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October 9, 2015

Review: The Steve Coogan Collection

by Nick Zaino, posted Nov 18th 2009 7:07PM
BBC America The Steve Coogan CollectionIf all you know of Steve Coogan is Alan Partridge, the new Steve Coogan Collection might be a bit overwhelming for you. It's thirteen discs with eight different series, including Knowing Me, Knowing You, which introduced the character to television audiences, Knowing Me, Knowing Yule, the Christmas special, and two series of I'm Alan Partridge. That's five discs of Alan Partridge, which is always good news.

But there is plenty of good stuff on the other eight discs, a lot to discover for the Partridge-only crowd. Coogan has a wonderful talent for characters, and this Collection is full of them. There are three discs of the Saxondale series, in which Coogan plays Tommy Saxondale, an ex-roadie who has cleaned up and started an exterminator business.

Saxondale is a departure from Partridge, in that the series is more realistic, and Saxondale a darker, less daft character. Some of the funniest scenes in the series are when he's coping with other people in anger-management therapy group. He's smarter and more capable than the others, and has zero tolerance for overly-dramatic stories or stupidity.

Coogan loses himself under that long hair and beard, spouting the philosophy of his rock and roll days, trying to maintain some sense of rebellion as he ages. He has a loving wife and a good business - he's not rich, but his life isn't bad. Sometimes, there's nothing to rebel against, but when he finds the right cause, it's fun to root for him.

It's hard to recognize the guy on the cover of the box as any of the characters inside. Hard to believe the same person plays all of them. On the previously unreleased Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible, Coogan plays several different characters, some of whom share scenes with each other, including the bald, creepy Dr. Terrible. He's someone different in each of the six episodes of Coogan's Run. Then there is his Portuguese pop star, Tony Ferrino, and his drunken philosopher Paul Calf. The most impressive thing about this collection is to see the separation between characters, and between series. No two characters, and no two shows, feel alike.

For those who have time after watching all of these series, there are four hours of bonus features, including deleted scenes, featurettes, and interviews. And thought Coogan is the center of all of this, there are a lot of fantastic supporting performances in every series from people like Rebecca Front, Steve Brown, Ruth Jones, Simon Greenall, and even Minnie Driver in one episode of Knowing Me.

It's a pricey collection, at about $130, but with 30 hours of show and four hours of bonus features, it works out to just under four bucks per hour.

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What a talented guy Coogan is. '24 Hour Pary People' is fantastic...as is 'Tritram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story' (one of the better film within a films out there, blending fact and fiction and literature). Love the TV shows and the range he exhibits as these wildly diverse characters. But some stuff is just aaawwwwwffffuuulll - I suppose he's not to blame for 'Around the World in 80 Days' (and I bet it paid themortgage for quite a while). I'm on the fence about 'Hamlet 2.' Not a very good film, although I thought he was pretty good in a thankless role (I do still smile thinking of 'Rock Me Sexy Jesus!'). If I had the extra $130 I'd be all over this. As it is, looks like a rental...

November 18 2009 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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