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DVD Review: The Mighty Boosh – Seasons 1-3

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It doesn't take too long to run across words such as "surreal" when reading descriptions of The Mighty Boosh. I find this very odd, and I can't help but think that those who use the word are seriously over-thinking things. Not only does the term invoke an overly academic analysis of the show, but it smacks of pretension as well. And both are things that are far removed from the oddly parallel universe that is The Mighty Boosh.

This is the story of two men: Howard Moon (Julian Barratt) and Vince Noir (Noel Fielding). They are the hipster Odd Couple, with Howard busy falling into fusion jazz trances and obsessing about being a serious writer (who has never written anything), and Vince occupying himself with the latest fashion trends of the minute (sometimes literally). But they are united by… proximity, one would guess. Regardless, they are the yin and yang of the Boosh ethos. Although they would not be complete without their trusty friends Naboo the shaman and Bollo the gorilla (Naboo's "familiar").

Characterized by witty dialogue and utterly ridiculous characters and situations, the style plays out like a Saturday morning kids show for adults. It's light-hearted, good-natured fun, that isn't afraid to prominently feature hash brownies, bumming animals and Old Gregg's "mangina". If at first you are perplexed by the show, you probably need to relax – by whatever means you might prefer – and not over think the premise of a pair of opposites having simpleton adventures with cartoonish antagonists.

Season 1

Season one takes place inside The Zooniverse, where Howard and Vince work as zookeepers at the beck and call of Bob Fossil (Rich Fulcher). Although things begin there, they generally end somewhere much different, as their adventures take them to strange and exotic lands (but mostly strange). Points of interest on the Boosh world map include: the arctic tundra, in the club as an electro band, in monkey hell, stranded in the forest with a maniacal hitchhiker, and other delights. At eight episodes, season one is the longest of the series, but generally strong. Some episodes feel more polished and less random than others, but overall this is a promising start for the Boosh. This is also the only season where the pair open up each episode with faux "variety show" style monologues.

Season 1 – Bonus Materials

  • "Inside The Zooniverse" (28:04) – a look at the set for season one, as well as a good introduction to The Mighty Boosh in general. Cast and crew members are interviewed, and although it's difficult to get a straight answer out of most of them, that makes for a behind-the-scenes feature that's less dry than most.
  • "The Mighty Boosh: A History" (9:37) – If the previous feature was low on seriousness, this one is driving on fumes.
  • "Boosh Music" (12:09) – collects some of the isolated song clips from throughout the season. A convenient way to quickly listen to "Electro Boy."
  • "Outtakes" (6:19) – Yes, they mess up their lines just like everyone else.
  • Commentary tracks featuring Fielding, Barratt, and Fulcher on "Bollo", "Tundra", "Electro" and "Hitcher."
  • Photo Gallery

Season 2

Season two finds our odd couple free from their stifling jobs at the zoo (how? no idea) and kicking around in a flat in Dalston. But fortunately, they are no less idle. Their penchant for falling into misadventure is still at the fore of the show, and we are treated to such unforgettable images as Old Gregg on Black Lake, in the forest with Kodiac Jack, and stranded on a desert island with Milky Joe. This season feels slightly mismatched, as it contains some of the absolute strongest episodes ("The Legend Of Old Gregg", "Nanageddon") along with the weakest ("The Priest & The Beast"). Fortunately, it's much more up than it is down, and the Old Gregg and Milky Joe episodes alone would make it worth owning.

Season 2 – Bonus Materials

  • "Boosh Pilot – Tundra" (28:39) – This is, of course, the pilot episode for the show. Although slightly different in gags, it contains the bulk of the story (and large chunks of the dialogue) from the version that ended up in Season One. The biggest departure is the use of a laugh track, which was wisely removed for the actual series.
  • "Boosh Publicity" (19:10) is a behind-the-scenes look at the Boosh fellas as they go on a publicity tour of TV, radio and in-store appearances promoting their second season. It's a refreshingly candid look at promotion, and makes for interesting viewing.
  • "Making Of Series 2" (28:40) – much like "Inside The Zooniverse" from Season One, this takes a look at the setup for this round of shows, as well as everyone involved trying not very hard to articulate what makes the Boosh so Boosh-like.
  • "Outtakes" (5:05)
  • "Deleted Scenes" (14:22)
  • "Sweet" (10:42) is a short film starring Noel and Julian. It's the story of Pete Sweet (Fielding) and his imaginary girlfriend. When the relationship begins to go too far, things get… well, in typical Boosh fashion, a bit weird. The short is amusing and a nice original extra, and even contains a couple of prototype Boosh gags.
  • "Boosh Music" (15:36)
  • Commentary tracks are included on all six episodes, and again feature Fielding, Barratt. and Fulcher.
  • Photo Gallery

Season 3

Much like the second season, season three is still set in Dalston, only this time the downstairs has been transformed into a shop – Nabootique – where Naboo sells potions, Howard sells jazz records and items from "Stationary Village," and Vince sits around reading Cheekbone. Bob Fossil shows up a bit more, as well as another return visit from The Hitcher. This season is probably the strongest of the three, with each episode standing in high heels on its own. Personal favorites include "The Power Of The Crimp" and "The Strange Tale Of The Crack Fox." It remains to be seen whether this third season is the last for The Mighty Boosh, but if so, these six episodes display the pair and their many sidekick friends at their best.

Season 3 – Bonus Materials

  • "Making Boosh 3" (27:34)
  • "Boosh Publicity" (29:22)
  • "Deleted Scenes" (22:35)
  • "Mint Royale Promo" (3:35) is a music video starring Noel for Mint Royale's "Blue Song".
  • "Boosh Music" (9:21)
  • "Outtakes" (5:21)
  • "Boosh 3 Trailer" (0:47)
  • Commentary on "Eels", "Journey To The Centre Of The Punk" and "The Strange Tale Of The Crack Fox" by Fielding, Barratt, and Fulcher.
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About David R Perry