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The Office: The Complete BBC Collection (First and Second Series Plus Special) (2004)

Ricky Gervais , Martin Freeman , Ricky Gervais , Stephen Merchant  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook, Lucy Davis (II)
  • Directors: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, 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: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002W4P98
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,041 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Office: The Complete BBC Collection (First and Second Series Plus Special)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The complete 12-episode series and special
  • "How I Made The Office" documentary
  • Deleted scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Video diary
  • Golden Globes featurette
  • Music video

Editorial Reviews

It feels both inaccurate and inadequate to describe The Office as a comedy. On a superficial level, it disdains all the conventions of television sitcoms: there are no punch lines, no jokes, no laugh tracks, and no cute happy endings. More profoundly, it's not what we're used to thinking of as funny. Most of the fervently devoted fan base watched with a discomfortingly thrilling combination of identification and mortification. The paradox is that its best moments are almost physically unwatchable. Set in the offices of a fictional British paper merchant, The Office is filmed in the style of a reality television show. The writing is subtle and deft, the acting wonderful, and the characters beautifully drawn: the cadaverous team leader Gareth (Mackenzie Crook); the monstrous sales rep, Chris Finch (Ralph Ineson); and the decent but long-suffering everyman Tim (Martin Freeman), whose ambition and imagination have been crushed out of him by the banality of ! the life he dreams uselessly of escaping. The show is stolen, as it was intended to be, by insufferable office manager David Brent, played by codirector-cowriter Ricky Gervais. Brent will become a name as emblematic for a particular kind of British grotesque as Basil Fawlty, but he is a deeper character. Fawlty is an exaggeration of reality, and therefore a safely comic figure. Brent is as appalling as only reality can be. --Andrew Mueller

The second series exceeded even the sky-high standards of the first. Indeed, it ventured beyond caricature and satire, touching on the very edge of darkness. Ricky Gervais is once again excruciatingly superb as David Brent, but in this series, Brent's to-the-camera assertions concerning his management qualities and executive capabilities are seriously challenged when the Slough and Swindon branches are merged and his former Swindon equivalent Neil (Patrick Baladi) takes over as area manager. To compensate, Brent cultivates his pathologically mistaken image of himself as an entertainer-motivator-comedian whose stage happens to be the workplace. Meanwhile, Tim, who can only maintain his sanity by teasing the priggish Gareth, continues to wrestle with his yearning for receptionist Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis), a sympathetic character persisting in a relationship with a man about whom she still maintains unspoken reservations. As ever, it's the awkward, reality TV-style pauses and silences, the furtive, meaningful and unmet glances across the emotional gulf of the open-plan office, that say it all here. As for Brent, his own breakdown is prefaced by a moment of hideous hilarity--an impromptu office dance, a mixture of "Flashdance and MC Hammer" as Brent describes it, but in reality bad beyond description. Then, when his fate is sealed, he at last reveals himself in a memorable finale to perhaps the greatest British sitcom, besides Fawlty Towers, ever made. --David Stubbs

The brilliant and devastating comedy of The Office is brought to a satisfying conclusion in The Office Special, originally a two-part Christmas special on the BBC, set three years after the end of the faux-documentary's second season. The former office manager David (Ricky Gervais) now ekes out a desperate existence as an oblivious quasi-celebrity, making awkward, humiliating visits back to the office staff he still believes loves him. Gawky Gareth (Mackenzie Crook) has risen to manager and become a petty tyrant, while the sweet but snide Tim (Martin Freeman) continues to pine for former receptionist Dawn (Lucy Davis), who fled to Florida with her fiance. When the documentary crew pays for Dawn to return for the holiday party, an unpredictable reunion looms ahead. The Office fuses scathing humor and genuine empathy, turning excruciating social discomfort into inspired satire. Fans will find this special rewarding in all respects. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Welcome to The Office, a place of petty rivalry, bad flirting, and easily-bruised egos. Filmed in documentary-style and starring Ricky Gervais, this sharply observed and highly acclaimed comedy exposes the excruciating truth about the world of nine-to-five.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
236 of 240 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best TV Series Ever? October 30, 2004
By Maggie
Every reviewer out there has praised this show for its brilliance and I'm going to be redundant and do the same. From its first episode to the last few seconds of the Christmas Specials, The Office never has one bad line or one false note. It's just about perfect.

Almost every scene takes place in the dull offices of the Slough branch of the Wernham Hogg paper company (Dawn, the receptionist, accurately describes it as "a crappy sub-branch paper merchant's). Wernham Hogg employs about 40 people and we get to know all their faces as we see them stare at computer screens, take coffee breaks, and goof off day after day. It's as realistic as TV has ever been. Nobody is too pretty, everyone's "office-casual" wardrobe is slightly wrinkled, and everyone looks bored out of his or her mind most of the time.

The people we get to know best are: Gareth Keenan, a bizarre "team leader" with a fixation on survival skills; Dawn Tindsley, the sweet and sarcastic receptionist who is stuck in both a boring job and a boring relationship; Tim Canterbury, a sales rep who hates his job but can never seem to actually quit it; and David Brent, a man who thinks he's everyone's "friend as well as their boss" but who is actually liked and respected by no one.

The two main story threads running through all 14 episodes of The Office are Tim's attempts to convince Dawn to leave her idiotic fiance and David's constant need to impress his employees, bosses, and everyone he meets with his various talents. We see his "humor," his "poetry," his "songs," his "dancing," and his philosophical "wisdom." All of which are horrifyingly bad.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell Is Other People, Indeed November 16, 2004
There has been much hype about "The Office" being a great sitcom on the level of "The Honeymooners" or "Fawlty Towers" and it is that, but it's something else, too. It may be the invention of a new genre you might call the sit-tragi-comedy, because there are many moments in this dark, unforgettable show when the skull beneath the skin of the human condition becomes appallingly visible. They may sound pretentious (as Ricky Gervais says jokingly about his show on the DVD, it's like Dickens, only better) but "The Office" deserves every scrap of praise it gets.

It owes a lot to the Christopher Guest mockumentaries like "Waiting for Guffman" in which the limits of human self-delusion are scathingly explored. There's also the achingly tart characterization and wit of "Fawlty Towers." Neil LaBute's savage comedies of sexual combat and office politics seem present as well. There's also the unmistakable whiff of Samuel Beckett (yes, I said Beckett) in the pacing and style, the emptinesses and Godot-like futility of the work. Perhaps the greatest aspect of the show is how it combines both mercilessness and compassion at once. Many of the characters are just awful people, but on the other hand at times they are very painfully aware of it. As David Brent despairingly wails, after his exploits have supposedly been telecast all over Britain, "I am not a plonker!"

David Brent, brilliantly incarnated by series co-writer and creator Ricky Gervais, is a Frankenstein-like compilation of the worst qualities of every boss you ever despised. Abusive, dishonest, incompetent, socially inept; yet convinced in his own mind he is a "chilled-out entertainer and comedian" before he is a boss, Brent is a walking inducer of cringes and acid reflux.
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93 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Brit-humor October 17, 2004
It's a dark "Dilbert," a realistic "Office Space." Hit Brit-comedy "The Office" takes mockumentaries to the small screen, featuring the hilariously unfunny David Brent, and his unhappy employees. This three-pack includes both seasons, plus the satisfying holiday special, which also serves as the grand finale.

The first season opens with David Brent (Ricky Gervais) learning that either his branch or another branch of paper corporation Wenham-Hogg will shortly be downsized. So this wannabe-comedian sets out to prove that his branch is better, stumbling as he tries. Trailing in his wake is bored everyman Tim (Martin Freeman), dead-looking yes-man Gareth (MacKenzie Crook), and pretty, quietly cynical receptionist Dawn (Lucy Davis).

The second season, while more unsteady than the first, takes some new and darker steps. Now David's rival Neil (Patrick Baladi) is his boss, and David has a slew of new employees who are less than thrilled about his racist jokes, chicken suits, and the lack of any actual work going on. Dawn becomes jealous when Tim gets a girlfriend, and Gareth searches for any way to bed Tim's girlfreind. And after a catastrophic managerial meeting, David learns that the next downsizing just might be him...

After the dismal ending of the second season, the feature-length "Office Special" provides a satisfying wrap up. Three years later, everyone from Wenham-Hogg -- including those who no longer work there -- is being called back for a special reunion. Tim is given one last chance to win Dawn's affections, and David finally learns the truth about himself. (Anyone disappointed by the end of the second season had better check out the new endings)

Don't expect a typical sitcom in "The Office." No laughtracks. No punch lines. No gag humor...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars S Version and ends beautifully and in a very real way
This is not the U.S. Office
It covers more emotion then the U.S Version and ends beautifully and in a very real way
Published 1 month ago by Gregory J Dowles
1.0 out of 5 stars A total BORE!!
Totally boring and diction so sloppy by the lead most words are lost. I don't think this guy is even an actor. Just a jerk who runs off at the nauseam.
Published 2 months ago by Operafilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Margaret McDowell
5.0 out of 5 stars tragedy presented as gut-wrenching, cringe-worthy comedy
if i could give this show 15,000 stars, i would.

this is, perhaps, the saddest funniest program ever produced. Read more
Published 3 months ago by roger
4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud viewing
The office has now cemented its place on the list of favourite British comedies. This is great laugh out loud viewing and will be particularly enjoyable to anyone who works in an... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tahir Usman
5.0 out of 5 stars Luv Ricky Gervais
I luv Ricky Gervais, had not seen the BBC's 'the office', only the U.S.'s 'The Office', so wanted to see the original show that the U.S.'s show was based from. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Absurdity in modern life
The British version demonstrates the humor and absurdity often present in British television and films that adds to the depth, things that the American version are lacking. Read more
Published 5 months ago by E
5.0 out of 5 stars What can you say, it's Ricky!
He's a comedic genius and it seems everything he touches turns to gold. I've only seen one episode of the American version however I can't imagine you not liking this because I... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chris
4.0 out of 5 stars Office Brits
This has hilarious characters in an office setting. Rickey Gervais is dead on as middle management. Very funny show that proves office culture seems to be universal!
Published 5 months ago by doorknob
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny stuff!
I find this series to be a great joy to watch.Ricky Gervais is so funny and the whole idea of the cameras documenting day to day goings on seems to be the norm for a lot of newer... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Daniel A. Werner
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