Created by: Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Starring: Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nunez, Phyllis Smith, Paul Lieberstein, Kelly Kapoor, Craig Robinson
The Office US is based on the UK version of the same show and it's about the lives of an office's employees in the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. It's a mockumentary type of show and the characters know that they're being filmed since it's an actual documentary that it's going to be released later on.
I started by watching the UK version since I'm a fan of Ricky Gervais and I got interested in this particular type of comedy, so I kept going and watched the US version as well ... Great decision! This is a great comedy with amazing characters and it's no surprise that it received so many awards, including four Emmys.
The first season isn't great, I know it's still looking for its own identity and it's introducing all the characters, but it doesn't feel like they improved or even reached the UK's level. However, from the second to the fifth season this series really steps up and it becomes one of the best TV comedies of that time. It's super funny, the cast's chemistry improves a lot and the characters are given a great development in their personal relationships. It becomes an extremely enjoyable series because of its simplicity and unusual funny humor, and I admit that I found myself watching almost 10 episodes in a row since it was so good.
On the other hand, the last seasons are a bit disappointing (season 7 has some great episodes, but not enough). Not only the series becomes less funny and the current stories stagnate a bit, but also there aren't that many new stories to follow and the new characters don't add anything fresh to the show. Besides, there are a lot of times where the production "forgets" that this is supposedly a real documentary and shoots in places where a camera crew wouldn't film for sure in real life. I know that this is a technical detail, but it's still true and it's a (minor) flaw.
Even though the last seasons weren't great, there are some members of the cast that are amazing and that I connected so well with. The best actor AND character on this whole show and the one that, for me, carries this whole thing is Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute. He's one of the top salesman in the office and every single scene with him, I'm either on the floor laughing until I cry or I'm emotional and worried about him because this character really has an amazing personality. The actor portrays him perfectly and his constant pranks on and with Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), another salesman, are the funnier scenes of the show, as well as his interactions with Michael Scott, the office's boss, who's played by Steve Carell.
Speaking of Steve Carell, I didn't really like him or his jokes at first. Nevertheless, he got to me at some point and I adapted myself to his unique humor, which can be extremely funny. Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly is the receptionist that wishes to follow the artist's path and she's the emotional source of the series. She's in an engagement with another character, but she also has feelings for Jim, who clearly is in love with her. Therefore, the big story of this show is their relationship and how it evolves. There are a lot of other characters, some could have been better explored and some should have been left in the background instead of having too much screen time, but I had a great time with them all.
As a result, the last episodes of the last season are perfect! They're emotional, heartfelt and I felt that I was about to lose something in my life, something that I was in touch with every single day ... That's how I know when an ending for a TV series is perfectly accomplished: I'll miss its characters because they mattered to me more than I thought of. I can't ask a show more than that.
The Office US is not perfect, it has some minor technical flaws and a great decline in quality in the last seasons, but it has some amazingly funny seasons as well as great characters and a perfect ending to a journey that I'll remember forever.