Author Topic: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020  (Read 5766 times)

Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« on: June 19, 2020, 02:32:56 PM »
Decided to watch all of Blackadder again for the first time in 10+ years.

First series is still 'fine, but the least good'.  The bumbling, cowardly Blackadder isn't a great lead, obviously when Percy is around doing the same thing but more so; also I didn't remember Baldrick being as witty or surprisingly clever to start with.  The dynamic only really reaches it's peak in the second series, with the scheming, clever Blackadder, the charmingly stupid Percy and the stupid but witty Baldrick. 

I imagine revisiting Goes Forth won't be as enjoyable in that sense, with both George and Baldrick playing the different shades of stupid role, with Darling and Melchett off the side kind of being their own thing.

Having only watched it as a young teen, I'm laughing more at the bits I missed, like 'Bob's' hilariously overwrought pantomime acting and the gaolers claiming to be 'social realists' in response to the executioner's chamber being a bit bleak. 

Pleasantly surprised that it's still really, really good.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2020, 02:36:30 PM »
I imagine revisiting Goes Forth won't be as enjoyable in that sense, with both George and Baldrick playing the different shades of stupid role, with Darling and Melchett off the side kind of being their own thing.

I think that works on a thematic/commentary level, both the working class and upper class being thick. As it did in the third series.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 03:00:25 PM »
I suppose it does.  Especially as Blackadder isn't really cast as any particular class in Forth (even though he's clearly somewhat middle class by nature of his speech, cynicism, rank etc).  Similarly in 3, where Blackadder is of the servile class, but about as high up as you can be in that class.

I feel like especially in Goes Forth the setting and themes does a lot of heavy lifting; not that it doesn't work, but I think the character interaction falls into a certain familiar pattern. 

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2020, 03:02:49 PM »
Yup, he even references it outright:

Quote from: Blackadder
Toffs at the top, plebs at the bottom and me in the middle making a fat pile of cash out of both of them

That's essential to his character.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2020, 03:11:00 PM »
It's quite refreshing that, outside of the first series, Blackadder isn't exactly aspirational.  Just quite happy to enrich himself through the means of his position.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2020, 03:13:00 PM »
First series is still 'fine, but the least good'.  The bumbling, cowardly Blackadder isn't a great lead, obviously when Percy is around doing the same thing but more so; also I didn't remember Baldrick being as witty or surprisingly clever to start with.  The dynamic only really reaches it's peak in the second series, with the scheming, clever Blackadder, the charmingly stupid Percy and the stupid but witty Baldrick.

Curiously in the un-aired pilot, Atkinson's portrayal of Blackadder is apparently much closer to that of the series 2 version of the character. I don't think it's officially available anywhere though.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2020, 04:22:07 PM »
Pilot: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x61734g

It's almost exactly what series two became - filmed in a studio, Elizabethan setting, with the high status Blackadder. But with a Philip Fox Baldrick.

Catalogue Trousers

  • With tremendous protein value
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2020, 11:34:57 PM »
First series is the best. I mean this, and will continue to say so.
Second series is pretty damn good.
Third series has one great episode - Ink And Incapability - but the cracks are showing and the jokes are getting tired.
Fourth series pretty duff all round.
Back And Forth - just shit.

That is all.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2020, 11:38:59 PM »
s2
(big gap)
s3
(medium gap)
s4
(small gap)
s1

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2020, 11:42:01 PM »
If Brian Blessed wasn't in series 1 I reckon I wouldn't like it anywhere near as much. The bit where he slyly says "Come heeear, Edna..."

Twit 2

  • Beef-pork-goat nonsense
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2020, 12:13:11 AM »
s2
(big gap)
s3
(medium gap)
s4
(small gap)
s1

This is the correct ranking.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2020, 12:20:06 AM »
For me, third and fourth series are jointly the best.  I'm not so keen on series two, as vaunted as it generally is.

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • Mr Moose is up! It's done done done!
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2020, 12:22:08 AM »
I think The Black Adder did have a degree of comic appeal to Edmund being a snivelling weasely character. In some episodes he still manages to discharge some sarky/misanthropic one-liners ("Oh god a retired Morris dancer") without that breaking his cowardly subordinate character, but they clearly didn't grasp just how far they could have pushed that. Which is weird as the pilot to The Black Adder clearly suggests that there was a workable middle ground between imperious Mr Sarcasm and terrified sniveller.

Series 2/3/4 make Series 1 look bad by comparison (probably because they are good) but there were kernels of very good ideas in Series 1. It sort of fluctuates in that way ideas that haven't been truly tested to their capabilities tend to. At times the amazingly hysterical dark theatrics in the production prop up a lot of it. God that series is almost fust itself isn't it? Extraordinary. But The Black Seal it really felt as though they were moving towards where it ought to have gone. The roll call of Middle Ages thugs is just incredible. Easily up there with some of the best laughs anywhere in Black Adder. "Unspeakably Violent Jack, the bull-buggering priest-killer of no fixed abode".

Fuck sake. That's a killer.


kngen

  • Member
  • **
  • Fighting sleep's deathlike grip
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2020, 12:28:45 AM »
Are people really that down on S4 becuase of the poppy field ending? Aside from that (and I don't have a huge problem with it myself), it's got some of my favourite episodes. That and season 3. Season 2 is great, but I think it's the one that aged the least well (apart from S1, but that goes without saying.)

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • Mr Moose is up! It's done done done!
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2020, 12:34:12 AM »
Series 4 is unequivocally the tightest written and most ably performed. It doesn't have some of the highest high notes of S2 or S3 but it is a tour de force, a piece of comic magnificence wrung to its full potential by a cast who are at ease with the format and the needs of its audience, empowered by that and completely ready to extract every last drop of mirth out of the script which they do with absolute malice and precision.

The subject matter clearly has a more emotional significance to the writers and cast (not to mention the audience who are more familiar and empathetic to these characters than some feudal lords) and it benefits from the sense of attachment and stake in the outcome of each episode.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2020, 05:53:58 AM »
The Queen of Spain's Beard and The Archbishop really shine with Blackadder doing what works well - him having to manage being in the middle of other people's plans.

I'm still not sure if Rowan is corpsing during Rik's Flashheart sequence in S2, or if he's trying to convey he's being increasingly alarmed at Flash taking away his true love "my love is like a prick (on a Tudor rose)"

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2020, 06:19:22 AM »
Blackadder 2 is best by some distance. Almost perfect. Tiny stuff, like the house buyer being called Mr Pants treated as a one and done gag, whereas by Goes Forth we are expected to find it hilarious that a character is called Darling. Every. Bloody. Episode.

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • Mr Moose is up! It's done done done!
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2020, 07:57:01 AM »
On the other hand Melchett is the 2nd best regular character in all Blackadder, behind, of course Harry, Prince of Wales yer man.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2020, 09:21:18 AM »
Blackadder 2 is best by some distance. Almost perfect. Tiny stuff, like the house buyer being called Mr Pants treated as a one and done gag, whereas by Goes Forth we are expected to find it hilarious that a character is called Darling. Every. Bloody. Episode.

No you're not. His hatred of his own name is played for laughs much more than the name itself

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2020, 09:42:46 AM »
On the other hand Melchett is the 2nd best regular character in all Blackadder, behind, of course Harry, Prince of Wales yer man.

What I'm finding that I missed before is Lord Melchett's sliminess in his ways to win the favour of the Queen.  His little bitter look after laughing off Queenie proposing to behead him for conning Blackadder out of his savings again and again in 'Money' completely passed me by the first time.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2020, 11:34:30 AM »
No you're not. His hatred of his own name is played for laughs much more than the name itself

Yeah exactly. It's also a way for Blackadder to be rude to his face without getting in trouble and allows the audience to immediately understand their antagonistic relationship.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

  • Le corpse garlique of Hercule Poirot
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2020, 11:57:55 AM »
No love for Blackadder's Christmas Carol? Victoria and Albert are the best part of it.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2020, 12:16:44 PM »
Saw it for the first time last year, would need to watch it a few christmases in a row for it to properly bed in.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2020, 12:28:41 PM »
Watching 'Beer' now.  Every time Miriam Margoyles turns up she's fucking brilliant.

This is what I think the subsequent series lacks - Blackadder getting caught up in his own hubris and desperately trying to claw his way out while maintaining his composure

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2020, 12:41:15 PM »
No love for Blackadder's Christmas Carol? Victoria and Albert are the best part of it.

Has the cut Easter joke been reinstated yet?

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2020, 12:45:24 PM »
S2 is near perfect, chock full of incredible moments:
"The ape people of the Indas can get this"
" I hold here, in my mortal hand, a nugget of purest green"
"Great Boo's up"
"You mean you shit out of the window"
"You look like a duck that has swallowed a plate"
"Sorry about the bag, didn't have time to shave"
"The long winter evenings must just fly by"
"Why, around the Cape, the rain beats down so hard it makes your head bleed!" "So, some sort of hat is probably in order"

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • Mr Moose is up! It's done done done!
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2020, 12:51:20 PM »
Quote
Blackadder getting caught up in his own hubris and desperately trying to claw his way out while maintaining his composure

I wouldn't say that's absent from S4...

Captain Cook - Blackadder discovers George can paint, decides to claim George's painting as his so he can escape the trenches, then gets sent into no-man's land.

Corporal Punishment - Blackadder knowingly kills and eats a carrier pigeon on the assumption it will be alright, gets court-martialed, desperately tries to claw his way out while maintaining his composure.

Private Plane - Blackadder thinks joining the Royal Flying Corps is an extended pissabout, then when he gets the opportunity ends up in the twenty-minuters, gets shot down behind enemy lines.



Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2020, 01:05:21 PM »
Surprising how little I remember.  I suppose because he is more successful at keeping his composure in Forth.

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2020, 01:07:07 PM »
*Percy catches frisbee*
"Owzat!"

"Percy...who is queen?"

*Percy drops frisbee*
..."oops!  Butterfingers!"

Re: Re-Watchin' Blackadder 2020
« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2020, 01:52:03 PM »


Blackadder was an absolute favourite of mine for decades  but I rewatched the second to the fourth series a couple of years ago and found them all to be a little disappointing.

The characters and performances are all wonderful but there was just too many riffs on the same kind of joke - "Baldrick, that is the stupidest plan since....", "I've had the worst night since.....", - Notably from the Third, which had always been my favourite.

Maybe it didn't help that I rewatched the series straight after a re-visit to Fawlty Towers where the level of farce is so much higher and there's an hour's worth of material and jokes packed into half an hour.

Tags: