PARKS AND RECREATION: THE COMPLETE SERIES

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Looking back now, some six years later, to when Parks and Recreation first hit our screens, it's easy to forget that it didn't drop into our lives like a sleek comedy missile but was, instead, met with some criticism, occasionally missing its target and not quite sure of itself. 

After all, visionary creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, with their already impressive canon of work including The Simpsons and The Office, were taking a massive punt on a premise that doesn't automatically suggest great comedic potential, namely the machinations of an inconsequential small-town's under-budgeted and underwhelming Parks and Recreation department. By the second season, however, the show had finely tuned its trajectory and set a course for award-winning accolade and timeless cult status thanks, in no small part, to its fabulous characters and the collaborative writing of its ensemble cast.

Of all the characters in the show the real stand-out performances and unforgettable moments have to be those of Nick Offerman's good old-fashioned curmudgeon, Ron Swanson. Swanson is to Parks and Rec' what Homer is to The Simpsons in that neither were intended to be the main character but have become, nonetheless, one of the reasons we watch their respective shows (Simpsons’ creators maintain that the cartoon was always intended to be primarily about Bart and that Homer's popularity was largely unplanned). Ron Swanson's gruff, objectionable attitude to mostly everything would be lost, however, were it not parried by the star of the show, Amy Poehler's irrepressibly optimistic and cajoling officiate Leslie Knope. There simply isn't space to mention every cast member's contribution but suffice it to say that from Rob Lowe's overly-perky, health-obsessed government official, to the office loser Gerry Gergich played by Jim O'Heir, there isn't a single weak link in the endless comedy chain. It is worth mentioning that Chris Pratt is much more likeable as the slightly podgy, clumsy chump, Andy Dwyer than the buff all-action-hero of Jurassic World. 

As for the box set itself, it is rather plainly packaged for such a momentous show and, frankly, boasts a hefty price tag but it is nice to see the conventional use of seven separate boxes (one for each season) rather than, for example, a recent release of Modern Family box set with 17 discs crammed confusingly into one case. The extras are exhaustive and no matter who your favourite character is there will be something here to add to their body of work. If you need to have the absolutely definitive collection of what has become an almost legendary show then this is just the thing for you.

Extras: Deleted scenes / Gag Reels / Music Video / Webisodes / Commentaries / Feature on the 100th Episode and more.

PARKS AND RECREATION: THE COMPLETE SERIES / CERT: 15 / CREATORS: GREG DANIELS, MICHAEL SCHUR / STARRING: AMY POEHLER, JIM O’HEIR, NICK OFFERMAN, AUBREY PLAZA, CHRIS PRATT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW


 


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