Black Books: Series 2 [DVD] [2000]

The second series of Black Books somehow succeeded in being even further off the wall than the first. A larger team of writers no doubt helped, but Dylan Moran's greater input clearly shows. His Bernard Black doesn't get the best lines (that honour is always Bill Bailey's), but he definitely gets the best visual gags: a wine-bottle ice lolly, a dinner jacket made from tax receipts and a talent for the piano that defies logic. Aided by the hapless Fran (Tamsin Greig), the bookshop boys survive plenty of adventures, such as a touch of Dave's Syndrome, transforming into a restaurant, falling in love and even a few molluscs on the walls. Guest actors are all aware that they need to be at their funniest in order to register amid the madness: Johnny Vegas is the perfect slimy landlord, Jessica Stevenson revels in being the ultimate health-fad flake and Rob Brydon is terrific in his office-boss cameo. All this series lacks is any sense of closure for the characters, which, without the prospect of a third series, is a terrible tease. --Paul Tonks


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