All six episodes of the TV comedy spoof series targetting the chat show format. Dean Lerner (Richard Ayoade) entrepreneur, night club owner, and '80s capitalist is your host for this swipe at the banality of the TV chat show. In a studio set masquerading as his uptown luxury apartment, Learner interviews a succession of wacky, off-the-wall 'guests', all played by Matthew Holness. Episodes cfmprise: 'Garth Marenghi', 'Steve Pising', 'Glynn Nimron', 'Merriman Weir', 'Amir Chanan' and 'Randolph Caer'.
I found hours of Extras and an Easter Egg on the DVD not mentioned in the Product Details. There are extras for all Episodes: deleted scenes, extended scenes, trailers, stills, backstage footage, audio commentary, storyboard, a pilot episode... and much much more!
So many DVD's just have the show and very little else so I appreciate the extra effort made. If you liked the show you'll love the DVD. More like this please!!!!
I suspect there will be people out there who have watched Darkplace and found it utterly entertaining and amusing - it's frankly spot on in most departments. The bad acting, terrible props and cringetastic dialogue are comedy gold. And the series itself was new and unique and inventive.
Dean Learner on the other hand is really not that funny. Taking Dean Learner away from his genius bad acting in Darkplace and presenting him in person was a mistake.
It's a series of chat shows with Dean as Host and Matt Holness (Garth) appearing as a different guest in each show. There were moments in Darkplace where I was bent over with laughter. I don't remember laughing at this. It's not a bad idea and it could have worked but it just doesn't. It doesn't gel together, the characters are odd rather than amusing and Dean's dialogue (as a sexist playboy pretty much)is too obvious to be funny.
I don't want to take anything away from them - these guys are clearly very, very talented and I have plenty of respect for them. But personally I really can't vouch for this venture :(
This is an excellent show that was never given a proper chance when it was aired. Like Darkplace, poor scheduling and ill-considered reviews denied a great programme its due. I recall Darkplace getting panned by critics and comedy fans alike when it first came out - now it's seen as a cult hit. The ironic thing is that the same thing seems to have happened to Man to Man, but without the chance of it building a cult following before the DVD release. In many ways I believe this to be superior show to the (rightly now-praised) Darkplace. There's more variety, the performances are sharper and some of the characters, especially Learner himself, show real depth here.
As for the current debate about audience laughter, i find it very tiresome. One of my favourite pieces of comedy is the Peter Cook special on Clive Anderson, filmed in front of an audience to loud (genuine) audience laughter. In fact that show has more in common with M2M in terms of feel and structure than Alan Partridge. On Partridge, the guests were more or less stooges for Coogan. Here the guests shine as much as the hosts. This is not to knock Partridge or the (well played) guests - it's a great show - I just think that was more of a one man show than this. Man to Man a great comedy that manages to parody the mutual back-slapping that most interview shows have become. And it would be almost perverse if the show wasn't in front of an audience. It IS a comedy show and thousands of comedy shows are in front of audiences. Plus it FEELS live and not canned - it WAS recorded infront of an audience. It feels like the laughter on Parkinson or Jonathan Ross.
Lastly, the extras and menus are just superb with hours of great features (and if you really can't stand the laughter you can watch all pre-recorded VT clips like the excellent War of the Wasps without audience response). I haven't ever written a review of a show before, but I think the nay-sayers must be countered! I think this will be seen as a worthy companion to Darkplace - a programme that allows characters to be presented in a different but equally valid and funny way to the more clearly spoofy framework of Garth Marenghi. I couldn't recommend it highly enough - a real grower - and a great DVD package.
This DVD will naturally appeal to fans of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, but although the same team might be behind it - it never quite manages to live up to the brilliant spoof '80s medical horror drama...
It's not bad, but whereas Darkplace felt original - mock interview shows like this have been done before by the like of Steve Coogan. There are laughs to be had though, and there are some very funny moments. Most of the laughs come from the clips of spoof TV series and films rather than the interviews themselves.
Richard Ayoade gives a semi-dry performance as the actor/businessman/publisher of high-class gentlemen's magazines Dean Learner. His chauvinism and dodgy business dealings are the main comedy fuel of his character, whilst Matthew Holness provides the rest with a range of great characters; including the dreamweaver himself - Garth Marenghi. He manages to give each character a very different look and sound, and his maudlin folk musician Merriman Weir is genuinely impressive as the songs and guitar he performs actually sound very good.
The DVD package is crammed full of additional features, infact there's a disk full of them. The first disk gives you the option of watching the additional video segments which appear during the interviews, and these are excellent.
In a nutshell: This would have been more effective live rather than watching on television. It's good, but not quite great. I've had to give this 4 stars rather than 3 though because of the incredible amount of bonus footage! That alone makes this worth buying! The non-interview parts of the series are the funniest parts, and amongst the additional features you get extended versions of these. This isn't a patch on the tremendous Darkplace, but it will still make you laugh and gives you a chance to enjoy some of the same characters and actors.