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Enfieldean

dean_r


There's a storm in my teacup!

Well, in my dollar store mug.


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British Acquisitions, Help Needed From Englanders
Lousy Smarch Weather
dean_r
So, I can safely say I've been away from the land of dark comedy for too long. Therefore, one of the biggest indulgences I'm going to undertake while back in Blighty is the snagging of as much British comedy as I can find. On the list, for various reasons:

The IT Crowd @ 18, Amazon - apparently getting a lot of rave reviews. Fantagraphics swag is in there too!
Fawlty Towers @ 13, Amazon - very few Americans have heard of it and I need to educate on the classics.
Peep Show 1-5 @ 17, Amazon - I have Seasons 1-3, but more seasons came out and I think it's cheaper to buy the whole set again, oddly enough.
Thick of It @ 8, Amazon - dry, vicious Iannucci genius and political spin? If it's between this or Yes Minister, this is cheaper.
QI @ 5 for season A, 11 for B, 11 for C, Amazon - my A season is damaged, and more to collect isn't a bad thing.
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace @ 5, Play - because I still don't own it, and the IT Crowd will link into it anyway.
Life on Mars, S2 @11, Play - me and Steph both own Season 1, so why not get real discs rather than downloaded episodes of the second seasons?
Ashes to Ashes @1 4, Play - and why not continue with another series as a result? It's the 80s, it's got to be good, right?
Armando Iannucci Shows @ 5, Play - again, if it's got his name on it and it's that cheap, it's almost criminal not to try it.

Then the ones I don't think I really want, but when you use Amazon or Play, they offer those "If you like this... why not this?" suggestions...

Smoking Room @10, Play - I recall watching a few episodes and being entertained at times, but never really thought it was worth buying. But I don't know...
Man Stroke Woman @ 5 for season 1, 5 for season 2 Play - I like sketch shows, and this is the closest thing to Big Train in a while, I've heard.
Monkey Dust, @ 5.50, Amazon - again, I recall a few really dark sketches like Jam, but animated.
Jam @ 10 - I owned it, it made it to America, but I don't know where it is now. Might have to re-purchase it as a result.
Aaagh! Mr Hell Show! @ 18 - It's pretty steeply priced, and I can't remember anything more than appreciating Bob Monkhouse being less mainstream and a few really stupid jokes.

What else should I look into that I don't know about? What shows on this list should I avoid and am just remembering with rose-tinted glasses, like I did with Dogtanian and the Muskerhounds? Am I missing something American and awesome and should be looking closer to my second home? Films can count too... am I missing some obvious films in this sinister style that might have slipped under the radar?

Oh, and did Hyperdrive ever get funny? I like Kevin Eldon as a comedian but couldn't find any value to that show at all when I watched it. But didn't he play a character in a kind of show where zombies took over the country, apart from the Big Brother House... was that anything worthwhile?

Also! Rob Brydon! What about him?

Opinions please!

Also not mentioned in comments, but found later on:
Attention Scum? Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive.

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Monkey Dust is fun, and Ashes to Ashes is both similar enough to LoM that you'll likely enjoy it while being different enough to be worthwhile.

Unsure of your current collection or prior convictions, so I'ma throw some things at you.. The Mighty Boosh, Snuff Box, The Peter Serafinowitz Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look.

See, of those Mighty Boosh is good. Snuff Box I watched a few minutes of through YouTube and it was okay. But the last two - Serafinowicz and Mitchell/Webb... they have more iffy sketches than good sketches to me, and I couldn't justify buying a whole DVD for a few good sketches YouTube offers... whereas Jam or Big Train have it right, as far as what I enjoy.

All good.. I've not seen whole eps of either I think.. maybe one or two. Snuffbox works best in context.. last time I watched it I just put the whole series on and took it in one hit. With some wine. Much better that way.

I never really thought of Faulty Towers as dark comedy, but I love it.


Tell that to ze Germans.

I haven't commented on your posts on the subject btw but I am totally up for meeting up when you come back here, since I missed ya last time! I'll probably try and head up to London or something since it's largely rather dull around here. :|

Hyperdrive had a lot of potential. I watched it but the fact I can't remember anything about it probably says a lot about it. Ashes to Ashes isn't as good as Life on Mars but it IS very good. I don't know when it's coming out but on a similar vein (er, the british sci fi one), Being Human is a series you should DEFINITELY try and find if you haven't already downloaded it all. AWESOME show, and it'll be on DVD very soon I'm sure.

I didn't bring it up because YOU OWE ME from last time to make sure we meet up. No pressure, though! Plans are either you coming to London and swanning about with me, Steph and Jess - maybe Steph and I visiting Bristol as she wants to see a university city and Bristol is a nice day trip, with good weather on your side... or, most crazily...

Mum's offered to drive me and Steph somewhere for a day trip, and let us do our thing while she hangs out with her boyfriend. Technically, if you were in Manchester for some reason, we can try to kidnap Jess and all meet up there. Might be too many people in one go for Steph, but it'd be one hell of an organising coup.

But more on this next week when I call home and see what is possible / when I can find people to harass online and get things talked through better with friends and family at home.

Hyperdrive... I watched two episodes while I was in England last time and I think I smiled once. It wasn't trying to be very intelligent nor charming and I didn't find value in it as a result. Quite frankly, having Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes would keep us going for a while; it'd give Lost a chance to get a significant amount of a head start on us that we could blitz through half of season 5 in a weekend.

Being Human I know next-to-nothing about, apart from the DAMNED FURRY.

Ahem.

No, but really, I heard of the supernatural side of it and if it's well written and engrossing it might be a good watch, it just depends on how morbid it presents itself as, and if the storylines catch you off-guard. I mean, we've watched enough stuff to know about the conventional stuff that happens in films to werewolves and vampires and the like. So what's the hook that makes it something special? It'd be a shame if it were some swear-filled, watered-down show done already; it'd better not be Twi-lite.

Ahohoho, it's a pun. Do you see what I did there?

I'm always in Bristol with Luke and Sarah so I'm sure we can do something then. There's some nice things to do and see there, and the college area (Park Street) is also the Borders/Forbidden Planet/Cool Hangout area, too.

I didn't realise your Manchester date is a Thursday otherwise I would totally be up for that, but that's like the one day I work so I can't get up there for it. :|

Being Human is one of the best shows the BBC have put out lately. It's essentially the story of three 'outcasts' trying to make their way in society and live a normal life, hiding their obvious problems. It's perfect, it's funny and serious and dramatic and slice-of-life-y all at once. My friend Ben and my mum are both hugely into it, and it just ended last week or so so we're already chomping at the bit for S2. It really deserves a better channel than BBC3 ;p And incidentially, it's filmed right around the corner from where Luke lives, so that's fun. :)

I might even be really fucking insane and go up to Manc when you go up there. Can't afford it, but it'd be a hoot getting as many of 'us' together as possible.

Sorry, I'm thinking out loud all over your journal.

OH NO SEL THAT WOULD BE TERRIBLE DON'T DO IT!

(do it.)

man i so would be all over that but I just realised he's planning on going there the ONE day I work :| Thursday is a suck day. O well!

After contacting Abby, the plan B is this:

If you and Katy and Jess can all arrange a day to "do" Manchester, Steph and I will be there as well, and we can just hang out in Abby's comic store and chat and drink tea and eat swiss roll.

VANILLA SWISS ROLL WITH BUTTERCREAM AND STRAWBERRY JAM.

Everything repeated, but using chocolate swiss roll, is Plan C.

I AM HAPPY WITH EITHER PLAN.

We'll work out a day. I work Thursdays and Sundays so any day around them will be awkward (especially since I'd probably have to stay somewhere, maybe) but otherwise, it is so on.

fair enough.

i was raised on that and Flying Circus, which also probably has a bit of the dark to it, which is probably why my sense of humor alarms so many people.

Well, when you get in the mood, your snark is a little on the darker side of humorous, but never anything that isn't warranted. Maybe it's because you're not passive-aggressive with your opinion?

But really it isn't too dark, it's pretty dark for mainstream British television, but there's definitely been more bleak mainstream stuff. Black Adder isn't a very cheerful fellow.

Time Trumpet is required, as is Look Around You if you somehow don't already have it, especially season 1.

Also Screenwipe if it exists on DVD.

American wise, the Venture Bros is FANTASTIC, especially the 2nd and 3rd seasons, though it might be better to get the US DVDs there as more is out (we've only just gotten season 1 on DVD)

I have enjoyed Venture Brothers. Didn't realise England was so far backwards on that, but on the other hand, I can't imagine which channel would have that on? 4Later equivalent?

Look Around You season 1 I own and adore; it just got put onto television for the US and everyone's amazed about it, and impressed that I told them to watch it under penalty of BEING A SQUARE.

Meanwhile, Time Trumpet appears to be late April, one month too late, but definitely an import if it's Iannucci. Screen Wipe I see nothing for on AmazonUK. But I'll keep an eye out for that.

I wholeheartedly second Venture Bros. Also Arrested Development (sitcom, not band) and Flight of the Conchords. For American sketch comedy I love Upright Citizens Brigade, but I'm afraid I might be alone in feeling that.

I wish I'd waited. My London friend sent me Monkey Dust. I watched it and then sold it, not deeming it really re-watchable. Would have just sent it to you if I could see into the future.

We own all of Arrested Development, Steph got me into that. We both love Flight of the Conchords and will grab season 2 at some point.

Monkey Dust, like I said... not entirely sure I'd find anything in it to make me go back to watching it again and again, which is the point of buying on DVD rather than using Youtube whenever. It's got a few good characters interspersed between a lot of tripe. Its narrative method puts me off as well. If a joke leads into another one, the surprise of a good joke can get lost in it - the first episode with the stalking telephone operator, for example. Not a bad sketch, but you could have seen it coming because it was recurring so often through the episode, and its shock value was lost.

Compare to the complete unpredictability of the pacing and sinisterness of Jam sketches, here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6p5ORHRnXs

Garth Marenghi's Dark Place is well worth a fiver, as are the Armando Iannucci Shows.

Compared to Dark Place and Father Ted, I didn't think much of The IT Crowd, but it has its moments. The second season is supposedly better than the first, and from what I've seen of it, it does seem to be. Plus, it has Matt Berry in it.

Other things I'd recommend: The Adam & Joe Show, if you don't already have it. Sadly, it's only a compilation of the best bits from all 4 series, but it's still great. Also, 15 Storeys High, if you can find it. Sean Lock's amazing sitcom set in a high-rise estate, which ran for two seasons, but only got a DVD release of the first season. I need to watch it again!

What isn't good about the IT Crowd? My only issue is that I've watched parts and felt that I can't piece together how it would be week-in, week-out due to not really knowing which characters revolve around the central characters and if the geeky jokes wear out. For example, The Big Bang Theory has geekiness in spades but throws something different in each time - I worry if three seasons is too much, or what development may occur to keep it interesting. The UK Office knew to stop at two, and all that.

Adam & Joe is ace, but pretty tough to throw at US audiences. Also, I don't like "Best Of" compilations - someone'll make the whole lot in one go soon enough, and I'll wait for that. Also never heard of 15 Storeys High, but it sounds interesting enough to try to find more about it than Wikipedia shows.

A lot of the humour seemed kind of strained to me; too many obvious gags. I guess they do keep it kind of varied, though. I dunno, just my impressions from having watched about 4 or 5 episodes. It's perfectly fine, but given the pedigrees involved, I was expecting more.

Here's a clip from one of my favourite episodes of 15 Storeys High: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kG3p5KHySMg
The third item that Vince brings back from the Eastern European supermarket cracks me up every time.

Deanydean!

(Wasn't sure how else to contact you)

When are you thinking of coming Manc-wise? Sel has to work on Thursdays and Sundays. The bestest day would be a tuesday (As it takes a good while for her to get here, and that way she could have a day either side for travel).

How would this work out for you?

Hey, kinda bad news on my front. Afraid I never looked into the train situation properly - it'd take 5 hours to get to Manchester and 5 hours back, and it's the day before 14 hours' worth of flying.

I'm sorry, I feel stupid organising this and then being the person that can't make it, but I didn't realise how far Manchester was from here, and I can't commit to that much traveling whilst still being sociable and cheerful.

Steph is sorry too, she really wanted to meet you. Of course, if you randomly decide to head to London before we go, I'll be totally able to meet up. Call me at 0208 482 3582 if you want to work that out.

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