Black Books, a review

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Black Books (2000) is a three-season sitcom created by Dylan Moran and starring Moran, Bill Bailey, and Tamsin Greig. Moran plays a crotchety bookstore owner who loves books but hates customers.

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Black Books is available on Netflix. It’s on Amazon Instant for $10.99 per season. iTunes has it for the same price. There’s also a region 1/NTSC box DVD box set available. Hulu.com has all 18 episodes for free. There are some episodes on YouTube as well. You can rent discs for season 1-2 from Facets. Vudu has seasons 1-3 for $11.
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When you want to be left alone, don’t you wish you could shout through a megaphone and usher people out with a broom handle? When doing taxes gets too hard, don’t you wish you could turn your accounts into a rather smart casual jacket? On scorching summer days, don’t you wish you could pop a bottle in the freezer and have yourself a giant wine lolly? Well then, meet Bernard Black, a protagonist held together by cigarette smoke, wine corks, and dust. He is the embodiment of everything you wish you could do in polite society. He owns Black Books bookshop in London.

Enter best friend Fran, the girl next door (literally, she owns the new age doodad shop next door) who caters to Bernard’s vices, and Manny, the shop’s hapless accountant who succoms to Bernard’s every whim, whether it’s alphabetizing the books or making a tower out of soup. Together, they brave polite society–enduring the follies of dating (or in Bernard’s case, stalking with an accordion), distant relatives, weddings, parties, shopping conglomerates, and gangsters–only to hole up back at Black Books at the end of the night and drown out polite society with jam sandwiches and toxic liquors. Black Books is your outlet to enjoy all the effects of your restrained rebellion, and if you’re just a little bit brave, it will arm you with all the witty retorts you need to start flipping off the real world.

In terms of accessibility for Americans, if you’re looking for an entryway into modern British comedy, this is the ideal gateway program.

Notable guest stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Jessica Hynes.

personallyPersonally, I believe season 1 is best, and nothing compares to the episode “Grapes of Wrath” where Bernard and Manny get wasted while house-sitting, accidentally drink the Pope’s wine, and have to reconstruct it using ingredients they find around the kitchen and front garden.

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One thought on “Black Books, a review

  1. Pingback: Richard Herring’s Obscure Watch List – Part 3 | Anglonerd

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