The complete collection of this beloved drama is finally here! Ballykissangel has become a huge international success since first hitting UK television screens in 1995, and continues to win over millions of fans from acros... more »s the world. This collection includes every episode of this ever-popular BBC series, full of Irish charm, quirky characters, strange shenanigans and tales of friendship, rivalry and love.DVD Features:
"This drama set in a small town in Ireland is less significant for its substance than for the days-gone-by nostalgia feel of it. It is a wonderfully simple program; a sort of Andy Griffith Show foundation enlivened by modernity. As the series begins we come to know an attractive pub owner who has vague qualms with the religion into which she was born. In time she begins to respect the new priest in town as he jockeys with his older generational priest-supervisor. Through this prism we can see what we want of Ireland's more recent development. The program encourages us to take sides between the traditionalist (sometimes selfish) church of the past, and a more lively (but less absolute) version of it, as evinced by this young priest from afar who stirs up this town a bit. It's not at all a religious program, mind you; just an overly unrepresentative portrayal of idyllic Ireland in which you cannot fail to include religion. Full disclosure: I like this show, but I also have Irish blood. I say this because this really is a program which appeals to a particular sort of individual; to one who either has Irish blood and/or for those whom Ireland has some draw. Ireland has an inherent appeal to many such people from around the world. Even if you have never visited it, can you not right now visualize vast green fields and rolling hills bordered by stone walls, snugly cozy pubs filled with glasses of Guinness raised, and smiling faces? Of course, I'm exaggerating here, but you must grant that Ireland is a far more attractive place than many others, at least in a theoretical quality-of-life sort of way. It's thought of as the sort of place where stress is not as prevalent as where one finds oneself; having a bygone character to it (notwithstanding this not to be as true in actuality, but like in many other things, imagination often persists over reality). If you are familiar with Garrison Keillor's public radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion" (Saturdays at 6 pm across the USA), Ballykissangel is to Ireland what the fictional town of "Lake Woebegone" is to the American heartland. I recommend both. Both evince what a part of us long for (if you are a nostalgic sort of person, regardless of your age--even a 25 year old can long for previous eras) and even though such may not suit us, it does make us inclined to enjoy programs like "A Prairie Home Companion" and "Ballykissangel".
This show though, like a brain, has two lobes of sorts, with the dividing line between the first 3 seasons (26 episodes) and the 2 seasons following them (24 episodes); with season 6 (an abbreviated season of 8 episodes) pretty much standing alone. (And whether you will enjoy season six comes down to the sort of person you are; whether you relish variety or prefer the TV shows, musical artists, actresses you like to be recognizably the same over their runs, careers. The answer to that will determine whether you easily accept the loss of 3 huge cast members---one of whom passed away in real life necessitating major changes---with 3 other supporting players moving on as well---that series six tries to recover from, and thus is not especially representative of the proceeding years of this still welcoming program to watch, but at one and the same time, just not the same anymore absent the fulcrum (raison d'être even) of the whole program.)
Season four, in this sense, is not just the fourth year of this program, but really is just the first of several attempts to digest huge cast changes. Bit players Liam & Donal who did their job well as hapless hired hands to the focal character of the show (Brian Quigley) have had their roles upped several fold during this year. Thus we see them dredge for gold balls in one of the water hazard's at Quigley's golf course. One of them mysteriously (with no explanation) becomes the guardian of a "pet" bear; a bear, who obviously then wreaks a bit of havoc. New faces are also introduced. The town has a new priest (who brings his sister), a new farmer (with his teenage daughter), and the old farmer's presence is complicated by the arrival of his nephew (also a young adult who predictably catches the eye of the new gal in town). In short, a lot is new herein & it takes a bit to absorb all of it since all 5 newcomers are introduced en masse. 3 of these, incidentally, are flat-out successful in the roles and add much to providing much needed ballast after the 3rd season lost the program's 2 central characters. Father Aidan, as the new understudy to Father Mac, helps to re-center the plot and his sister provides much needed liveliness. Change in series 5 is represented by the arrival of a new police Guard to town, and the character is a winning one---a woman this time, going by the name of Frankie, but she's attractive and capable in the role; but also rather more of a "tough guy" than Guard Egan (though also likable) ever was during the first 4 years. Ambrose Egan's widow, the aforementioned Niamh (who interestingly too, was Father Aidan actor Don Wycherley's real-life sister-in-law, providing an extra dose of natural emotion in this warm-hearted program & who can be seen in the fine Irish drama by the title of "The Hanging Gale" with the fabulous Michael Kitchen starring) is the star of this season. Tony Doyle, who plays her father Brian Quigley remains the character around whom the show really revolves; or his schemes, doings, etc. are responsible for many happenings in this series, as per the norm with previous seasons of BallyK.
After having viewed this series several times I am almost tempted to suggest newcomers to the series to start with season 4 and then "flashback," in effect, to the first 3 seasons so as to end with the most dramatic episodes of the entire series (which are the last 2 of season 3).
P.S. In case you're in the Dublin area one day, do take the time to visit the "set" of Ballykissangel, which isn't one at all actually; but rather is an one-street town (called Avoca) that was occasionally commandeered for filming. It's not that far from Dublin, where you can have a glass of stout in Fitzgerald's Bar ; and/or visit BallyK's church, as you walk into "the program," so to speak, that you have enjoyably watched from afar. (And, if you haven't seen it yet, do treat yourself to seeing Assumpta's Leo in the very Irish and funny film "Waking Ned Devine".) Cheers"
How Television Should be!
Edwin Becker | 11/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a heart warming series. The acting and variety of characters is wonderful. The filming will make you want to visit Ireland. This series will make you laugh, cry and at times sit at the edge of your seat. Deals with real life in a humorous yet tender way with plenty of comedy for relief. Had two of the main actors not passed away and Colin Farrow not left, this might still be running? American TV could learn alot from this production. This is one to watch over and over."
Ballykissangel - a lovely series!
Kat | San Diego, CA USA | 06/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After watching the end to series three I thought that I could not possibly enjoy the next three series (4,5,6) as much! Well I was wrong! This entire program is so much fun to watch. The characters are your friends just like in the US series, Cheers! A little romance, a little intrigue, lots of laughs.
A friend of mine and I have decided that there needs to be one last show when the people who are still alive come back to town and re-connect!"
A Great Series Undone
Donegal Dan | Southwest United States | 06/15/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I looked foreward to this series when it was first advertised as a comedy about an English priest in an Irish village. I could see all kinds of possibilities for this premise and I was not disappointed for 3 seasons while Father Peter was there. However, the decision to end the 3rd season so abruptly was very jarring, since the two principal characters disappeared in a most disturbing manner and the interplay of characters that had been so engrossing up to then took a drastic turn downward. The importation of an Irish priest destroyed the original premise and no strong or compelling storyline evolved thereafter. Less significant characters came and went and none had the strong appeal of the first cast working together on a relatively cohesive plot. Very disappointing letdown for an originally outstanding series."
It sucked me in completely..... how did that happen?
M. Lawson | Nashville, TN | 10/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I NEVER watch drama or "dramedies" on TV, and I stumbled into this one by accident. I was looking for funny BBC shows on Netflix on Demand service. Having been through my favorite BBC series start-to-finish, "Keeping Up Appearances," I was looking for something on par with that. Ballykissanel turned out to be as good but nothing like that other BBC classic. I'd been through the best of them so I put in Season One and Two of this Ballykissangel show. I watched the first show, then the second and before long, I couldn't stop. I was expecting something in the way of a comedy, and I am NOT a soap opera person by any stretch. This series, well, the first three seasons, is so well-written, so well-cast, so well-flimed/directed/produced that I found myself compulsively watching each episode, one after another. I soon had to get the other seasons on the Netflix on Demand service, finally having to get the fifth season DVD sent to me because I had to follow it through to the end. All that said, they could well have ended this series after Season Three and it would have been a masterpiece. The last three episodes in Season Three are so well done, that this big guy had to muster the ability not to well-up lest he be deservedly teased unmercifully by the wife he often teases for crying at movies. The first parts of Season Four are OK, but it frankly digressed from there into a soap opera centered mostly around Niamh Quigley/Eagen/Dillon, and the writing got super soapy, and the production wasn't as good, the filming was looking for video-ish than film-like. The addition of young "Col" Farrell did nothing for me, and I could begin to second guess the plots as the shows went on from there, whereas the first three seasons kept me guessing. Yeah, I know there are fans of the "mid seasons" and even the final one who will hate what I'm saying, but I'm firmly in the "First three seasons were amazing and best" camp. The later additions of the Dooleys as pub owners didn't help in my opinion, the whole weird uncle thing was a big contrived, but still because the first three seasons were so dang good, it almost wasn't fair to try to hold the others up to compare to them. Bottom line though, this series as a whole is smashing. It sucked a manly-man into a dramedy series, a near-soap-opera experience that has never grabbed my undying attention before with any other TV series, and probably never will again. If left me visiting Ireland travel sites, finding out how much it would cost to visit, knowing I'll be sorely disappointed if I am looking for Ballykissangel in Avoca, but still wanting to go and planning now to do so. So go I will at some point. And while I won't find these characters in the locals, just like you won't find Norm at Cheers in Boston, I will get to see the street it was filmed on, visit the lovely countryside where it was situated, and enjoy a lovely vacation. Now, that all said, if you don't think you like this kind of thing, I say watch the first three or four shows in Season One and see if it doesn't suck you in with its writing, location, production, cast and quality. It sure got me. If you're unsure about it, get the disk or Instant Viewing on Netflix. Me, I'm getting the Complete Collection on DVD. Aside from Star Trek and Monty Python, its the only other TV show complete collection I've ever wanted to own."