After achieving international success with "The Office" in 2001, Ricky Gervais
returned to television with "Extras" in 2005. Originally airing in the United Kingdom on BBC Two, "Extras" followed struggling actors Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais
) and Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jensen
, "Ugly Betty") as they tried to forward their acting careers by taking bit parts as background characters in British film and television.
Created by Gervais with his longtime comedy partner Stephen Merchant
(who plays Andy's incompetent agent in the series), "Extras" steered away from the mockumentary style of "The Office." However, Gervais' trademark awkward humor is on full display, as Andy and Maggie routinely offend practically everyone.
Each episode of "Extras" featured a high-profile actor or actress playing a twisted version of themselves, including memorable appearances by Kate Winslet
, Ben Stiller
, Sir Ian McKellen
, and Daniel Radcliffe
. These celebrity cameos allowed Gervais and Merchant, who wrote each of the 13 episodes, to poke fun at celebrity culture and the quest for fame. But it was the show's central friendship between Andy and Maggie that served as the heart of the show.
Winner of the 2007 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy and the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Ricky Gervais
), "Extras" surpassed the critical and commercial success of "The Office." For anyone who has ever had the dream to be a famous star, "Extras" serves as a hilarious and satirical cautionary tale of what not to do when seeking fame and fortune.