Coupling: The Complete Third Season (DVD)
The third series of Coupling, first aired in 2002, takes fans of the BBC's comedy of sex, manners, and modern relationships into new realms of engaging surrealism, leaving those irritating comparisons to Friends trailing in its wake. The men are constantly in pursuit of a basic grasp of the "emotional things" that make women behave the way they do. The women analyze everything to death. But thanks to Steve Moffat's scripts, tighter and quirkier than ever, these characters are living, breathing human beings rather than cynical ciphers for comedy stereotypes.
The performances are as strong as you'd expect from an established team, with actors such as Jack Davenport (the ever-perplexed Steve), Ben Miles (unreconstructed chauvinist Patrick), Sarah Alexander (dryly intelligent Susan), and Kate Isitt (neurotic Sally) wearing their roles like second skins. But in the surreal stakes, it's Richard Coyle as Jeff, wondering aloud what happens to jelly after women have finished wrestling in it, and Gina Bellman as Jane, musing on the importance of a first snog in identifying what men like to eat, who really raise the laughter levels. All things considered, this is superior comedy for all thirtysomethings--genuine and putative. --Piers Ford