Extras: The Complete Collection: DVD Review
Extras: The Complete Collection
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Shaun Williamson,
Released by BBC and Roadshow
Collecting together all 12 of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's comedy and
bundling it up with the TV movie which rounded off the series is a genius
Granted it's nothing which hasn't already been released but it's a great
collection which sucks you in.
Gervais is Andy Millman, a TV extra who longs to make it - his friend Maggie
(Ashley Jensen) is also a struggling actress - and combined with his useless
agent Darren (the gangly awkward Stephen Merchant), Andy tries whatever he can
to get a bigger part onscreen.
Ultimately though, it leads to Millman being humiliated - however, in series
2, Millman gets the break he's wanted and lands a BBC sitcom. Yet that momentous
victory is soured by the fact he's making TV for the masses with catch phrases
and parts of his soul being torn from him.
And then in the special, Andy nearly loses everything when he heads for the
The joy of Extras comes in the writing and awkwardness which in some ways was
pioneered in The Office. Gervais isn't afraid to make himself the butt of the
jokes all the way through - and Merchant trades on his towering frame and
stupidity for his agent Darren. Coupled with the Hollywood cameos throughout the
series, this is compelling viewing.
However, it's the Special TV movie at the end which makes this set what it is
- and showcases exactly why the poignancy and heartache - along with Ashley
Jensen's terrific performance - work best in this series. As Andy forgets
everyone around him on his way up, his friend heads for rock bottom and near
depression - Ashley Jensen's performance will leave even the most hard hearted
Gervais has had the good sense to end Extras after two series - let's hope it
stays that way because he's fashioned the perfect sitcom which deals with
Hollywood; there's despair, desperation, laughs and tragedy in spades.
Brilliant viewing for fans of Gervais' "awkward moments" style of
comedy comedy where the joke's on him - and there's heartbreak aplenty.
Extras: Behind the scenes docos, the difficult second album
looks at how they wrote the show after The Office, commentaries, deleted scenes
and Outtakes add to the package - but their inclusion only enhance the
experience as all have been available on separate discs before.