If someone asked me what my favorite sitcoms were, "Absolutely Fabulous" would definitely be near the top of the list. The brilliantly written British series was unfortunately short-lived, only boasting 18 episodes. Unlike some sitcoms though, there's not a really bad one in the bunch of 18.
The show aired in Britain in 1992, the creation of comedian Jennifer Saunders (previously of "French and Saunders"). Eventually coming overseas when Comedy Central aired it, it gained further popularity in America. Roseanne was actually planning an American version of the show, but none of the networks would go for the sex and drug content of the series.
The show stared Saunders as Edina, a fashion-world publicist who attempts to re-live her youth with best friend Patsy(Joanna Lumley) by taking massive amounts of drugs and drinking. Meanwhile, they keep running up against Edina's daughter Saffron, who is the exact opposite, remaining politically correct and dissaproving of her Mother's actions. A fantastic supporting cast of characters adds to the entertainment. Not helping Edina is her idiotic assistant Bubble, who is played by Jane Horrocks of "Little Voice".
There's so many great things about the series; hilarious jokes and references to pop culture and society, brilliant writing and comedic timing and fantastic actors. The two leads wonderfully play up their bad behavior, obviously having fun playing the characters.
"Absolutely Fabulous" is being released in a 4 DVD box set from Warner Brothers, with the first three DVDs offering the 6 episodes that made up the 3 seasons of the show and a 4th DVD of extras. All of the other DVDs in the series will hopefully be reviewed closer to the release date. Season 1 offers some of the best episodes of the series, including:
Fashion:: Patsy and Edina must find a way to put on a celebrity fashion show.
Fat: Edina has always been unhappy about her weight, but in this episode, she goes on a crash diet and considers liposuction.
France: In one of the best episodes of the show, Patsy and Edina take a vacation to France thinking they're going to be in the middle of luxury and instead, find themselves in a slightly run-down cabin that doesn't have much in the way of food.
Iso Tank: Another great episode, Edina tries to find a way to get into Saffron's college opening day, which involves adoption...
Birthday: A decent episode, Saffron puts together a 40th birthday party for Edina.
Magazine: Patsy becomes jealous when Edina has a new boyfriend.
VIDEO: All of the episodes are presented full-frame, as they originally were on television. All of the episodes generally looked slightly better than they did when originally broadcast on TV. Sharpness and detail are generally fair; there's a bit of a soft look to many of the episodes, although certainly the image never looks hazy or blurry.
I didn't notice much in the way of problems - just some very slight shimmering and a couple of minor instances of pixelation. This didn't cause a distraction, and there weren't any other problems that were apparent. Colors are generally strong and well-defined, looking natural and without any problems.
SOUND: Certainly the most important thing in a show like this one would be the dialogue, and every line remains clear and easily understood. Clarity between the background laughter, dialogue and any other ambient sounds is fine, and nothing gets overshadowed.
MENUS:: The main menu is great, with background music and animation. Sub-menus contain ab-fab themed images, but no animation.
Outtakes: All of the discs offer about 15-16 minutes worth of outtakes. The outtakes here aren't quite as funny as the ones inlcuded on the second or third seasons, but they still have a few very good laughs in the 15 minutes worth of footage. A little bit of the footage is also a deleted scene.
Also: Trailers for BBC America & "French and Saunders" as well as a photo gallery.
Final Thoughts: Such a funny show - I've been looking forward to its DVD release for ages and I'm happy that Warner Brothers has done a nice job, if this disc for season three is any indication. If you haven't seen the series before, it's very highly recommended.