No Right Answer: Best British TV Show Ever

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Elijah Newton:

bluepotatosack:
Hell, I would have even watched the American version they were trying to make. But then the networks were all "Oh, we have The Big Bang Theory, we don't NEED another nerd comedy." Damn you Shelden!

WHAT! aaugh! no - no!! Gawd, I saw the pilot for the U.S. version and immediately became deeply embarassed that someone thought it needed to be made. We, as US folks, don't need a translation for British tv. We are geographically separated but culturally we can roll with it. The jokes are the same, we stand united in humor, etc etc. It's like trying to watch the US remakes of Coupling or Skins. *shudder* Just doesn't need to be.

To refute your point, I give you The Office. It started as basically a recreation of the British series, and then went off and did it's own thing. And for a while, it was glorious. I would have liked to give it a chance past the pilot and see if it went anywhere. But, I am an optimist. :shrug:

The reason why Dr who is less gory than US shows is because its gone out at (on average over 50 years) between 5-7 on a Saturday and is aimed at an audience that is 7 years old and up. The UK population is 62 million so there is not simply not enough 20 year olds willing to argue over minor points in Sci Fi shows to make the US gritty realism (Battlestar etc) viable.

Small point Terry Gilliam is an American so technically Monty Python is 1/6th Yank.

DTWolfwood:

Terramax:

DTWolfwood:
Good choices but i still prefer Top Gear to the two of them. I guess it doesn't really count as it doesnt really have a ravenous fanbase.

Top Gear has a massive ravenous fanbase. The difference is that most of their fanbase rarely have more than 2 braincells, sad to say. I know that makes me come of as a real nob, but seriously, most of the TG fanbase or men (and women) whom watch every week, unaware so much is staged, drooling over cars they will NEVER own, and genuinely think Clarkson is an awesome guy.

Honestly through, I'd say Life on Mars and even The It Crowd are better shows that Dr Who. In fact, most British TV shows are better than Dr Who.

I haven't met these people, because if what you say is true, they certainly would not have the wherewithal to use a computer. Which explains y i thought they don't have a ravenous fanbase.

They just about know how to use a computer. Or, at least, now to work their iphones, which they play with all day and night, to post messages on facebook about what they ate for dinner.

Dr Who has been Borged. I like that, and it's 100% true. The show is barely British anymore.

The funny thing is that if Dr Who ended somewhere in the mid 80s it would have had a far better chance at winning. How long did Monty Python go for? If we include the movies I don't think it ever jumped the shark.

KaZuYa:
The Ignorance of this article beggers belief, lets list British shows better than these two.

1) Red Dwarf
2) Faulty Towers
3) The IT Crowd
4) Black Books
5) The Brittas Empire
6) The Office
7) The Green Wing
8) Only Fools and Horses
9) Knowing me, Knowing you
10) Black Adder
11) Life on Mars
12) Sherlock
13) Spaced
14) Porridge
15) The Two Ronnies
16) The Young Ones
17) Peep Show
18) I'm Alan Partridge

I could go on and on, try either making a show on something you know or at least research.

Most of these are awful shite. Only seen about half of them but IT Crowd? Black Books? Sherlock? Better than Dr Who or Monty? I don't even...

...What? no mention of Blackadder, Only Fools and Horses, Dad's Army, Porridge, Green Wing and other greats?

*shakes head*

Sherlock is the best british TV show, by far. Also, I think the fanbase is kind of crazy... I'm not sure. We mostly just get to wait for a new season.

Little Britain, Blackadder, and The IT crowd are all better than those mentioned too IMO. I've not seen much of Dr. Who, but it seems silly to me, even if I like the ninth doctor. Monthy Python is pretty good though. I like the movies.

Gizmo1990:
I have to go with Monty Python because Monty Python is still good after all these years. Doctor Who on the other hand has be total dog shit since Moffat took over running the show.

Edit: wait I forgot Blackadder, Blackadder is better than basicly everything.

Curses. I was going to mention Blackadder but you beat me to it.

Hm. It really is quite interesting how most of the main characters have gone on to become big names in either America, Britain or both.

Oh and yes. I am British and "Poppet"... Well I haven't heard that in a LOOOOONG time...

KaZuYa:
The Ignorance of this article beggers belief, lets list British shows better than these two.

1) Red Dwarf
2) Faulty Towers
3) The IT Crowd
4) Black Books
5) The Brittas Empire
6) The Office
7) The Green Wing
8) Only Fools and Horses
9) Knowing me, Knowing you
10) Black Adder
11) Life on Mars
12) Sherlock
13) Spaced
14) Porridge
15) The Two Ronnies
16) The Young Ones
17) Peep Show
18) I'm Alan Partridge

I could go on and on, try either making a show on something you know or at least research.

You forgot Wooster and Jeeves. Although the last episode was a bit meh.

I'd be a sad panda if the Cicus didn't win, cause it's my favorite show of all time, because despite it being an entertainment for all it has very strong roots in the history of ART as a whole, and could be judged as such - it's an excellent example how to introduce surrealism to masses.

Well, I can't really express how much I hate Dr. Who so Monty Python definitely got my vote.

That being said, there are still plenty of British shows better than both of these. I've no idea how many reached America but I do know of one that has a rabid fanbase AND an American remake (a pilot episode, at least):

SPACED! Come on guys, you had a freaking Edgar Wright movie on the shelf!

I was going to say Red Dwarf is the best British TV show ever, but then you said it had to come across to the US mostly unaltered and I was like *sadface*.

Casual Shinji:
But then I think both Blackadder and Red Dwarf are better then Dr. Who.

They would be my choices also. Particularly Blackadder 2-4 and Red Dwarf 3-6.

As a 'British' person, (seriously, nobody actually in Britain refers to themselves as British, you're English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish) I have to disagree with this entirely. Dr. Who is utter crap designed for children, it's like adults quoting Harry Potter to each other at work, it's just a bit sad. The best thing we have ever shown on the television-box is far and away Spaced.

I re-watch Spaced annually and I still laugh uproariously each and every time.

albino boo:

Small point Terry Gilliam is an American so technically Monty Python is 1/6th Yank.

Didnt he renounce his American citizenship though? Technically he was born in the US, but his only citizenship is now British I believe - although i guess he would still have had American citizenship when they were actually making Python.

Luther never gets any love. But it's easily one of the best, if not THE best show I've ever seen. It's got all the emotional edge of Game of Thrones but without the sporadic leaps that comes with a multi-storied show.

As an Englishman, I feel eminently qualified to discuss this subject.
Doctor Who is one of my favourite TV programs of all time. TV critic Charlie Brooker once remarked that every time he watched that series, he turned into an 8 year old boy. This I can understand. I know that there are better written shows out there, better acted, directed, and produced. Yet it does not matter one bit. Doctor Who has this magical sense of otherness that somehow enables the casual viewer to switch off each and every one of their critical faculties and just become transfixed for 40 minutes. Or in other words, become an 8-year old boy.
Monty Python's Flying Circus on the other hand I have found very hit and miss. For me, that is the problem with sketch shows. For ever Dead Parrot, Spam, or Buying and Argument moment, there are many more, far more forgettable incidents that time has somehow allowed us to gloss over. Yes, there are other great sketches, The Lumberjack song, The Spanish Inquisition (which you were expecting at some point), The Philosophy Football World Cup Final, etc. As sketch shows go, Monty Python is undoubtedly superb, I just am not much of a fan of sketch shows.
Other shows that deserve a mention:-
I, Claudius (1976) Drama mini-series that chronicles the lives and exploits of the early Caesars. This invents the 'history with the nasty bits left in sub genre' and yet, 35 years down the line, still seems to pull it off better than anyone else. Most probably because it had a superb script and a magnificent cast.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) Spy Drama starring Alec Guinness. Some of you might remember that man looking very bored in Star Wars. He was one of the greatest actors that Britain ever produced. If you want to know how good he was, watch this. The finest single small screen performance ever given. You might also remember that Gary Oldman recently had a crack at the same recently as well.
Yes Minister (1980-84) Peerless political satire about a vain, bumbling, but good natured Politician, and his too clever by half private secretary. Americans might find this a little TOO British.
Blackadder (1983-89) Time-jumping sitcom that is only a little less quotable than Monty Python
House of Cards (1990) The original. Ian Richardson at his best, making Tywin Lannister seem almost amateurish by comparison.

I can't wait for the American version of this. What's the best American show ever: Star Trek or The Dean Martin Show?

Ironside:

albino boo:

Small point Terry Gilliam is an American so technically Monty Python is 1/6th Yank.

Didnt he renounce his American citizenship though? Technically he was born in the US, but his only citizenship is now British I believe - although i guess he would still have had American citizenship when they were actually making Python.

He stopped being an American in 2006, 35 years after the show started.

While the best British TV show is up for debate, there can be no question as to the best intro to a British TV show:

DTWolfwood:
Good choices but i still prefer Top Gear to the two of them. I guess it doesn't really count as it doesnt really have a ravenous fanbase.

Well that's because it isn't the best british show. It's the best show..... IN THE WORLD. </clarkson>

I'm astounded Monty Python won.

Less IT Crowd, and more Garth Marenghi's Dark Place. Also, I highly recommend Life On Mars (maybe Ashes To Ashes too), Brass Eye and Jam. I think English humour is symbolised by dead-pan silliness, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Blood Brain Barrier:

KaZuYa:
The Ignorance of this article beggers belief, lets list British shows better than these two.

1) Red Dwarf
2) Faulty Towers
3) The IT Crowd
4) Black Books
5) The Brittas Empire
6) The Office
7) The Green Wing
8) Only Fools and Horses
9) Knowing me, Knowing you
10) Black Adder
11) Life on Mars
12) Sherlock
13) Spaced
14) Porridge
15) The Two Ronnies
16) The Young Ones
17) Peep Show
18) I'm Alan Partridge

I could go on and on, try either making a show on something you know or at least research.

Most of these are awful shite. Only seen about half of them but IT Crowd? Black Books? Sherlock? Better than Dr Who or Monty? I don't even...

As much as I love Black Books, Sherlock and Life On Mars, I have to admit that Monty Python is better. Better than Dr Who though...That I'm not so sure. Dr Who has some great episodes and David Tennant is pretty amazing as The Doctor, but at the same time there is the huge problem that you're comparing a comedy show to a sci-fi show. Even comparing Life On Mars to Dr Who is somewhat problematic. Personal preference, I don't actually like Dr Who much. It's not bad, but I just don't like it too much. I mean, Life On Mars has Gene Hunt.

Somewhat sad that The Sky At Night isn't on anyone's list thus far :(

Anyway, there is no 'best'. Taste is a wonderful thing.

Gizmo1990:
I have to go with Monty Python because Monty Python is still good after all these years. Doctor Who on the other hand has be total dog shit since Moffat took over running the show.

The problem with Python being such a classic, to the point where people can quote entire sketches from memory, is that we tend to gloss over the crappier sketches and the stuff that didn't work because the stuff that did work was a slice of fried gold. Python wasn't consistently high-quality, it's just that when it was high quality it was really high quality. It still beats out Dr Who though, since as much as I love the show it's really going downhill lately.

As for my picks, I was leaning towards Sherlock, because come on, Sherlock. However, there really is only one winner for me, and that's Spaced. Never a bad episode, great characters, eminently quotable, they allowed it to die before it became stale and was consistently fucking hilarious. Spaced, all the way to the bank.

Brian: Can I borrow a tea-bag?
Tim: Only if you bring it back. You can HAVE a tea-bag, Brian, you can't borrow one.
Brian: What are you playing?
Tim: Tomb Raider 3.
Brian: She's drowning.
Tim: Yeah.
Brian: Is that the point of the game?
Tim: Depends what mood you're in really.
Brian: What sort of mood are you in then?
Tim: Well, I got a letter from my ex-girlfriend this morning, 3 months too late, explaining why she dumped me. It was full of 'you'll always be special' and 'I'll always love you' platitudes designed to make me feel better whilst simultaneously appeasing her deep seated sense of guilt for dumping me, running off with a slimy little city boy called Duane and destroying my faith in everything which is good and pure.
Brian: So it didn't really work then.
Tim: No, it made me wanna drown things! [turns around, sees Brian dressed as a painting] You've got paint on you.
Brian: It's a literal tribute to the self reflexivity of Rembrandt.
Tim: Did he like it?
Brian: He's dead.
Tim: Bloody hell, that really backfired.

IndianaJonny:
While the best British TV show is up for debate, there can be no question as to the best intro to a British TV show:

Nice, but no Thunderbirds.

Five!

Four!

Three!

Two!

ONE!

BOOM!

Thunderbirds are GO!

AldUK:
As a 'British' person, (seriously, nobody actually in Britain refers to themselves as British, you're English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish)

Bullshit.

I'm British. Most of my colleagues also tend to identify as British - Generally because we're a mix of the 4 home nations, and it makes it easier for the Americans we work with to identify us.

Obviously amongst ourselves we become English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish, but then that gets even further broken down to Yorkshiremen, Lancastrians, Londoners, Scousers, Geordies, Eassies, Wessies, Weegies, etc. etc. etc.

So yeah, fuck you. I'm British. Lots of us actually refer to ourselves as British.

Apologies for going off topic, but I felt that needed saying.

As for best TV show?

Meh, not really a Doctor Who fan, and Monty Python had some awesome sketches, and the movies were pretty awesome, but I found the TV show very hit and miss.

Overall? I think Blackadder is the greatest, and it's a shame it's not really made it over to the US. Does Game of Thrones not count? It's mostly a British cast and they film a lot of it in Northern Ireland.

Guys, it's not Py-thOn, it's one word - python. "pie-thun", i guess if you're look for phonetics...

Also, Chris - check out Black Books. Wee British Comedy that might appeal.

SonicWaffle:

Nice, but no Thunderbirds.

Five!
Four!
Three!
Two!
ONE!

BOOM!

Thunderbirds are GO!

Yeah, when I was a kid, the opening to the feature-length film was the most gorgeous example of pacing I'd seen:

There are so many British Shows I like, I have a different list between American/Canadian shows and British shows. In South Africa I have about 2 - 2.5 shows I actually like so I just tend to watch full series of International shows. I love Sherlock but The IT crowd would have to be one of my best because its so British and I guess new.

The muppet show.

This is the best agument so far. I can't declare which I like more.

Thanks for the shout out to us Brits, I have to say I would put forward Blackadder as the best but Python or Who are equally valid choices

I would have to vote for Black Books, Still Game or Father Ted. Love them. Although I quite enjoyed the first two episodes of Sherlock and fully intend to watch the rest.

As for the British identity thing, it is very rare here for people to refer to themselves as British rather than Scottish, but it does happen.

*shrugs*

I've no desire to watch Dr Who, but I do love me some Monty Python :D

KaZuYa:
The Ignorance of this article beggers belief, lets list British shows better than these two.

1) Red Dwarf
2) Faulty Towers
3) The IT Crowd
4) Black Books

Yes.

KaZuYa:
5) The Brittas Empire
6) The Office
7) The Green Wing

No.

KaZuYa:
8) Only Fools and Horses

YES. And it worked as both a comedy and a drama.

KaZuYa:
9) Knowing me, Knowing you

Eh, no. But then again, I don't particularly like Steve Coogan.

KaZuYa:
10) Black Adder

Yes, though the first season was rather weak.

KaZuYa:
11) Life on Mars
12) Sherlock
13) Spaced
14) Porridge
15) The Two Ronnies
16) The Young Ones
17) Peep Show

Yes.

KaZuYa:
18) I'm Alan Partridge

See my previous comment about Steve Coogan.

KaZuYa:
I could go on and on, try either making a show on something you know or at least research.

I'm quite disappointed you left out Father Ted (although whether that qualifies is open to debate); Yes, (Prime) Minister; Black Mirror; The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (the original, natch); Cracker; Prime Suspect; Brasseye; Keeping Up Appearances; and House of Cards.

In fairness, even including those, we're both just scratching the surface. The TV licence is good for something!

Elijah Newton:
We, as US folks, don't need a translation for British TV.

In some circumstances, it is needed. I'm Irish, and I get the humour of The Office--though I don't like it because I don't like cringe comedy--but a character like David Brent wouldn't have worked in the US: he would've been seen as a villain rather than the ultimate expression of the Peter Principle. Instead, you got Michael Scott, who was the US version of the same character, but much more earnest.

Elijah Newton:
We are geographically separated but culturally we can roll with it. The jokes are the same, we stand united in humor, etc etc. It's like trying to watch the US remakes of Coupling or Skins. *shudder* Just doesn't need to be.

To a large degree, yeah. Though your TV executives disagree. The comedy show Episodes explores this dichotomy very well.

Elijah Newton:
On the other hand, I've got to say that I think our side of the Atlantic has the better version of Being Human. I'm not sure it's U.S. so much as Canadian*, but still. Good show, tightly written and the cast is awesome. Meaghan Rath is fairly devestating, Sam Huntington is funny as !@#$, and Sam Witwer is second only to Vin Diesel as World's Most Unlikely DM.

Canada is something of a bridge between Leftpondia and Rightpondia, isn't it. :-)

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