Possibly one of the funniest shows I've ever seen, this British sitcom ran for a few years before starting up again recently when creator Jennifer Saunders found that she just kept coming back to the characters when trying to write other projects. For those unfamiliar with the series, it focuses on Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Edina (Jennifer Saunders), two women who take nearly every drug known to mankind, have bottles of alcohol at the ready whenever possible (in one episode, Edina takes the last bottle of champaigne out of a cooler and then three more bottles drop down and take their place), sleep around, and try their hardest not to be passed by by fashion trends.Their polar opposite is Edina's daughter Saffy (Julia Salwaha), a hard-working, hard-studying young woman who finds herself playing mother to a mother that acts more like a teenager.
This DVD offers the full fifth season of the series across 2 DVDs. While season four had some rocky moments, the show's fifth season is consistently more funny, getting very close to the kind of side-splitting hilarity that the show achieved in the early years. Things start off here in fine fashion in "Cleanin'", where we find out that Saffy is returning from being an aid worker with a surprise in store, while Edina doesn't even know about PR client Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton (terrific playing against Saunders)'s recent work.
"Book Clubbin'" has Patsy and Edina putting together a book club whose celebrity invites go ignored, while Saffron invites the father of her future child to tell him she's pregnant, but he's interested in other things. "Panickin" has Edina installing a panic room and getting herself and Patsy stuck in it after having a "meeting" with Minnie Driver. "Huntin', Shootin', Fishin'" has Patsy and Edina going on a disappointing hunting trip, while Emma Bunton, Saffy and her friend from school have something of a baby shower, after which her friend starts following Emma.
"Birthin" has Saffy getting ready to give birth, while Patsy prepares to make a speech at an important fashion event - only to get delayed. "Schmoozin" follows Edina and Patsy to Abby Road Studios, where Edina's boyfriend is re-recording old Beatles tunes, leaving the two women to fool around by themselves elsewhere in the studio, which can only result in disaster. This is certainly one of the highlights of the season. Things wrap up with "Exploitin'", where Edina has to deal with a group of seniors who've taken over her indoor pool and Edina and Patsy plan to go out on the town after Edina has promised Saffy she'd look after the baby.
Finally, the set concludes with a bonus episode - "Cold Turkey", where Edina tries to create a typically - for her - overblown Christmas, while Saffy tries to teach her about preparing things for herself.
5- 1 Cleanin'
5- 2 Book Clubbin'
5- 3 Panickin'
5- 4 Huntin' Shootin' Fishin'
5- 5 Birthin'
5- 6 Schmoozin'
5- 7 Exploitin'
Bonus: Cold Turkey (Christmas Special)
VIDEO: "Absolutely Fabulous" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen for each episode of this fifth season. These are terrific transfers, with excellent sharpness and detail. They look even better than I remember them appearing during their broadcast run on cable. A little bit of edge enhancement turns up once or twice, but otherwise, these episodes remained free of faults. Colors appeared clean, well-saturated and vivid, with no concerns.
SOUND: The show is presented in 2.0. Not surprisingly, this is a fairly simple comedy mix, with clear dialogue and audience laughter that doesn't get in the way of dialogue.
EXTRAS: Unfortunately, the only extras are several minutes of pretty funny outtakes and a photo gallery.
Final Thoughts: There's a couple of so-so episodes on this season, but the rest of the eight episodes are extraordinarily funny, with the kind of inspired plots, superb performances and brilliant one-liners that made this Britcom famous. Warner Brothers has provided a fine DVD edition, with very good audio/video quality, but little in the way of supplements. Still, highly recommended.