Ricky Gervais' Extras goes down well with critics

LONDON – Ricky Gervais' eagerly anticipated new comedy vehicle 'Extras' received mixed reviews on its debut last night, dubbed brilliant and darker, but not as good as the multi-award winning 'The Office'.

The first episode featured comedy actor Ben Stiller, playing himself, as the first of a number of Hollywood guest stars.

Reviews of the first show ranged from an underwhelmed Times calling it mildly amusing, to an enthusiastic Metro, which hailed it as "a brilliantly observed, character-based sitcom".

Last night's episode featured Stiller as an over-the-top director of a movie zbout the civil war in Bosnia in the 1990s. During filming, Stiller would pep talk the actors and extras, reminding them of his multi-million dollar box office pulling power.

The Independent said that best moments in 'Extras' were the ones that were least like The Office, and particularly the ones that dealt with the weirdness of the film business.

"Like the scene where Andy's woman friend, Maggie, an extra in a painfully sincere Bosnian civil war flick, tried to flirt with the assistant producer, oblivious to the bullet hole painted on her forehead," the Indie said.

The Metro was one of the most effusive in its praise, calling 'Extras' brilliantly observed and saying it had Seinfield-esque tangents, quoting Gervais lines such as  "Never go out with a man whose wife has been murdered. You can't compete".

"Simple test of any great comedy: you want to rush straight down the pub and quote the best bits. Let's just say in the case of Extras, you'd have to quote the whole show," the Metro said.

The Times said tha while 'Extras' did not disappoint, because disappointment, it said would suggest an expectation of dazzlement.

"Instead the ever watchable Ricky Gervais debuts his new character Andy Millman in an episode that manages to be not much less -- but also not much more – than amusing throughout."

The Financial Times said that comparisons with 'The Office' were inevitable and said that the latest creation was not not in the same league as its predecessor

"Most importantly it lacks the plot and character development that made The Office so perfect," the FT said.

The Daily Mail said that Gervais has come up with an even darker variation on the man labouring under the delusion that he is cut out for better things.

"Whether he has really found a whole new voice, it is too early to tell."

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