Extras: The Complete Series
DVD | Box Set
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Extras Gift Set S1 & S2 (DVD)
The British phenomenon and 2007 Emmy®-winner Ricky Gervais, founder of BBCs original The Office, stars in the hilariously funny series Extras, now available in a Gift Set! Watch the story unfold as Ricky Gervais plays a lowly film extra, Andy Millman, who makes his mark in the background while the stars do their work. This Gift Set is packaged in a slip case that includes both Seasons of the hit series Extras and a 90 minute series finale, never before released on DVD! Extras: The show with big, big stars…and Andy Millman.]]>
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Ricky Gervais always seems to punch through the characters he plays, he never seems to become them. (Although I haven't seen Derek.) At least in Extras Ricky's character develops some depth. His co-star, Ashley Jensen, is a real treat, and someone I wish American producers would give a sitcom to (please, though, not Chuck Lorre). The premise of Extras is a goods one, and it's pretty well written. It slogs a bit in parts, but all in all it sort of works, and is worth watching.
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!
This show along with the "The Office" which I both own now have to be the two most original and funniest sitcoms to come out in a very long time. I love Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant and the chemistry that they have got together, it is perfect and they are a hilarious pair to watch or listen to Ricky Gervais Show Podcast. "Extras" is a great example of how an original concept and great performances combine to create one of the great pieces of art that Ricky Gervais has put out in his career, enjoy.