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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bob & Rose - The Complete Series
Bob & Rose - The Complete Series
Shout Factory // Unrated // February 17, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted January 14, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The movie

We humans are endlessly fascinated with relationships: who's getting together with whom, whose relationship just broke up, who's on the lookout for somebody new. The storyline of two people finding true love after a series of trials and tribulations is one of the oldest and most popular ones out there. For all we know, maybe that's one of the meanings of cave paintings ("And look how many antelopes I had to kill before she'd even look twice at me!").

In any case, the British series Bob & Rose picks up its story in familiar territory: man and woman meet by chance, or perhaps destiny, and a relationship begins to develop... but is it love? Will it last? Here, that story is complicated by the fact that while Rose (Lesley Sharp) is heterosexual (though not unattached, as she already has a boyfriend of sorts), Bob (Alan Davies) is most definitely gay. You'd think that would put a stop to any romance between the two of them, but the story that develops over the six episodes of Bob & Rose shows that sometimes life can be more surprising than you'd think.

Written by Russell Davies, the creator of Queer as Folk, Bob & Rose is reasonably well done; the show looks polished, and the performances are uniformly realistic. Both the lead actors manage to bring their characters to life as real people whose lives and emotions are believable; there's also a convincing chemistry between them. I've noticed in general that the stars of British shows are much more likely to look like "regular" people than those of U.S. shows: the cast of Bob & Rose is made up of actors who are attractive, but in a normal way, not a Hollywood glamorized way: they're the kind of people who could believably be your co-worker or your neighbor. As such, it's one more element that makes Bob & Rose distinctive.

If this were a feature film instead of a series, I think that I'd have liked Bob & Rose reasonably well; the story between the two characters is straightforward but interesting, and their relationships with the secondary characters, like Rose's mother and Bob's friend Holly, add a bit more depth to the story as well. But as it is, the story does feel like it's been stretched a bit too thin over the six 48-minute episodes. Each episode is reasonably self-contained, focusing on one segment of Bob and Rose's evolving relationship, while also moving the overall story forward... although "two steps forward and one or two steps back" is more like it. While I can see that the filmmakers wanted to take their time to develop the material, several of the ups and downs in the series feel like artificial roadblocks.

While Bob & Rose seems to be marketed as comedy, it's much more like somewhat soap-opera-style drama; there are some moments of humor here and there, but certainly no deliberately funny scenes or laugh-out-loud moments. It never really clicked for me, perhaps because I was never particularly interested in the "club scene" that is such an important part of the characters' social lives, but it's not badly done and is certainly watchable.

The DVD

I can't offer any comments on the packaging of Bob & Rose, since the company sent only screener discs and not the retail packaging; in my review copy, the six episodes were split between two DVDs.

Video

Bob & Rose is presented in a nice anamorphic widescreen transfer, at its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors and contrast look good throughout the episodes, with natural-looking skin tones and bright, vibrant colors. Some edge enhancement is present, though it's not terribly obtrusive. What's more noticeable is the presence of a substantial amount of noise, appearing consistently throughout the episodes. All in all, it's a solid transfer but one that could have looked even better.

Audio

The dialogue-focused soundtrack does fine with the Dolby 2.0 soundtrack that's provided; the actors' voices are always clear and easy to understand. Some scenes could have benefited quite a bit from more channels of surround, but on the whole the stereo track is well suited to the show. The music is well balanced with the rest of the track.

Extras

Fans of the show will be most interested in the two audio commentary tracks, for episodes 1 and 4. Actor Alan Davies (Bob) and writer Russell Davis collaborate here, and do a reasonable job of discussing the show. A short "production notes" section fills in some background on Davis as well.

Final thoughts

Most likely, viewers who enjoy relationship dramas will enjoy Bob & Rose. It's reasonably well done, though I found that the story was stretched a bit too thin over six episodes. It's a good rental choice, or a purchase if you've enjoyed writer Russell Davies' other work; the solid anamorphic widescreen transfer and audio commentaries will please both casual viewers and fans of the show.

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