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on 31 May 2013
This is just an outstanding show. Whilst it takes a little while to find its feet (the first series is a little uneven), once it hits season 2 it seriously hits its stride. The joy of the show is that it manages to be just about the funniest thing on television without having to delve into cynicism or mean-spirited fun-poking, whilst maintaining all the while a central cast of likeable characters who are each given their own space to develop.

Also, it doesn't hurt that one of the themes of the show (a committed public servant fighting to maintain the public services she so cherishes in the face of budget cuts and bureaucracy) resonates so closely with the situation on both sides of the Atlantic in the wake of the recession.

All in all it is easy to see why this show has developed a cult following in the US and, to a lesser extent, here in the UK and all credit to the BBC for bringing it to our screens.

A must see.
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on 12 April 2012
The first season of 'Parks and Recreation', a mere six episodes long, has been overshadowed by the fact that the seasons which have followed it have produced some of the wittiest, most perceptive and genuinely poignant moments of any US sitcom of recent years. But the fact that Season 1 was the show's weakest shouldn't take away from the fact that the episodes gathered on this disc are uniformly excellent, and suggestions in another review to skip straight to Season 2 ignore what is a great few hours of TV. For the uninitiated, 'Parks and Rec' stars the excellent Amy Poehler (SNL, Baby Mama) as Leslie Knope, deputy director of the Parks and Recreation committee in the rustic-but-not-redneck town of Pawnee, Indiana. Poehler is supported by an excellent cast, including Aziz Ansari as Leslie's right-hand man Tom Haverford, and Nick Offerman as the department's head, a man disinterested in Leslie's project to build a community park, and who claims he would "rather work for Chuck E. Cheese". The show is extremely well-scripted and the characters are refreshingly complex and likeable. 'Parks and Rec' is shot in a format very similar to that of 'The Office', where the characters are filmed by a documentary crew, and often speak direct to camera.

There's nothing bad as such about the first series of 'Parks and Rec', though, unlike in later episodes, Season 1 has a tendency sometimes to go for the 'obvious' joke, meaning that there are some dud moments which land alongside the show's plethora of superb one-liners. It also does feel a little too much like 'The Office' in the earlier episodes, and one or two characters, such as the bored intern April, add nothing to the show; but annoy a little. Still, Season 1 of 'Parks and Rec' is sharply comic, fresh and contemporary, and even has a knack for handling the series side of adult relationships. The best was yet to come, but fans of shows such as 'The Office', 'Party Down' and 'How I Met Your Mother' will likely take to this release like a duck to water.
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VINE VOICEon 17 March 2013
It's absolutely criminal that it took so long for someone in the UK to pick up Parks & Recreation for broadcast when it is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time.

I came across this show whilst on a long haul flight to America and with nothing else to watch I gave it a go. And even in the space of two episodes, I had fallen in love with it.

Anyway, with BBC Four now showing the series the first season is belatedly available on Region 2 DVD. It's a mere six episodes long and whilst it doesn't reach the heights of season 2 it is still a painfully funny programme.

The main problem in the early going is the focus on Amy Phoeler's Leslie Knope who at times seems to be too intent on being the female Michael Scott (Steve Carell, on The US Office) than being a character in her own right. By season two, with the focus more on the ensemble, Knope becomes a more interesting character in her own right. The likes of Aziz Ansari and, especially, Nick Offerman (as the downright brilliant Ron Swanson) are great in this series though and whilst the best is yet to come, anyone who has enjoyed the subsequent series will find a lot to enjoy here once the shock of seeing the story from the beginning wears off - certain plot developments in future series (episodes of which I watched before getting this DVD) certainly left me disorientated in parts here.

One final thing though; there's not enough Aubrey Plaza for my liking in this season (a fact acknowledged on the DVD commentary) but then again, Rashida Jones more than makes up for that.
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This was on my watchlist for ages before I round to watching it. As expected, it's like The Office, but set in local government, and the good news is that it's very funny. The main character is very likeable, as are most of the cast, and there are many laugh out loud moments. The good news is that season 2 is even better and much longer too, so there are many laughs ahead.
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on 28 July 2015
I ordered series' one and two after seeing a couple of episodes of 'Parks & Recreation' on 'Dave' TV. Whoever wrote this series has observed the separate, institutionalised, world inhabited by local authority staff well, seeing them as being collectively odd like I always have. They would appear to be as peculiar in the U.S as their counterparts are in Britain for such a comedy to be made. I find the situations in this series making me laugh continually, the way all these diverse individuals are forced to interrelate in the workplace, having to adopt common goals and interests that none of them are even remotely bothered about. Very funny, especially when a character tries to elicit empathy from the viewer when it is thought necessary, documentary style, to explain themself. Nothing substantial ever gets achieved and everyone carries on being employed to achieve nothing substantial, just like in your local Council offices. It is not what you'd expect from U.S comedy programmes, most of which have had humour suppression surgery in order to crack safe, lame, self-censorial, jokes. This has more of a British style of wackiness. I have a lot of catching up to do if I decide on getting all the series'. Still, it'll be good for a laugh.

Eamonn
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on 7 February 2014
After watching season 1 I wasn't sure whether to carry on watching this show as it didn't seem as funny as I'd hoped or anywhere near as funny as a very similar show The Office US.
But I decided to carry on watching and started season 2. I was hugely surprised at the difference between seasons 1 and 2. Season 2 is brilliantly funny! The plot is funnier and more entertaining and the jokes are much smarter and funnier. If you don't find season 1 to be as good as you'd hoped just give season 2 a chance, it's worth it.
Thank you to the other reviewers who said to give it a chance because I would've given up if I hadn't read your reviews!
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VINE VOICEon 5 September 2011
It's absolutely criminal that this show has not made it onto one of the multitude of channels that pervade our satellite/cable universe in the UK (and I'm waiting for someone to point out the errors of my thoughts and say it appeared on some obscure channel at 3 in the morning) when it is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time.

All hail long haul flight TV choice huh?

Anyway,this is the first season, a mere six episodes long and whilst it doesn't reach the heights of season 2 it is still a painfully funny programme.

The main problem is the focus on Amy Phoeler's Leslie Knope who at times seems to be too intent on being the female Michael Scott than being a character in her own right. By season two, with the focus more on the ensemble, Knope becomes a more interesting character in her own right. The likes of Aziz Ansari and, especially, Nick Offerman (as the downright brilliant Ron Swanson) are great in this series though and whilst the best is yet to come, anyone who has enjoyed the subsequent series will find a lot to enjoy here once the shock of seeing the story from the beginning wears off - certain plot developments in future series (episodes of which I watched before getting this DVD) certainly left me disorientated in parts here.

One final thing though; there's not enough Aubrey Plaza for my liking in this season (a fact acknowledged on the DVD commentary) but then again, Rashida Jones more than makes up for that.
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on 14 August 2013
It's a shame that a show as good as Parks And Recreation remains largely undiscovered to a potential UK audience who would no doubt love it if they only knew about it. To be fair, it was still finding its feet in season one but nevertheless there are still clues of the genius to come.

A previous reviewer hits the nail on the head that the problem with season one is that there is too much focus on Lesley Knope and not enough on the rest of the cast. It's not that Lesley Knope isn't an entertaining lead character, it's just that other great characters like April, Tom and Andy in particular don't really come into their own until season two. Even the anti-government Ron Swanson, while clearly already recognisable as a brilliant character, is underused in season one.

I actually first watched Parks And Recreation on my friend's recommendation, with the cautionary note that the first season was a shadow of the greatness to follow. Although I would have to agree that it's not until season two that it reaches its peak, I nevertheless still enjoyed season one. It doesn't contain the belly laughs of season two, but is still worth checking out.
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on 31 July 2013
I can't rate this show highly enough, I have been totally hooked since the first episode. I know many people don't have such kind words to say about season one, but truly it had me hooked - you need a few episodes to get to know the characters to truly appreciate it. I can watch it again and again and I'm still in stitches!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 January 2015
I'm obsessed with this show so bought 1+2 to give to my brother.

Season 1 is good, but definitely the weakest of all the seasons. Stick it out even if you're not completely convinced, the show is absolutely excellent. It picks up again at season 4 which is when it enters hall of fame levels of funny.
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