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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Piglet Files
The Piglet Files
BFS Entertainment // Unrated // April 29, 2003
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 27, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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P R I N T
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The Show:

I'll admit it.  I've always liked comic reliefs.  You know, the dumb sidekicks who could never do anything right.  No matter how simple the task, they'd always find some way to mess it up.  Yeah, a lot of them were obnoxious, and they always stretched credibility, but for some reason I always laughed.  It wasn't the fact that they goofed something up, you knew that was going to happen, but it was the way they did it that was so entertaining.  If you enjoy stupid bumbling characters as much as I do, then you'll love The Piglet Files, a British TV show where all the characters are comic reliefs.

MI-5, Britain's intelligence agency, needs someone to train their agents in the use of the latest high tech spy equipment.  They hire Peter Chapman to do the job (after arranging to have him fired from his last position.)  Though his bosses assure him that it's passé, Chapman insists on having a code name.  They assign him one:  Piglet.

Peter has his job cut out for him.  Not only is his new job making his home life difficult (he can't tell his wife anything about his new job, including who he's working for,) but everyone he works with is an idiot.  Poor Piglet, how ever will he survive?

This DVD set contains the first season of The Piglet Files, originally broadcast in 1990, in the order they were originally broadcast.

A Question of Intelligence:  Peter Chapman is recruited, and meets his new bosses.  While out to dinner with his wife one night, he inadvertently helps his supervisor defect to the Russians, illustrating that he's not much brighter than his coworkers.

A Room With a View:  After Dexter and Flint spend a week watching the wrong house, Chapman is assigned to help them with surveillance of a dwelling occupied by East German spies.  But will Piglet be able to keep his cool when the spies come over to visit?

Fair Exchange:  A Russian scientist defects, and the only safe house they have is Peter's!  Peter has a hard time explaining to his wife why someone is going to be staying with them for a few days, and it gets more difficult when the defector turns out to be a beautiful woman.  But Piglet's problems compound when the Russians break into his house to kidnap the scientist.  Only they snag teh wrong person and end up with Piglet's wife.  How will he ever explain that to her?

The Iceman Cometh:  There has been another cock-up, but this time it's the Russians fault.  They incorrectly have Peter's picture associated with the top British assassin.  When the Russians send their man to kill Piglet, will he have a chance?  And when he finds out that he's been targeted, how can he explain his odd behavior to his wife?

Now You See It:  The French develop an inexpensive method of making planes invisible to radar.  When their plane equipped with the device crashes into the sea, Navy divers retrieve the device.  All Piglet and his coworkers have to do is transport the device to an eminent scientist laboratory for analysis.  But that's much harder than it sounds.

A Private Member's Bill:  A member of Parliament is suggesting that MI-5 and MI-6 combine into one agency, and the higher ups at MI-5 don't like the suggestion.  So Piglet and the rest of the agents try to find some dirt on the member pushing this suggestion.

The Beagle Has Landed:  Lewis and Dexter try to infiltrate a radical animal rights group but are spotted when they order steak and pork chops at a meeting.  That leaves Piglet to become the inside man.  But will he be back from their raid in time for the dinner party his wife is throwing?

This is an amusing show.  My young children laughed at the incompetent bumbling of the agents and their exacerbated boss.  The jokes are simple, and you can see most of them coming from a long way off, but it's still good for a laugh.  The only problem is that the program really only has one joke.  The agents are all idiots.  The joke doesn't get old in these seven shows, but there is not a lot of variety in the humor either.

There are some double entendres, and a few suggestive jokes, but these fly by so fast, that they went over my children's heads.  Being a British show, there were some references I didn't get, mainly jokes involving political and television personalities that I've never heard of.  There weren't a lot of these, and it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the show.

The acting was standard.  Nicholas Lyndhurst did a good job as Piglet, spending most of his time running around with a confused look on his face.  Clive Francis plays his long-suffering boss with a good mixture of aggravation and astonishment at his underling's stupidity.  The other agents are not as talented.  Louise Catt who plays the female agent, Flint, seems to be trying to recall her lines whenever she speaks.  Steven Law who plays Lewis is uninspired at best.  But this isn't Shakespeare, and their mediocre performances don't hurt the show.
 


The DVD:



Audio:

The stereo English soundtrack was satisfactory.  There wasn't any use of the soundstage to speak of, and the audio was not very dynamic.  The dialog was clear and easy to hear, but there wasn't any punch to the music or the few audio effects.  It was an acceptable track, but not more than that.

Video:

The video was only fair.  The level of detail was acceptable, though not great.  The colors had a sufficient intensity too, but there were a lot of encoding errors that hurt the presentation.  The main problem was that the entire set had a problem with microphony.  This creates a series of light horizontal lines that track across the screen.  It is not a bad case, but it was noticeable in every episode.  There was a lot of aliasing also, which was particularly bad when Venetian blinds were filmed.  These take on a life of their own, dancing and moving about in strange patterns.  This was very distracting.

The Extras:

All the extras included with this set are text based.  There are some standard biographies of the actors along with filmographies of their work.  Also included is a short history of MI-5.  Nothing really exciting.

Final Thoughts:

A funny show, and well worth checking out.  It doesn't push the boundaries of comedy, but the useless and inept agents give a lot of laughs with their constant bumbling.  My entire family laughed, and you can't ask much more than that out of a comedy.  Even with the less than stellar video quality, the set is worth checking out.  Recommended.

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