It was bad enough that "The First Cut is the Deepest" was removed from all video releases of 'The Last Shout," and nearly unforgivable that this box set loses the Debbie Harry vocals from the theme song (replaced by an instrumental version) but to lose the SINGLE best moment of the fifth series, and one of the highlights of the ENTIRE run is just beyond the pale!!!!!
I cannot fault Warner Home Video, who merely distributes BBC product in Region 1, but I wonder why the BBC has such difficulty with "music rights" issues. Considering the amount of money that French and Saunders fans have spent on their products over the years, I do not accept that the BBC can't afford to clear these issues prior to (inevitable) video releases.
It galls me that the horribly presented Oxygen versions are more complete than the dvd but, we consumers are just the folks who hand over our money.....we don't really matter.
On the plus side, the dvd series is otherwise flawless.
All of the characters have been pushed to such an extreme that they no longer have any humanity to them, they're cartoonish. I found watching these episodes to be quite depressing, not a feeling you want from a comedy series.
The celebrity cameos are pointless and painfully unfunny, particularly Kristin Scott Thomas. Their presence seems to weigh down the comedy rather than enhance it. There's simply too much going on in each episode, remember how funny the earlier episodes were with fewer characters? Most scenes of this series seem crowded with needless characters that are more annoying than funny.
It's time for Ab Fab to be put out to pasture before it goes any further downhill than this.
Sticking with the buzz, I treated myself to Series One on VHS - excellent - and was duly rewarded by Series 4 after a very lacklustre Series 3. Inbetween, the almighty 'Last Shout' tided me over, and thanks to those interminable re-runs, even Series 3 grew on me after a while.
Which brings me full-circle to this, the complete series 5.
Now, oddly enough, this isn't available here in Region 2 on DVD just yet, so I am prepared to put up with minor (yet completely unforgivable in terms of necessity) flaws like the absence of Debbie Harry's vocal on the opening credits, and the lack of the 'Chicago' scene from the 'Birthin' episode (I did catch that one on TV, and believe me, American buddies, you're missing nothing. In vulgar parlance - it SUCKED), but what I was not prepared for in the slightest is the total lack of laughter, smiles and general Humour that made the first four series such a wonderful thing to watch.
For every decent, solid joke (Bubble's New Duchess persona, Patsy's recurring collagen disasters, Eddie singing Christmas Carols) there are three or four totally humour-free incidents (Eddy and Patsy worrying Saffy about post-pregnancy womanhood, preditable and tired Liza & David jokes, Bo and Marshall's infomercial, all appearances by TitiCaca, the entire 'Huntin', Shootin', Fishin' episode, etc etc etc). Laugh-For-Laugh, it's not great, and a feeble second even to the rushed, gimmicky 'Gay' TV Special.Read more ›
The incredibly talented cast of "characters" include Edina's long-suffering 20-ish daughter, the gave-up-on-Edina-long-ago elderly mother, Edina's dipsy secretary with ESP (she knows someone is about to ring the door bell -- because they sent a telegram announcing their visit), Edina's estranged ex-husbands and their new spouces (one female, one male), and a line of celebrities playing themselves.
Absolutely Fabulous is the "hippest" show on television, ridiculing society's conventions and focusing on "living" at all cost. The "who cares?" attitude, which seems to always drop the lead characters down on the ground in the end, nonetheless gives the Ab-Fab Duo a false sense of victory. One "last line" says it best: "In the end it was all good, though, wasn't it?" Good? It was FABULOUS!*****