Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Office: Special Edition

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Ricky Gervais as David Brent
Martin Freeman as Tim Canterbury
Mackenzie Crook as Gareth Keenan
Lucy Davis as Dawn Tinsley
Ewen MacIntosh as Keith
Ben Bradshaw as Ben
Jamie Deeks as Jamie
Jane Lucas as Sheila
Emma Louise Manton as Emma
Alexander Perkins as Ralph
Philip Pickard as Phillip
Joel Beckett as Lee

Special Features:
All New Bonus Features
Episode Introductions to Series One and Extended Interviews with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Special Guests Matthew Perry, Ben Stiller, Richard Curtis, Hugh Jackman and more!
Full Original Pilot
"Comedy Connections: The Office" Retrospective Documentary

Original Bonus Features
Exclusive Documentary: How I Made The Office
Outtakes & Deleted Scenes
Video Diary
Director's Commentary (The Office Special)
Golden Globes Featurette
Making of "Freelove Freeway"
Music Video

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Stereo Sound
Running Time: 450 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the series:

"In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the BBC premiere of the original Ricky Gervais comedy sensation, 'The Office,' BBC releases 'The Office Collection Special Edition' featuring the complete, original UK series plus an assortment of new bonus features. The inspiration for the long-running NBC comedy, 'The Office' garnered tremendous critical acclaim when it originally premiered on BBC AMERICA, including being declared the best comedy on television by The New York Times and pretty much the funniest show ever by Newsweek. Only twelve episodes and a 2-part Christmas Special were ever made, but its influence on television comedy is unparalleled. New bonus features include the original pilot, six specially recorded episode introductions by co-creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and two BBC specials, Comedy Connections: The Office, and Heroes of Comedy: Ricky Gervais."

"The Office: Special Edition" is not rated.

Mini-Review:
I've been a longtime fan of the American version of "The Office," so when I saw that this collection of the UK version of the show was coming, I jumped at the chance to check it out. I always heard it was better, so I figured I was in for a big treat. I was certainly surprised by the recognizable faces in the cast. I knew Ricky Gervais was in it, but I didn't realize Martin Freeman ("The Hobbit") and Mackenzie Crook ("Pirates of the Caribbean") were in it.

As I watched the first episode, I have to admit that I was a bit bored. The pacing of the show seemed a bit slower. And despite the fact that I work with several British co-workers on a daily basis, I had a little bit of trouble understanding the dialogue through the British accents. I know, I know. Kind of sad. But I missed some of the jokes because I flat out couldn't make out what was being said.

I delved further into the series and an interesting thing happened. I started seeing familiar elements from the American version of the show. Gareth really started showing the bizarre, creepy characteristics of Dwight. I started seeing how the relationship between Pam and Jim was based on Tim and Dawn. I saw familiar jokes like the stapler in the Jell-O, the boss telling the secretary that she's been fired as a joke, and other familiar plot points. I started seeing how the writers from the American show mined the UK one for the best elements, then took them and ran with them. In the end I found a greater appreciation for the UK creators originality and a greater appreciation for the American series execution of those ideas. I also appreciate now how the US version has created more comedic stereotypes with each of the characters rather than realistic people with quirks like in the UK version.

While I wouldn't say that American fans of "The Office" will definitely enjoy this version, I certainly think they're prime candidates to enjoy it. It's kind of fun to see the original as well as the different take on the familiar characters. But at the end of the day, I have to say that I prefer the American version over the British version. Unleash your flames in the comments section below.

This set contains the entire UK series along with all of the original DVD bonus features. That alone makes this the definitive version to pick up. But they didn't stop there. For this 10th anniversary set, they created new introductions for each episode with Merchant and Gervais. They also recorded retrospective interviews featuring Matthew Perry, Ben Stiller, and Hugh Jackman.

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