Sunday, July 22, 2007

TV on DVD: Extras

Prior to watching the second season of the show, I had only seen the very funny Ben Stiller episode from the first series (as they call them in England). The show is not as uproariously funny as many would suggest, though I did burst out laughing maybe ten times throughout the second season, mostly during the Daniel Radcliffe episode, which the show submitted for Emmy consideration. The episodes themselves do not work quite so well, and if it is possible, they are too awkward. Ricky Gervais is not as blatantly funny as he was on "The Office" as he is the straight man here, but he is trying very hard. Ashley Jensen is great at playing the ditz, and often goes beyond her material. Stephen Merchant is flat-out hilarious as star Andy's useless agent (and he is so tall!). But each episode presents too many ridiculous occurences and unfortunate coincidences. The celebrity guest stars are used well for the most part, but unlike Stiller, their roles are often pretty minimal and forgettable (David Bowie, for instane) or too small (Ian McKellen). McKellen and Daniel Radcliffe both are not quite as good as the material their on-screen characters are given, though Radcliffe's plotline is much better than the underwhelming McKellen one. I am now doubtful of the chances for those two in the guest actor category, and would much rather see the terrific Robert Lindsay, who guest stars as a version of himself so obsessed with his fame and unable to accept that a young boy has never heard of him.

"Extras" Season Two: B-

As far as Emmy chances go, I do not think the show, Gervais, or Jensen (especially with her bizarre submission of the Chris Martin episode) deserves to make the list. All three are confirmed as being in their respective top 10s, however, so it is easily possible that they will make it in. I think this is a major step down from the British version of "The Office", and that while it is occasionally funny, I suspect it may not be the brand of humor preferred by both myself and Emmy voters.

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