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With additional dialogue by William Shakespeare

I began watching the first series of Blackadder a week or so ago and finished the last episode tonight. Although I’m not as familiar with the series as I’d like to be, I positively love Blackadder Goes Forth, and I always love seeing how series can start off so humbly. The series truly shines with its razor-sharp wit and punchy dialogue, and it truly makes the best out of having three characters traipse around a single set for half the episode.

The first series isn’t like that.

No, see, it’s got a budget. There are large, extravagant sets! There are lots of characters! They actually have outdoor shots! Heck, they even had the money to get, like, four horses! It actually looks fairly nice with a lot of effort put into the visuals; the problem is, well, the writing just isn’t great. It’s not bad, certainly not to the level of Teenage Kicks, but I just didn’t find it very good. Even the duller episodes of Blackadder Goes Forth have something going for them, but this one… quite often I just got the impression they were looking for ways to pad out the running time so they’d have to write less. Yes, this series has Brian freakin’ Blessed (a god among men!), but even he can’t quite save it, and the first episode was almost painful to sit through. I won’t deny that I was just repeating to myself “please end, please end, please end” by the twenty minute mark. It does pick up after that, but it’s simply not as good as the other series, I feel. I do commend it for being experimental and being given the chance to improve in its later incarnations, where they realised that good writing is how you make a comedy, not through fancy sets.

It’s kind of sad when the funniest line in the series is Rik Mayall saying “close the door!”

It would be rude of me to pretend that I have updates prepared, because I don’t have any unless you consider some half-finished twaddle about a Batman board game to be considered enough for a sufficient update. But I have been meaning to get started on series 4 of the Red Dwarf Section lately, and I made the notes for Camille while I was in Enniskillen. Problem is, the series gets kinda hard to write about for series 4 and 5 – they’re entertaining enough, but there’s not an awful lot of discussion to be had, and it’s only when the quality and writing get turbulent from series 6 onwards that I can get in-depth and nitpicky. I still haven’t re-watched series 8 since my holiday last year (where I wrote quick reviews of series 8 and the second half of series 7, which is what inspired me to get the Red Dwarf Section up and rolling), but thinking back to it although there are some good gags, a lot of the writing seems like a seriously far stretch from the norm; Krytie TV was probably the funniest episode of that series, but I don’t recall there being any elements that seriously required the Red Dwarf setting for it. I can re-evaluate my thoughts when I got around to it!

But yeah, series 4. Decent series, but lordy, Camille is a hard episode to write about. It was so much easier to write for series 1 and 2 because they were so quaint and bittersweet in a way, they are just so much fun to observe as both comedy and drama. It’s like you can laugh at how Rimmer and Lister get on, and then you sigh in melancholy thinking, “so, this is how the human race ends – vomiting over themselves while watching chick flicks.” It was comedy, but it still allowed for emotional punch.

So last night I went into work and, surprise surprise, there was no work to do. But rather than the co-workers just doing the usual routine of pretending to be busy, they decided the best way to make use of this time was to watch a movie.

And what movie did they watch?

The Hottie And The Nottie.

And they were excited to see it.

I’m not lying when I say I ripped my arm out of its socket and beat myself to death with it in response to this.

All in all, definitely one of the more interesting dreams I’ve had in a while.

Today’s observation: I’m disappointed nobody asked what the hell I was smoking in regards to the final paragraph of my 21st May entry.