Friday, July 8, 2011

TV Series of the Month - Extras

This month’s series is Extras (2005-2007).

The comedy is about Andy Millman, an aspiring actor who takes extra work to pay the bills. Andy and his friend Maggie continually get each other and themselves into ever more awkward situations, as they struggle to find work and ascend in the acting world. Each episode also features a guest appearance by a star (like Kate Winslet, Ben Stiller, Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Stewart, David Bowie, Orlando Bloom, and Ian McKellen). The show was created, written and directed by the team of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant for HBO and the BBC. The also made the original The Office (and are executive producers of the American remake), The Ricky Gervais Show, the film Cemetery Junction, and have a new HBO/BBC show coming soon called Life’s Too Short. Like The Office, it only has 13 episodes: two 6 episode seasons and special long-form finale. The series stars Gervais, Merchant, Ashley Jensen and Shaun Williamson. This is one of the best comedy TV series of all-time (as much as I like Gervais’s The Office, this is my favorite of his series; it may even be my favorite TV comedy), filled with very awkward and uncomfortable (typically British style) humor. What makes it so good is that it is just not funny; the real success of the show is due to the wonderful characters Gervais, Merchant and co create. The character arcs and dramatic journeys are surprisingly deep and even go into depressing areas. The guest stars are also a brilliant touch, each playing an exaggerated version of their own persona – it is often hysterical. This is an absolute must see series for comedy and Gervais fans (I cannot recommend it enough; it is in my favorite 10 series). Check out the trailer.

Available on DVD, Streaming and to Rent

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