I loved this show a few years back... I was introduced to it mid way through it's third season, so I was a late comer but I did pick up all the individual series (1-3) on dvd after that season ended and watched season 4 on tv the following year and picked up that season on dvd too.
I really love the camaraderie of this show... despite the various cast comings and goings, I think the show managed to stay fresh and interesting and very funny too throughout all series'.
Okay, I recently weeded out my dvds and watched them in order..I personally felt seasons 2 and 3 are the best.
Series 1 is very Simon -centred... I know Andrew Lincoln was the star of the show and main attraction originally thanks to his This Life fame ... but God, it was a bit irritating watching back how his neurosis was focused on so much in series one as opposed to really developing the other characters... knowing how fun they were in subsequent seasons, I was kinda itching to get through season 1 because it does feel very like The Simon (and maybe Jenny) Show...
Season 2 is cracking, the show shifts more evenly towards other characters.. Susan after her divorce is fun, Jenny is more likeable but still bitchy enough to be interesting, Kurt and Brian take focus more too and their double act really is polished, Penny is hilariously incompetent and couldn't care less and JP is kinda charmingly smug... Of course, Liz is a bigger bitch this year too and fun to watch and Carol is still pining for Kurt and Simon leaves by the end of the series (and it is really a relief I feel).
Series 3 is great too... I feel it's the peak really... it shows how the show is way more than an Andrew Lincoln vehicle. Kurt and Brian really take more central roles and really shine, Lindsay is a great addition as is slimy Matt and Penny thankfully gets her own back on him during this series...hopeless Bob is quite funny too as is Liz again... Carol is quite clueless with that baby of hers which is amusing too. This series has some great storylines like when Kurt and Brian fall out, when Kurt is wheelchair bound and when Brian goes on his date with the dinner lady..
Series 4 wasn't as bad for me as some found it... though I will admit it, I did think the show suffered due to the loss of Kurt and Brian and in a way Damien and are quite thinly veiled replacements for the duo... I liked how in the past seasons, when someone left they weren't just replaced with a pale imitation but with a totally new and different character.. this time I think the producers got it a little wrong... the show does become a little too focused on Bob this year too and his Thai bride story is a little overdone and drawn out... but still the show does have its moments... it can still be quite funny... Penny and her relationship with a student was a good twist, Lindsay is still as witty as ever, Claire and Liz are still fun to watch and some of the stories are as good as other seasons... like Lindsay's forced diet... But by the last episode, you do feel the show has come to a natural end... the new characters just didn't gel in as well as could have been hoped and the wedding in the school was a bit ridiculous even for Teachers!
Still, this show is a very funny, very politically incorrect and enjoyable show to watch.... And re-watching it recently highlighted to me how it never really got the credit it deserved for being so well- written, sharply observed and the various funny minute detailing in scenes could easily be overlooked.. a lot of work went into this show you sense and for the most part, it was bloody hilarious....
As for this boxset of all four seasons, I have the individual seasons but this boxset seems excellent value, I'm sure I paid more for each season than this boxset costs... excellent value if you are a fan or if you fancy something politically incorrect and funny to relax to.
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