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God, the Devil and Bob: The Complete Series

Alan Cumming , James Garner    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 49.99
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

South Park aside, the eternal struggle between good and evil may be too heady a subject for a primetime animated series, but God, The Devil and Bob certainly gave it a run for its money, and did so with irreverent humor. Unfortunately, the laughs didn't translate for some sections of the country, and complaints from affiliates caused NBC to pull the show after just four episodes; viewers that missed G/D/B during its initial run in 2000 can now explore the entire series on this two-disc set. The premise (courtesy of creator Matthew Carlson of Malcolm in the Middle) has God (voiced by James Garner) striking a wager with the Devil (Alan Cumming): if just one person can convince him that the world is worth saving, he'll spare humanity from destruction. The Devil is allowed to choose the candidate, and true to form, he picks the least likely person to determine the fate of the world--self-centered, slow-witted autoworker Bob Alman (French Stewart from 3rd Rock from the Sun). Reluctantly, Bob accepts God's challenge, and tackles Hollywood ("There's Too Much Sex on TV"), free speech ("Bob Gets Involved"), adultery, and even the Almighty's love life ("God's Girlfriend"), while trying to avoid the temptations of Satan.

Though often clever and well-voiced by its all-star cast (which included Laurie Metcalf from Roseanne and The Simpsons' Nancy Cartwright as Bob's wife and daughter, respectively), it's difficult to say if G/D/B might've survived its initial season, had it been allowed to show all 13 episodes; the scripts are often as glib as they are provocative, and lack the overall quality of similarly "grown-up" cartoons as South Park and Family Guy. At final glance, G/D/B is an interesting failed experiment for animation fans. The two-disc set includes commentary on five episodes by Carlson and executive producers Harvey Myman, Neil Thompson, and Gary Murphy; digital storyboards and a 20-minute making-of documentary are also featured in the extras. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

Frankly God expected more from humanity, and his patience is wearing a little thin. The Devil, on the other hand, is simply delighted. Together they have a plan: one man will be given a chance to prove whether or not mankind is worth saving. But there's just one catch... The Devil gets to pick him. Enter Bob — An ill-tempered, melodramatic, paranoid icon of mediocrity. Caught between the forces of divinity and deviance, with the weight of the world on his shoulders, there's nothing left to do but laugh.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars often funny, always thought provoking Nov. 7 2009
By Cheryl TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I like this series and am glad to have it on dvd, especially with James Garner providing a laid back voice of God, but I'm not sure mainstream network television was ever the right venue for this original concept. Not surprisingly, it didn't last long which is a shame. Overall, I think the threat of the concept was more upsetting than the material. Too bad the criticizing objectors didn't actually watch the show. Within the laughs and entertainment, is a constant theme of morality that always ends with a triumphant good over evil. Above all, I think the show suffered from bad timing - it might have been a bit ahead of it's time. Additionally on the 2 disc dvd set, there are a couple of featurettes, and half a dozen commentaries (but unfortunately, there's not much to them, other than the producers' lament at the show's early demise). 3.5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
60 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best show I ever worked on ... Dec 5 2004
By Stephen Ressel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Back in 1999, the producer of 'God, the Devil and Bob' rescued me, and a bevy of artists from Klasky-Csupo's 'Rocket Power' by calling to ask if we would be interested in working on this show. We lept at it, and began serious careers.

While I directed on this show I was amazed to meet a person who still stands out to me as the most professional and gifted writer/creator I ever had the pleasure to work with; Matthew Carlson. While the show suffered from a number of problems, it was held together by a core of very dedicated people like Matthew, Carsey & Warner, Margot Pipkin and Jeff DeGrandis. By the end of the series, everyone believed we had made a very good family sitcom, with a core of excellent writing and acting. Unfortunately it was met with middle of the road ratings, legal troubles and finally, religious activists. 4 episodes were shown on NBC in 2000 before it was torn off the channel.

The crew, from producer down, always felt the design choice for the characters was a mistake, seriously hindering the ability to animate and express fully. But, there is a kind of scratchy charm at the best of times. My favorite episode was 'Bobs Father'. Pity it was never shown on prime time.

As GDB ended, I was asked to direct and produce 'Invader Zim' where I took a good number of the GDB crew in order to do something very different with far more technical aspects. But, GDB still stands as the best experience with writer/creators, writing, and producers in the business.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God this is finally on DVD Jan. 5 2005
By Dynamo of Eternia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I actually saw this show when it originally aired on NBC (well, the 4 episodes that aired). I was very disapointed that the show got cancelled, but I did tape 3 of the 4 episodes, and later obtained a tape of the first episode that I didn't record.

Now I have bought this DVD set of all 13 episodes, and I am thrilled to have it. It is sad that this show didn't make it. I think it is just as funny, if not more so, than The Simpsons and Family Guy.

In a nut shell, the plot is that God if tired of the direction that man kind is heading in, and is thinking about destorying the universe and starting over. But he decided that if one man could prove it is worth saving, he would spare it. He lets the Devil choose that man, who ends up being Bob. It is a very entertaining show. I particularly recommend the 4th episode in which the Devil hires Martha Stewart to redecorate his place of origin, and she ends up taking the place over.

Not that it really matters, but there is a sticker on the outside of the shrinkwrap that says it contains 10 unaried episodes, when in reality 9 of them didn't air (4 episodes aired, 13-4=9). Either way, all 13 episodes that were made are on it, so it makes mo real difference.

The only real negative, in my opinion, is that the theme music is different than when it originally aired. If you get this dvd set, you will notice that the various parts of the title "God, the Devil, and Bob" are bouncing around during the opening title sequence to some instrumental music. Originally, there were lyrics to that music in which they would sing the title of the show (i.e. when the word "God" is in the middle of the screen, they would be singing that part of the title, etc). I know its not a big deal, but that opening theme really sort of set the mood of the show, and for someone who hasn't seen it before, the words bouncing around seem kind of random and pointless without the lyrics to go with it.
***EDIT: Prior to writing this review, I had not watched the second disc in its entirety, and discovered that the original theme song is on the 12th episode.***

Sorry about the little rant about the theme, just something I noticed that was disapointing. But the episodes themselves are intact, and that is what really matters. I highly recommend checking this out.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but gets repetitive pretty quick March 7 2005
By R. Kyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
It's the age old story. God's tired and ready to give up on us, but just at the last minute decides he'll give the world a break. He says if one human can convince Him the world is worth saving, he'll not destroy us. Being a sporting God, he decides to let the Devil pick who the one human is. So, Satan picks Bob: inconsiderate, beer drinking, porn watching Bob. The show is pretty funny starting out, but it slides downhill pretty quickly. God is generally hard to understand and obtuse in his meanings. The Devil is petulent and constantly wanting God's attention. In the middle, Bob tries to do right when his instincts so much want wrong things. The first DVD is a hoot, but the episodes get old and stale pretty quickly. Acting is for the most part reading the lines. There's not a whole lot of variation in James Garner's delivery of God. The Devil comes off as just being kind of spoiled and not particularly evil at all. I'm glad I rented this one rather than buying.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I always had Faith in "God, Devil and Bob". Jan. 15 2005
By D. Curreri - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Someone here writes that this show wasn't as good as "South Park" and "Family Guy". So my answer is "how many years did South Park and Family Guy get to develop as a series?" This show should have been aired on Fox late or Comedy Central. It possibly would have survived. Since the Bundy's we've allowed Fox and Comedy Central to do whatever they want, without crossing the "R" line. It's a shame that this show couldn't have been saved by another network.

My son was 14 at the time it originally aired. He was in confirmation class and hated it. G/D/B was a conversation opener for us to discuss the business of the Lord. In my house we are not holier than thou. We do believe in God and many aspects of the Christian religion but with an open mind and heart. When our son showed total disdain for the Christian religion, it hurt. When this show came to us, it was God-sent. A way to discuss religion without an arguement or slammed doors. God, The Devil and Bob opened communication to areas we never thought possible. Then the network shut it down. THAT brought more conversations about people's fears and big business decisions. NBC inadvertantly taught my son about things I could never get across to him; disappointment in tv decisions and small minds.

Approximately four years later, I was one of the many proud new owners of the "God,The Devil and Bob" dvd. My family has been savoring it by watching only two or three episodes at a time. We've been trying to watch it together and not get ahead-too much. I can forget my problems and just throw myself into this show. I'm laughing and searching my soul all at once. My favorite episode, that had me sobbing, was "Bob's Father". I lost my mom 8 years ago and it still hurts.

My college student son is more of a cynic when it comes to religion than the 14 year old who hated to learn or talk about it. (The irony of life: he now attends a Catholic College that requires him to take religion.) The outstanding quality that he possesses that I am very proud of is his ability to feel another person's pain and to be there for them. Isn't that what life's about? Wasn't that what "God, the Devil and Bob" was about?
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Not my best work"---'God' Jan. 23 2005
By mwreview - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I had never heard of this series before but saw an advertisement for it with my King of the Hill DVD set. I like animated shows, and this one sounded intriguing, so I decided to try it out. The premise of the series is that God (voiced by James Garner) is tired of the poor state of the world and contemplates destroying it and starting anew. The devil (voiced by Alan Cumming) is excited by the news but is disappointed when God begins to reconsider. God decides to make a wager with the devil. If the person of the devil's choosing cannot prove to God that the world is worth saving, he'll destroy it. The devil chooses Detroit factory worker Bob Alman (I guess, he is to represent ALL of MANkind) voiced by Third Rock's French Stewart. On the surface, it seems like a good choice from the devil's standpoint, as Alman is a beer guzzling, self-centered, porno-watching jokester. As we get to know Bob better, however, he turns out to be a devoted family man. His wife (Rosanne's Laurie Metcalf) is self-centered and his bratty daughter (Lisa Simpson's Nancy Cartwright) is impossible but he does have a warm, caring son who believes in him.

The series starts off very slow. It does not have the in-your-face humor of Family Guy, the endless jokes of The Simpsons and, despite its theme, does not cover as controversial of issues as South Park. Many of the topics are rather mundane. The acting also seems a bit flat. Although, for the most part, this show is tame, religious groups did not like it (probably not even watching it) and it was canceled after airing only a handful of its shows. The show, however, does improve as the series evolves. The characters who, at first, seemed stale to me become more interesting in the later episodes. God is presented as a laid back, hippy, professor type who never gives his pupils a straight answer. The devil's sidekick Smeck (who reminds me of Bill in King of the Hill) seemed annoying to me at first but later provides fresh and genuine comedy to the show. Briefly, here are the episodes:

1. In the Beginning: The premise is established and Bob, unintentionally, stumbles upon what God is looking for.
2. Andy Runs Away: Bob's son runs away after Bob embarrasses him in front of his friends. Not much profound in this episode.
3. Date from Hell: Bob becomes chums with his daughter's first boyfriend, until he discovers who he really is. One of the best God lines: "Girls are tough, that's why I never had a daughter."
4. The devil's Birthday: Martha Stewart helps the devil reorganize hell while Bob discovers how overrated a world without evil is. The devil being hurt that God forgot his birthday is just silly.
5. Neighbor's Keeper: God's new mission for Bob is to save his neighbor's marriage, while the devil tries to get Bob to commit adultery. At the bowling alley, we discover that the devil's team is sponsored by Microsoft.
6. God's Favorite: Thinking he is God's "special guy" has gone to Bob's head.
7. Bob Get Committed: Bob is put in an asylum while the devil takes his place, and then falls in love with Bob's wife.

The show starts improving on disc 2:
8. Lonely at the Top: God decides to find out what it is like to live in the real world and joins Bob's factory crew and softball team. This show is very funny, especially the devil's attempt to create his first flower.
9. Bob Gets Greedy: Bob's mission to do charity work gets put on the back burner when the devil leaves his palm pilot at Bob's house that reveals future sports scores. The ending is over-the-top, though.
10. There's Too Much Sex on TV: The title tells you what Bob's mission is, and he inadvertently succeeds beyond his wildest dreams. This episode may be a little edgy for the kids.
11. Bob's Father: Definitely the best of the bunch. Bob's bullying father dies and Bob is shocked where his father ends up. The idea about a father giving a "softer punch" is interesting. If there is one GD&B episode that can promote enlightening tabletalk, this is it.
12. God's Girlfriend: Elizabeth Taylor voices a woman who God almost considers dating. The most controversial of the episodes, theological consultant Father Kieser chose not to advise this one.
13. Bob Gets Involved: Bob puts together a group to fight society's ills but butts heads with his wife when he gets her play canceled. Smeck in drag is hilarious. The ending is terrible, but here's another source for your 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon games. The moral: progress begins at home.

The extras include a few commentaries that are insightful (we're shown that photographs were used in the animation), a "Making Of" special covering the art, voices, and controversy with remarks by creator Matthew Carlson and executive producer Harvey Myman, plus some silly interviews with God, the devil, and Bob. While this series was a bit slow, in the end, it showed that it had potential. Too little too late, I'm afraid. If you like animation and want to see something less in-your-face, I recommend giving it a shot but don't expect any divine revelation.
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