DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Complete Are You Being Served? Collection (Series 6-10)
The Complete Are You Being Served? Collection (Series 6-10)
BBC Worldwide // Unrated // September 30, 2003
List Price: $119.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted October 14, 2003 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The movie

The Grace Brothers department store has everything... including clothing departments run by a sales staff who range from eccentric to entirely dysfunctional. Are You Being Served? Series 6-10 picks up the show where the previous boxed set left off, continuing the misadventures of the same cast of characters. Considering its long run, Are You Being Served? must have tickled the funny bone of a good many viewers, and certainly those viewers will be delighted to now have the complete series available on DVD. This boxed set contains all 35 half-hour episodes from seasons 6 through ten, running from 1978 to 1985.

Before having this set come into my hands, I'd never heard of Are You Being Served?, much less seen any episodes. Unfortunately, the episodes in this set failed to convert me into a fan... or even a mildly interested viewer. The show's humor comes from a combination of physical comedy and insult-slinging among the characters, neither of which generally appeal to my sense of humor.

Much of the comedy depends on the viewer knowing and loving the characters. Viewers who started watching the series from the beginning may have developed an affection for these characters over the first five seasons, but I have to admit that I didn't find them interesting in the episodes here. Rather than characters, they're really caricatures, from the effeminate Mr. Humphries and the wise-cracking Mr. LucasĀ and Mr. Spooner, to the outspoken Miss Brahms and stuffy Mr. Peacock. Each one has his or her peculiarity, and each peculiarity is the source of countless jokes. I think we're supposed to find it immensely amusing each time we see Mr. Humphries dressed in frilly clothes or hear another character make a reference to him being gay, for instance, but this kind of humor wears thin very quickly indeed. So if you don't care about the characters at all, and if they don't seem like three-dimensional people, listening to them snipe and spar with one another is tedious rather than entertaining.

If the slapstick humor were a bit better, the comedy still might work, but somehow the ridiculous situations of the various episodes seem contrived rather than ludicrously funny. The "punch line" of each episode is often predictable as well: in "Anything You Can Do," in which the staff is forced to take over the lunch counter for a day, I saw the ending joke coming a mile away. In the end, Are You Being Served? wasn't actively bad; it just wasn't funny. And for a purely comedic series, that's the kiss of death.

The DVD

Are You Being Served? Series 6-10 is quite a massive set. The 35 episodes are spread across six DVDs, each in individual keepcase; the final volume of the set contains the special features spread across two discs. All seven cases are contained in a glossy paper slipcase.

Video

The Are You Being Served? episodes maintain a consistent and reasonably good image quality from the earlier (1978) to the later (1985) episodes. All are presented in their original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The image is a bit soft, with detail slightly blurred in middle- and longer-distance shots, and there is some edge enhancement; however, this is not obtrusive. I saw a few instances of colored haloes and artifacts, but these were only occasional; colors (including Mrs. Slocombe's hair) are bright and clear. The print is nicely clean and free of noise or print flaws.

Audio

The soundtrack for Are You Being Served? is a solid Dolby 2.0 mono. The dialogue is always clear and understandable, though not always crisp. Overall, it's a nicely clean soundtrack, and the "laugh track" doesn't intrude too much on the dialogue.

Extras

The first six DVDs (volumes 8-13) each contain a "Who's Who" section with information on each character and the actors who play them, along with trailers for other BBC releases. The seventh DVD (volume 14) contains the bulk of the special features. The first bonus feature is "The Best of Are You Being Served?" (1 hour 16 minutes), which is a retrospective feature that highlights the funniest moments from various episodes over the course of the series. Admittedly this seems a bit extraneous as a special feature for a "complete series" collection, but it may interest some viewers.

Of more note to fans is "Celebrating Mollie Sugden" (1 hour 28 minutes), which is a special feature focusing on the career of the actress who portrayed Mrs. Slocombe in the show, in honor of her 80th birthday. This program is hosted by John Inman (Mr. Humphries) and features interviews with Mollie Sugden herself, Trevor Bannister (Mr. Lucas), Wendy Richard (Miss Brahms), and Nicholas Smith (Mr. Rumbold).

Viewers are also given a taste of two other series, with the pilot episodes of Grace and Favor (also known as Are You Being Served? Again) on Disc 1 and 'Allo 'Allo (an unrelated comedy series also written by Are You Being Served?'s Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft).

Final thoughts

For fans of the series, there's no doubt that BBC Worldwide has done a very nice job of packaging and presenting the second half of Are You Being Served? Even though I've enjoyed other British comedies, I didn't care for it at all, but humor is something that is very individual. If you've seen Are You Being Served? before, perhaps on PBS, and enjoyed it, this boxed set is a reasonable purchase. If you've never seen the show before, I suggest you rent it first to decide whether the show is worth your time.

Popular Reviews
1. Lolly-Madonna XXX (Warner Archive Collection)
2. Godzilla (2014)
3. Hannibal: Season Two
4. South Park: Season 17
5. Gilligan's Planet: The Complete Series (Warner Archive Collection)
6. Arrow: Season 2
7. The Rover
8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
9. Live Nude Girls
10. Eraserhead


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use