While not a fan of all Britcoms, I stumbled across my favorite many years ago while browsing through cable channels one afternoon. "Absolutely Fabulous", one of the most popular of the Britcoms of the recent era, has come back more times than "Family Guy". The series concluded a tremendously successful original run, returned for a bit, then was gone again until this past year.
The show starred Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Edina and Patsy, two women who consume excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs while attempting to stay hip and high-fashion even while they're getting older. Edina's daughter Saffron (Julia Salwaha) consistently threaten to ruin their fun with those things called "morals".
While the two women are delightfully childish and hilariously mean, the daughter's intelligence eventually wins in the end and only makes the two seem more absurd and hilarious. Little gets in their way of debauchery and acting spoiled - in one of the funniest episodes of the early run, "Morocco", Patsy gets her revenge on Saffron (who had wanted to tag along because she wanted to study local culture) by selling her to slave traders. The two women shrug if off, justifying it by noting that "She wanted to see how real people live.")
While "Ab Fab" has been gone for years, demand from fans remained - and, in a world of "Project Runway", Burberry and hundreds of other high-end fashion brands, "Ab Fab" remains timeless. There's never been a better, sharper or more loving parody of high fashion (ever, ever ever) or pop culture (in years - and it's still delightfully unafraid of being insulting - "There's a new disease called the Kardashians, darling. It just sort of spread, like herpes. Look at this fat one at the end, she's like an amoeba - soon, she'll split and become two Kardashians.")
As damn funny as "Ab Fab" is, the new series is more a matter of, "At least it's funnier than anything else on television" than hitting the heights of the original. Still, even lesser "Ab Fab" is still funnier than most of what's on television today.
All of the leads come back again this time around, including co-creator Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Salwaha and a majority of the supporting players, including bizarre assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks).
For the 20th Anniversary of the series, we get 3 episodes - "Identity", "Job" and "Olympics". The first episode has Saffy getting out of prison after a couple of years, joined by one of her cellmates, who happens to be Patsy's former drug dealer. However, as "Ab Fab" does well, the episode winds its way from being one thing (the drug dealer) to entirely another focus (Patsy has no records of herself to be found.)
"20th Anniversary" may not be the original "Ab Fab", but it's remarkable how hilarious these characters still are, and how much it all still works.
Video/Audio: "Ab Fab" is presented by BBC Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Picture quality isn't rock solid, but while the show never looked crystal clear, it at least remained crisp and mostly clean. Colors looked bright and vibrant (and "AbFab" is nothing if not BRIGHT) and fleshtones looked fine. The show's 2.0 audio was crisp and well-recorded.
Extras: Two brief featurettes - "Ab Fab Does Sport Relief" and "Behind the Scenes at Sport Relief".
Final Thoughts: ""20th Anniversary" may not be the original "Ab Fab", but it's remarkable how hilarious these characters still are, and how much it all still works. Hopefully this isn't the last we'll see these characters. The DVD set offers reasonably decent audio/video, but minimal extras. Highly recommended.