Extras isn't as good. How could it be?
The reliance on celebs is going to date it. Last night's episode for instance: will audiences in 50 years time understand quite how funny it is to have Orlando Bloom and Keith Chegwin behave the way they do? Only if they're supplied with footnotes.
It doesn't have the emotional depth of the Office. No Dawn and Tim. OK, it was very funny to have Keith Chegwin be a bovine racist.; I laughed out loud. But it's not a deep joke. And maybe we're getting used to Gervais' comedy of embarrassment. Famous faces saying inappropriate things: it's shocking, but the shock is wearing off.
(And did you notice last season how Gervais rolled over for Samuel L. Jackson. He was the only one of the celebs that wasn't guyed. Too big and too black, I guess; gotta show him respect. Isn't that also a kind of racism?)
But Ashley Jensen is terrific
And that boy-girl friendship vibe she and Gervais have going: it's touching. it's original.
Gervais is up there with the best. He could have gone on doing the Office for season after season. If he'd been working for an American network he would have been contractually obliged to. Instead he let it stand in rounded-off completion. And had a go at something as different as his range will permit. The word for that kind of artistic courage is "Chaplinesque".
P.S. Cheggers is a better actor than Orlando. Ha!