Even though it's a fairly typically executed three-camera sit-com about geek culture like The Big Bang Theory, The IT Crowd is nowhere near as condescending, obvious, and obnoxious as that American show that's still a major hit for some godforsaken reason. In fact, the reason behind The IT Crowd's cult status lies is in the way that it sympathized with the many plights of geeks, without catering to that audience with empty pop culture references, while managing to find a mainstream tone that maintained the boisterous and cynical approach of the best that Brit sit-coms have to offer.
Technically, the show has a very typical three-camera sit-com set up: Brightly lit video of obvious soundstages, simple setups and punch lines accentuated by the laughter from the live audience, the whole shebang. What makes the show stand the test of time lies in the perfect synergy between creator Graham Lineham's vision for the characters and how well the superb cast fits those roles. The show is basically a workplace comedy told from the perspective of the IT department, which is unsurprisingly relegated to the dingy basement of a giant corporate building. The three dolts who run the department get into various outrageous troubles as they struggle to get laid, get promoted, and basically get through the day amidst a sea of noobs.
The three main cast members are terrific, and are the number one reason to check out the show. Katherine Parkinson delivers the right over-the-top personality for the self-obsessed Jen, who actually knows nothing about computers. Chris O'Dowd's Roy is a self-hating geek with equal parts melancholia and misplaced confidence. However, the real star, the Kramer of the show, is Richard Ayoade's equally clueless and harmless mama's boy Moss. Ayoade's deadpan delivery of Moss' lines is always reliable, and instantly turns the show into a modern classic.
The first season of the show sets up the characters really well, and is the only one that contains the great Christopher Morris as the insanely demanding boss, Denholm. Matt Berry, who plays his narcissist buffoon son, replaces him during the rest of the show, after one of the funniest suicide scenes you'll ever see. Berry is an underrated comedian who was great in a lesser-known bizarre gem of a show called Snuff Box, but Morris' loss is somewhat felt during the other seasons.
Seasons two and three are the best that the show has to offer, with classic episodes like the one where Roy and Moss get themselves wrapped up into a robbery after pretending to be rough soccer fans, and the best one, where Roy and Moss convince Jen that the entirety of the internet is stored inside a tiny box. The fourth season starts running out of steam, as some more typical sit-com premises are doled out. Thankfully, a hilarious Christmas special (Included in this set on a separate DVD) wraps the series up on a high note.
It would have been great for The IT Crowd to be released on Blu-ray, since this SD transfer has to compete with streaming HD that's available through services like Netflix. Yes, The IT Crowd is a typical sit-com with even lighting and overall bright colors, so an SD presentation doesn't really hurt the show's already fairly standard look. However, having better options on the Internet doesn't help matters. That being said, this set showcases the best that DVD can offer, with minor aliasing here and there and not much other video noise.
We get a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 track on each episode. Not much should be expected, other than a nice mix between the dialogue and the laugh track, which can be found here.
Deleted Scenes: Nine minutes of excised material.
Behind the IT Crowd: A playful EPK about the first season.
Hello Friend: A witty 2003 short directed by Graham Lineham.
Outtakes: Seven minutes of the cast cracking up. This is hilarious stuff.
Recording The IT Crowd: A seven-minute EPK about filming the second season.
Commentary by Graham Lineham: Lineham openly and humorously talks about the show, and the expectations from the second season, throughout the whole of this series. A godsend for fans.
An Interview with Graham: An insightful six-minute interview with the creator.
Original Title Sequence Animatic: A slightly different version of the beloved title sequence.
Deleted Scenes: Two scenes totaling four minutes.
Set Tour: Exactly how it sounds. Lineham takes the audience around the set.
Outtakes: Eight minutes of the cast cracking up. This stuff never gets old.
Commentary: Lineham gives yet another season's worth of his great commentary.
The IT Crowd On Location: A fifteen-minute making-of featurette about location shooting.
Outtakes: Nine minutes of the good stuff.
Kalypso: An odd music video that will be very familiar to those who watched the season.
Commentary: Again, Lineham provides his thoughts and insights on every episode.
The Internet is Coming (Christmas Special):
Featurette: A sixteen-minute making-of about the special.
Commentary: Lineham gives his final audio commentary, and it doesn't disappoint.
The IT Crowd was a wild and creative sit-com that I think will stand the test of time, even if the technology referenced in it won't. This set has so many great extras in it, that it would still be worth a purchase even if you end up watching the episodes themselves on HD through streaming services. It also doesn't hurt to have a hard copy of the whole show either. Remember, streaming stuff can always go away.
Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com