It isn't really fair to bring up Ricky Gervais in a review of a Steve Coogan boxed set but, as this is Amazon's American site and as the American audience for Ricky Gervais is exponentially larger than Coogan's, I would like to put Coogan in perspective for those who may read this and are not familiar with him.
It essentially amounts to this: as comedically brilliant as much of his work is, Gervais is second to Coogan on every level. Coogan had already mastered his awkward and annoying Alan Partridge on radio and television years before The Office, presumably while David Brent was still working his way up the management ladder at Wernham-Hogg. With less pathos and a broader appeal but equally as funny as the Brent character, Coogan crafted Partridge into a "man you love to hate" with razor sharp timing, brilliant writing (with help from people such as Armando Ianucci, another very talented Brit who has not seen much success in the States) and a sense of style somewhere in between Heathcliff Huxtable and Alex P. Keaton. Along with a stellar supporting cast the three Alan Partridge series (Knowing Me Knowing You plus series 1 and 2) are squirmy, irritating, tragicomedy gold. These alone are worth the price of admission, especially since Series 2 has never been released in the States. Without Steve Coogan there would be no Ricky Gervais. Far from being the "Gervais of the 1990s", as someone somewhere put it, Coogan is still relevant and funnier than ever and still doing brilliant comedy. Incidentally, it may come as a surprise to some people that Coogan is four years younger than Gervais.
If that weren't enough you also get both series of Saxondale, a show about an eccentric, good-natured ex-roadie/current pest controller with one foot in the present and one foot the good ol' days. When all is said and done Saxondale is even more brilliant than Partridge. Less broad and much more psychologically perceptive than Partridge Tommy Saxondale is too old to be cool but too cool to know it. Wearing Wrangler jeans, driving a lemon yellow Mustang and playing Genesis (early Genesis, that is) way too loud for someone "his age", he battles aching knees, rat infestations, the bad taste in music that kids have these days and his longing for Jim Beam breakfasts in America.
If I have done my job you have already added this to your cart. But if you are still not convinced then I must tell you that you also get Paul Calf (the staggering, drunken, chain-smoking dolt who bloody hates students), his sister Pauline Calf, Tony Ferrino (the smarmy, possibly homicidal, sex addicted singing sensation from Portugal), and plenty of other characters from live shows and other projects that Coogan has done over the years, notably the charming "Coogan's Run" featuring a number of one-off characters who should be resurrected in this humble reviewer's opinion (eh, Steve?).
I should also note that this set is packed with special features: all the ones that were available on the original UK releases of the individual DVDs plus one or two others that are, to the best of my knowledge, new to DVD. The only exception to this, and it is the only problem with this collection, is the strange absence of the Alan Partridge Series 2 special features.
Thirteen discs of prime British comedy, the best of which is on par with Fawlty Towers, Black Adder or any other classic you care to name.