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I have to put my hands up and confess that I watch a hell of a lot of TV. Even though I almost always have something more productive I could be doing, such as language learning, job-hunting or even just going outside, I do find myself in front of my computer watching something online for several hours per day. I haven't felt too bad about it recently, however, as my boyfriend's been staying over for the past week and we've been watching a lot of stuff together, which is better than sitting watching it on my own. Since our mutual love of Six Feet Under is one of the things that brought us together before we became a couple, we decided that it would be a perfect programme to watch together. I have seen each series a few times as I own them on DVD, but as he only watched them on TV a while ago, he has only seen them once. Considering that he also hasn't seen any of the final series at all, we decided to watch the fourth series together to remind him of the programme before going on to watching the final one. I had already seen it three or so times previously but found myself adoring it this time around just as much as I had before.
== Six Feet Under ==
No matter how great some television programmes are, Six Feet Under will always be my favourite. Sometimes I watch things like The Sopranos or Frasier and think wow, this is brilliant, but whenever I go back to Six Feet Under I know that it is my favourite show and will probably continue to be so for the rest of my life. With its perfect blend of drama, comedy and sadness, it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen and am blown away by it every time I watch it.
Six Feet Under follows the Fisher family, who own a funeral home in California. The very first episode sees the death of the patriarch, Nathanial Fisher Sr, when he is hit by a bus. The prodigal son of the family, Nate, returns to his family home from Seattle to help his family cope with their grief and with the family business in the wake of his family's death. His brother, David, takes the reins of the funeral home somewhat, while keeping his homosexuality and boyfriend, Keith, a secret from the rest of the family. Claire is the third child, but is much younger than her brothers David and Nate, and is still in high school. She is somewhat the odd girl at her school, in part because she drives a green hearse, but is also arty and interesting, and strikingly beautiful. Their mother, Ruth, finds it hard to cope with the death of her husband and is struck by grief and guilt in equal measure. The other main cast members are Rico, who works for Fisher & Sons, Brenda, Nate's unusual new girlfriend, and her brother, the mentally ill Billy.
== Series Four - some spoilers ==
In many ways, a lot has changed by this series since the first series and in others, it is just the same. Nate has a daughter and is dealing with the disappearance of his wife, Ruth has moved on from Nathanial and is remarrying and Claire is still living at home but is now studying at art school. Their father/husband's death is several years behind them, but life for the Fisher family is hardly happy. Claire's recent split from her boyfriend was hurtful, and the probable death of Nate's wife Lisa is affecting all members of the family. Over the thirteen episodes of the series, all characters make some important or dubious decisions and have a lot to deal with in their lives that are far from usual.
== What I Thought ==
I absolutely adore Six Feet Under and felt that it got better with each passing series. The writing is beautiful and the characters are developed and explored in more interesting ways throughout the series. While grief is a common theme of the programme, as it is set in a funeral home, its effects are seen more visibly here as the characters mourn lost loved ones as well as past relationships and friendships. There's also a lot of subtle comedy to be found here. Keith's complaint that he feels like he's been eating cake for twelve months in the first episode was a particularly clever joke for the audience, as he did in fact start eating it at the end of the third series' last episode, broadcast a year previously.
For what is a dark drama with comedy elements, there's also a lot of sex in this series. While little of it is massively graphic (we never see actual private parts as far as I recall), there is a lot of sex on screen. While this may bother some people, it works so well with the series, and for me is one of the reasons why Six Feet Under is as real and believable as it is. Sex is real and happens and is as much a part of life as other things we see on screen.
As well as having extraordinary writing, Six Feet Under is also beautiful in the way that it looks and sounds. The Fisher & Diaz funeral home is found in a beautiful house, which is shot beautifully, and there are many wonderful wide shots of California or other indoor areas. The direction and camera work is perfect and every shot is clean and deliberate. The inclusion of Claire's artwork, which is genuinely good, also adds to the visual beauty of the series. The music is also an important element in the show, with songs both classic and modern being employed to fit the mood of the scene, as well as some original score. The scene in which Claire and her friends are high in her room and singing along to Death Cab for Cutie's song 'Transatlanticism' is also particularly iconic.
A review of Six Feet Under wouldn't be complete without a word regarding the opening credits: magnificent.
== Conclusion ==
This is a fantastic series, which helps to cement Six Feet Under's number one place in my favourite series list. It's beautifully written, acted and directed, and finds a beautiful balance between sad drama and comedy moments. After watching it again I now cannot wait to go on to the fifth and final series, which, if such a thing is possible, is even better. If you've seen and enjoyed the first three series then I heartily recommend that you watch this one as well, as it is even better than those were. At £17.67 (Amazon) for 12 episodes it's more expensive than you'd expect to pay for a series that is eight years old, but it is well worth it in my opinion. The five series box set is better value at £51.18 and is perfect if you don't already own any of the DVDs. I recommend this series more than I can adequately express in words. It is a work of art. We should all work with dogs.