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88 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extra! Extra!
A few years back, Ricky Gervais created "The Office," a Dilberty satire on office work. Now, he's created "Extras," a wickedly funny satire on showbiz and acting, both seasons of which are contained here. And the fact that prominent actors appear in it -- as warped versions of themselves -- is just the icing on the comedy cake.

Andy Millman (Gervais) and Maggie...
Published on December 17, 2007 by E. A Solinas

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3.0 out of 5 stars Extras the Series
I got this a few weeks ago, thinking it would be pretty funny and all. From the trailers and previews off of the British series, The Office, Ricky Gervais is really funny. However season one was fairly funny, season two wasn't so much. Again Ricky is pretty funny in other movies he has done. I know Extras is somewhat an old series, I really thought it would be funny.
Published 13 months ago by Michael C.


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88 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extra! Extra!, December 17, 2007
This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
A few years back, Ricky Gervais created "The Office," a Dilberty satire on office work. Now, he's created "Extras," a wickedly funny satire on showbiz and acting, both seasons of which are contained here. And the fact that prominent actors appear in it -- as warped versions of themselves -- is just the icing on the comedy cake.

Andy Millman (Gervais) and Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jenson) are film extras -- Andy is embittered by his lack of success and his inept agent (Stephen Merchant, Gervais' work partner), while well-meaning Maggie merely pursues a series of crew members on the films they work in.

The first episode features the two working in a biopic directed by a brusque Ben Stiller ("Would you stop going on about your f**king dead wife?"), and Andy gets himself kicked off the set. Their blunders continue with other stars: Kate Winslet in a nun costume, who teaches Maggie how to talk dirty to her new boyfriend ("I'd love it if you stuck your Willy Wonka in between my Oompa-Loompas!"); Samuel L. Jackson, and Patrick Stewart, who is writing a movie about psychkinesis and naked women.

And in the second season, Andy gets his Big Break -- BBC2 is producing his sitcom "When the Whistle Blows," but they dumb it down until it's popular but critically lambasted. Meanwhile, he and Maggie tangle with a bunch of new celebs -- the arrogant woman-chasing Daniel Radcliffe and Orlando Bloom, self-promoting Chris Martin, a hostile David Bowie, and Andy even stars in a play of Ian McKellen's about gay love (much to his discomfort).

Finally, the Christmas special takes us forward -- Andy has fame and fortune from his sitcom, and Maggie is still struggling at the lowest rungs. When Andy blows up and destroys his own fame, he is forced to confront the fact that he cannot be both an "artiste" and rich'n'famous.... and also who his true friends will always be.

It's a bit depressing compared to the past two seasons, especially when Andy has turned into a big stupid sitcom diva. But it is funny in an understated way, and Gervais' televised monologue is an absolute, heartbreaking gem.

Part of the genius of "Extras" is that it isn't much like any other showbiz parodies -- the lead characters are on the lowest rung of acting, and the big egos are real stars making fun of themselves. Sometimes they play really nasty versions of themselves, such as Winslet saying that she's only making a Holocaust film so she can FINALLY nab an Oscar.

The other half of the comic genius is Gervais' direction, with most of the jokes based on socially awkward situations. It's all about cringing and giggling at once, such as when Andy's pals see him pantsless in Ian McKellen's dressing room. Those hideously embarrassing situations -- usually with some hilarious dialogue involving the star guests (Bowie's "little fat man/nobody's laughing" song is a gutsplitter) are what it's all about.

Gervais underplays a sort of befuddled, cynical extra, but you can really connect with his struggles, even when he gets his own sitcom. No matter what, Andy can always be depended on to jam foot in mouth, and occasionally to attack Warwick Davis. And Jensen is clumsily charming as Maggie, who tries to be nice to everyone but says all the wrong things at the wrong time, when she's not being pursued by Orlando Bloom or offending Samuel Jackson.

From start to finish, "Extras" is an uproariously funny, barbed looks at the strange world of showbiz, with the self-parodying actors as the final perfect touch.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 discs that could be 1, February 24, 2009
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This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
Don't get me wrong, Extras is incredibly funny and well-written series. But know what you're getting in this set. Each season (there are two seasons total) only has six (6) episodes! Each episode is about 22 minutes long. And yet, the studio, for some odd reason, decided to split the series onto 5 separate discs (3 episodes per disc).

In other words, "The Complete Series" means 13 short episodes total. You do get a plethora of special features, however. But if you think you're getting a week-worth of comedy, you're not.

I give it 4 stars, nonetheless, because Gervais is simply brilliant. The dry British humor and all celebrity guests are simply hilarious. I took a star away just because the series is so short and the studio could have saved a bit of plastic by condensing each season to just one disc. Then have a separate disc for special features.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hello, from HBO!, January 9, 2008
This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
Hello, from HBO! We've picked up on the comments here about the EXTRAS gift box set and not being able to get Ricky Gervais' EXTRAS: THE EXTRA SPECIAL SERIES FINALE by itself and we want to apologize for not getting the word out about the finale quicker.
The series finale WILL be available as a stand-alone item as of February 26 (the official announcement went out earlier this week).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! The funniest show ever to watch over and over, January 22, 2008
By 
Parisanne20 (Sacramento, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
Can't say enough great things about Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's briliiant series "Extras". It is hysterical! I love seeing Stephen in the series he is just as funny as Ricky. They really are great together comically. I wish people would have just rated the series and not rated according to thier complaints about HBO not releasing the DVD's as they'd have preferred. I can understand the frustrations however, aren't these review comments supposed to be about what you think about the content of the DVD? Anyways it's all great and the bonus materials are as funny and enjoyable as the episodes!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfuly cringeworthy!, July 18, 2008
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This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
Ah, the Brits. No one else can produce so many successful shows with such unlikable main characters. Consider The Office - The Complete Collection BBC Edition (First And Second Series Plus Special) and Black Adder: The Complete Collector's Set. Neither David Brent nor any of the various Blackadders (with the possible exception of Captain Blackadder), were especially likable, but the shows built around them were very good and very popular.

Enter Ricky Gervais, formerly David Brent, now Andy Millman, would-be TV star. As a character he's very unlikeable and one of those for whom the word "cringeworthy" is coined. He's a character who tries very hard to get ahead, but his own lack of ability and confidence really holds him back.

The character is fascinating to watch. He starts out as an extra, or "background artist", as he puts it. He wants to be more. He wants to have his own TV show on the BBC, but it's hard to just get speaking lines, and his particular personality traits and skills at self-sabotage only serve to make things worse.

Consider, for example, and episode in which our hero is dating a Catholic woman. He's an atheist himself but is lying to her and saying he's a Catholic. This works reasonably well until her priest starts talking to him and he begins what my friend and I call "The Millman Slide", as instead of manning-up and taking responsibility for what he's done, he starts lying even more, and more ineffectively (at one point saying his childhood priest was one Father Michael O'Flatley). Soon he's buried himself so deep he knows there's no point in trying anymore and simply leaves the room. At one point he's talking to David Bowie and his insecurities are so obvious to everyone around him that Bowie makes up a song, on the spot, mocking him ("Depressed and all alone / Fatty takes his own life").

Along with Andy we have his incompetent agent, several celebrities playing exaggerated versions of themselves and Andy's friend Maggie, who in many ways is the heart of the series. Watching her develop as a character is one of the great joys of the show, particularly in the Christmas episode.

The DVD's have several great extras (or "bonus material," I guess I should call it), including outtakes, behind-the-scenes material and a short film on the efforts of Gervais and his collegue, Stephen Merchant, to get Leonardo DiCaprio onto the series. The only thing that's lacking, actually, is any additional features on the Christmas episode, and that's really too bad. I would've loved an audio commentary.

This is an excellent series available on Amazon at an amazing price. You get all twelve episodes plus the Christmas special, and I highly recommend buying it as a set rather than just getting the discs on their own. You'll save money this way.

If you have any interest in Hollywood, the movies, television or the entertainment world in general, you owe it to yourself to watch this show!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Started hilarious, ended movingly., June 25, 2010
By 
Amazon Customer (Indian Springs, AL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
This video set is not what I expected. The episodes started out extremely funny, then became mixed funny and "cringey" (with many situations where you found yourself peeking out at the TV from behind spread fingers or over the edge of a blanket). Then came a stage where things got so dark I thought about giving up on the series. Finally, with the season finale came a redemption of sorts, tying the whole up together and leaving me very happy that I watched the whole thing. My wife, my son, and I watched the series together (it was a Father's Day present) and agreed that in the end, taken as a whole, the series was very good. The series was also a lot deeper than I expected, and showed a side of Ricky Gervais that I had not seen to date. He's not only funny, but a very good writer and actor.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest series, March 5, 2008
By 
M. Gibb "thing187" (Auckland New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
Even better than The Office. The whole story arc is excellent. Cringingly good and funny.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Extras...I hope Gervais/Merchant do something else!, January 12, 2008
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This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
I think Extras is a great show because it has such an interesting setting. Sure, as Gervais himself has said, there is at least Some inspiration drawn from Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, but this show is rife with great writing, great acting, and a spirit of fun that gives it a replay value that many shows don't possess. Ashley Jensen isn't only a great comic actress, she's also a stone-cold fox. Oh yeah...and since I haven't purchased either of the first two seasons yet separately, I will NOT be boycotting the box set. I'll be enjoying it whilst you are protesting. But don't worry...the boycott will end...as soon as late February rolls around and you buy the Series Finale separately and go quietly back to your lives.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest mini-series I have ever seen., October 19, 2008
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This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
What's so great about Extras? Besides the day-to-day realism of the show itself and the natural affect of the characters, the show is flipping funny! It follows the ups and mostly downs of Andy Millman, a film extra who in season one gets one rejection after another as he slumps off to one audition after another. In season two finally gets a successful sitcom, only to realize that this sitcom is a critical stinker. Then he becomes disillusioned with success at the expense of artistic integrity...you get the idea.

Ricky Gervais was great in the Office, and he's great here to. His writing partner, Stephen Merchant, is also hilarious as his agent. But one of the gems of this series is the use of guest stars such as Kate Winslet, Patrick Stewart, Clive Owen, Ben Stiller, David Bowie and many others, playing the worst version of themselves. I have to give these stars credit for being willing to make fun of themselves (or are they?).

If you liked the Office (the British version), or you like witty character-based humor, or you like irreverent British comedy, then you should take a look at Extras.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gervais and Merchant are treasures!, November 12, 2009
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This review is from: Extras: The Complete Series (DVD)
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant write and direct this absolutely brilliant comedy about extras in the movies and the one who makes it on television.

The wit and humor is fast; the satire pungent and on the money. Major stars appear on the episodes playing weird, wacky, outlandish versions of themselves.

Who are Gervais and Merchant? They are the creators of another brilliant British series,"The Office."

Co-star Ashley Jenson is absolutely fabulous for her wonderful turn as Maggie, the dim witted, lovable best friend of Gervais's character.

Original material throughout. The show actually tells a story worth watching. Talk about great writers, actors, directors --- Gervais and Merchant are a revelation in the usually dull world of sitcoms.
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Extras: The Complete Series
Extras: The Complete Series by Extras (DVD - 2009)
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