Peep Show: Series Six
28th October 2009
Mark is a credit manager and the more financially successful of the two, often pessimistic about life and anything to do with Jeremy's next big 'idea'. Jeremy rents Mark's spare room and usually has a much more optimistic and energetic outlook on the world than Mark. His self-proclaimed talent as a musician is yet to be recognised, and he is seen as a lazy waster with a group of dodgy - and equally idle - friends and not as popular or attractive as he would like to think himself. He also has the habit of falling in and out of love at breakneck speed, and it's normally Mark who ends up suffering the most.
In series six, Mark and Jeremy are still sharing a flat in post-credit crunch Croydon while there is a whiff of desperation surrounding them - especially when Mark, and the rest of JLB Credit, get made redundant and Jeremy decides that he wants a job (which is a little ironic as, when there were plenty of jobs to go around he didn't want one, and now that there's hardly anything, he wants one!). Needless to say, the credit crunch is also having an affect on Mark who finds himself on the scrap heap with thousands of other people and Alan Johnson sniffing around looking for money from easily impressionable people (think Mark!) to help start up a new business venture. Still, there's always the trusty Dobby from IT to fall back on.
However, matters become even more complicated when the pair discover that Sophie is pregnant and they have to face up to the possibility that either one of them might be a father (I told you Jeremy always ends up making Mark suffer the most!). How this bombshell will effect Mark's pursuit of Dobby is anyone's guess, but one thing is for certain, it's not going to stop Jeremy falling for his dream woman - a dope-dealing-musician-activist named Elena. But, as is always the case for the 'The El Dude Brothers', things have always got to get far more complicated, even more confusing and a damn sight more embarrassing yet.
People started to dislike the point of view camera work used in the programme (I'm not quite sure why!) so there's less of that on offer in series six. However, that rather tight budget still looks like it applies here and the picture quality still isn't really anything out of the ordinary. However, the discs sent for preview are not the final retail product (they're more likely to be the original press screeners) and, as such, I wouldn't usually review such titles. But, because I'm a great fan of the show, and they're extremely unlikely to be any different to the final product, I've let it through our tough reviewing criteria.
Never the less, it becomes all the more confusing by the fact that Channel Four are broadcasting Peep Show on their HD channel on Sky. Unfortunately, I don't have access to Sky HD (or Sky for that matter) so I can't comment or confirm whether there is any drastic difference in picture quality - or whether the series was indeed filmed in HD or simply up-converted from the standard source material. But, saying that, if the series was truly available in full HD then perhaps the marketing department over at Channel Four might have considered a Blu-Ray release too?
As with their previous DVD outings, and due to the continual bandwidth limitations of terrestrial television broadcasts (and I guess there's some budget restraints in there too) there is very little to be expected from the Peep Show sound department (but again, the possibility of HD content could mean a 5.1 soundtrack could be available at some point in the future). Still, the 384Kbps Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is more than sufficient for its needs and the all important dialogue is kept crisp and clear whilst the musical score remains its usual catchy self. Overall, it's nothing special, but it's something that is always to be expected from a television series such as this.
Given that I've not got the final product for review there's no menu system to speak of - instead simply allowing a straight selection of the episode or viewing the extras in one go. Nevertheless, experience of the other Peep Show series, means that we're to expect a menu system that is carried over from the previous DVDs with scored and animated menus at each level along with various cut scenes from the series shown in the background. Extras wise, there's a good collection of featurettes on offer which will offer fans of the series a further, and hilarious, insight into the award winning series.
First up is the twenty three minute Behind the Scenes featurette. As you'd expect, it "goes behind the scenes" with the lads as a camera generally wanders around the sets and picks up comments from the majority of the cast (including the old and the new) along with the writers Naturally, there's plenty of interjections from David and Robert, and in their usual deadpan method too, and it all adds up to a rather informative and amusing featurette. Whilst that helps to set things off on a bit of a roll, the next three minute How to Make Peep Show featurette brings things back to earth with a bump. Essentially recapping what we've just learnt, but in a crudely animated form, we get see how an episode of Peep Show is created from start to finish.
Next up are three minutes worth of Outtakes. I'm not really a fan of outtakes where the cast just fall about laughing, but whilst we do have Vera Filatova doing just that it's surprisingly amusing, whilst a number of other scenes sees Robert Webb fluff his lines whilst Matt King has to deal with a disobedient snake and David Mitchell catches a spot of swine 'flu. Staying on a similar theme, the four minutes worth of Deleted and Extended Scenes add very little to the actually aired scenes - in fact, you have to think rather hard before you realise which bits were cut. Still, it's nice to see them included here.
Finally, and as the title suggests, in the If Peep Show was Filmed In Front of a Studio Audience featurette we get to see how the series would have been totally ruined by "inappropriate" audience participation. In the three minutes worth of cringe worthy scenes, you'll bite your bottom lip as scenes from the first episode are ruined by whooping, clapping and laughing. It's at times like these you thank your lucky stars you don't have to endure American television comedy on a daily basis. Ah.... Well, at least the American pilot of Peep Show failed to make an impression with the studio executives and we were spare another awful remake.
After suffering from a bit of a comedy hiccup in one or two of the previous series, Peep Show continues its return to comedy heaven with a sixth series that continues to just get better and better. Already having won numerous awards and pundits across the entertainment world (even managing - thankfully - a failed pilot in America) it's a show that can't escape its cult following (much akin to Channel Four's equally brilliant Spaced). With a fairly low television audience, whereas many another show would get cancelled, and much like Family Guy, it is Peep Show's impressive DVD sales that ensure that Mark and Jeremy's confused world stays on our screens.
With Channel Four already signed up for a seventh series, let's hope the side splitting laughter continues - and judging by the ending of series six it's going to be getting to some dizzy heights in order to exceed expectations. It's all highly recommended - but I just wish Channel Four wouldn't release a new "complete" box set after every new series release in the hope that fans of the series will trade one in for the other.
- Behind the Scenes featurette
- How Make Peep Show featurette
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- If Peep Show was Filmed In Front of a Studio Audience featurette