Extras : Complete BBC Series 1  [DVD]
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Complete first series of the BBC comedy from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, following the humiliations of professional film extra Andy Millman (Gervais) and his eccentric friend Maggie (Ashley Jensen) as they try - and fail - to gain significant lines or parts in various productions. A host of famous actors send themselves up in cameo roles. In 'Ben Stiller', the Hollywood comedian is directing a film about the Bosnia conflict, and Andy tries to win a role by making friends with the refugee who wrote the script. In 'Ross Kemp', the TV hardman tries to convince Andy that his image is real, before being humiliated by the much harder Vinnie Jones. In 'Kate Winslet', the actress hopes her role in a Nazi war drama will win her an Oscar, and Andy tries a little too hard to get close to her. In 'Les Dennis', Andy gets a break playing in a panto alongside the washed-up TV star. In 'Samuel L. Jackson', Maggie gets into difficulties trying to prove she isn't racist, while Andy manages to get a line on a film the Hollywood superstar is making. Finally, in 'Patrick Stewart', Andy manages to enlist the Shakespearean actor's help in getting a script he's written to the BBC, but makes a fool of himself when he realises the script editor he's meeting with is gay.
Extras,Ricky Gervais much-anticipated follow-up to The Office, is a quieter affair, and a little less accessible that its award-laden predecessor. But across the six episodes on this first season DVD set are several episodes that will richly reward repeated viewings.
Gervais plays Andy Millman, an actor whose roster of jobs seems to consistently consist of extras work. Each episode follows him on a different production, and also brings in a notable guest star. Lining up throughout the series are the likes of Samuel L Jackson, Kate Winslet and Ben Stiller. And while their presence undoubtedly adds something to each carefully crafted episode, its perhaps those with the lesser names that show the programme on top form--certainly the appearance of Les Dennis makes for an excellent half hour of comedy-drama.
At the core though is Gervais Millman--a far easier character to warm to than David Brent--and Ashley Jensens marvellous Maggie Jacobs. Its these two who consistently provide the shows highlights, and while the headlines have been generated by the all-star roster of names attracted to appear in Extras, its the two less showy characters who work the best.
Extras isnt a show full of belly laughs, and its fanbase is likely to be smaller than that of The Office. But its still a quality creation, properly crafted, with an awful lot to it to enjoy and appreciated.--Simon BrewSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
What is new is that real stars have been persuaded to appear, as themselves, and get ripped to shreds in the process. Only Gervais's huge credibility could have made this possible.
Gervais plays Andy Millman, a theatrical extra in desperate search of a speaking part. He comes close several times but his political incorrectness always trips him up.
Also new is the touching and very credible friendship between Andy and Maggie, a sort of female alter-ego of Gervais's character.
If you caught it on BBC2 you'll be ordering the DVD 'like a rat up a drain-pipe'.
TV comedy perfection.
Against all odds, though, it works. By and large, this is another brilliantly observed, funny and cringemakingly embarassing minor masterpiece of a programme. Stephen Merchant's hilariously inept agent - whose qualification is, in the words of Gervais' character Andy, that he printed out some business cards saying "agent" - together with Ashley Jensen's gaffe-prone Maggie, ensure that, unlike in "The Office", Gervais is not the most embarassing and useless character; indeed, he often comes across as quite witty and smooth, especially when his response to a prima donna-ish Benm stiller's demand of "Do you know who I am?" is an indifferent "Starsky or Hutch, I can never quite remember".
Indeed, the fact that each episode has a different star playing themselves (and usually poking fun at themselves big time) keeps the programme fresh. The famous Les Dennis episode is a definite standout, and the sight of him demonstrating his sexual prowess to Gervais - while naked, of course - is one of those horrid
mental images that will stay with you forever.
However, there are also a wealth of diferent characters in each episode, who often contribute more to the programme; for instance the ultra-clingy Welshman who just wants to be friends defines the fifth episode to a far greater extent than Samuel L Jackson.Read more ›
So, thank goodness for this DVD, because now I know. I'm not disappointed.
Aspiring actor Andy Millman (Gervais) is desperate to become a credible actor, or at least see his screenplay garner some success (a reference to Gervais' pre-"Office" struggles perhaps?) but is continually pushed into non-speaking roles by his inept agent (Merchant). His sweet natured but incredibly naive companion Maggie (Ashley Jensen) provides moments of hilarity and non-belief in equal measure.
A simple enough format, but the central foundation of the show, and it's brilliance, is not the plot (which develops slowly and predictably) but the relationships between the principle characters and the variety of people that they encounter.
There are some high profile celebrity guest stars that merit mention here - Samuel L Jackson, Kate Winslet, Les Dennis, Ben Stiller, Patrick Stewart and Ross Kemp. All bring unique parodies of their "real-life" characters to the screen, Les Dennis standing out especially for his excellent performance of himself, all washed up and full of pent up sex and depression.
There's the usual Gervais material under the surface of this well produced and cleverly written sitcom - race, disability and machismo are all given smart treatment through Millman's eyes.
Andy Millman is effectively a slight extension of Gervais himself. This is a pleasure or a pain, depending upon your opinion of the man.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant show. Though Amazon have got episode 1 and 2 of the first season the wrong way round at the moment. Ross Kemp is the first and Ben Stiller second.Published 6 months ago by Mr SC Norman
Excellent and original. Very much in the Ricky Gervaise mould.
A likeable female lead, good chemistry between her and Gervaise, and a very convincing satire on celebrity... Read more