That Mitchell and Webb Look Series 3 Review
The SeriesDouble acts are great, aren't they? Morecambe and Wise, Reeves and Mortimer - the joy of two familiar comedians bouncing off one another is that it reminds us of what we like most in our own personal relationships. The banter, the wit, and the bickering - the intimacy of two people who get on. Double acts can invite us into their personal world, but sometimes that invitation is the kind that you wish you hadn't accepted as you learn that those nice people are just plain not worth knowing. Horne and Corden, I am talking about you.
Because, despite all their occasionally pythonesque and culturally literate charm, Mitchell and Webb are not rebels or dangerous critics of the establishment. They are as middle of the road as modern sketch shows get. They may swear and refer to rude things, but the only burning injustices that bother these two men are things like hyperbole at weddings. Their furious bourgeois rage is one of the few things that sets this double act apart from others, and in particular David Mitchell's patented ability to sneer is often very entertaining.
Despite being good enough, I believe that these two men want to achieve more. They grope for satire in the Hennimore sketches and criticise the creatives of modern TV regularly. They want to expose the homophobia of sport and the racism of seventies sitcoms. In fact, they basically want to be Fry and Laurie without the accompanying cleverness.
Transfer and SoundThe audio offered here is a single stereo track recorded at 192Kbps. It's steady and old fashioned like the series itself and whilst it is clear and well mastered, it seems that better options have been forsaken despite the series being broadcast with the option of HD. The anamorphic transfer is a little too light in the way of contrast, detail is ordinary and colours, outside of the top capture above, is sensibly balanced. The frame is not used at the sides and in fact the image is probably closer to 1.72:1 than 1.78:1. Again, it's not over processed or artificially enhanced - it does exactly as you might expect. There is no blu-ray release so this is probably your lot in terms of A/V treatments.
Discs and Special FeaturesEach dual layer disc is encoded for regions 2 & 4 and carry three episodes apiece. Two of the episodes on each disc are further presented with picture in picture commentaries, with the series producer Gareth Edwards joining the duo as we watch them talk about what we would be watching if we weren't watching them talk about it!
The requisite deleted scenes and bloopers are included on the second disc, they have already been available on interactive channels, and you can quite see why the scenes were cut , and the outtakes are not particularly hilarious. Featurette-wise, you get interviews with the two men digging into their comedy roots where Mitchell loves Monty Python and hates Cannon and Ball, and Webb is far less picky. Both men seem genuinely happy with their success and are keen not to expect too much more.
The making of footage on the first disc introduces this series new director, Ben Fuller, and his method of shooting with two cameras throughout. Games are played with the producer's names, we learn a few secrets about the CGI and stunts involved in this set of episodes. The final featurette looks at how the scene with doubles of each of the duo were shot.
Overall, a decent haul of extras with inventive menus.
SummaryA decent package of special features, a satisfactory if bare A/V treatment and comedy that is often funny. Mitchell and Webb may not be about sex and drugs and rock and roll, but they are competent and able comedians.
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
6 out of 10