Geek comedy from across the pond
The Story So Far...
Oh yeah, it's got awesome opening titles with a killer theme song too.
The second season is more of the same, which is a great thing, but with some important changes, including more of Richmond (Noel Fielding), the rarely-seen, goth third member of the IT staff. The biggest of the alterations comes in the second episode, when there's a change in management at Reynholm Industries (one of the best in TV history.) As fun as Denholm was as the head of the company, Matt Berry's performance as Denholm's long-missing son Douglas is outstanding, mixing mad bluster, sexual aggression and utter insanity with one of the finest voices in the business. The change in bosses affects the work dynamic, and gives Jen a bit more to cope with beyond her lack of computer knowledge. In all, it's a positive change, as Berry created what I like to call "the corporate royalty," someone immune to the realities of life thanks to their title at work.
Changes aren't just seen at Reynholm, as we get to see more of the crew's life outside of the office, including a night at the theater, a singles dinner at Jen's and a movie night gone wrong for Moss and Roy. In fact, when you compare the first two seasons, it hardly seems that the trio actually have jobs at times, as only one episode actually revolves around their work. Instead, we get stories about cannibalistic Germans and the perfect bra, or the wacked-out "Gay: The Musical." When you have a show that feels free to do things like turn a subplot about Jen smoking into a story of Soviet Communism (literally,) limiting the characters to their place of work would just seem unfair, especially since it would have robbed us of the chance to see Roy pretend to be disabled just to not get in trouble for using a handicap bathroom. While the more fantastical elements of the show, like a supermodel with her head wrapped in bandages, are the obvious attention getters, the writing is outstanding, with little lines here and there that just draw laughs where they might be otherwise hard to find.
On the commentaries (see The Extras), Linehan frequently references Seinfeld, and you can definitely see some similarity at the DNA level, but unlike that show, the IT crowd are all relatively enjoyable to spend time with. Sure, Jen is neurotic and dim, and Roy is a bit slimy and Moss is an ubernerd, but they aren't out to hurt people. They are just trying to get by in their station in life. In fact, aside from Jen, if Roy and Moss (and Richmond too) were left to their own devices, they'd while away their days surfing the net and playing Guitar Hero, content to simply exist. It's the outside world that's the problem, and they can't even figure out how to turn their computers on.
The audio is delivered in Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, which is fine for the series, as it's really all about the dialogue, which is presented in a center-balanced mix, without any kind of dynamic presentation. It's just not that kind of show.
The first video extra is a seven-minute reel of outtakes, which shows the cast breaking up, as Ayoade makes O'Dowd laugh frequently, especially whenever Moss has to get excited or angry. One flub, by Fielding, is particularly amusing, as he tries so hard to not crack. The final extra is a seven-minute look at the making of the show, to be specific, the actual shooting of the episode, with narration from Atalla and producer Jamie Glazebrook. There's a lot of focus on the live audience at the taping, including interviews with them (and Linehan,) giving this piece a unique angle versus most similar featurettes.
I guess you could call it an extra, but under the set-up menu there's a 14-minute credit list for the cast and crew that rolls out as a lengthy computer-animated ticker. It's one of the odder ways this kind of info has been shared on DVD.
The Bottom Line