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Great British Television
#71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeb View Post

Oh, that would be pointless. I just mean that BBCAmerica or someone should be showing the original over here. I mean, quite apart from Fry himself, America's unlikely to produce a Jo Brand, Bill Bailey, or Sean Locke (though I suspect we could come up with an Alan Davies).

Chin up though, Rich Hall is so frequently the smartest/funniest man in the room.

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#72

The fact that "I, Claudius" is absent from this thread is a black mark against it. Because "I, Claudius" is awesome.

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#73

There's a ton of stuff that's sorely missing shoutouts in this thread. Blackadder, The Day Today, Brass Eye, the original Edge of Darkness, Big Train and The Fast Show are all highly recommended.

Also, I can't help but feel that Red Dwarf was unfairly dismissed in those early posts. Series 1-6 are great with Series 2 and 3 being stone-cold classics. Unfortunately, co-creator Rob Grant left after Series 6 leaving his now ex-partner Doug Naylor to handle the writing alone. The problem was, Grant was clearly the stronger comedy talent while Naylor was more a concept kind of guy, because  with Naylor in charge the show became more about big Hollywood sci-fi concepts than strong comedy writing. Dan put it perfectly when he said it became a sci-fi series that was supposed to be funny. Then Naylor got obsessed with making a Red Dwarf movie, and when that repeatedly floundered started trying to make the show like a movie, just dragging it further from its roots.

New episodes spring up now and again (Series 10 just screened recently) but the fact that they've only been able to produce four series and a couple of mediocre specials in the last 18 years speaks volumes about its lack of focus since Grant left. But fuck, are those first six series good.

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#74
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Parker View Post

Top Gear UK started a new season last Sunday, by the way.

Premieres tonight on BBC America!  Can't fucking wait.

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#75
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Originally Posted by Spook View Post

Premieres tonight on BBC America!  Can't fucking wait.

Pretty cool use of The Avengers theme in the second episode, too.

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#76

Due to a recommendation here, I gave Utopia a go. So far it's been excellent and creepy.

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#77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Parker View Post

Due to a recommendation here, I gave Utopia a go. So far it's been excellent and creepy.

Yeah, the show has a very unsettling vibe to it. The scenes at the school which open the third episode are incredible uncomfortable (especially in light of recent events in the real world). Very excited to see where it goes.

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#78
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Originally Posted by SomethingClever View Post

Let me put in a shout out for Misfits here. I think it's one of the most interesting and ballsy shows on TV right now, and I'm betting a lot of folks here would really love it. It's crude and violent, but under the seeming immaturity on the surface is a whip-smart show that isn't afraid to take chances. I mean, this season featured a zombie-noir episode, and it freaking worked! If a smart, daring genre show about juvenile delinquents who get superpowers doesn't sound like your kind of thing, then frankly I'm not sure why you're here at CHUD.

It's all up on Hulu, so you really have no excuse for not checking it out.

Loved the hell out of the first 2 series, but when they replaced the wildly charismatic lead with a horrible, grating version with all his irritating characteristics but none of the infectious energy to make it palatable, it got really, really bad.

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#79

Glad folks have responded so well to my suggestion of Utopia. glad the makers aren't skimping on the sudden carnage and bloodshed.

Another UK show I've started watching is a comedy called Way To Go, about a couple blokes who start up a clandestine service for folks who want to end their life. While not brilliant, it's very funny and engaging.

Also, the British Being Human has started a new series and it's really good. I almost didn't bother with it, now that the original cast has been replaced, but they've come up with a great new direction and it's engaging and I'll continue to watch.

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#80

Red Dwarf 10.

<br />

Watched them, wasn't terribly impressed. Kept waiting to laugh, didn't.

Showed the  last episode to a friend, telling him the show was disappointingly unfunny. He liked the episode, which was very FX heavy. I explained that the other episodes weren't as good as this one.

As much as I liked the series in the past, I'm hoping this was the death knell for the show. Pleez don't make more, guys.

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#81

I watch Misfits but as what was said earlier, season 3 is pushing it. I'm staying with it now just cause it reminds me of my youth, without the "super" powers and slightly less Nazi's.

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#82

Season 3 is definitely the show's weakest season, though I think it suffers as much from getting bogged down in the Simon/Alisha storyline as it does from the lack of Nathan. There's still a lot of good stuff in that season though.

Season 4 is a definite uptick from season 3 though. It doesn't have Nathan as the central, electric presence, but they've gotten really ambitious with the format of the show. It's a very different show than the first two seasons, but it's really, really good. I wasn't a big fan of Rudy either when he first came on the scene, but he's really developed as a character. In season 4 I genuinely thought he was one of the best characters on TV.

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#83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomethingClever View Post

Season 3 is definitely the show's weakest season, though I think it suffers as much from getting bogged down in the Simon/Alisha storyline as it does from the lack of Nathan.

That too.  I think I bailed before the Xmas special, but I was getting pretty sick of everyone except maybe Kelly by then.  I'm disappointed Robert Sheehan hasn't made the jump to Hollywood yet; if they manage to get The Dark Tower off the ground he'd be my pick for Eddie Dean.

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#84
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehauk View Post

Red Dwarf 10.

<br />

Watched them, wasn't terribly impressed. Kept waiting to laugh, didn't.

Showed the  last episode to a friend, telling him the show was disappointingly unfunny. He liked the episode, which was very FX heavy. I explained that the other episodes weren't as good as this one.

As much as I liked the series in the past, I'm hoping this was the death knell for the show. Pleez don't make more, guys.

I thought it was occasionally funny, funnier than the show's been in quite a while and nowhere near as painful as the Blade Runner/Corrie pastiches of Back to Go Fuck Yourself... sorry, Earth, but it's still imbued with the same feeling of tryhardness as the last few series.

Frankly, Naylor needs to either find a way to persuade Grant to come back, or find a good comic dialogue writer who can inject that character-based humour back into the scenes. Actually, let's just remove him altogether, or at least find a way to take him out of the creative process as much as possible. Naylor himself just isn't that funny, and seems to be getting less so as the years drag on. It's like this show since series 8-9 has purely existed as an ongoing sizzle reel for that fucking movie, which I suspect he's never going to give up on making no matter how pointless it would be.

Though to be fair, at this stage even that may just be tilting at windmills. Not even pushing the 'they're bumming around on the ship just like the old days!' gambit works anymore, because the cast are just too fucking old now. Lister and Rimmer work best as young men, because a big part of both characters is the idea that they have the potential to improve themselves if they find a way to pull their heads out of their arses. It makes them funny, because we can relate to being young and stupid and makes us root for them. Doing exactly the same shit in their fiftes? Doesn't work. It kills that sense of bittersweet optimism that was such a huge part of the early series, and leaves us with a bunch of old men doing the exact same shit as always, only with greyer hair and bigger waistlines (Case in point: Craig Charles, who has progressed from a non-actor, to a shit actor, to a competent but lazy actor).

The thing is, they did try and progress the characters and some of it worked beautifully (e.g. original Rimmer going off the replace the dying Ace, which is legitimately one of the show's best moments). But then they chickened out and came up with a load of nanobot rubbish to bring back the Red Dwarf and basically take things back to square one. It worked for Series 8, but then they kind of kept the characters there and never progressed them further. Again, I suspect that Naylor came upon this strategy of keeping the TV show in a kind of holding patetrn and save the real character progression for the movie, and has never grown out of that attitude.



What can I say, it only pisses me off so much because I love those first few series so dearly. And bringing it back to good current British TV, I think I need to check out this Utopia.

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#85

I don't think The IT Crowd has been mentioned? I think Jen went from being incredibly lamely written through to being my favourite character by the end. I try to replicate her scowly face at least once a day at work.

Also: if you're up for some chilled out gentle/wry humour with a smidge of absurd, I'll second the (much earlier) nomination of Vicar of Dibley. The proposal scene right towards the end of the series cracks me up every single time (maybe because I would react in exactly the same fashion should Richard Armitage propose to me).

ETA: How could I forget to mention The Hour??? Cracking drama set in London in the 50's, based around a weekly current affairs television show (ie a "show within a show"). Season 2 finished screening here in Australia here last night, and I'm still reeling from Peter Capaldi and Anna Chancellor's performances, and Dominic West really started showing his chops again in an otherwise fairly easy role.

Speaking of Capaldi: Don't recall seeing "The Thick of It" mentioned here? Unmatched source of highly re-usable profanity, in my experience!

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#86

I watched the first three episodes of The IT Crowd recently, and it's...okay.  Not sure I understand the cult.  I hate Moss a little bit, mainly due to the affected nasal "geek voice" thing that I don't think I'd ever heard with a British accent, but still grates like a bastard.

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#87

Red Dwarf's Lister Craig Charles this past series had a scarf wrapped tightly under his chin, possibly hiding a 'turkey neck'? It was kinda distracting. At least Krytin could hide his age under makeup, tho he did have a pronounced tummy evident.

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#88

If The Wire is one of the great works of US TV (and it is : )), I would position a show called Our Friends In The North as the UK's answer. Although it came first : )

It's not easy to locate, and if I tell you it covers (over 10 or so episodes) thirty years of political change and upheaval reflected through the experiences of four friends from Newcastle growing up and growing old, it's probably not going to sell anyone. But it's an extraordinary, emotional experience, addressing the unions, Thatcherism, capitalism, and a society in crisis.

One of the four is played by a little-known actor called Daniel Craig. It features a seedy Soho porn baron played by Malcolm McDowell. Christopher Ecclestone, Gina McKee, and every great British character face of the last couple of decades also feature.

By the end, it will make you sob. (It did me)

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#89

Boys From The BlackStuff, G.B.H, anything Alan Bleasdale. You won't be disappointed.

 Edge of Darkness. Forget the Mel Gibson shit. This was real.

 'A Touch Of Frost' is always a winner. 'Lovejoy' if you like a light hearted drama.

 'Prime Suspect' with Helen Mirren. I love the crime dramas. The UK are the best at it. Oh, and 'Cracker' with Robbie Coltrane.

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#90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

I watched the first three episodes of The IT Crowd recently, and it's...okay.  Not sure I understand the cult.  I hate Moss a little bit, mainly due to the affected nasal "geek voice" thing that I don't think I'd ever heard with a British accent, but still grates like a bastard.

 Everyone seems to love this but I hate it and turn over every time it's on. I was shocked Chris Morris was in the first series of this but clearly jumped fucking ship. The girl in this does my head in. She's always 'aware' of the camera and it takes me out of it. The Richard Ayoade 'geek voice' thing is so annoying to me too (he ruins The Mighty Boosh for me), but he seems to be doing very well directing 'Community' and other things recently. As long as he stays behind the camera.

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#91
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehauk View Post

Also, the British Being Human has started a new series

And, FWIW, evidently the final one.

I still have a soft spot for some of the 70's stuff that probably play a bit too comfortably for audiences these days, including two with Peter Bowles: To The Manor Born, and the almost completely forgotten The Bounder. He was also very funny in the first series of The Irish R.M.; the second just never quite worked for me.

Rumpole of the Bailey gets by mostly on Leo McKern's performance, but he never got old for me, and Bowles was a key member of an ace supporting cast, including Patricia Hodge, who is now Miranda's mother on the generally amusing Miranda.

And I don't recall if Alan Patridge has been mentioned yet ("head-slapping?"), but Coogan has evidently begun filming the big-screen Partridge movie.

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#92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

I watched the first three episodes of The IT Crowd recently, and it's...okay.  Not sure I understand the cult.  I hate Moss a little bit, mainly due to the affected nasal "geek voice" thing that I don't think I'd ever heard with a British accent, but still grates like a bastard.


It's on the nose casting, for sure, but it's pretty much just how he talks.

IT crowd seems very much a love hate thing.  The Linehan broad comedy style is a bit of a rarity these days (or those days, I suppose it is now).  I know I sort of wanted some sharply observed office comedy, like The Office, at first.  But it's low brow style grew on me.

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#93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzman View Post


It's on the nose casting, for sure, but it's pretty much just how he talks.

IT crowd seems very much a love hate thing.  The Linehan broad comedy style is a bit of a rarity these days (or those days, I suppose it is now).  I know I sort of wanted some sharply observed office comedy, like The Office, at first.  But it's low brow style grew on me.

I've heard him talk in real life, and it's toned down compared to Moss.  But this does seem to be a particular peeve of mine that doesn't bother most folks.

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#94

The IT Crowd is another show that improves as it goes. I wasn't a fan of the first season but it does get better, particularly once they introduce Matt Berry. And speaking of Matt Berry, I believe Garth Marenghi's Darkplace deserves a shoutout.

I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evi View Post

The IT Crowd is another show that improves as it goes. I wasn't a fan of the first season but it does get better, particularly once they introduce Matt Berry. And speaking of Matt Berry, I believe Garth Marenghi's Darkplace deserves a shoutout.

Darkplace is worth buying a region-free DVD player for.

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#96

It's a real shame that Darkplace didn't catch on in the same way that Spaced did. Still, at least it's gained a cult following. My opinion of someone instantly goes up one level if they've both seen and were amused by that show.

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#97

A newer show that has been picked up by Cinemax in the U.S. that's orth checking out, is Strike Back.  Great action show, with a brilliant cast, smart writing, and loads of sex and violence.  In my opinion, the best 'guy' show airing right now.

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#98

We've actually had a couple of threads on Strike Back, the most recent covering Cinemax's Season Two.

And definitely agree: this show is SO much better than it has any right to be, with production values that most big-screen movies would envy.

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#99
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSaxon View Post

It's a real shame that Darkplace didn't catch on in the same way that Spaced did. Still, at least it's gained a cult following. My opinion of someone instantly goes up one level if they've both seen and were amused by that show.

I think a big part of that is that Spaced had Shaun of the Dead, and probably has broader appeal in any case. It also got a second season.

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Yeah I think Darkplace is that much more niche than Spaced.  The latter is a Gen X houeshare sit com.  It has a particular geeky style and subject matter, but that's a lot broader generally.

Darkplace is almost better for being this late night horror/bad 80s movie and/or TV show pastiche that you discover by accident.  You'd be pushing the joke beyond itself if it didn't end up being slightly obscure.  Half of the gag is a poor English Stephen King knock-off of a writer trying to make a bad English knock off of every US show ever. Then there's another whole lot of jokes that aren't just 'bad production'  but quite specific production errors which only movie nerds and productions types are really going to appreciate.

It's better for being this perfectly formed curio like that.  Sad it's not going to be Boosh famous, but it's kinda inevitable.

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I really enjoy the British comedy game shows.

~8 Out Of 10 Cats ( imagine the disappointment of some when they tune in and it has nothing to do with cats!) has to do with polls and statistics on current events.

~Q.I. ( I learn tons of quite interesting stuff despite myself) is the most intelligent of them, almost like a real entertaining college class.

~Mock The Week (probably the most irreverent of the game shows, but the comics and personalities are wildly funny) discusses events of the previous week.

~Charlie Brooker, writer, producer and curmudgeon has a new series on now, has been running for a couple weeks called Charlie Brooker's Week Wipe, also an overlook/commentary on the past weeks news, but with a sarcastic lean.

Speaking of Brooker, his mini series Black Mirror that ran last year is being followed up in the next month by a new series of 3 Black Mirror stories (think social commentary within a Twilight Zone style story)

It doesn't seem to be a popular genre in US, comedy game shows, and I'm almost afraid to see how we'd scew it up if we tried American versions of these.

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The British comedy game show I'd like to see them try over here would be Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

And, yeah, props for Booker. As I mentioned upthread, I wish he'd do another series of You Have Been Watching: taking his humor out of the single-camera isolation, and sharing it with an audience, and panelists like Frankie Boyle and David Mitchell, makes it even funnier.

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Frankie Boyle is hard to find on UK TV right now. He's been controversial and too 'racist' recently, and appears to burn his bridges behind him. Mock the Week says he'll never be on that show again.

I recently discovered 'Room 101' and enjoy it and the host Frank Skinner. That's the joy of UK TV, the panelists show up on each other's show a lot.

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...unfortunately Boyle has confused 'being a comedian' with 'being a cunt'...thankfully, he has his wife Susan to get him through these difficult times.

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Having just googled for Clinton Baptiste, Top Psychic (as a reason the Pope quit), it dawned on me that Phoenix Nights isn't on this list.


Peter Kaye's fictional northern club.  One fo the funniest series I've ever seen, excellently written, great characters, attention to detail, running gags, and sight gags a plenty.  Honestly, if you haven't seen it check it out.

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