'Waiting for God - Season 1'
(Graham Crowden, Stephanie Cole, et al / DVD / NR / (1996) 2006 / BBC Video)
Overview: When Tom Ballard moves to Bayview Retirement Vilage, he meets Diana Trent, a feisty old woman who complains about everything and wants nothing more than just to die. Much to the dislike of Harvey Baines, the head of the home, the two form a friendship and eventually a romance, helping each other out of tight situations. Tom's son, Geofrey, and daughter-in-law, Marion (whom Tom doesn't particularly like) are constantly stopping in and Jane, a worker at the home, is Diana's worst nightmare being constantly cheerful. Together, though, Tom and Diana make it together while they are waiting for God.
DVD Verdict: Don't be put off by the title - this is one of the best Britcoms to hit the US Shores. This show is totally unique - set in the British retirement community of Bayview, and it's inmates...er, I mean RESIDENTS, are taking steps to NOT gracefully fade away! I have never laughed aloud so much at a series as I have at the adventures of Stephanie Cole's Diana Trent (spinster & proud of it) and Graham Crowden's Tom (part-time bullfighter on the moon, when he wasn't digging out of Colditz with "Dickie and Johnny"), and their battles against Daniel Hill's "The Idiot Baines" and Janine Duvitski's love-starved Jane. Together with sex-fiend Basil and other inmates, and constantly thwarting the efforts of Tom's revolting family to control them, the antics are priceless. What keeps me watching the episodes is the way the characters are presented. Diana puts it thusly: "We are not a group to be managed." Fighting for the respect they deserve - in a society that reveres age in everything but itself - Diana and Tom carve such a niche at Bayview that Harvey spends the entire run of the show trying to chuck them out! Ideas that would be handled with all the tact of a road roller in the US get treated with a sense of decorum. The episode entitled "Scandal," first aired in October of 1993, is proof of that. The final episode of the show ('Two Weddings')is so well done that it literally leaves one's ribs sore from laughing. I have been hunting for all 47 episodes of the show, which form a total story, with a beginning (Tom's arrival), a middle (the Scandal!), and an end (call it two weddings and a funeral - not the one released). This series is done with wit and taste, and in many ways I am GLAD it never made it across the Atlantic. American producers would have surely messed it up. My home-taped episodes are in danger of wearing out. Now, FINALLY, there is hope on the horizon in the form of this new DVD of Series (Season) 1. I have no idea why BBC won't go ahead and release the whole thing - there are only 45 episodes plus two Christmas specials (only one Christmas special has ever been shown in the US to my knowledge; it was a double length show). If BBC is simply going to release them series by series (or season by season), let's hope that enough of the first one sells! Once you visit Bayview, you'll want to go back, and seven episodes won't be enough! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) and comes with the Special Features of:
Seven episodes on one disc