The Black Adder
is where it all began, and Captain Edmund Blackadder is where it ended. Spanning four series, this show looks at the lives of four different people of the same lineage, sharing the same name. Loaded with historical inaccuracies and not highly believable, it's nevertheless distinctive and appealing in its writing. Especially beginning with Blackadder-II
, when Ben Elton
signed on to help write the series, Blackadder has been characteristically bad-tempered and self-centred, yet, highly intelligent and witty. The other constant throughout the series is his sidekick Baldrick, whose character also changes with Elton's arrival and becomes increasingly stupid, especially when juxtapositioned with the sharp Blackadder.
Since the series is in four different eras, with different characters, they come across as completely different television shows, and indeed have their own names:
- The Black Adder: The most steeped in history and also one of the most inaccurate, this series supposes that Richard III's nephew, Richard, Duke of York, went on to become Richard IV, King of England. Richard IV had two sons, Henry and Edmund: the latter would go one to rename himself, 'The Black Adder'. Here, Edmund is trying to grasp as much power as he can, and hopefully one day be king! This may happen with the help of his 'friend' Percy, Duke of Northumberland, and his squire, Baldrick.
- Blackadder II: Similarly to the previous series, Blackadder is surrounded by the same two men, only all are of a different generation. This time, we find Blackadder as a Lord in Elizabethan England, and more to the point within Queen Elizabeth I's court. Although she highly favours Edmund, she is still extremely capricious, making every gesture Blackadder makes a potentially perilous one. Edmund's nemesis for the series is Lord Melchett, a friend, confident, jester, adviser, or any other function the Queen demands of him. Blackadder and Melchett struggle for the upper-hand of the Queen's favour.
- Blackadder The Third: Blackadder's position and status has taken a severe hit as we see this descendant as a butler to the Prince Regent, George, the Prince of Wales, son of King George III. Different from the last series, Blackadder lacks his 'friend' Percy, yet still retains Baldrick as his dogsbody. Another vast difference is the lack of peril and threat that the Queen provided, instead, Blackadder is in a position to take advantage of the Princes idiocy. Likewise, the watchful eye of a constant nemesis, as seen in both the second and fourth series, is also absent, and instead relies solely on the presence of one off characters to create the needed tension.
- Blackadder Goes Forth: The final chapter in the saga (specials excluded). In this series, the Blackadder character is a throwback to the second series. Surrounded by moronic 'friends', this time Lieutenant George St. Barleigh and Private S. Baldrick, as well as another fickle leader, General Melchett, and finally a nemesis, Captain Darling, returns to keep a watchful eye on all his shenanigans. The backdrop this time is The Great War (WWI): a war highlighted by its monstrousness, both in loss of life and purpose.
Blackadder Theme Song 1
Blackadder Theme Song 2
Blackadder Theme Song 3
Blackadder Theme Song 4