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Six Feet Under

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

I’m particularly fanatical about Six Feet Under, and I honestly think it’s one of the best things on TV today. Perhaps that’s because I don’t watch enough or the right programmes, but having just watched Season Three of Six Feet Under on DVD for the first time, I think I’m actually in love with the show.

Six Feet Under, for the uninitiated, is a drama series laced with black humour set in a funeral home. I personally think that statement makes the show sound really bad, but I’ve yet to come up with a better description. It follows the lives of the Fisher family and their friends and employees, with each episode focused to some degree on a particular person’s death and their progress through the funeral home, from their death to their burial (and often beyond).

The first two seasons were undoubtedly excellent, though they could easily have played together to create a single double-length season. The third season, however, changes the show and takes it in an even darker direction than the first two excellent series, and the final episode of the third season is possibly the most perfect season ending of any drama series I’ve seen. This is one of those very, very rare series that actually seems to be getting better with age, and I can’t wait to see the fourth season.

However, because the third season is so different to the others, many people (looking at the Amazon reviews) don’t like it, and say it’s far worse than the first two. I think it’s even better. A good summary of the third season, for the initiated, is given by one Amazon reviewer:

After Season One and Two, season three takes a decidedly different turn. While Season One was about discovering identity, season two was about friends, family and lovers. Season 3 is about relationships, and change.

This isn’t the same show as the first two seasons. Superfially character roles have changed largely and the people you see are mostly new. There’s no Parker here, Brenda doesn’t appear until the 5th episode, Nikolai’s non-existent, as is assistant Robbie.

On a deeper level the show is darker, more subdued, more brooding. It is a tribute to the show’s actors that if they didn’t have the gravitas that they do the show would seem slow, but in actual fact it seems breathtaking up until the eventual climax of the last four actors which is just breathtaking television in every meaning of the phrase.

Six Feet Under, fantastic television.

The particular beauty of owning Six Feet Under on DVD is that you can watch the series more than once, which is fantastic, as you can see different levels of development each time, and get closer to the writers’ intended hidden meaning. Another series I’m hooked on is 24 – this, though, is pretty much 24’s antithesis. Six Feet Under is wonderfully slow-moving, full of the depth with 24 seriously lacks, and is very thoughtful and considered.

The best thing I can really compare Six Feet Under to is The West Wing. Whereas The West Wing is an aspirational drama, Six Feet Under is dark. They’re both just as intelligent – or, perhaps, Six Feet Under is the more intelligent because of it’s focus on the human condition rather than American politics – and they’re both polished and extremely watchable.

I highly recommend Six Feet Under, and particularly the third season. If you’ve not seen it before though, you’ll want to get hold of the first and second second seasons first. It’s definitely worth it.

This post was filed under: Reviews.

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