Look Around You (TV Series 2002–2005) Poster


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Look Around You Series Two - Pure Genius From A New Generation Of Brit Comedians
cj-mckay3 June 2005
I was very impressed with the original series of 'Look Around You.' It was an excellent parody of the old 1970s school science programs. These short 10-minute episodes packed in enough comedy for a half-hour or more! Series two is rather different, though. A more sophisticated concept and even more hilarious...

As a child, I watched the BBC's Tomorrow's World avidly every Thursday night. This was also the night for sweeties, fizzy pop... and Top Of The Pops.. I recall those late 1970's childhood days with a gentle nostalgia.. And that phrase is the key to the humour within both series of Look Around You. Gentle nostalgia - but brilliantly executed.

I was disappointed to read so many poor reviews of this series. I feel that many viewers just totally missed the point. With Look Around You the humour is in the detail. The incredible, spurious scientific and medical references, the little glimpses into the characters of the presenters, the clunky computers with strange names. We meet characters like the BBC's bespectacled "Computer Jones" who seems to chime with a memory of a chap who actually used to present a BBC computer show in the 80's. A lot of the things you see in Look Around You are very subtle pastiches of half-remembered inventions and characters from the past. This is a series which would be best understood by viewers like myself who remember what T.V. was like in the old days!

This rendition of a 1980 popular science program is perfect in every respect. Each episode is themed: Sport, Computers, Music etc. Within each theme the ideas explored are both surreal and hilarious. Totally impractical devices are presented as if they were incredible advances for science. In the shows' grand finalé and an amazing feat of technical wizardry, "His Royal Highness Sir Prince Charles" presents an award to the winner of the Look Around You invention competition looking exactly as he did in 1980! You have to see it to believe it.

The erudite humour of Peter Serafinowicz shines through the peculiar and stilted 1980-style presentation. This man has a gift for the twisted phrase; the ability to bend reality just enough to make it very, very funny indeed.

If you like the new flavour of modern British comedy then you will love both series of Look Around You. In my humble opinion some of the best-ever Brit comedy is now being produced and Look Around You is a fine example. Many are the souls who cry for the "good old days" of Monty Python and Dad's Army but, if you know where to look, there are fresh and brilliant comedy shows on British T.V. You just have to open your mind to something new. Rob Popper and Peter Serafinowicz (the writers) have earned the right to be regarded as heirs apparent to the great comic legacy we have in Britain.
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Superb, surreal observation of fondly remembered UK schools' television
groovycathers21 January 2004
For those of you that haven't ever seen any British schools' TV, especially that of the golden 1970's-1980's period, Look Around You is a send-up of some educational programmes that were, and still are, shown to school children in the UK in order to augment their classroom experience. In the 1970s-80s, having the treat of a TV show to break up the day was a looked-forward to experience for most, as it meant you didn't have to actually do any work whilst the programme was on, not to mention it was about the maximum interactivity availbale at that time (no PCs in the classroom until about 1983!) others seem to think it's an OU send-up actually it's probabaly closer to a 1970's/early 80's school's programme called "Experiment", dangerously close in fact. I think the guy who narrates the series may even be the same one that narrated the proper educational programme.

Look Around You is superb, keenly observed from its source material and surreal in execution. Well worth a watch, especially in the 25-40 age group who witnessed it all for real, but others may well enjoy the silliness of it all as well.
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A masterpiece in comedy
mr_squirrel_man15 February 2010
Look Around You is quite possibly my favourite comedy show ever. (Particularly series 2, which this review relates more to.)

A lot of people might not see why it's so funny, and I can understand that reaction. After all, it's pretty slow-paced and has hardly any "jokes".

All I can tell you is that when I watch an episode, I sit there laughing hysterically almost uninterrupted for 30 minutes. (And I'm not someone who laughs out loud much while watching TV.)

So what's so good about Look Around You? For me, there are five main reasons:

1. ACCURACY. First, it's funny because it's an uncannily accurate pastiche of early 80s educational programmes. The attention to detail is staggering, and it's those little details that are funny. Things like over-use of camera zooming; the announcer noisily opening his mouth before speaking; the somewhat more formal manner of TV presenters of the time. It's all so subtly done, and all these subtle little details are where the humour lies. If you don't fondly remember 70s/80s television, this will be lost on you completely.

2. SURREALISM. Hidden below the surface of this apparently serious TV programme are all kinds of completely off-the-wall, surreal elements (such as people flying, or people french-kissing in the most inappropriate of contexts). But these surreal elements are usually either very brief or not immediately obvious, giving them more comedy impact when they do surface. For me, Look Around You is bit like one of those "What's wrong with this picture?" drawings: at first all seems to be normal, but when you notice something is "wrong", it's extremely rewarding and funny.

3. IMPRACTICAL INVENTIONS. A large part of the fun of the programme is that almost all the inventions are impractical, idiotic, dangerous, or often downright sinister and creepy; yet they are all presented in the most cheerfully optimistic manner. As with the surreal elements, a lot of the fun comes from "spotting" that something is very wrong with the invention, despite the presenter assuring you that all is well.

4. NOSTALGIA. Humour aside, I just can't help but adore this programme for the nostalgic quality. It's a heart-warming trip back in time to my childhood, only with the tongue-in-cheek sensibility of a contemporary comedy show.

5. TALENT. On top of it all, I have such admiration and respect for creators Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper. These men are creative geniuses. Writing and producing the show, they also created all the music themselves, and every piece of music is utterly outstanding in every way, from the title theme, to the unforgettable entrants for "Music 2000" competition (which I can't stop singing/rapping). There seems to be no end to the talents of these two men. They also both make extremely charismatic and likable TV presenters. Watching the show, it is quite clear how much care, attention and scrutiny these men have put into every detail.

Overall, this is just a perfect comedy series for me. The Prince Charles finale (with the two "Hanks" at the end) is an amazing conclusion. I only wish there were more episodes.
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Quite simply "brilliant".
sambaron25 December 2003
With the United States churning out more garbage per minute than ever before by way of TV and cinema, this debut from Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz is a refreshing change.

Some might call it the greatest show of the last few years. Others might say the greatest show of the decade. I would say this is the funniest show ever to air on BBC2. Ever.

Eight ten-minute episodes in the style of the Open University programs we all know and love serve as nostalgic reminders of 'the way things were', sticking to the dean-pan formula to provide constant entertainment and never-ceasing hilarity.

Popper and Serafinowicz, who will no doubt continue to flourish, provide excellent comic timing, with this perfect parody.

With a second series in the works, things can only get better!

10/10, *****/*****, fabuloso!

------------------------------------------------------ Review by Sam Baron.
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Brilliant! Please...BBC America - play more of this great show!
jackbox1971-117 January 2005
I happened upon this inspired bit of British comedy after watching Goodness Gracious Me (hit and miss). I was curious why there would be a ten minute show on TV. At first, I actually thought it was a children's instructional science program. Indeed, it is easy to to be fooled. The tone, pacing, narration, are all uncannily like those insipid PBS programs I'd watch when home sick from school or when the teacher wanted a hour off during class.

So now I know all about iron... I now count my iron flakes every day and make lists of clusters in my iron log book. Thank you.

Of course, the programmers at BBC America are a capricious lot. Their scheduling has all the consistency of runny tapioca pudding. One week it's on, another week, not to be found. If I would watch this silly, insane show, even it it meant I had to watch the last five minutes of crap like My Family or Coupling. OR, at least release a DVD coded for the US audiences! I'd buy it!
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You might learn something.
Lazersetcetera17 May 2004
Children go to school. Sometimes teachers are lazy and they use educational TV shows.

This is a series of educational TV shows. Luckily they're very short shows so you don't have to concentrate too hard!

If you think the DVD is too short maybe you can watch the testcard to recreate those days off sick.

I was going to write this review in the style of kids/Open University TV... but I can't, it is late. And I'm not the writer of this fabulous series.

Please please see it if you possibly can. 10/10 do not miss.
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Better than boiling an egg for three minutes at 1000 degrees C
Andrew Jones3 April 2005
Although Series 2 was a large let down, series one contains all you need, whether it is the largest number so far, intelligent calcium's death, the Jean Grey making whisky, igloo building ants, brain flakes and the fact that Imhotep is invisible you can't go wrong with stupid science. To watch this series is to listen to the nineteen forbidden notes with the sound up, only your ears will bleed with stupidity and comedy. If you thought you knew all about water you were wrong, I mean what is water? We ask the same about birds, what are birds? The only thing that we can learn easily is that if you are to do an experiment with iron, in which a pound of it weighs about tonne, than you need to use AC/DC as it is heavy metal.
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Theo Robertson8 February 2005
I didn't realise this comedy series spoofing the golden era of TOMORROW'S WORLD was first broadcast in 2002 and looking at this site's info on the show it originally started off as a series of nine minute sketches . This was probably the right format for the show because watching the 2004 series with episodes that last for 30 minutes I instantly became aware that the novelty out stays its welcome as a large chunk of an episode's running time is taken up with say an operation on a presenter by medibot ( Don't ask ) which drags pace wise and stretches a one trick pony into an unnatural length

A lot of people have spoken on the flaws of DIRECTOR'S COMMENTARY especially the point that the show may have been a good idea as a five minute feature in a sketch show . These flaws are identical to the ones seen in LOOK AROUND YOU which bizarrely started off in a format that suited it best . I have to repeat that 30 minutes an episode is too much time for this comedy series to be successful
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More trash from the BBC...
packoftwenty14 May 2011
Yet more rubbish from the self indulgent, self congratulating, back slapping Marxists at the BBC... I can't believe so much work went into this programme, when it isn't remotely funny, nor worth watching. What is the point? It clearly isn't funny (except to pretentious fools who maybe should read the Emperor's New Clothes), so why go to all this effort to produce something that simply isn't worth watching? The sort of rubbish they can get away with on television nowadays tells me that the 'younger generation' are almost beyond hope, if they actually find this worth watching. No doubt this was commissioned by the same marxists who allowed the awful 'The Trip' to be made and broadcast. Still, we are forced to pay their wages on pain of imprisonment, because apparently the BBC is just so wonderful that they shouldn't have to compete in the marketplace...
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