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Slings and Arrows: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]

Paul Gross , Martha Burns    Unrated   Blu-ray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Winner of 13 Gemini Awards and showered with critical acclaim, this darkly comic Canadian series follows the fortunes of a dysfunctional Shakespearean theatre troupe, exposing the high drama, scorching battles, and electrifying thrills that happen behind the scenes.

Paul Gross (Due South) stars as Geoffrey Tennant, the passionate but unstable artistic director of the New Burbage Theatre Festival. Haunted by the ghost of his predecessor (Stephen Ouimette), he struggles to realize his creative vision while handling touchy actors, a jittery general manager (Mark McKinney), a pretentious guest director (Don McKellar), and his own tempestuous romance with the festival's leading lady (Martha Burns). The backstage bedlam mirrors the onstage angst as Geoffrey directs three of Shakespeare's masterpieces-Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear-one in each season. Guest stars include Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Colm Feore (Chicago), Sarah Polley (Go, The Sweet Hereafter), and renowned Stratford Festival actor William Hutt in one of his last performances.

BONUS FEATURES - Exclusive episode commentary with Bob Martin, Mark McKinney, Susan Coyne, Graham Harley, Michael Polley, Paul Gross, Martha Burns and director Peter Wellington - Behind-the-scenes featurette - Extended scenes of King Lear - Deleted and Extended scenes - Bloopers - Trailer - Production notes - Song lyrics - Cast interviews - Photo gallery - Cast and crew on set


"Absolutely addictive" -- The New York Times

"Beautiful, intelligent writing and polished acting" -- The Wall Street Journal

"Pitch-perfect drama and comedy" -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Terrific, inspired backstage comedy" -- Los Angeles Times

"The most fully satisfying slice of entertainment in ages" -- Newsday

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Sept. 4 2010
I love this series: it's funny, it's serious, it's insightful, with fantastic acting all round, even the minor characters are well-developed. And, although the story centers on the dramas that go on behind the scenes of a theatre company, I think it really touches on more than just that: the foibles of human relationships in general, in all their varied forms. The writers have a deft touch: they knew exactly how much to exaggerate the characters so that they are funny and yet still convincingly convey their deeply flawed and complex humanity. And, along the way I also learned something about Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chin up, Hamlet! April 30 2011
Ever been to Stratford in Canada, a town that specializes in Shakespearean plays (among others) year-round? Well, I have -- and I have new appreciation for the thespians and managers who manage to keep those venerable theatres running, if they have to deal with half the stuff that goes on in "Slings and Arrows: The Complete Series." It's a subtle, hilarious comedy with death, romance, ghosts and corporate idiocy.

As the story starts, artistic director Oliver Welles (Stephen Ouimette) is run over by a pig truck after drunkenly falling asleep in the road. His replacement: former protege and genius iconoclast Geoffrey Tennant (Paul Gross), whose acting career ended in a nervous breakdown onstage. Unsurprisingly, the acting troupe -- including Geoffrey's ex-lover Ellen Fanshaw (Martha Burns) -- are wary of of Geoffrey's brilliant but erratic behavior.

And Geoffrey isn't too sure of himself, since he seems to be seeing Oliver's ghost trying to guide him from beyond the grave (and causing Geoffrey to start screaming at thin air). Now he has to not only produce "Hamlet" (ironic, no?), but deal with Ellen's cougar romances, avant-garde director Darren Nichols, and an omnivorous American businesswoman trying to turn New Burbage into a shallow theatrical theme park. Will the show go on, or is this "Hamlet" doomed?

The second season sees Geoffrey being forced to put on "Macbeth," and the curse begins to affect the theater right away. The "Romeo and Juliet" director falls off the stage and breaks her neck, putting the production in Darren Nichols' hands; an edgy new ad campaign alienates EVERYBODY; Ellen is being audited; and Oliver's ghost returns to help Geoffrey put on "Macbeth" as he dreamed it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Angelo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have to say, I have not laughed so hard in ages! This series is an absolutely hilarious portrayal of the extreme characters involved with the stage, full of witty dialogue and plenty of sly in-jokes for anyone who is the least bit acquainted with the real-life Stratford festival.

However, to call this series simply a comedy does not do it justice. It is full of heart, especially in developing the many relationships, and the way the character of Geoffrey Tennant grows and struggles over three seasons. On top of all of this, the love and passion the characters have for Shakespeare will inspire you to revisit these classics and rediscover them for yourself.

Exceptional acting all around, though Paul Gross deserves special mention for making the haunted/manic/goofy Geoffrey so appealing that your heart just bleeds for him with every misfortune he has to endure. I can't recommend this series enough!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See for Theatre People April 15 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This series was recommended to me by an actor in our Community Theatre production. I power watched it once and plan to watch it again and again. Brilliant take on all of the background of running of theatre productions. Catherine Fitch as The Stage Manager is fabulous. I've "channeled" her during our last show to carry me through.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very entertaining Feb. 14 2014
By Smitty
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Good story line, lots of character development, excellent acting, appropriate ending.
Has you laughing one minute and crying the next.
Disappointing extra disc doesn't give anything extra.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Perfection Feb. 6 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As a Shakespearean actor, I could not be more delighted with this series. It should be required viewing for any actor wanting to take on the "Scottish play".
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoy theatre Nov. 12 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you enjoy any theatre, this gives a great inside look. It is hilarious and the acting is a high calibre. You want to keep watching until the end of season three and then you are sad that there is not more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars slings and arrows Aug. 27 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
best Canadian show about the theater world, ever produced. if you have worked in theater, you will cringe and laugh at the same time.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, accurate, and worth the time!
Hilarious! If you have spent any time watching live theatre, working in the arts, or being friends with actors, this is a must see!
Published 13 days ago by Jill
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny Canadian Comedy
This show was short lived, but Paul Gross did a great job poking fun at Canadian Theater and his take on Shakespeare and the actors who preform in the plays was witty and full of... Read more
Published 13 months ago by 905ShoeFan
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. Who knew? I missed this completely when it was on cable TV.
Canada's best kept secret TV series. If you have ever been to the Stratford Festival, this is a must see series. Read more
Published 14 months ago by E. Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars Slating and Arrows
This is by far one of Canada's best series. The story line and the quality of acting is superior to any I have seen in many years. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Patti Kazmer
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Canadian TV ever
I don't think there has been a better Canadian TV series. Ever. Season 1 was, perhaps, the best. Season 2 was my favourite. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2011 by John Mundie
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute fun with Shakespeare
This is the best Canadian TV series ever produced. Tightly modelled on the Stratford Festival, the first season starts with a truly mediocre production of Midsummer Night's Dream... Read more
Published on Dec 28 2010 by Brian Ashe
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Canadian show ever!
Love it! A masterpiece that tells so much in just 18 episodes. A 3-season mini-series trilogy, and one of the best ever of all time!
Published on Dec 23 2010 by Dan
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