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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 9 April 2015
This was a real treat for a fan of League of Gentlemen and Psychoville. Very cleverly written, funny but tragic, always with that surprising twist at the end. Sardines: how did they make half an hour of a group of disfunctionals stuck in a wardrobe so entertaining? In another episode, guesting Denis Lawson with a girlfriend who is not all she seems,no one speaks for the whole show, (except for a deaf and dumb hawker!) but that only adds to the suspense. Genius
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 November 2014
From the pens of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton - Inside No. 9 is pretty similar in tone to some of their brilliant previous work (League of Gentlemen, Psychoville etc). Funny, dark, surreal and twisted in equal measures.

The series comprises six half hour tales peeking behind the doors of six different number 9's. Each tale has it's own cast of characters, usually made up of talented, familiar faces from UK tv and movies. This particular series serves up an absurd game of sardines, a ridiculously bungled burglary, a mysterious hobo, a pop stars last breath, a Shakespearean tragedy and a babysitting nightmare.

All of the tales have a certain creepy, horror tinge to them to different extents. Some are creepier and more macabre than others and some are certainly funnier than others with a couple of them being played with a distinct harder edge. Most have a sting in the tail as well which is customary for this type of fun.

The series peaked pretty early for me and the first half I'd say is stronger than the second but that's probably just personal taste. Fans of these guys are likely to love this but there's enough here for newbies and non fans alike being at turns hilarious and horrific.
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on 29 April 2015
Love this series, I have been watching series two, so had to get series one. Watch out for the last episode, scary stuff!!! But also there are some very funny parts as always with the two writers and great acting.
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on 20 November 2016
Described as "comedy" for the lack of anything else to categorise it as, this is sheer brilliance that you hardly ever see. Six completely separate tales from two of the League of Gentlemen, they all tend to be (or nearly are) what are called "bottle" stories - everything takes place in one place. And the result, which has clearly taken some impressive thought, is at time genius. Some are funny, some... less so. All have that ever so slighly worrying quality that anyone who knows their work will recognise. Suffice to say that most stories include a twist so do not listen to anyone who has watched this before you watch it yourself. More I will not say!
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on 10 April 2015
I am a huge fan of reece and steve and love all their work, this series doesn't disappoint and has the creepy macabre style that they are known for. Have watched this countless times since i bought it, i can't get enough, they are great writers and actors.
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on 25 March 2014
Superb writing and acting again from the brilliant Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.. Completely different stories and characters in each episode, which makes them more like mini plays which each work brilliantly.. I have always been a huge Reece and Steve fan since the wonderful 'League of Gentlemen', and think they are the most talented writers and actors we have around today.. In two words, pure genius..!!
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on 4 April 2015
Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith never fail to entertain, and this is no exception. Fresh and original, it's their typical, recognisable flavour, a bit scary, quite unnerving, but so clever and so funny. What makes this even more enjoyable is the Hitchcock vibe. They're clearly very well-read and very well-watched individuals, and it really shows, particularly in episode 2, a completely dialogue-free episode (even more brilliant considering it stars Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of the great Charlie.) An absolutely brilliant series!
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on 15 March 2014
*Includes spoilers*

`Inside No 9' comes from the brilliant imaginations of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. The pair are touched by genius & have been responsible for some of the best British television (`The League of Gentlemen' & `Psychoville') of the last 20 years.

Their newest work is an anthology series of self-contained episodes, with the action confined to just one room or at the most, one building. These are merely logistical constraints because the six stand-alone stories are wonderfully inventive, interwoven with intrigue, twists & turns, menace, dark hued motives, black-hearted deeds & memorable characters. With admirable breadth and depth, they are all very different in feel, tone & atmosphere but unified by an overarching sensibility of wanting to wrong-foot and surprise the audience. Behind each door marked 9, the viewer enters a world shaped by situations and inhabited by characters so nuanced and disturbing that they mesmerise as the narrative tantalisingly unfolds. It is storytelling at its most sublime, with the benchmark of quality set extraordinarily high across the whole series.

The principle link connecting these disparate episodes is that of an all-encompassing knife-edge balancing act between comedy & drama, the humorous & tragic. It is the unique essence that characterises Shearsmith & Pemberton's work - a delicate, difficult thing to achieve (without it seeming forced or bolted on), the shift between the two turning on a hair's breadth, but Reece and Steve are its masters. No-one else on TV is doing what they do and doing it so brilliantly. They are true television auteurs.

The realm of dramatic explorations balanced by the comedic tone in the `No 9' stories include the trauma of childhood abuse & the lasting damage done unfolding as a traditional parlour game is played; an interloping tramp setting in motion a heartbreaking descent into mental breakdown, with a haunting depiction that what keeps us from the gutter is gossamer thin; a satirical portrayal of people's venal greed via the commodification of celebrity & the selfish manipulation of children by adults; the choreographed perfection of a silent burglary, mixing Laurel & Hardy mishaps with Ortonesque farce; the nagging insecurities & professional jealousies of the acting profession, played out against a Shakespearean metadrama that ends in real tragedy; meditations on art & religion as a nightmarish horror mounts, tempered by the gothic comedy of an Addams-like brother & sister.

All are extremely skilful pieces of writing. What distinguishes Reece and Steve's work is meticulous care, attention to detail & a genuine love of what they create. They `plough their own furrow' & write what entertains them, undiluted by what is `in' or `out' and against the swell of the mainstream. Their writing is the very antithesis of hack work, defiantly rejecting all that is clichéd, compromised & mediocre - their `own thing' is what matters. `Inside No 9' evokes the spirit of the 1960s-1970s golden age of writers & writer led TV programmes - Rod Serling, Nigel Kneale, Roald Dahl & `Play for Today' - in its set of perfectly formed stand-alone pieces, in the scope of its originality & creativity. It is rare to find such individual, distinctive voices in today's TV schedules. In recalling a television age where writing was supreme, as a series 'Inside No 9' can also be seen, to all intents & purposes, as a collection of plays. The writing is extraordinarily precise, focusing the scenes across real time or limited time, restricting the action taking place to a fixed space & concentrated on a relatively small number of characters.

However one wishes to interpret 'Inside No 9's artistic form & influences, at its core, it's a series of six beautifully realised stories, exquisitely written & performed. The array of superb actors (no doubt attracted by the sheer quality of the scripts) involved include the cream of British acting talent, none more so than Reece & Steve themselves. Individually they are brilliant actors & together they have an incredible chemistry.

Shearsmith & Pemberton surpass themselves with each new creation & `Inside No 9' shows them at the very top of their game. It is a magnificent achievement, the culmination of hard work, years of experience and natural-born talent - a labour of love that has borne six masterful examples of their craft. Reece and Steve are wonders of our television age & we are very lucky to have them.

These stories repay watching again & again. Having the DVD (& please can consideration be seriously given to a Blu-ray release in the future) means you can cherish them - and their intricacies, subtleties & mesmerising character interplays. Watching truly great work just lifts the spirits. One can see the love with which 'Inside No 9' was made and in turn it generates love - from all those who watched it & fell in love with its brilliance - in the way only exceptional creative work does.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 January 2017
Despite being a hige fan of League of Gentleman and Psychoville and missed this first time around.
So i took the opportunity to watch(free) episode 1-Sardines from season 1 and found it to on a par with the aforementioned series in that the humour is laugh out loud,gorgeously dark and .....fantastic.Will certainly watch the remainder and follow ups
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on 28 January 2017
Pemberton and Shearsmith have always had very twisted minds and imaginations where comedy is concerned, Inside No.9 is another example of this. If you have followed these since their early days of comedy writing that you will find that this addition to their comedic prowess is not to be missed. Each episode comes with an amazing twist that as a viewer leaves you waiting with baited breath to see what the plot will be in the next episode.
Speaking of episodes, do not expect that this series has any overarching plot line that is carried by a singular set of characters, each of these episodes is in its own individual world and in my opinion the series is much better for this. This series comes highly recommended and long may these two exceptional writers keep producing the amazing comedies that they were born to create.
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