There is more chaos and mayhem from the boys (and girl) at MI-5 in this
second season of The Piglet Files. Similar to Get Smart
(though more down to earth,) this comedic look at the inner workings of
Britain's intelligence agency is silly, but fun to watch.
The second season consisted of the following episodes:
The Wright Stuff: An ex-intelligence officer is rumored
to be writing a book that will "blow the lid off of MI-5." Piglet's
wife, an editor at a publishing house, was just editing a book called "The
Coldest War." When Drummond finds out, he orders Dexter and Piglet
to steal the manuscript.
Red Spy at Night: A Soviet spy who wants to defect claims
that Major Maxwell is on the Russian payroll. Could the information
be correct? Drummond wants to find out. After all, if Maxwell
is a spy, Drummond will be the logical one to replace him.
Piglet in a Trough: Piglet has changed. He's started
to drink, he's been betting on the horses, and he's deeply in debt.
What has caused this change, and what can his friends do to help him?
The Wrong Combination: When Dexter uses too much plastic
explosive to blow a safe during a training exercise, Drummond and his counterpart
from MI-6 make a bet. MI-5 will have to break into MI-6 and steal
some documents from a safe there to win. Can they do it, and more
importantly, should they?
Trouble With Reception: A middle-eastern country is opening
diplomatic relations with Britain. The MI-5 group has been invited to a
party at the new embassy, and plan to plant listening devices while there.
But while Piglet and Dexter are off secreting the bugs, a militant faction
of rebels takes the embassy hostage. Can Piglet and Lewis save the
The Hunt for Red Decoder: A top secret decoding machine
has been stolen off a soviet submarine and MI-5 have it. The only
problem is they can't get it to work. So before it is shipped off
to the CIA, Piglet takes the device home to try and solve the puzzle.
Unfortunately the Russians find out and ransack his house and steal the
machine back. But are the Soviets any more competent than MI-5?
Apparently not. This is the best episode of the season. It's
predictable, but very funny.
Under Cover Activity: While Piglet is at a training session,
a lovely young woman staying at the same hotel starts talking to him.
They have dinner and agree to meet the next night. But when Drummond
informs him that the woman is an East German spy who plans on blackmailing
him, Piglet is astounded. He is even more astonished when Drummond
orders him to be seduced so they can trail the woman to her associates.
But when Piglet's wife shows up the night of the seduction, things don't
go as smoothly as they were planned.
This was an enjoyable set of shows. I was pleasantly surprised
to find that I didn't get tired of the program or the humor in this second
season, something I was fully expecting to happen after viewing the first
series. There was a little bit of continuity, with the second and
third episodes being part of the same story, and one or two references
to past events. This helped hold the series together.
The writers seem more comfortable with the characters in these episodes.
Piglet is not really an instructor anymore. In the first season they
had to make up excuses to get him into the field, which often didn't work
well. This time around they wisely dispensed with trying to explain
his presence on covert missions. He was just there. Dexter
has emerged as the major supporting character, but Lewis and Flint still
have prominent roles.
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 they didn't ruin my enjoyment
of the show.
Fans of wacky British comedy should be sure to check this out.
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. There was some distortion and cracking
on a few of the louder laughs, but it happened rarely. It was an
acceptable track, but not more than that.
The full-frame video was a little better than the first season, though
still not of very high quality. 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. There
were a lot of examples of cross coloration also.
The extras on this set are the same items included with the first season.
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.
This was a good, if short, set of shows. Tthe writing was a little
tighter, and the jokes a tad funnier in this season. Dexter is still
incomprehensibly stupid, and provides many of the laughs, and Piglet is
still confused but eager. There are a lot of laughs in each episode.
While this set is a little pricey, especially for only seven episodes,
it is a fun show. If you enjoyed the first season, or are a fan of
British comedy, be sure to pick this one up. Recommended.