Absolutely Fabulous: Set 4

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are best friends, but they often find themselves in outrageous, outlandish, and impossible situations. The two have found success in the fashion business, Patsy even used to be a model, but now they’ve reached the dreaded 40s, both women are beyond shaken. Edina works hard at her magazine office, but works twice at hard when getting dressed, putting on makeup, or trying to act twenty years younger than she is, so most of her time is devoted to the latter actions. Patsy is in the same boat, with her modeling days behind her, but unwilling to release those days, opting for endless bouts of plastic surgery, layers of makeup, expensive clothes, and young men to amuse herself with. As the two friends battle the aging process, they run into moral obstacles thanks to Edina’s daughter Saffron, confrontations with ex-husbands, and of course, the ever changing world of fashion. But will the rounds of booze, chic narcotics, young men, and off the wall fashions make them feel younger, happier, and more satisfied when all is said and done?

After an absence of several years, this excellent series returned to the airwaves and with all the pieces intact, so I guess all that chanting paid off. I have to admit, the show has lost some of its charm due to the absence, but the rust is quickly shaken off and these episodes turn out to be wonderful, no doubt about it. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley return in the main roles, but even the smaller parts are filled by the same performer and if you ask me, that is what makes this comeback better than most. These characters simply couldn’t be played by anyone else, as we’re too used to seeing the original actors and of course, each one was a masterful choice and is able to bring all the humor to the surface. So even if it never reaches the peak levels of the prior seasons, this fourth series still hits some hilarious strides and for fans of the show, I couldn’t imagine missing this selection of episodes. This release from BBC Video packs all the episodes onto two discs, with a nice collection of bonus materials also stuffed on, to increase the value a shade. So don’t hesitate to pick up this great set of AbFab: The Complete Series 4, as if you don’t, everyone will know you have bad taste, sweetie.

Video: How does it look?

The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers. As I had watched these episodes on Comedy Central in full frame, I was stunned by the crisp, sharp visual treatment included within this release. The image has more depth, more refinement, and just looks a million times better, without question. The print shows no defects and compression issues never present a problem, as the episodes look excellent here. The colors are vibrant and bold, flesh tones appear natural, and black levels are always well balanced. I commend BBC Video for giving us the widescreen episodes, as fans certainly want to see the episodes as intended, not as some schmuck at Comedy Central sees fit.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included audio treatment might not have a lot of bells & whistles, but the material sounds great and of course, that is what matters. The music and various sound effects come through well, but keep in mind, this series is driven by vocals and as such, range & depth are just passable, never overly impressive. The dialogue is the focus here and it sounds excellent darlings, no volume or clarity worries in the least. So every last catch phrase, name drop, and pop culture reference comes through loud & clear, as it bloody well should be.

Supplements: What are the extras?

I was pleased to find that an audio commentary track has been recorded for each episode, with Saunders and producer Jon Plowman, who share their thoughts on the series. Saunders discusses how she developed the series, her inspirations for the material, and of course how in the world she ever dreamed of ending the series when she did. A terrific session with a lot of insight, this track is simply marvelous, high class from start to finish. You can also watch the Mirrorball episode, which was the project Saunders scrapped in order to continue AbFab and of course, she made the right decision. This release also includes a guide to the celebrities of AbFab, a look at the pop culture covered in the series, a clip of Lumley from a BBC modeling documentary, some still photos, a selection of talent files, and some humorous outtakes.

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