on April 9, 2002
I have to admit, I held out on purchasing this for a long time b/c I thought it wasn't going to be worth the money. I mean, let's face it, it's a wee bit pricey & if you're like me, you have seen them all many times over on Comedy Central or BBC America. However, I gave in to temptation one day & finally bought it...& I couldn't be happier!
First off, it's got all the episodes from the first 3 original series (not counting the 4th series that aired in 2001, but that's available separately & I recommend you pick that up, too). This 4-disc set contains each series compiled on its own disc with extra features, as well as a disc of bonus material. Series 1: Fashion; Fat; France; Iso Tank; Birthday; & Magazine. Series 2: Hospital; Death; Morocco; New Best Friend; Poor; & Birth. Series 3: Doorhandle; Happy New Year; Sex; Jealousy; Fear; & The End. Each of these discs includes 15 minutes of hilarious outtakes- they are really great. It also contains still photo galleries set to music, as well as trailers for other BBC DVDs & BBC America commercials. But the outtakes really make it worthwhile.
The bonus disc includes the "How To Be Ab Fab" documentary that was shown on Comedy Central many times, as well as a compilation of the series' greatest moments hosted by Jennifer Saunders & June Whitfield ("Ab Fab Moments"). The "Modern Mother & Daughter" sketch from French & Saunders is also included (the sketch that spawned Ab Fab), as well as cool pages about the cast, guest stars, & my favorite- a guide to the real life locations featured in Ab Fab (London, New York, etc).
For all you technical fans, the DVD looks & sounds really great. The packaging is nice too.
But perhaps the best thing about watching Ab Fab on DVD? It's not edited for content! True, even though it appeared on cable, Comedy Central had to edit out a few choice words (the BBC, as well as all other European television stations, are a little more lenient than American stations), all of which naturally appear on the DVD. It's not a huge deal, & I'm a mature guy, but for you hardcore purists this is the only way to go! The cuss words just makes it a little more enjoyable.
I hope this has convinced you if are on the fence about this purchase. Trust me-- if you're even considering it then you will definitely love it. I was actually a casual fan when I purchased the DVD set on an impulse buy, but watching it on DVD has made it much more enjoyable. Now I ADORE Ab Fab!
on November 3, 2011
This is not a review of the show, which is one of the greats. It's a review of the product, which used to be one of the greats, but no longer is. At the time this little box was issued, the description was correct: "The entire show lasted for three seasons, and all are included in this set." However, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since 2001. Not only were there two more seasons in the following years, there were also two Christmas Specials, called "The Last Shout" and "Gay", making altogether a catalogue that is close to twice the size it was when the 2001 box came out. The GENUINELY complete collection is available in a package here on Amazon called "Absolutely Fabulous, Absolutely Everything".
To summarize the difference:
Absolutely Fabulous: Complete DVD Collection comprises 4 discs containing 700 minutes of material. At current prices it's $164.74
Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely Everything comprises 9 discs containing 1186 minutes of material. It costs $90.99
Which would you prefer to buy?
This ten-year old collection should have been withdrawn at least eight years ago. The only reason for its continued existence is to fleece those people who are new to the show and who don't know they're being short-changed. So I hope this one-star review catches the attention of as many people as possible who might otherwise fall for this scam out of ignorance.
Update, Nov 2012: I see this product has been discontinued since I wrote my review a year ago. Maybe they read it, and decided it was time to get real. Whatever, the price has now plummeted to $30.99 from "other sellers", which is about what it's worth. As a result, I've raised my rating from one star to three, though I still can't recommend it. If you're going for a collection at all, it might as well be the complete one. The Absolutely Everything box is still roughly the price it was a year ago. That's the one to get.
on March 17, 2001
First off, let me address some of the other reviews by stating that the reason why "The Last Shout" doesn't appear on this box set is because a different company released it on video, and the rights were not available for this collection. ANYWAY- this box set does not disappoint AT ALL. The picture is so clear and pristine; you can tell a lot of work went into making these DVD's look great. Each DVD features outtakes (scenes that didn't make it into episodes) and bloopers, which are great to view. The fourth DVD contains the "How To Be Absolutely Fabulous" (which was never available on laserdisc, I used to own the laserdisc box sets of these episodes.)... it just does not get better or funnier than this! You will scream with laughter over the exploits of Edina and Patsy!! This is the BEST and funniest British comedy ever!!!
Break out the Bolly and the Japanese nibbly bits! Edina and Patsy are simply FABULOUS in this DVD set, featuring all episodes from the first, second and third series of AB FAB.
"Fashion" - Edina (Jennifer Saunders) is busy planning the fashion parade of the season, complete with Princess Anne wearing a Vivienne Westwood basque!
"Fat" - Eddy is in full panic-mode. Her arch-rival from the 60s, Peggy "The Stick" Caspar (Alexandra Bastedo) is coming and she has to get thin in time!
"France" - The ideal getaway...or maybe not. When Eddy and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) decide to take a weekend jaunt to the rustic vineyards of France, they end up getting more than they bargained for...
"Iso Tank" - Saffy (Julia Sawalha) has forbidden her mother to attend the Annual College Open Day, so Eddy is upstairs sulking in the isolation tank, but don't count on Eddy giving up so easily...
"Birthday" - The acursed day has arrived! It's Eddy's 40th and she's convinced the buzzards have started circling. Saffy has organised a sit-down lunch and Eddy is determined to ruin it.
"Magazine" - Eddy has a new boyfriend and Patsy decides to visit her office...my my, how things change!
"Hospital" - Patsy needs a facelift and Eddy's ingrown toenail is giving her grief...time for a trip to the hospital.
"Death" - Eddy's father is dead...but is it art?
"Morocco" - Eddy and Patsy set off for Marrakesh with Saffy in tow...
"New Best Friend" - Eddy is expecting a visit from old friends Max and Bettina (Miranda Richardson), who were notorious in the 60s for their minimalist lifestyle, so Eddy simply must have clean surfaces! But Eddy gets the shock of her life when she discovers how time has changed her friends...
"Poor" - Things are getting dire! Eddy's two ex-husbands have cut her off, and it looks like she is poor! She and Patsy are forced to drive to a (gasp) supermarket...
"Birth" - Patsy sets fire to the kitchen thanks to her chain-smoking so all the action is relocated to the lounge, where Eddy notices Saffy's top button is undone...could Saffy have a boyfriend?!...
"Doorhandle" - A new year, but the kitchen still looks like a cinder-pit. Saffy orders Eddy to get her act together, so she and Patsy head off to New York to browse doorhandles...
"Happy New Year" - The family has gathered with Saffy to celebrate the coming year, and Eddy and Patsy are all set to paint the town red, until Patsy's ultra-glam sister Jackie (Kate O'Mara) crashes the scene...
"Sex" - Whilst clearing out Serge's room so she may finally build a walk-in wardrobe, Eddy discovers a copy of "Razzle". She and Patsy decide to plan an orgy...
"Jealous" - Eddy is fuming. Her PR rival Claudia Bing (Celia Imrie) has duped her yet again, leaving Eddy feeling like a bird on the wire...
"Fear" - With Saffy now boarding at college and Patsy moving to New York, Eddy's walls have collapsed so she decides to move into a spiritual commune...
"The End" - Things are not going as well as they should for Eddy and Patsy, so they decide to forget their differences and go back home.
This triple-set is a smart buy for fans of the show. You'll laugh till you cry!
on January 1, 2006
This package contains the first three, indispensable seasons of the best British comedy since Monty Python. Writer/actress Jennifer Saunders has a razor wit to rival Dorothy Parker and a sense of physical comedy that rivals Lucile Ball. The humor is distilled down to a potent proof. There is no filler. The lead characters, Edina Monsoon (Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), are atrocious, gaudy, middle-aged, drugged out, perfidious, pretentious, lovable, codependent wrecks who in the throws of their debauchery are able to touch on poignant truths about life in the modern world. These episodes chronicle their adventures through everything from birth and death, to fashion shows and plastic surgery debacles.
This is take no prisoners comedy. There isn't anything that they will not do and no one that they will not offend. Julia Sawalha is brilliant as Saffron, Edina's abused, uptight, straitlaced daughter. And June Whitfield elegantly completes the generational triangle as Edina's batty, kleptomaniac mother.
The magic here is that all of the characters can be both endearing and horrible at the same time. "I know I might seem selfish, but its me me me!" I believe her!
This dvd has excellent audio and visual quality and a nice package of obligatory special features. These episodes stand up to repeated viewing. I put them on any time I need to feel "Absolutely Fabulous".
on March 15, 2001
Finally, a DVD collection of Ab Fab... oh how many VHS tapes of this series I have worn out. This is the best format conversion from VHS to DVD that I have ever seen. The picture quality is superb and the color and sound is far superior to the VHS copies I own. The menu's are great, you get hillarious outtakes of each series on all three DVD's and the bonus DVD is worth the price of the entire set. I especially enjoyed the "How to be Absolutely Fabulous" which is hosted by Jennifer Saunders (looking simply ravishing I might add) and her riotous look at behind the scenes and sneek peeks into the BBC Studio where this all began. I have been wanting this series on DVD since I first heard of DVD format because this comedy is timeless... you will enjoy it over and over no matter what year it was produced. If I can say one thing let me say this... if you are considering buying even just one or two of the Ab Fab series DVD's... Please buy this 4 DVD complete collection, it is worth every penny. Not only that, once you watch one you will want to see every single episode and you'll still be left wanting more..dahling! So order this set and when it arrives put on your best lacroix, grab a bottle of Stoli, light a fag and sit back for some side splitting laughter.
on November 20, 2005
The British TV sitcom "Absolutely Fabulous" first premiered on the BBC in 1992 and quickly became one of the most popular shows. Once people in the U.S. began to watch it, it's popularity spread rapidly. The show's plot centers around a twice-divorced, middle-aged woman named Edina 'Eddie' Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders), her drunken best friend Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) and Edina's teenaged daughter Saffron 'Saffy' Monsoon (Julia Sawalha). Saffy, who is far more mature than her mother, has a difficult time coping with Edina's often-irresponsible behavior. Also, Saffy & Patsy hate each other with a passion. Edina's mother, Mrs. June 'Gran/Mother' Monsoon (June Whitfield), is a bit confused sometimes, but Saffy gets along with her far better than Edina. Then there are Edina's two ex-husbands who occasionally come to visit: Marshall (Christopher Ryan) who lives in Los Angeles and Saffy's father, Justin (Christopher Malcolm), who broke up with Edina to be with his gay partner Oliver (Gary Beadle). Edina hates Oliver with a passion.
The first three seasons of "Absolutely Fabulous" had the following 18 episodes:
1. "Fashion". Edina panics about a fashion show that she has procrastinated about for six months and has to bring it all together that night. Edina's dimwitted secretary named Bubble (Jane Horrocks) isn't much help.
2. "Fat". Edina faints when Bubble tells her that an old acquaintance, Penny Casper-Morse (Alexandra Bastedo), is coming to visit and Edina has gained a bit of weight since their last unpleasant encounter years earlier.
3. "France". In of my personal favorite episodes, Edina & Patsy travel to France where they are to spend a holiday in a luxurious estate. Instead, they find what looks like abandoned servant's quarters and stay there. While "dying of starvation", Edina & Patsy get Saffy to come all the way from London to bring them food. Bubble unexpectedly comes along too.
4. "Iso Tank". In another classic episode, Edina tries out her new isolation tank and believes that she is adopting numerous Romanian babies because Saffy wouldn't let her come to one of Saffy's school presentations.
5. "Birthday". Edina refuses to get out of bed on her birthday, but Saffy has a surprise luncheon planned for her that includes Marshall, his girlfriend Bo (Mo Gaffney), Justin, Oliver and Gran.
6. "Magazine". Patsy actually pays a visit to her employer, a fashion magazine where some unusual people work. When Patsy can't find models to show off some odd clothing, she manages to get Saffy & Gran to appear on a morning TV show hosted by Kathy (Dawn French, of "French & Saunders").
1. "Hospital". When Edina stubs her toe, she insists on being taken to a hospital. Patsy comes along too after deciding to get a facelift when she's hounded by reporters & photographers for having an illicit affair with a member of Parliament.
2. "Death". When Edina's father dies, Saffy insists that she not come to the funeral; so Edina proceeds to purchase thousands of pounds worth of bizarre modern art so that there won't be any money for Saffy to inherit.
3. "Morocco". In another classic episode, Edina & Patsy decide to travel to Marrakech where Patsy is planning a fashion photo-shoot, and Edina wants pictures taken of her "pop-speck" sunglasses. Saffy wants to go too because she's studying the indigenous people of Morocco, so Patsy manages to sell her as a slave in an open-air market.
4. "New Best Friend". When Edina's old friends Bettina (Miranda Richardson) & Max (Patrick Barlow) come to visit, they have apparently abandoned their minimalist lifestyle for being very nervous parents to a young baby; but Patsy's jealousy of them puts a temporary rift between herself & Edina.
5. "Poor". After Justin & Marshall successfully cut off Edina's alimony payments, Edina is forced to listen to an account manager (Mark Wing-Davey) who tells her that she needs to cut her expenses, but ends up having to spend a lot more after getting in trouble with the police and an unsympathetic judge.
6. "Birth". After Patsy falls asleep in Edina's kitchen with a lit cigarette and burns down the kitchen, Edina, Patsy and Saffy are accidentally locked into Edina's sitting room by Gran where Edina tells Saffy about giving birth to her.
1. "Door Handle". With the kitchen still needing to be finished and unable to decide how to decorate it, Edina & Patsy fly to New York where Edina saw a door handle that she liked. By the time they return, Saffy and her friends finish the kitchen themselves.
2. "Happy New Year". To bring in the new year, Saffy wants everyone to spend a quiet night at home with Gran and Justin, but Patsy & Eddie have been invited to a big party. When Patsy learns from Bubble that her sister Jackie Stone (Kate O'Mara) is coming to visit, she gets very excited until she sees what her formerly wild sister has become.
3. "Sex". After breaking into her son's locked bedroom (her son left years earlier), Edina & Patsy come across some of his adult magazines, which inspires Patsy to have her & Edina to pay to have two men come over for a bit of fun. Unfortunately for Saffy, a VHS tape that Patsy has gets accidentally switched with a science tape that Saffy needs for a presentation at school.
4. "Jealous". When Edina doesn't win a prestigious PR award, she comes up with a completely new PR idea, but loses her speech beforehand. In the meantime, Edina also helps Saffy fend off a married man who is one of her teachers at school. (This is only episode in which Saffy is really happy with her mother.)
5. "Fear". After Saffy moves into college dorms, Patsy moves in with Edina; but when the fashion magazine where Patsy works folds and Lulu (herself) ends her PR contract with Edina, Patsy decides to go to New York.
6. "The End". With Saffy & Patsy both gone, Edina joins a commune, but isn't happy there; so she flies off to New York to find Patsy who hasn't been doing too well there. Reluctantly, Saffy moves back home and a glimpse of what life is like with the three of them 25 years later is shown.
Overall, I rate the first three seasons of "Absolutely Fabulous" with a resounding 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend them.
on June 2, 2001
I Love Lucy, Mary Tylor Moore, Rosanne. Comedy series that have, and will continue to last throughout the ages. And now we can add Absolutely Fabulous to that list as well. Groundbreaking in every way, this is one show that's after shock will be felt in television for years to come. The outrageous adventures of drug addict/alcholic Patsy Stone and her fad of the moment best friend Edina Monsoon never fail to leave you in stiches. And you won't believe the things you find yourself laughing at. The poor, the crippled, celebrities, countries, nationalities, religons, sex, and body parts all get skewered (no to mention how they lambast friends and family)! How people can be so dispicable in every way and still be endearing is a testament to the exemplary writing and acting. All 24 episodes are inlcuded and although that's not very many shows compared to a US series, the quality more than makes up for it.
There are bonuses but the main attraction is the show itself. The outtakes can be very funny once you've grown to love the characters and see the actors slipping in and out of character. On the other hand, the picute gallery wasn't done properly. Too many of the shots are taken directly from the series and the image quality isn't impressive. You get much better stills from just pausing the DVD. After watching the series only on Comedy Central, it's astonishing to see how crisp and bright the image is for this transfer. One other thing I really enjoyed was the menu screens. They fit right in with the theme of the show and are easy to navigate. I have a question though. Is the singing voice on the menus RuPaul? I hope so! It would be a perfect addition to this FABULOUS set.
Ok Darling, now buy this DVD set right away to enjoy one of the best comedy series ever. You simply can't be disappointed sweetie!
on May 4, 2003
If you are reading this then you are most likely already a fan of ABFAB so there is little point in reviewing the series. I will concentrate instead on whether you should buy the DVD set. I recently purchased this set for my wife and she was thrilled with the quality of the DVD transfer for both audio and visual aspects. Sometimes transfers can be a bit too warm or washed out(such as the first issue of the Firth/Ehle Pride and Prejudice being warm and the Anniversary collectors edition being a bit washed out; and I highly recommend the former over the latter) but this is not the case with the ABFAB set. The colors are vibrant and true to the original imagery.
As for the DVD extras, which are always important, there are plenty of outtakes and a fourth disk containing behind-the-scene looks, a sort of "best of" etc. All in all, this DVD set is well worth owning and my wife considered it to be an outstanding surprise birthday gift (to be honest I did not think I was going out on a limb, but you never know). However, I would not be surprised if they come out with a single DVD set that unifies all four seasons, so some may wish to wait for that one. Regardless, any ABFAB fan would be thrilled with this excellent boxed set.
on March 13, 2001
Why do I love this series? It's a fast-paced comedy that NEVER slows and never dates. I've been watching this series for five years. I still find it hilarious and I'm still picking up new things I'd never noticed before.
You'll like every character but you'll soon pick your favourite. Sit back and see who you choose - it's an interesting insight into your own personality!
Edina (Mother) - Will wear anything so long as it's designer-made, even if it's two sizes too small! "You can't give my clothes to the poor! It's bad enough they have to beg for food without the added indignity of wearing last season's!"
Saffron (Edina's Daughter) - Possibly the only sane character in the entire series - or is she? "Mum, you've absolved yourself of responsibility! You live from self-induced crisis to self-induced crisis! Someone does your hair, someone does your brain, someone tells you what to wear, some tells you what to eat, then three times a week they stick a hose up your bum and flush it all out of you!"
Patsy (Edina's Best-friend) - When she's not drinking alcohol, snorting drugs, picking up young men, or spending Edina's money, she's pretending to be a Fashion Director for a magazine. "One snap of my fingers and I can raise hem lines so high that the world is your gynaecologist!"
After watching this entire collection, 'Sweetie', 'Darling' and 'Fabulous' will all be a part of your vocabulary.