Recommend British TV

I’ve turned a number of people on to British shows I’ve found, but as it’s the dead season now for American TV, tell me of shows I might like.

My list includes Top Gear (x100), Blackadder, Yes Minister, Fawlty Towers, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Extras, The IT Crowd, and well, it seemed like more when I started, probably because of all the Top Gear episodes and the various specials the TG lads have hosted.

My impression is that there is just silly and stupid stuff there the way there is here, so I’m looking for something that’s not the equivalent of “Two and Half Men”.

Peep Show
The Young Ones
Peep Show
The Office
The Vicar of Dibley
Jeeves & Wooster
Peep Show
A Bit of Fry & Laurie
Father Ted

Oh, and Peep Show.

Smack the Pony.

Perhaps it would help with recommendations if you told us what American shows you like, or for that matter, which you’ve liked of the British TV shows you’ve seen. (I can’t tell if your list includes shows you’ve already watched or if those comprise your ‘yet to be seen’ list.) Do you just want comedy? Is drama okay? Do you object to old series? That sorta thing.

My own recommendations not already, uh, recommended, would include:

Red Dwarf - if you’re a sci-fi fan, but not one who demands adherence to any continuity (or even any realistic premise), this is a must-see. On the mining ship Red Dwarf, the only survivors after a terrible accident are slobby, lazy, but good-hearted Dave Lister, the only human left alive three million years after the death of his crew (he survives thanks to having been in statis as punishment for bringing a cat on board the ship); the Cat, a vain, selfish, not-very-bright sentient being who evolved from the aforementioned cat; Holly, the ship’s senile A.I./computer; and Arnold Rimmer, the hologram projection of Lister’s old nemesis/bunkmate, whom Holly revived because Holly believed that opposing Rimmer’s personality – a mass of neuroses, cowardice, thwarted ambition, and self-loathing – is probably Lister’s best shot at remaining sane and productive. (Rimmer’s the best thing in the series by a long shot.) Certainly silly but also imaginative, incisive, and quite surprisingly poignant at times.

House of Cards - if you like Yes Minister, here’s another show (really a mini-series) about the machinations at the high levels of UK politics. Ian Richardson plays Francis Urquhart, the Chief Whip who’ll do [del]almost[/del] anything to crawl his way to the top. Makes Sir Humphrey look like a fluffy bunny. Funny, cruel, devastating. There are two sequels as well, so all in all you’ve got about nine hours to enjoy IIRC.

The Good Life, aka Good Neighbors here in the States. I recently mentioned this show in a different thread; it’s a highly underrated show – at least, in the U.S. it is; in the UK it’s a perennial favorite, wise folks that they are – about a couple of suburbanites who decide to leave the rat race and take up self-sufficiency, from making their goat’s cheese (courtesy of their own goat) to making their own gas generator from pig/chicken/goat manure … all while still living in their Surbiton upper middle class neighborhood. Much to the consternation of their next-door neighbors/best friends, who alternate between irritation and support of the Goods’ unorthodox ways and the many effects their lifestyle has on their friendship. Perhaps the best ensemble cast in sitcom history, tied with the trio from Yes Minister and the quad from All in the Family. The humor here is gentler than the other two shows, and tends to be much more observational takes on society/relationships. Lots of witty fun and the performances are just stellar. Also, I think the relationship between Tom and Barbara Good is the most delightful depiction of a married couple on TV.

Without knowing your taste I’ll leave this for now. :slight_smile: Though I’ll add, if you like relationship/sex humor, you might enjoy Coupling, which apart from some awfully stiff performances from pretty much the entire cast bar one (Richard Coyle’s Jeff), grows on you quite a lot.

The list was of my current favorites.

I think for American TV, I’d list 30 Rock, House, Lost, Psych, Scrubs, The Shield, Sopranos, Weeds, The Big Bang Theory.

Jonathan Creek (maybe)
Randall and Hopkirk: the Reeves and Mortimer version.

Well, on BBC America, I regularly tape Graham Norton Show and of late, I actually find Hotel Inspector kind of fun in an odd way…does that woman love her red coat or what?

If you like spy stuff, Spooks was good. It’s called MI5 in North America.

If you have kids, the Merlin show last fall was well received in my house, or the new Robin Hood.

Love the news comedy stuff like Mock the Week and Have I got News for You.

The recent Reggie Perrin show was funny.

I’m told the Inbetweeners is good and State of Play (the show not the movie) which I’ve just downloaded and plan to watch while I cook dinner in a minute is supposed to be good as well.

From the list you’ve posted so far, you’ll love “Spaced”. The new Dr. Who, too, of course.


Lab Rats, if you like **The IT Crowd **you’re pretty much bound to like this.

Spaced it’s better if you don’t binge and watch the whole series in one sitting (which will be a temptation), the running gags work better if they’ve been left to sink in a bit. Lots of incredible nerdy SciFi references (Hawk the Slayer was rubbish!). For me personally some of the funniest stuff on TV ever.

Peep Show I found myself laughing at the next day rather than while watching it, so much of it is cringeworthy (no I don’t like the Office).

The Mitchell and Web Look Sketch show with the main guys from Peep Show.

The Armstrong and Miller Show Worth a look for the yoof-speak RAF chaps alone (a quick google turns up youtube clips of these, give 'em a look).

It’s just about possible you’d like Dad’s Army, it’s a bit over familiar for me since they’ve been repeating the shows for the last thirty years, but it might work for an Anglophile newbee.

Maybe back with more later.

Oh yeah, seen the Fast Show?

Have I got News For You. Particularly that scene with Angus Deayton.

Are You Being Served? Staff in a department store. Plenty of double entendres. John Inman steals the show, but is given fierce competition from the others.

Ross Kemp in Afghanistan.

What scene?

I’d recommend shows like Shameless (I prefer the first two, but lots of people stuck with it throughout the later seasons. Skins. Doctor Who. Queer as Folk. The League of Gentlemen. Black Books. Father Ted. Spaced. Jonathan Creek. The Mighty Boosh. And a reality show recommendation: The Apprentice UK.

Eastenders. Been watching for 20 years, and Phil is still getting all the bleached blonds like some kind of pig-faced woman magnet. We are 5 or 6 years behind the current show and I’m aware that many if not most of the characters are going to die or just move away, but it’s taking so long!

Spaced is the finest sitcom in the last decade. Black Books is close. Green Wing was an amazing amazing show that somehow seems to have slipped under everyone’s radar, possibly because it’s an hour-long sitcom set in a hospital. Stop right there - I know Scrubs just popped into your head. Get it out. Forget about it. It’s not Scrubs, and it’s nothing like it. It’s brilliant. Go get it now.

How about Nathan Barley?

There are only around six episodes but its a biting and brilliantly hilarious send-up of internet/media/blog/etc culture. Pure Genius.

Only Fools and Horses

One more that hasn’t been mentioned: Ripping Yarns. Just 9 episodes, each a gem, parodying a different genre of story.

Actually, I found Not Going Out to be pretty funny. It would just be reruns now, however.


It’s not British but The Red Green Show on PBS might as well be.

I’ll second Black Books and toss in Keeping Up Appearances, although it’s not like anything on your favorites list. It’s worth watching just for the one episode where Richard’s finally had enough and tells Hyacinth to shut up.