No, this is not the NBC series from the mid-90’s starring Rob Schneider. This is the original UK show. All 12 episodes from the first two seasons are available here on 2 discs. In fact, it’s not just a two disc set, but two completely separate releases packaged together.
At first, I was a little surprised that this mediocre show lasted for six full seasons. I changed my mind, however, when I thought about such American staples as Family Matters and Boy Meets World. They are not great monuments…to television excellence, but they are not horrible either. They are earmarked by middle-of-the-road humor, average plot lines and nothing too offensive.
Such is the case with this show. It is certainly not anything to write home about, but I could see how it would be easy to spend a Saturday afternoon watching it on reruns, if it were on TV.
You may have noticed above that the audio is not listed as being in Dolby Stereo, but just as “stereo“. This is a noticeable and regrettable distinction. The audio sounds very much like it was taken from a VHS recording of the program. Dialog is muddy, tones are bass heavy and sound effects are tinny. This is a seriously sad audio presentation. Obviously no work was put in to improving this track at all. It‘s a shame…a little work on this disc would have gone long way to making the show more desirable on DVD.
As goes the audio, so goes the video. Jagged edges and washed-out colorization are prevalent throughout these episodes. I won‘t go as far as I went with the audio, and say that the quality rivals the best in home VHS technology, but it is awfully close. All that is missing is a tracking problem (which actually shows up at one point in the outtakes, believe it or not). There is no definition in the episodes, and many of the shots color palettes blend together. What‘s worse, there is some occasional shudder that occurs as well. This is a seriously sorry excuse for a DVD transfer.
There is a modest collection of trailers included on these discs for various other BBC programs. The only other extras here are a group of outtakes from the show. These segments are actually pretty funny, which is more than I can say for the majority of the outtake tracks on DVDs these days. Unfortunately, that‘s it in the extras department.
This is an average sitcom that could have been much improved with caring treatment on DVD. Unfortunately, the quality of this disc is horrid. It‘s almost as if the producers of this disc went out of their way to make an inferior product. Either that, or they just directly copied the contents of the disc from an old VHS tape that somebody had laying around their flat. Whatever the case, it is a complete waste of money for everyone except for the show’s most desperate and diehard fans.
Special Features List