While the original British version of "The Office" was only around for 14 episodes, the American remake has yielded over ten times as many installments. The Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin has undergone big changes since the show first debuted in 2005. The most notable change during season seven was the departure of Steve Carell. Yes, Michael Scott, whose awkward attempts at humor were a driving force on the show was no longer going to be a part of "The Office."
Scott and his fiancée Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), who shared his dorky sense of humor, moved to Colorado as the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin searched high and low for a replacement. The star-studded interview process included candidates played by Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, and Ricky Gervais as David Brent from the original British version. In the end, the man who got the job was eccentric millionaire Robert California (James Spader). California shakes things up on his very first day by taking over not just the Scranton office, but all of Dunder-Mifflin by becoming the CEO of its parent company, Sabre. Further turmoil ensues when Robert California hires Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate), who was once a candidate to fill Michael Scott's shoes.
Universal has released "The Office: Season 8" in a 5-disc set. The episodes included are:
- "The List" – The Scranton crew scramble to discover the meaning of two lists Robert California made with their names on it.
- "The Incentive" – Andy promises some outlandish incentives (including a tattoo on his buttocks) should the sales team increase their numbers.
- "Lotto" – The entire warehouse staff quits after winning lotto, which forces Jim, Dwight, Erin, and Kevin to load the truck themselves.
- "Garden Party" – Andy throws a fancy garden party at Dwight's beet farm to impress his parents. Stephen Collins and Dee Wallace guest-star as Mr. & Mrs. Bernard with Josh Groban as his younger brother.
- "Spooked" – Erin is disappointed when everyone thinks her Halloween party is too kid childish. Jim is dismayed to learn Pam believes in ghosts.
- "Doomsday" – Dwight installs a doomsday device that will email Robert California should the office staff make five mistakes within the day.
- "Pam's Replacement" – As Pam prepares for maternity leave, she trains a temporary replacement and wonders if Jim finds her attractive.
- "Gettysburg" – Andy hopes to boost morale by taking the gang on a trip to Gettysburg while Oscar and Dwight get into an argument about Civil War history.
- "Mrs. California" – The folks at Dunder-Mifflin are put into an awkward position when Robert California's wife (Maury Tierny) gets a job in accounting.
- "Christmas Wishes" – Andy wants to make everyone's wishes come true as Dwight and Jim get into an escalating war of pranks.
- "Trivia" – Andy tries to make up their sales number by winning the prize money for a trivia contest in Philadelphia.
- "Pool Party" – Andy is unsure of his feelings for Erin during an office pool party at Robert California's mansion.
- "Jury Duty" – Jim returns to work after taking a week off for jury duty, but something about his story rings false to Dwight.
- "Special Project" – Andy and Dwight decide which staff members should accompany the latter for the opening of a new retail store in Tallahassee.
- "Tallahassee" – Dwight and Jim meet up with Nellie Bertram, who hopes to open a retail store that will rival Apple's own chain.
- "After Hours" – Dwight and Todd Packer attempt to seduce Nellie in an effort to become for VP while Jim fends off the advances of Pam's replacement, Cathy.
- "Test the Store" – The grand opening of the new Sabre retail store goes very wrong.
- "Last Day in Florida" – Robert California isn't pleased with the new store while Toby and Darryl try to see who can sell more Girl Scout cookies for their daughters.
- "Get the Girl" – Andy heads to Florida in order to win Erin back. In his absence, Nellie takes over as regional manager.
- "Welcome Party" – The Dunder-Mifflin crew see a welcome party for Nellie as a chance to vent their hatred for her.
- "Angry Andy" – Andy returns to Scranton and finds he has been usurped by Nellie while Pam and Jim set Mindy up with their pediatrician
- "Fundraiser" – Andy crashes a fundraiser for animal rights in order to confront Robert California.
- "Turf War" – Jim and Dwight compete to land a large client for the Scranton branch, but Andy slips in to try and win his job back.
- "Free Family Portrait Studio" – Dwight offers free portraits to his co-workers in an effort to check the DNA of Angela's son while Andy schemes to oust Robert California.
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer wouldn't be considered reference quality, but it is a superb presentation for a sitcom. Picture quality is clean and slick.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Sound is strong with dialogue coming in crisp and clear.
Disc 4 features a Producer's Extended Cut of "Angry Andy." Disc 5 features Webisodes: The Girl Next Door (6:41), which are two short films focusing on the hip hop group, Subtle Sexuality, founded by Kelly, Erin, Andy, and Ryan. The Office Promos: XLVI Football Championship (3:49) is a collection of promos made for the Super Bowl. You'll also get a blooper reel and an extended cut of "Fundraiser." Finally, there are over 100 minutes of deleted scenes spread throughout the set.
The discs in this set are flippers with the Blu-ray on one side and DVD on the other.
"The Office" might still be chugging along, but the writing and humor have lost their luster. It doesn't bode well when the season opens with a cold opening about planking. They might as well reference the Macarena or leg warmers. The producers try too hard to make Andy and Nellie awkward and incompetent in the vein of Michael Scott while James Spader's addition amounted to very little.