'One Foot in the Grave: The Complete Series'
(Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, et al / 12-DVD / NR / 2009 / BBC Home Video)
Overview: Forced into taking early retirement, Victor Meldrew optimistically tries to adjust to years of leisure with his wife Margaret. If only events - coincidences, misunderstandings, bureaucratic inefficiencies and sheer bad luck - didn't conspire against him!
DVD Verdict: Meet Victor Meldrew, who seems to notice everything annoying in life and feels the need to constantly comment on it, and his long suffering wife, Margaret, who is weary of Victor's diatribes. Along with the Meldrews, you meet a host of friends and neighbors that add to the side splitting fun. If you have never seen this Britcom before, you've truly missed a masterpiece.
Victor Meldrew (Richard Wilson), a grouch at the latter half of middle age with the sarcastic wit of Basil Fawlty, is forced into early retirement from his job in security reception ("redundancy," as they call it in England). He doesn't adjust well to all his new-found free time as he spends most of his days complaining about neighbors, incompetent fix-it men, strangers who annoy him, and--a continuing theme--litter in his front lawn.
Suffering along with him is his wife Margaret (Annette Crosbie), who seems to work part time as a caregiver, who has to listen to his constant bellyaching. The first two episodes I thought were mildly amusing. The show seemed rather slow (albeit faster moving than 'Last of the Summer Wine,' and 'As Time Goes By').
The last four episodes of the first series have many hilarious moments and I've found myself laughing out loud. A funny one is "The Valley of Fear," where Victor gets tired of Margaret leaving doors and cupboards open: "What am I supposed to do, carry out a daily inspection of the premises now for batty old women and mummified tomcats." Concerned about hooligans, Victor organizes a neighborhood watch and ends up getting a hoodlum reputation himself. Christopher Ryan ('The Young Ones') makes an appearance as a plumber in shorts!
"I'll Retire to Bedlam" finds Victor is in an even fouler mood than usual as he's attacked by bees, his little grand-nephews, and Britain's peculiar medical service. Best moments are in the doctor's office and his handling of his bratty nephews.
Basically, the award-winning comedy from the BBC follows the exploits of Victor Meldrew and his wife, Margaret, as they rail against the passage of time and the downright funny stuff that happens to them along the way. If there was ever a series that summed up the “get off my lawn, you damn kids” attitude, this is it. Great stuff!
Also included are the two feature length Christmas episodes where Victor reaches new heights of frustration - "Starbound," "Endgame" - despair and exasperation - dragging Margaret and anyone else in the vicinity into the maelstrom with him. Featuring many viewers' favourite scenes - including the Meldrew 'Surgical Support Recycling Centre' and the indecent exposure identity parade - these are priceless episodes from a magnificent series. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The 1996 and 1997 Christmas Specials