1.) 'The Black Adder', set in the fictional reign of "Richard IV".
2.) 'Blackadder II', was set during the reign of Elizabeth I.
3.) 'Blackadder the Third', set in the late 18th, early 19th centuries in the reign of George III.
4.) 'Blackadder Goes Forth', set in 1917, in the trenches of the World War I.
Now the eras don't really matter so much although the history of each period is used to launch some
very witty and hilarious jokes. No, you don't need to have passed your history class in high school to
get the jokes.
As a matter of fact the first series is set in a fictional reign of Richard IV in1485 at the end of the British
Middle Ages. It is written as an alternative history in which King Richard III won the Battle of Bosworth
Field only to be mistaken for someone else and murdered. He is succeeded by Richard IV, one of two
Princes in the Tower imprisoned by Richard III. The second son from the tower is...Edmund, the Duke
of Edinburgh, aka Black Adder, who attempts in each episode to increase his standing with his father
and also wishes to overthrow him so he can be king.
One episode in the series has Black Adder hosting his extremely wealthy, virtuous relatives and a stag
party at the same time, in the same house. Switching between the two soirees as one gets more boring
and the other gets increasingly wild is fun to watch as, again, Black Adders life is not getting any better
as he tries to manage the mayhem.
It is not necessary to review each series but to let you know that there are a multitude of British actors
involved that you will recognize even if you don't recognize their names. Some of the actors are Stephen
Frye (A Bit of Frye and Laurie, The Hobbit), Hugh Laurie (House, Jeeves and Wooster), Miranda
Richardson (Harry Potter, Crying Game), Tim McInnery (Notting Hill, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes),
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter films, Henry V) and Brian Blessed (Star Wars Episode 1, Dr Who); some
of the best actors of the time are featured in this series. The actors are cast in different parts throughout
the series and do a fine comedic job.
The series also features some Shakespearean dialogue, usually adapted for comic effect with the credits
stating, "Additional Dialogue by William Shakespeare". Punking Shakespeare is the ultimate insult, yet
there are many more as the series progresses so stay tuned. You may or may not recognize the inserted
Shakespearean quatrains but it doesn't matter. The writers cleverly worked William's words into the script
and the actors are able to use the language to its advantage. You will be none the wiser and you will laugh
anyway. Believe me this is not high-brow entertainment. By the way, neither is Shakespeare.
If you are not a fan of put-down humor then you should resist the urge to watch these hilarious 30 minute
episodes that romp through history like a bull through a rose garden. I personally give it 5 Stars for its subtle
appreciation and irreverence for history as well as its acerbic and wicked wit throughout the entire series.
Shakespeare would be proud. After all, he wrote for the masses, peerage and royalty alike.