Extras: The Complete Second Season

Extras: The Complete Second Season (2006)
HBO Home Video
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen, Shaun Williamson
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes

British comedians Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are back in the second season of their BBC TV series "Extras, " brought to DVD here in the US by HBO Home Video, and for fans of the show, this second season is another must-have.

Andy (Ricky Gervais) has finally managed to get his own sitcom rolling, writing and starring in it. But he quickly learns that in TV land, idealism only gets you so far. With every director, producer, executive and studio head having an opinion as to how to turn his "Where The Wind Blows" comedy series in something "better," Andy has to helplessly watch as it is constantly dumbed down. Then, the first reviews hit and they simply rip Andy and his work to pieces. But despite the horrible reviews, the show has fairly good ratings – among the "Fat and Stupid" as his manager (Stephen Merchant) tactfully explains to Andy – and so like Chinese Water Torture, Andy's tribulation continues every day with more bad reviews raining in every week.

Along the way, Andy tries to desperately find other projects that would show off his talent and versatility, so at one point he takes to the stage under the direction of Sir Ian McKellen, only to find that he is playing a gay man and is expected to kiss another man in front of an audience.

With the newfound celebrity and poor reviews Andy is facing another dilemma – publicity. Everyone seems to know him, everyone seems to want something from him. Whether it's the homeless beggar on the street threatening to tell everyone he's stingy, to tabloid reporters putting word in his mouth, "Harry Potter" star, teenage Daniel Radcliffe offering up sexual advise, all the way to rock star David Bowie writing and performing an impromptu song about the "Fat Loser," Andy is not happy – and he still has no girlfriend. While his friend Maggie (Ashley Jensen) tries to support him all the way, sometimes she's simply to dim for his and her own good, making things only worse because she never knows when to keep quiet.

If you liked the show's first season, you will love the second one. The situations in this season are so bizarre that even as a viewer you want to pull your hair sometimes. Everything goes well for Andy and then you see his manager Darren walk onto the screen and you know that everything will just fall to pieces in a few moments. These are the moments where you wish you could stop the world from turning and set things right for Andy yourself. But no such luck, you may be able to pause your DVD but the inevitable will happen nonetheless, Andy's career is in the hands of an idiot. If that isn't enough to make you laugh, look out for the guest stars on the show, including the aforementioned celebrities, alongside stars like Orlando Bloom, Coldplay's Chris Martin, the one-and-only Diana Rigg and many others.

HBO Home Video delivers "Extras" in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio in a clean transfer that is free of defects or problems. Accompanied by a Dolby Stereo track, the presentation is perfectly suited for this kind of film and makes it enjoyable to watch.

The DVD set also includes "Extras Backstage" a featurette that takes you behind the scenes of the show, as well as the featurettes "The Art Of Corpsing" and "Taping Nigel: The Gimpening." Look for more laughs in the DVD's deleted scenes and outtakes.

"Extras: The Complete Second Season" is another little gem of British comedy. Its erratic style where lines tumble over each other at a feverish pace is not for everyone, but if you enjoy this dialogue-driven kind of dark humor, "Extras" will make you giggle and laugh.