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Black Books - The Complete First Series (2006)

Dylan Moran , Bill Bailey , Graham Linehan  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

Price: $52.93 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Black Books - The Complete First Series + Black Books - The Complete Second Series + Black Books: The Complete 3rd Series
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Product Details

  • Actors: Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig
  • Directors: Graham Linehan
  • Writers: Graham Linehan
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 10, 2006
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BVM1SW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,201 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Black Books - The Complete First Series" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Six episodes
  • Cast commentary
  • Outtakes
  • Photo gallery
  • Series 2 trailer

Editorial Reviews

Black Books is a second-hand bookshop in London run by an Irishman named Bernard Black. He is probably the planet's worst-suited person to run such an establishment: he makes no effort to sell, closes at strange hours on a whim, is in a perpetual alcoholic stupor, abhors his customers (sometimes physically abusing them) and is often comatose at his desk. Help comes in the lumpy shape of Manny Bianco, a hairy, bumbling individual who (almost by osmosis) becomes Bernard's assistant. Manny is not exactly great at the job either but he is a million times better than Bernard. Next door is Fran, an anxious, frustrated woman who runs a sort of new-age shop selling the most unlikely bits of arty junk. Fran is friends with Bernard and, through him, with Manny; together the trio become embroiled in escapades that are sometimes extreme or violent or fantastically ludicrous, and always bizarre.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Black Books is a charming, absurdist situation comedy series set in a bookshop. "Charming," you ask? "The main character is a nasty, morose, chain-smoking drunk with a neurotic for a best friend and a bearded simpleton for an employee." Ah, but what's what makes it such a gem of writing and acting.

Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey met during the Edinburgh Fringe and were the top two contenders for the Perrier Prize. Moran came out on top, but remembered Bailey a few years later when he was offered his own show. Moran's character of an ill-tempered grouch is matched perfectly by Bailey's good-hearted goof, and their chemistry as Bernard and Manny is what makes Black Books such enjoyable viewing. Tamsin Grieg is a good comic actress, but I found Fran Katzenjammer to be a little grating at times. Her character does develop more in subsequent seasons, so don't discount her performance.

Fans of Father Ted, Spaced, BlackAdder, and Little Britain should adore this show, and if I have to explain that any further then you should go back to watching "According To Jim".

It's rare to find comedies that are as intelligent as funny, and Black Books is a prime example of such shows. Of course it'd never take off in America, but I thought the same thing about The Office. Please, please, please do not remake this as an American sit-com.

For reasons unknown, Comedy Central used to run this early Sunday mornings back in 2001 before dropping it from the roster. I had only caught two episodes before and was distraught at its departure. Cue to last year and its Region 1 release and my frabjous rapture.

Bring on season Two (and Three...)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anti-stacked! March 12, 2006
American "comedy" involving an independent bookstore = that trite, vapid Fox series 'Stacked'. 'Black Books', however, is what excellent comedy should be: witty, biting, satirical, whimsical, and mentally satisfying. God, what a treat. Laugh-out-loud funny. This is not just another BBC/Channel 4 comedy that has taken hold in a slim US market a la Keeping Up Appearances; The Office; Last of The Summer Wine, etc. This is a classic that hopefully will rank up there with Fawlty Towers (perhaps the best comedy ever made).

If you have ever worked for a major chain-bookstore such as B&N, Borders, Indigo, Chapters etc. and are of a cynical and biting state of mind, Bernard Black's little world will a breath of fresh air!

I highly recommend it: 5 stars plus 5 more.

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32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Slightly Used Formula Made Fresh February 8, 2006
I hate sitcoms. Let me tell you why I hate sitcoms: the viewer is expected to suspect -- for the most part -- all disbelief at otherwise reasonably intelligent characters performing utterly insane activities all for the sake of a laugh. In the end, people of modest know-how are knocked a few pegs down the evolutionary ladder, landing somewhere near the chimpanzee, and I'm supposed to find that laughable.

Enter BLACK BOOKS. Here, a curmudgeon of an intelligent man wears the shell of a drunk with pride as he spits one-liners and trades barbs with the customers and his few friends ... and it works almost perfectly throughout. A knucklehead of an accountant loses his job but finds himself by cosmically happening across this one bookshop desperately in need of a finance specialist ... and it works almost perfectly. The way-too-attractive British lady of the town runs a 'Nifty Gifty' shop, splitting her times between selling trinkets she can't quite figure out and tossing back a bottle of wine with her two friends in the Black Books shop next store ... and it works almost perfectly.

BLACK BOOKS begins its series very strong (don't they all, the really good ones?) with a fall-down laughable performance across the board about how these three lovable souls meet and become friends, and the six-episode run tracks them through their assorted adventures ... whether its sharing a bottle of wine, ruining a bottle of wine, or anything else you can do with a bottle of wine in between ... whether its destroying the Pope's only chance at sipping a centuries old Merlot or spoofing the high-handed television adventure of cop shows ... and it works almost perfectly.

Yes, I said "almost" perfectly, and it's really a minor nitpick for a five-star review: the last episode satirized ...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars B&N meets Fawlty Towers November 8, 2005
By T. Grim
Bernard Black is the Basil Fawlty of the book-selling world, but with an Irish accent, and a non-stop affair with the grape and tobacco. With Manny Bianco filling in for Manuel and Polly, and Fran as a neurotic Sybil, the only thing missing is a similar group of stock customers/boarders. But who needs them when there's a continuing line of normal, but exceedingly out-of-place, book buyers who continue to visit the shop with the impossible dream of buying the book they were foolish enough to think they wanted to.

The best thing about the shows is that even when the plots take a seemingly predictible path, there's always a troll under the bridges along the way; from Missonaries learning about the Bible from a work-avoiding Bernard; to a Fran auditioning her new dress, and 'turn with a laugh', on Bernard; to a Manny who's just stayed up all night with his birthday presents, an espresso machine and a detective novel series.

It'll be a shame if the whole (as of now) three series don't appear in the US because most of us would just have to make do with grainy digitized vcr recordings which do no justice to Bernard in a skirt, returning from a three week vacation (after spending all but 4 hours on connecting flights), Fran doing yoga while still polluting her chakras with chocolate and peas, and Manny suffering from Dave's Syndrome, with the thermometer approaching the upper 80's.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 5 days ago by willibald kisely
5.0 out of 5 stars good price, excellent quality
Quick delivery, good price, excellent quality. Thank you.
Published 19 days ago by Joseph Marak
5.0 out of 5 stars Great show!
This was only season 1- there are two more seasons to be had!
Published 1 month ago by birdie
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh till you cry -- inspired madness
Bernard Black is a self-absorbed drunken curmudgeon who would be pathetic if he didn't live surrounded by other people as crazy as he is, in their own way. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Winefred's well
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this show
A british friend introduced me to this show. It is very funny. The very first episode made me think I wouldn't like it too much but by the second and third, I was hooked.
Published 3 months ago by Lizzy
5.0 out of 5 stars The pay's not great, but the work is hard
Somewhere in London, there is a tiny indie bookstore run by the rudest and most misanthropic Irishman since Father Jack Hackett. Read more
Published 3 months ago by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Skip this show at your peril!!!!
I stumbled on this show by accident and couldn't be happier that I did! This is just a perfectly silly show that will make you laugh in spite of yourself.
Published 3 months ago by Lucy's friend
5.0 out of 5 stars Hillarious
Brilliant and very very funny. Season 1 is particularly masterful - great wit and physical comedy, and we will never forget the Little Book of Calm.
Published 3 months ago by Amikins
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Books: My favorite sitcom of all time.
I'm not one to care about reviews regarding subjective topics such as entertainment.

All I can say is that both my wife and I have loved this show since we first saw it... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sean G. Alt
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-watching Black Books
Remembered why I liked it in the first place! Very funny, intelligent, and well performed! Fun -- will continue watching the rest. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kathryn Bond
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