DVD ARCHIVES REVIEW by BRIAN ROPER
for file 23 Magazine
Here’s one that took me over a month to watch; a 5-disc set with all four seasons of the BBC series as well as all the specials, etc. Like the Fawlty Towers set I bought last year, this is such a literate, well-written series that it’s really difficult to absorb more than one episode a day.
It’s incredible how much the writers managed to pack into each thirty-minute episode. I feel like I’ve just finished a book at the end of every one.
Now thanks to the miracle of digital technology, I’ve got every episode in the order in which they were broadcast (what a concept!) And that is the best way to view these; if you were to come in on the middle of any chosen episode, it would be real easy to mistake this for just another stuffy, talky, period-piece British series and change the channel.
For the uninitiated: the series follows the exploits of Edmund Blackadder, or at least variations of the same character over four different generations, beginning in Medieval times, and finally in the fourth series World War One.
The series utilizes the same group of stock actors in each season and part of the fun is trying to recognize them through their various disguises.
Edmund Blackadder was a conniving, self-serving character much like Phil Silvers Sgt.Bilko who was always trying to scheme his way into somehow bettering his life.
Throughout the series you got to watch him trying to swindle or blackmail various orders of royalty until the WWI series where he was simply trying to get out of the trenches.
Besides the caliber of the writing, this is a 5-star series in every sense.
The acting, the sets, and the costumes are all outstanding. The box is a bit pricey, but you can purchase them separately if you wish. I say spring for the box; there’s enough entertainment here for a month of rainy days.