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October 19, 2009 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find more comedies to fill the spectacular void that Green Wing has left in my TV viewing.

There are some great Ask Mefi posts about TV comedy, and I've read through lots of them. So I don't think I'm repeating a previous question.

Essentially, I am looking for comedies like Green Wing - absurd, surreal comedy which has strong characters, and is heavily improvised and occasionally (gasp!) moving. While the comedy was often dark (incest and murder come to mind) it wasn't really disturbing. Here's a clip. The audio is NSFW.

I'm not an expert on comedy, and I haven't seen too many other shows like Green Wing. I enjoy the usual British comedy standards - Peep Show, Father Ted, Blackadders 3 and 4, The Office, Extras, The Inbetweeners and The IT Crowd off the top of my head. American comedies I like are 30 Rock and Arrested Development. What am I missing?

Cheers all
posted by Ziggy500 to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know how similar it is to Green Wing specifically, but based on your other favorites, I don't feel bad about recommending you watch Modern Family.
posted by General Malaise at 6:14 AM on October 19, 2009

The Mighty Boosh is outstanding. Not sure about "dark", but definitely surreal.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 6:16 AM on October 19, 2009

Black Books (More Tamsin Greig!) and Spaced spring to mind.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:16 AM on October 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

The Thick of It, and it's recent movie spin-off, In the Loop?
posted by CharlesV42 at 6:27 AM on October 19, 2009

Spaced is one obvious one that you missed off your list of standards. I assume that was an oversight?

others off the top of my head...

Black Books
Phoenix Nights
Kath And Kim (Aus version)
League Of Gentlemen
Nighty Night
Getting On
posted by merocet at 6:38 AM on October 19, 2009

While not quite as sharp as Green Wing, Benidorm is definitely a bit surreal. The shows have not aired on U.S. television, but can be found here and there.

And if dark is what you like, check out the BBC series Ideal, which features Johnny Vegas as a small time drug dealer and one of the strangest cast of characters I've ever seen in a TV series.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:50 AM on October 19, 2009

Man to Man with Dean Learner is pretty dark in places, it's by Richard Ayoade and Matthew Holness.

I'd also recommend 'Garth Marenghi's Darkplace' by the same pair. Watch 'Dark Place' first and, if you like that, try 'Man to Man'.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 7:01 AM on October 19, 2009

Sketch show Smack the Pony is from the same stable as Green Wing. Similar tone too, although you should avoid the cringingly bad comedy songs that round off each episode. See also: The Book Group, which I've been evangelising a lot recently.

And OH MY GOD I've just realised Spoons is available. Charlie Brooker wrote for it! It once got my mum all confused and she had to ask why the ouija board was spelling out TRYANAL.
posted by permafrost at 7:02 AM on October 19, 2009

No-one ever seems to mention Big Train in threads like this, which is both a crying shame, because it's the best UK sketch show of the last 20 years, but also a good thing because it means I still get the thrill of telling people about it. As a Green Wing fan, you'll be pleased to know that it features Mark Heap.

Examples: Jockeys | The Working Class | Showjumpers | Distracting Boss | Cake Factory
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 7:32 AM on October 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

The king of them all (imo), Absolutely Fabulous.

These great recommendations have reminded me to buy a region-free dvd player.
posted by applemeat at 8:12 AM on October 19, 2009

I'm Alan Partridge is fantastic
posted by sub-culture at 8:41 AM on October 19, 2009

(Piggybacking on your AskMe...) One quality I loved about Green Wing: it was free of a laugh track. If anyone knows equally good shows that don't have laugh tracks, I'd appreciate it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:48 AM on October 19, 2009

I've been watching The Thick of It, which is a fairly dark political satire. The levels of back-stabbing and dehumanization are subtle but absurd; it's not surreal in the way Green Wing was, but TToI does live in its own world, in much the same way. It's not as deeply cynical as the movie In The Loop, but like The Office, it's full of uncomfortable, nervous laughs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:06 AM on October 19, 2009

Definitely seconding Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. What about Nathan Barley?
posted by Mael Oui at 8:19 PM on October 19, 2009

Thanks for the awesome responses! I love Ask Mefi!
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:39 AM on October 20, 2009

I know what you mean about Green Wing: it's very funny, but it also has very relatable and likable characters.

In a similar fake documentary style as The Office, the various Alan Partridge series (including The Day Today) or that other Steve Coogan show, Saxondale, about a pest control guy with an anger management problem.

On the American side, I think Newsradio comes surprisingly close to Green Wing, maybe even surpassing it at times. Spin City and Reno: 911! were decent shows too.

I'm also definitely seconding the Garth Marenghi/Dean Learner stuff. Basically, anything with Richard Ayoade in it.
posted by Harry at 2:42 PM on October 20, 2009

Seconding merocet's list. Plus Sean Lock's 15 Storeys High - brilliant.
posted by qwerty155 at 6:02 AM on October 28, 2009

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