Monday, December 7, 2020

The Black Adder

Happy Christmas to me.

One more week of reviews after this and I refuse to be party to any merriment or all around joy to humanity, so join me as we visit cynical Britain once more as we see all iterations of the classic Blackadder series. It's very humble beginnings for the series as we enter the 15th century following the ascent of King Richard IV and not historically Henry Tudor, and we encounter the meek and backstabbing Edmund who tries every trick he can to take the throne. Not the most involved of plots but nevertheless a very entertaining and fun series, obviously with many a nod to Shakespeare. I will fully admit of all the subsequent entries in this show, the first season is definitely weakest in terms of comedy. But don't let that stop you from watching it, it's a good start and still has it's moments. Any scene with Brian Blessed is glorious, Rowan Atkinson has some genuinely funny moments, no doubt the more historically knowledgeable will get a kick out of the narration, but I think it's more satirical of the time period. To poke fun is not neccessarily always funny, but wit is always wonderful. And any chance I get to feel good about myself by recognizing Shakespeare dialogue without reading any of his works is awful nice. This is one of the more lavish BBC productions I've seen at that period in time, there was a lot of on location filming at a proper castle and it's subsequent grounds, with more than just leftover period costumes, the whole nine yards, and it does look good. One aspect that must be addressed, because this is the oldest BBC show I've reviewed though I've seen many from the 60s to the 2000s, is the fact that location shooting or really anything outside the studio is shot on film and not all film stock is the same so it does have a grainy look to it whereas the studio footage had those proper big three lensed cameras so it looks really good. It's actually really interesting to sort of chart the character progression between all the series, because a good chunk of this cast gets brought back each time even if they don't play the same characters. Queen Victoria from the christmas special is the Spanish Infanta in this series and is marvellous to say the least for example (Bit out of sync but hey welcome to the timey wimey show!), so we'll compare notes on each. I don't actually think any sort of future series was even spared a thought of at this point, and could have very easily been just a one shot but it flourished throughout and could arguably be said that each series is better than the last. But of course more on that, in time. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10! And we'll time warp tomorrow to the age of Queen Elizabeth I for Blackadder II.

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