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on October 23, 2005
I'm a huge fan of Rowan Atkinson. The first thing I ever saw him in was Mr. Bean. His character of Edmund Blackadder in this series is so different and highlights his talent.

Hugh Laurie appears in the last two seasons of this series and his character is dramatically different from the character of Greg House he currently plays. It's interesting to see the differences, but there is still something...Laurieish about him.

The humor in this series is sarcastic and intelligent. Historical footnotes are included on each disc to give reference to some of the characters of each time period. The jokes are funnier when the historical context is understood.

The casts of each season are star-studded, and the acting is brilliant. Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson, Tim McInnerny, Brian Blessed, Tony Robinson, all outstanding.

This series is a must for all Britcom lovers, and enjoyable for everyone with a slightly twisted sense of humor.
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on January 24, 2002
or as George might say, "Well, cover me with eggs and flour and bake me for 14 minutes" - It's a very "cunningly" detailed account of almost every "shiny" thing on each of these 5 "quite brilliant" dvds, including the "soft dangly objects"
DVD 1: Blackadder I, episodes - The Foretelling/Born to be King/The Archbishop/The queen of Spain's Beard/Witchsmeller Pursuivant/The Black Seal - Special Features:(all discs include Who's who in Blackadder, Footnotes to history, and Trailers for French & Saunders, Father Ted, and BBC America) Disc 1 also includes a Blackadder Sing-along.
DVD 2: Blackadder II, episodes - Bells/Head/Potato/Money/Beer/Chains - Special Feat: Blackadder - The Cavalier Years
DVD 3: Blackadder III, episodes - Dish & Dishonesty/Ink & Incapability/Nob & Nobility/Sense & Senility/Amy & Amiability/Duel & Duality - Spec Feat: Blackadder's Christmas Carol
DVD 4: Blackadder Goes Fourth, episodes - Captain Cook/Corporal Punishment/Major Star/Private Plane/General Hospital/Goodbyeee - Spec Feat: Richard Curtis Interview
DVD 5: Blackadder Back & Forth - Back & Forth special - Special Feat: Baldrick's Diary - The making of Back & Forth
This complete's my summary of the complete Blackadder collector's set on DVD. I know it was detailed but at least it wasnt as "thick" as the complete work of Charles Dickens. Sorry there were no "sizzling gypsys" thrown in. Buy this today so you wont be a "malodorous runt whos wasting everybodys time". Seriously, if you buy this DVD set, you will be "as happy as a man who thought a cat had done it's business on his pie, but it turned out to be an extra big blackberry!" *See my "reviews" for Monty Python DVD sets for more tedious detailed lunacy!
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on March 11, 2000
I would have given it five stars if not for the rather weak first season, where Rowan Atkinson's character really hadn't developed the nasty, sarcastic edge he would have in the next 3 seasons - his character was more a bumbler than a scoundrel. The thing that redeems the first season is the hilarious perfomance by Brian Blessed (who projects his voice to the balcony in typical Brian Blessed fashion) as Richard IV. If you love history I definitely recommend the whole series. In my opinion it's hard to decide whether the second and third seasons are better; the second season features Miranda Richardson as a dotty Elizabeth I and a laugh-out loud episode featuring Miriam Margolyes as Blackadder's Puritan aunt; and the third season has a hilarious episode with Robbie Coltrane as Samuel Johnson. If you hate Mr. Bean (as I do) this is a chance to see the REAL Rowan Atkinson in the role that SHOULD have made him famous and been the subject of his movie debut.
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The authors Richard Curtis and Ben Elton are well known to BBC audiences for their comedic masterwork, having been severally and individually part of the Vicar of Dibley, Mr. Bean, The Young Ones, The Man from Auntie. Rowan Atkinson, the lead actor in this series, also collaborated as writer and actor in other features such as Mr. Bean and the Thin Blue Line. John Lloyd was the producer who helped bring this series to life.

The Blackadder series, begun in the 1980s, was a comedic masterpiece set forth by Rowan Atkinson and his comrades. From start to finish, the first series was a masterstroke of wit, irony and comedic styling that fits both the contemporary and medieval situations perfectly. The combination of slapstick and intellectual humour blended well, and the literary types will not miss the occasional credit of William Shakespeare as a collaborating writer on some episodes -- this might well be the kind of comedy Shakespeare would have produced today.

The first series was set in the pre-Tudor royal family, projecting that Richard III won at Bosworth Field, and Richard IV succeeded him, until after many adventures, the entire royal family was done in, and Henry Tudor reworte history thereafter. The first series starred Brian Blessed and Elspet Gray as the King and Queen, and Robert East as their eldest son, the Prince of Wales. Rowan Atkinson played the second son, who with companions Percy and Baldrick (Tim McInnerny and Tony Robinson) create most of the comic scenes. BlackAdder variously becomes the Archbishop of Canterbury, the betrothed of the Spanish Infanta, a witch on trial, and finally, however briefly, King of England. There were six episodes of this series (as would be true for each of succeeding regular series years) - they included many attempts by Blackadder to take power, including the crown itself - something that would repeat in various manner over the subsequent years save the last. Both Tim McInnerny and Tony Robinson will recur as characters in later years; Baldrick is the only consistent major character besides Blackadder - in the first year, however, he is rather more clever than his future generations; indeed, in this first series, Baldrick is probably the most intelligent of the lot (a scary thing indeed!)

The second series sees Percy and Baldrick following a descendent of Blackadder in Elizabethan times; as befits the period, the characters are more vibrant and saucy, particularly Blackadder, who still seeks his fortune as one of the Queen's suitors. Here he variously becomes the royal executioner, a sea-faring discoverer, a bankrupt noble, and finally a traitor to the crown, albeit not without a sense of humour. Miranda Richardson puts in a spectacular performance as Queen Elizabeth, with Stephen Fry and Patsy Byrne in attendance. Stephen Fry will recur throughout the series.

In the third series, Blackadder is still close to the crown, as the butler of the Prince Regent, a despised position to a despised person. Baldrick is still around, and the Prince is played by Hugh Laurie, who will recur in the final series. Done almost as a period comedy, the very titles and situations pay hommage to the day of the Scarlet Pimpernel, Dr. Johnson's dictionary, and the conflict with France. Through an interesting set of circumstances, butler and prince trade places, and the Blackadder finally obtains his intended goal, albeit in the name of someone else.

In the fourth and final series, Blackadder has fallen from a great height, and is an officer in the trenches of World War I. Baldrick is still there, and Percy and the Prince have transformed into fellow field officers, with Stephen Fry playing a bellicose general here as he did Wellington in the third series. The main device of this series is the effort by Blackadder to escape the trenches, by variously becoming an artist, a theatre producer, a chef, but to no avail finally, producing a sombre end to the dynasty.

The DVD includes all four series, as well as the Christmas special, in which a kind-hearted Blackadder is set in Victorian times, an antithesis of Scrooge, who is shown the future, and decides to make radical if untimely changes in his life in response to this version of the ghost of Christmas future.

There are also various pieces of trivia, guides, and a Richard Curtis interview included among the discs. Rowan Atkinson and company are wonderful in their portrayals, perfect comedic timing and situational humour with just the right amount intelligent wit. A treat for all Anglophiles.
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on March 2, 2006
This is the single best collection of the Blackadder series in the world containing all the major Blackadder series plus the one off's such as "Back and Forth", "Christmas carol" and one until the pack came I didn't know happened "cavalier years". Filled with a great detail of the historical characters they gleefully slaughter, in case you are interested in the real figures. Fans of the US series House will also enjoy Hugh Laurie's work in the series as "George". So fans if you haven't got this go now. Or people just wanting to see how a comedy series should be, get this and rejoice in all that is "Blackadder".
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on October 19, 2003
I am probably as fortunate, as well as embarassed, to admit that I do not remember when Black Adder aired in Chicago. I believe it was the first and only time, and luckily, I had the foresight to record most of the episodes on my trusty Sony Beta, still fully functional to this date.

Over and over I viewed my recordings of this semi-predictable, though exceptional comedy, for its uniquely evolving presentation of each era; beginning with the humorously pathetic and accidental rise of The Black Vegetable to the likes of a Captian whose inventive ideas of escapism were laid to waste in the trenches of WWI. The reluctant rush of the Captain and his embarassing troops ended my enjoyment of the series shocking finale many years ago.

From the first series, through the last tale of the central character, the humor of Black Adder has evolved in a way which would best be appreciated by one traveling about in an old Police Box.

Alas, this was best finally realized by "Black Adder, The Complete Collector's Set." All of the episedes, including those that I missed recording, have now been presented with an exceptional transfer to DVD, and the extra features make this release... an unfortunate 4.75 out of 5.

Oh, so close!

Of all that was included, and meticulously added, such as Tony Robinson's presentation of "Who's Who in Black Adder," "Footnotes to History," and a few Black Adder special episodes, this almost complete set lacks THE PILOT EPISODE! I mean seriously... it was on the VHS boxed set! To shame.

Granted, there is not a single commentary, which so many people, including myself greatly anticipate, but I would have gladly overlooked that for THE PILOT EPISODE!

So maybe my head is so thoroughly implanted up my bum for me not to recognize the cunning plan which neglected to include THE PILOT EPISODE of this "Complete Collector's Set" in this collection, but still, dollar per laugh, this is a great collection, barring... you know what.
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on November 23, 1998
Rowan Atkinson's comic roles have been some of the most memorable in British television history. Along with the ever-hilarious escapades of Mr. Bean, Atkinson's Edmund Black Adder has become a comedy legend. In this complete set of the Black Adder series, we see Atkinson's shenanigans and chicanery from Elizabethan England to the trenches of the Great War. With such lines as,"I've never been too sure about you trenchy type fellows. I've always felt that there was a little too much of the nappy hair-wearing, I'd-rather-have-a-cup-of-tea-than-charge-stark-naked-at-Gerry about you. But if you are willing to join the 20-minuters, you're alright by me and welcome to marry my sister anyday." What more can I say? Marvelous? Stupendous? Dangerously hysterical? These terms don't come even close to the reality! Buy it and you will not be disappointed!
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on September 30, 2004
The Blackadder series is a unique one. Very humoristic and very english. I must say Rowan Atkinson was already one of my favorites because of the Mr. Bean personage, but I like this even better. Situated in several past centuries Blackadder has different roles, but remains a horrid, slimy thing helped by his friends, but subordinates Percy and Baldrick. I saw a review by someone who thinks the first series are the weakest because of the fact that Blackadder is less sarcastic than in the latter 3 series, but it is just the slimy acting which makes him so brilliant in those first series and I love it !!

Anyway, to make a long story short: If you love british humor, full of sarcasm and wordjokes, you just cannot avoid Blackadder. He is worth more than just a try. I should say BUY and laugh your nuts off!!
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VINE VOICEon December 14, 2001
I have for many years been a fan of British television comedy. Among one of my favorites is the hilarious historical series, featuring the Black Adder. I don't think there has ever been on television such a cunningly nasty, yet funny character, as the Black Adder. The series, created by Richard Curtis, (director and writer of Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, etc.) has concieved a brilliant concept of taking one main character and showing us his family tree in a variety of historical lifetimes.This character is brought to life by Rowan Atkinson ("Mr.Bean", "The Thin Blue Line") probably one of the funniest comedians in all of British televison.I don't think there has ever been a character on TV, who is so cunningly clever and nasty, yet so gut breakingly funny.In the four incarnations of the series, we see various Black Adders, as a cowardly Duke in the Dark Ages, a Lord trying to curry favor in the court of Queen Bess, a butler during the Regency era and finally as a career soldier during WWI. In each series, Atkinson gives the Adder his nefarious qualities, yet changes him slightly pesonality wise, to make him somewhat different from the previous ancestor.Atkinson is backed up in all the series's titles by a variety of superb, actors (who have also made thier mark in other films and TV) such as Tony Robinson, Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie, Tim McInnerny and Stephen Fry. These actors bring to life a group of nutty characters who are constantly bedeviling the Black Adder by either driving him crazy or putting him in some sort of hilarious, life threatening situation. My favorites include Tony Robinson's brain dead, Baldrick ("I have a cunning plan...") and also Miranda Richardson's maniaclly insane, Queen Bess ("I'll cut off your head..").These four series, plus a 1999 movie ("Black Adder Back & Forth"), have now been put together in a five DVD box set entitled, "Black Adder - The Complete Collector's Set". It also includes a variety of special features including, extra episodes not part of the original series ("Black Adder's Christmas Carol") plus interviews, silly sing-a-longs and character information. If you are a Black Adder addict or aficionado, then this box set is well worth the expense and will give you hours of fun, as you re-experience this luney history lesson.
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on June 27, 2001
This set is great and I do not use these words often. There is nothing left to want in this package, It includes every special outside the series (The Cavalier Years, Blackadder's Christmas Carol) and the film, Back and Forth. And yet there is more!
The "Play in Order" function on the menu should be used for all dvd series to come, because as it says it plays the contents of the DVD in order, no having to go to the main menu to start the next episode.
What else can I say...I love this Blackadder set and should a fire break out that Baldrick "accidently" set I will grab this DVD set as I flee the house!
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