Black Adder: Remastered (The Ultimate Edition)
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Blackadder Remastered: The Ultimate Edition (DVD)
Rowan Atkinson is deliciously twisted as the comic villain, Edmund Blackadder, in the enormously popular comedy series. Follow Blackadder in hysterical send-ups of the Middle Ages, the Elizabethan age, the Regency period, and World War I. This special edition contains new exclusive interviews and audio commentaries , making it a must have for all BlackAdder fans.]]>
One of the best comedy series ever to emerge from England, Black Adder traces the deeply cynical and self-serving lineage of various Edmund Blackadders from the muck of the Middle Ages to the frontline of World War I. In his pre-Bean triumph, British comic actor Rowan Atkinson played all five versions of Edmund, beginning with the villainous and cowardly Duke of Edinburgh, whose scheming mind and awful haircut seem to stand him in good stead to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury--a deadly occupation if ever there was one. Among tales of royal dethronings, Black Death, witch smellers (who root out spell makers with their noses), and ghosts, Edmund is a perennial survivor who never quite gets ahead in multiple episodes. Jump to the Elizabethan era and Atkinson picks up the saga as Lord Edmund, who is perpetually courting favor from mad Queen Bess (Miranda Richardson) and is always walking a tightrope from which he can either gain the world or lose his head. Subjected to bizarre services for her majesty (at one point, Edmund is asked to do for potatoes what Sir Walter Raleigh did for tobacco), Edmund--as with his ancestor--can never quite fulfill his larger ambitions. The next incarnation we encounter is in late-18th-century Regency England. This time, Blackadder is a mere butler to the idiotic Prince Regent (Hugh Laurie in a brilliantly buffoonish performance) and is caught in various misadventures with Samuel Johnson, Shakespearean actors, the Scarlet Pimpernel, and William Pitt the younger. With a brief stop in Victorian London for a Christmas special, the series concludes with several episodes set during the Great War. The new Edmund is a career Army officer, but a scoundrel all the same. Shirking his duties whenever possible and taking advantage of any opportunity for undeserved reward, this final, deeply sour, and very funny Blackadder negotiates survival among a cadre of fools and dimwits. No small mention can be made of Atkinson's supporting cast, easily among the finest comic performers of their generation: besides Laurie and Richardson, Stephen Fry, Tony Robinson, and Tim McInnerny. --Tom Keogh
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Top Customer Reviews
Lots of people don't like Black Adder I, in which the title character, Edmund, is the younger son of a brutish man consumed with thoughts of war who actually becomes king of England through Edmund's own bungling - he arrives late for the Battle of Bosworth Field and winds up chopping off the head of Richard III, thus saving the life of Henry Tudor. Throughout this first season he plays the buffoon, often having the expression of a deer caught in the headlights. This is the only season in which the Black Adder takes on the persona of a weak effeminate person. Especially funny is Edmund's mother who is a proper noble woman sitting around doing embroidery and indifferently waiting for the next marauding army to pass through.
The second season takes place early during the reign of Elizabeth I, with the Black Adder confident, handsome, and even a favorite at court. A young Amanda Richardson plays the role of Elizabeth I, who comes across as Betty Boop, just not as intelligent. Although more cunning in this season, Black Adder still comes up the loser in just about every episode. My favorite is "Bells", in which Blackadder finds his new servant, Bob, curiously pleasant company. Afraid for his reputation at court, Blackadder searches for a "cure" - which of course involves leeches, until Bob conveniently reveals that she is in fact a girl called Kate. Their wedding is disrupted by the profane Lord Flashheart, who, although he is the best man, winds up stealing the bride.
The third season takes place in the eighteenth century during the reign of George III, and will be a favorite of all fans of "House, M.D." due to the presence of a young Hugh Laurie. Here, Black Adder plays the manservant of the Prince Regent, George, played by Hugh Laurie. George is the dim-witted target of Black Adder's many schemes to enrich himself by taking advantage of his cushy position in George's household, and this often means having to save the Prince Regent's pension and position in the kingdom, which is largely controlled by Parliament.
The fourth season takes place during World War I, with Edmund Blackadder as a captain in the British army whose company is trapped in one of the trenches that gave everyone in Europe such a distaste for warfare between the two world wars. Blackadder's aim in this season is to stay alive by staying in that trench until the war ends. His stunts include shooting a carrier pigeon when it arrives with orders to advance, and joining the Royal Flying Corp - "the twenty minuters". Unfortunately, the name comes from how long they are expected to live once in the air, not how much time they work each day, as Blackadder had originally thought.
This show has several interesting plot devices. First, most of the main characters show up in different periods of time with the same name but different roles. Hugh Laurie is always "George", Tony Robinson is always "Baldrick", Stephen Fry is always "Melchett", and Tim McInnerny is always "Percy". Since each season was shot in alternate years - (1983, 1985, 1987, 1989) - the cast must have been having a terrific time in order for them to be regathered after such long intervals in order to make filming this series possible. Secondly, everyone in the cast, including the Black Adder, always dies in the final episode of each season. It is somewhat like the South Park stunt of Kenny being killed at the end of every show only to reappear in the next episode as though nothing had happened.
Do note that there are only six episodes per season. If you liked "Red Dwarf" or "Fawlty Towers", you'll probably like this series too.
As for extra features, disc five contains the specials. The Cavalier Years has Stephen Fry as King Charles and Warren Clarke as Oliver Cromwell. There is also Blackadder's Christmas Carol and Back and Forth. Christmas Carol is pretty funny, but I've never cared for Back and Forth.
Disc six contains the documentary Blackadder Rides Again, a 90-minute special with the behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage from the fourth season included. There's also a look back at the costumes used in Costumes Revisited, along with extended interviews and audio commentaries with the key actors. As for the audio commentaries, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Ben Elton, Richard Curtis, Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny and producer John Lloyd have all contributed to these.
Most people here are probably already aficionados of the show. I love it for its intelligence, clever lines, and history (as well as the puns and bad jokes), and the fact that it shares aspects in common with a really good play.
I agonized for months over whether to "duplicate" my purchase of the previous boxed set with this one. When it went on sale again, I finally took a chance and bought it and in my case am quite glad I did! I already knew I loved the material, and I read the general opinion that the remastering was good but not necessarily good enough to buy the set. It turns out to be a pretty high quality box set, both in "build quality" (if you will) and content.
The set comes in a comparatively solid outer box (pictured on the product page), into which the disc set slides like a book. The discs themselves are in a "booklet" of thin but sturdy plastic disc holders (which securely hold the discs but the discs are not too difficult to get out) and "bound" in a nice cardboard cover with an etching-like picture covering Edmund through series I to IV. The outer cover folds out into "Baldrick's Family Tree" which contains "Primeval Soup," "Worms," "Viagra," and the like, and a lot of "Baldricks." The discs also look nice and are clearly labeled with their contents. After having purchased some quality shows with really flimsy disc packaging, this was a nice surprise.
But the real treat is the new content. These are the extras labeled on the respective discs; and most of the discs have extras.
Disc One: The Black Adder [ no extras listed ]
Disc Two: Blackadder II, Audio Commentaries on Bells, Money, and Chains
...(Bells: Ben Elton, Richard Curtis, and John Lloyd)
...(Money: Tony Robinson and Tim McInerny)
...(Chains: Stephen Fry)
Disc Three: Blackadder the Third, Audio Commentaries on Ink & Incapability, Amy & Amiability, Duel & Duality
...(Ink & Incapability: Rowan Atkinson and John Lloyd)
...(Amy & Amiability: Ben Elton, Richard Curtis, and John Lloyd)
...(Duel & Duality: Stephen Fry)
Disc Four: Blackadder Goes Forth, Audio Commentaries on Major Star and Goodbyeee
...(Major Star: Tony Robinson and Tim McInerny)
...(Goodbyeee: Rowan Atkinson and John Lloyd)
...Blackadder's Christmas Carol
...Blackadder The Cavalier Years
...Blackadder Back and Forth
...Baldrick's Video Diary
...Blackadder Rides Again
...Exclusive Extended Interviews & Costumes Revisited
I am working my way through the set; and I have to say I am very glad to have it. It might be just because I have old equipment, but the remasters look a lot better than the previous edition on my setup. I love having the book format instead of the fold-out; it's easier to find the disc I am interested in and get it out. I love the commentaries so far (have just listened to series 2 and commentaries). For some reason they didn't do any commentaries on series 1, which I found a big disappointment. As it wasn't one of my favourite series, I was really interested in what they thought about it, and what it was like making it. I enjoyed the commentaries for series 2, although for some reason when they mixed "Money" with Tony Robinson and Tim McInerny, they mixed the episode full-volume and you couldn't hear them half of the time, so that was disappointing. I still love the set and am quite glad I got it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wish they would come back and do a season on WW II before most of them die off in...Read more
Anyone from Europe who has seen Black Adder will attest to it's side splitting sharp humor.Read more