Barchester Chronicles?
July 21, 2009 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Any recommendations for smart TV comedy which'll suit my taste?

I feel like I've run out of great TV comedy, and am resorting to rewatching old series. Do you have any new (or old) suggestions? Netflix is failing me.

Here's my list of shows I've absolutely loved:
The Thick of It
Arrested Development
Peep Show
Fawlty Towers
Mr. Show
Dr. Katz
Freaks & Geeks
Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The Office, UK
Extras (minus special)

Stuff I've liked, not loved:
Northern Exposure
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Office, US

I feel like there're probably some other British gems I've missed, and definitely some older shows I should track down. I'll try anything though - any ideas to suit my taste?

posted by pilibeen to Media & Arts (69 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
30 rock
posted by anthropomorphic at 10:53 AM on July 21, 2009 [7 favorites]

Summer Heights High
posted by oinopaponton at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2009

How I met your Mother
posted by chaoscutie at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2009

posted by ohyouknow at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2009 [8 favorites]

Second 30 Rock (Some on Hulu, and Netflix.) And Home Movies (Adult Swim) is the same crew as Dr. Katz, so you might like that. And maaaaaybe Red Dwarf (Available on Netflix).
posted by D.Billy at 10:56 AM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: Party Down
posted by mullacc at 10:56 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by hellogoodbye at 10:57 AM on July 21, 2009

Glee (only 1 episode out, but it starts back up in the Fall).
posted by jabberjaw at 10:57 AM on July 21, 2009

Wow, we have remarkably similar tastes.

I am seconding 30 rock and How I met Your Mother

I would add: Strangers with Candy, and, as for British comedies: Green Wing, It Crowd, and Black Books.
posted by nuclear_soup at 10:57 AM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: Also maybe Eastbound & Down. I wouldn't have mentioned it until I noticed you listed It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Similarly crude.
posted by mullacc at 10:58 AM on July 21, 2009

2nding Black Books.
posted by spec80 at 10:59 AM on July 21, 2009

Seconding Weeds.
posted by foodgeek at 11:03 AM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: Home Movies (in the Dr. Katz/Squigglevision-verse).
posted by thejoshu at 11:04 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Extras with Ricky Gervais
posted by heather-b at 11:05 AM on July 21, 2009

Slings and Arrows
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:06 AM on July 21, 2009

Nthing Weeds.

Also, since you list Freaks and Geeks in your list of shows you "absolutely loved", chances are you'll like Judd Apatow's follow-up series, Undeclared, which is somewhat similar in concept (more of a straight comedy though), focusing on college freshmen.
posted by The Gooch at 11:07 AM on July 21, 2009

For classic "Brit-coms", how about Are You Being Served? and Keeping Up Appearances?
posted by Hanuman1960 at 11:09 AM on July 21, 2009

nthing Weeds, Undeclared, 30 rock and adding Better off Ted
posted by theDrizzle at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2009

The State just came out on DVD...might wanna check it out. There's a noticeable absence of sketch comedy on your list aside from Mr. Show...makes me wonder if you just don't care for it, or you haven't tried it? The absurdity and social awkwardness in a lot of the shows you mentioned is a trademark of Kids in the Hall...Upright Citizens Brigade, Monty Python, Reno 911, Soap, Viva Variety, Strangers with Candy, 30 Rock, Daria, the Ben Stiller Show, early Adult Swim stuff (Space Ghost, Brak Show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Home Movies) also might work.

The best moments imo of Flight of the Conchords all involve Manny, and the dynamic that's funny about them is very reminiscent of Extras. Might wanna give it a shot.

Oh, I thought of another that people often don't remember--you might like Get a Life.
posted by ifjuly at 11:14 AM on July 21, 2009

nthing weeds, undeclared, better of ted, are you being served and keeping up appearances
posted by anthropomorphic at 11:14 AM on July 21, 2009

Nthing: IT Crowd, Black Books, 30 Rock

If you just liked Northern Exposure, you might just like Doc Martin (the first series of which is streaming on Netflix).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:15 AM on July 21, 2009

Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
posted by Lucinda at 11:15 AM on July 21, 2009

Nthing `Black Books'. Just recently got into this series, watched the whole thing in a couple of weeks.

If you liked Spaced, you'll love it. The two shows are like siblings, and you'll recognize certain faces!
posted by smitt at 11:15 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Trailer Park Boys! It's a Canadian mockumentary on their equivalent to HBO or Showtime. Apparently the complete series is now available in the US; the long period in which it was impossible to get here made it pretty easy to find by other means, wink nudge etc. Lots of squirming as you just know something is going to turn out terribly, lots of in-jokes and little hints and predictions as to what happens later in the series, and it's in the semi-scripted ad lib style of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's also written by the director and the actors, which is always a plus for me.

Also I am so happy someone else loves Peep Show. I am sure you internet dorks all know about it but my boyfriend and I just get weird looks when we try to explain all excited "AND THEY WEAR CAMERAS ON THEIR HEADS AND YOU CAN HEAR THEIR THOUGHTS AND IT'S AWESOME!!!"
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh oh oh, and Fishing with John. It's bizarre and mundane and awkward, and if you have a dorky sense of humor like I do it feels just right. A lot of people don't get into it at all, but maybe you will...I love it. Tom Waits putting a red snapper in his pants--yes! I say this as someone who thinks Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks were wonderful, so...

Not a show, but Coffee and Cigarettes has a bunch of vignettes that highlight similar awkwardness, vanity, and miscommunication inherent in stuff like Arrested Development. The one with Alfred Molina, the one with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, the Bill Murray and RZA and GZA one, Renee French's...
posted by ifjuly at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nthing Weeds, IT Crowd, Black Books and Flight of the Conchords and adding The Mighty Boosh.

Don't bother with aging Britcoms like Are You Being Served and Keeping Up Appearances.

I enjoyed Doc Martin a lot, but cannot fathom why people keep drawing parallels between it and Northern Exposure.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:19 AM on July 21, 2009

Big Train
Kids in the Hall
Nighty Night
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
Man to Man with Dean Learner
Father Ted
The Day Today
I'm Alan Partridge
posted by droplet at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2009

If you like Peep Show, you should check out The Mitchell and Webb Look-- a sketch show with the same actors.
posted by sharkfu at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2009

If I were to name one:

If I were to name more
The Young Ones
Coupling (British Version)
Allo, Allo!
All Creatures Great and Small (I'm in a probable minority here - its a 'watch instantly' on netflix I'd make sure you watch a few before you order it.)

I'll Also agree with
News Radio, 30 Rock, Weeds, and Extras

Also, um...
if you don't mind dark and mildly humorous, Dexter Sesons 1 & 2 are on Netflix on Demand.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2009

Oh, oops, Slings and Arrows and Corner Gas
posted by droplet at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2009

If you love Mr. Show, you will love Upright Citizens Brigade. Sketch comedy at its finest.

30 Rock
Strangers With Candy
Kids in the Hall
Flight of the Conchords
Dog Bites Man

I'll have to check out some of the series you mentioned, I suspect we have similar taste.
posted by santaliqueur at 11:25 AM on July 21, 2009

2nding Trailer Park Boys. There's something very special there. And 7 seasons of insanity. I'm so happy I only just finished season 2.
posted by joecacti at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2009

Someone mentioned Strangers With Candy, and I've got to second it, especially given some of the shows you mentioned. It stars Amy Sedaris as a 46 year old high school freshman, returning to school after 35 years as a teenage runaway. It's completely rude and crude, with a (small) bit of a heart to it. Also features Stephen Colbert, and the most unexpected celebrities pop up in small guest roles. Its sensibilities are like a completely warped after school special. I can't recommend it enough, and envy you being able to watch it for the first time.

I'll also nth 30 Rock and Weeds, especially the first 2 seasons. It's still good, if it's conceits are wearing a little thin.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:27 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Burn Notice. It's a spy thriller with comedic elements. There have been quite a few laugh out loud moments for me. Plus, Bruce Campbell plays a prominent role.

Nthing 30 Rock and Undeclared, and adding Eastbound and Down.

The Britcoms such as Keeping Up Appearances and Are You Being Served? aren't really cerebral. They function more as commentary on the class system in Britain, and rely a lot on gay jokes and other lowbrow elements.
posted by reenum at 11:28 AM on July 21, 2009

Nthing How I Met Your Mother (easily one of the most under-rated tv shows EVER - it's so good), and seconding the Mighty Boosh and Coupling (the British version).
posted by firei at 11:38 AM on July 21, 2009

The Big Bang Theory - the laugh track is super-annoying, but if you can ignore it, the show is hysterical.
Nthing Black Books. It always seems to get recommended in threads like these, and for very good reasons.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 11:42 AM on July 21, 2009

3rding Trailer Park Boys. It's on DirecTV channel 101 Thursday night @ 10pm ET. They just started showing season 7 - I'm hoping they'll start over at the beginning when they're done airing the current season.
posted by torquemaniac at 11:52 AM on July 21, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far....

I think I've seen enough of 30 Rock, Weeds, Red Dwarf, Undeclared, Mitchell & Webb to know it's my thing.

I've seen all of Undeclared and would add it to the "meh" category. Definitely doesn't compare to Freaks & Geeks.

Fishing with John I've seen and loved (except that weird episode w/ Matt Dillon...).

I've seen the Strangers with Candy movie, and wasn't too impressed. How does it compare to the series?

I definitely enjoy sketch comedy - Mr. Show is the only one I've ever seen that's consistently brilliant, though.

Some of this stuff is totally new to me and I'll be back to go through the list.

posted by pilibeen at 11:55 AM on July 21, 2009

Nthing The IT Crowd, News Radio and Flight of the Conchords.
posted by geekyguy at 11:55 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Red Green Show is another good Canadian comedy which shows on regional PBS stations.
posted by torquemaniac at 12:04 PM on July 21, 2009

Other sketch comedy you might enjoy: A Bit of Fry and Laurie.
posted by peacheater at 12:08 PM on July 21, 2009

I've never met other people who've heard of Fishing with John. I adore that show.

30 Rock, Flight of the Conchords, Home Movies. Three of my absolute hands-down watch-over-and-over favorites, and I have similar tastes to you.

Maybe also Stella? And definitely Kids in the Hall.
posted by timory at 12:25 PM on July 21, 2009

30 Rock for sure. I find it actually gets funnier the more you watch it. Tracy JOHRdan just has to walk on-screen now and I'm giggling. Also seconding Kids in the Hall, Trailer Park Boys, Reno 911. I miss Kids in the Hall....great show!
posted by Go Banana at 12:34 PM on July 21, 2009

Knowing Me Knowing You and I'm Alan Partridge are both great fun.

Blackadder is another classic and wickedly funny Britcom -- I'd skip the first series though and begin with series II.

If you liked Dr. Katz (one of my FAVORITES) I'd recommend Home Movies, made by some of the same team.

I think the Strangers with Candy TV show was way funnier than the movie, but YMMV.

I've recently been kind of surprised at how much Reno 911 makes me laugh -- especially the first few seasons. It's gotten a little stale now. By that token, The State might be up your alley also.
posted by stennieville at 12:37 PM on July 21, 2009

The Fall and Rise of Reggie Perrin. I'd steer clear of the new remake, even though I like Martin Clunes

Nthing Black Books and Father Ted and Fry and Laurie for sketch stuff.

You might also get a kick out of One Foot in the Grave

Also, Love Soup

For sketch comedy, I personally like Harry Enfield. Sample.

The Sketch Show(UK) might be a bit hard to find, but it is brilliant.
posted by prufrock at 12:51 PM on July 21, 2009

The Whitest Kids U Know hasn't let me down yet!
posted by EatTheWeek at 2:02 PM on July 21, 2009

The Big Bang Theory - the laugh track is super-annoying, but if you can ignore it, the show is hysterical.

This is exactly how I feel about The IT Crowd.

Also, this is my favorite Whitest Kids U Know sketch, and not in the list EatTheWeak linked to(as far as I can tell).
posted by owtytrof at 2:13 PM on July 21, 2009

I'm going to second Corner Gas, even from the wrong side of the border. It's a pain to see it in the U.S., since it's either been banished to the dark hours of WGN or stopped altogether. I had to resort to importing the DVDs to see seasons 5-6.

And totally worth it, too.
posted by Pufferish at 2:24 PM on July 21, 2009

I always laughed at Posh Nosh, but I'm not sure where you can find it (other than random clips on YouTube). And Look Around You.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:49 PM on July 21, 2009

I would avoid anything current- especially 30 Rock and the CBS sitcoms. They're simply not funny or original. You have good taste. Don't ruin it.

Stick with plokent's list here. Please.
posted by Zambrano at 3:33 PM on July 21, 2009

The Inbetweeners might appeal.
posted by sien at 3:53 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

Lots of my favorites new and old are already listed here, but I haven't seen anyone mention Sports Night yet ... well worth it in my opinion.
posted by gudrun at 5:23 PM on July 21, 2009

Thirding Coupling from the BBC. Here's a scene from one of my favorite episodes, Inferno (which is better when placed in the context of the full episode, but you'll get the drift).
posted by onlyconnect at 6:35 PM on July 21, 2009

I heartily second Better off Ted - yes, the title is incredibly stupid, but the show isn't.
posted by birdsquared at 6:49 PM on July 21, 2009

Absolute Power
posted by pompomtom at 6:56 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Second The Inbetweeners!! It's like Peep Show awkwardness with middle class high schoolers. Start from the beginning if possible!

Also, only ran for one season so far but I really like Free Agents and I think it would also fit right into your list.

Have you seen Gavin & Stacy?

Depending on how much you like dark humor, there's the David Walliams stuff like Little Britain, League of Gentlemen and the new one Psychoville. Note: My fiance and I like a lot of what's on your list but I don't like these though my fiance does.

If you like Mitchell & Webb you can check out That Mitchell & Webb Look as mentioned in this Metafilter thread.
posted by like_neon at 2:29 AM on July 22, 2009

Brass Eye

The Day Today

Garth Marenghi

The Mighty Boosh

Nighty Night
posted by Cantdosleepy at 3:23 AM on July 22, 2009

You might like Outnumbered - notable most of all for the amazing performances they get from their child actors.

In terms of British TV comedy bear in mind that a surprisingly large percentage of writers start off on BBC radio - and many of them actually do their best material in that format. Large list of British radio comedy shows.
posted by rongorongo at 4:31 AM on July 22, 2009

Seconding Sports Night and Wonderfalls. Both are smart & hilarious.
posted by dizziest at 8:20 AM on July 22, 2009

Snuff Box is sketch comedy on total and complete crack.
posted by Lucinda at 8:20 AM on July 22, 2009

'Yes, Minister' and 'Yes, Prime Minister' are Britcoms that I re-watch on a regular basis. Of the ones on your list I've only watched Fawlty Towers and a couple of episodes of Northern Exposure, so I'm not sure whether these will be your cup of tea.
posted by rjs at 10:37 AM on July 22, 2009

Response by poster: Sorry, my reply above should read "I've seen enough of 30 Rock, Weeds, Red Dwarf, Undeclared, Mitchell & Webb to know it's *not* my thing.

All these other suggestions sound great (except Coupling, which I watched once w/ a thousand yard stare). I think I'll try to track down The Inbetweeners, Home Movies, and Danger 50,000 Volts to start.

Ahhh, time sinks.

Thanks again!
posted by pilibeen at 4:07 PM on July 22, 2009

Something a little different you might like is a series called "The Supersizers go..." (wikipedia page - or see youtube examples). This is really a documentary series featuring comedian Sue Perkins and restaurant critic Giles Coren. In each episode they spend 7 days living the lifestyle of a particular era: the 1970s, ancient Rome, revolutionary France, etc.
posted by rongorongo at 4:22 PM on July 22, 2009

nthing IT Crowd, Flight of the Concords, How I met your mother, Extras (UK)

You might also consider Wonderfalls and Mighty Boosh.
posted by mulkey at 5:53 PM on July 22, 2009

Definitely check out How I Met Your Mother. It may take a few episodes but, as with shows like Arrested Development, if you keep with the show they reward you by referring to other episodes. It is going to be starting its fourth season, and I still think the writing is as good if not better than when it started.

Also nthing Flight of the Conchords.
posted by sciencemandan at 6:51 PM on July 22, 2009

A bit late in my response, but Strangers With Candy (the show) is much much better than the film.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:47 PM on July 23, 2009

Like the OP, I also love:
Arrested Development
The Office (UK)
Extras (& the special, too!)

I didn't like:
Northern Exposure
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Office, US

I highly recommend Skins (2007). There's more drama, but I really LMAO.
posted by jayne at 8:50 AM on July 24, 2009

Response by poster: Just an update...

I tried The Inbetweeners...ugh. Not sure I understand that recommendation.

On the other hand, Home Movies has been amazing, and I've also been enjoying Eastbound and Down.

I have Skins coming from Netflix seems like something I could get into.

Also, I just saw the first episode of Venture Bros. online...and loved it. Just bought the first season off Amazon.
posted by pilibeen at 4:06 PM on August 25, 2009

« Older DS Lite stuck hinges?   |   Blueberries Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.