No Right Answer: Best British TV Show Ever

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Elijah Newton:

* set in Boston but produced in Montreal, not sure which wins out

It's a joint production, so it's still an American show.

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:

No! But you're in the right stable: Captain Scarlet had a better intro, and it was much more dark and sinister:

This is... unintentionally patronising. I would like to think my culture boils down to a bit more than a sketch show or a sci-fi franchise. Just saying, like. Love The Escapist, though ,keep up the good work!

DVS BSTrD:
All Creatures Great and Small
It had a Doctor Who AND a Dumbledore and the one and only James Herriot.

I remember reading all his books and suffering depression at the thought that I had read all his books.

And then I discovered this tv show. 8D

I've never seen a whole episode of Dr. Who so if I were making this debate I'd do

Monty Python's Flying Circus vs. Top Gear.

In fact I'm surprised nobody came in and made it a 3 way argument or replaced someone, like you did in the 'bad video game movies' episode.

Hannibal942:

DVS BSTrD:
All Creatures Great and Small
It had a Doctor Who AND a Dumbledore and the one and only James Herriot.

I remember reading all his books and suffering depression at the thought that I had read all his books.

And then I discovered this tv show. 8D

And I DEFY you to find an intro sequence that is more undeniably British.

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.

I don't watch for the cars I watch for the humor. Oh and you can't really tell it's staged from the show so you'd never know unless someone told you.

Imp Emissary:

ZZoMBiE13:

Imp Emissary:
You had Doctor Who lose?

Oh, you are lucky Susan is leaving soon. ;p

On a more serious note, the name of the show is No Right Answers, and you both made fair points.

Plus, it's not like it was a landslide victory.

Also, :( now I'm sad again about Susan going away........

None of us are "lucky" that Susan is leaving. This site really won't be the same without her.

Also, I know you didn't mean it that way, I'm just taking this opportunity and quoting you to make the point that I'm really going to miss Susan once she moves on.

No problem. I get what ya mean.

Also, isn't Red Dwarf Yahtzee's favorite show? Even though he said the current run of it is probably going to be bad?

Haven't seen the show, but it sounds neat.

Not that I don't believe it, but when did he say that?

DVS BSTrD:

Imp Emissary:

ZZoMBiE13:

None of us are "lucky" that Susan is leaving. This site really won't be the same without her.

Also, I know you didn't mean it that way, I'm just taking this opportunity and quoting you to make the point that I'm really going to miss Susan once she moves on.

No problem. I get what ya mean.

Also, isn't Red Dwarf Yahtzee's favorite show? Even though he said the current run of it is probably going to be bad?

Haven't seen the show, but it sounds neat.

Not that I don't believe it, but when did he say that?

It was during one of the Escapist Expo panels. He and a few others were asked if they liked something that wasn't really all that good, just because they have a weakness for it.

He said he always loved Red Dwarf. He said he heard about them doing a new run of the show, and that while he was thinking; "this isn't going to be that good", he said he was also thinking; "I'm going to be watching that".

I think it was one of the 2 were they got to ask the panel questions. Not the Hour of Love the other ones. If ya haven't seen them all yet I would definitely recommend them all.

:D It's all pretty good stuff.

I'm so glad to here other people admitting that Dr. Who has become "Borg'd", Although I don't think it's America's fault, I think it's a generational thing.
Anyway here's MY favourite British TV Shows.

Being Human
Torchwood
Black Books
Waking the Dead
Dr. Who (Well old Dr. Who anyway)
Jonathan Creek
The IT Crowd
Faulty Towers
My Family (The first few series' anyway)

Haven't watched BBC America in a very long time. I don;t care for their modern post 90s comedies, nor do I care for America's.
My favorites from the UK: (Because Welsh & Irish are funny too).

*Absolutely Fabulous.
*French & Saunders.
*Father Ted.
*Monty Python.
*League of Gentlemen.
*Psychoville.
*Black Adder, especially BA2.
*Mr. Bean.
*Anything with Charlie Brooker. (Only post 90s answer. He's the UK equivalent of Bill Maher).

By all means, if anyone out there loves these, feel free to recommend something to me.

The real question is: why has no one in this thread mentioned Mr Bean?

EDIT: Thank you to the chap above me :)

Shamanic Rhythm:
The real question is: why has no one in this thread mentioned Mr Bean?

EDIT: Thank you to the chap above me :)

Hey, remember that news story about the woman who ruined the Ecce Homo Jesus painting & kickstarted a meme? It totally reminded me of when Mr. Bean painted Noseybonk over Whistler's Mother.
image

Imp Emissary:
Also, isn't Red Dwarf Yahtzee's favorite show? Even though he said the current run of it is probably going to be bad?

Haven't seen the show, but it sounds neat.

Not sure he went quite so far as to say it's his favourite show but, yeah, he definitely said he likes it enough to automatically watch anything new they make. Which also conveniently summarises my opinion. As it happens, he was wrong - it turned out to be good. Not exactly vintage, but far better than you'd expect considering the last properly good series was in 1993 and it was on complete hiatus for over a decade before the new series.

Ophiuchus:

Imp Emissary:
Also, isn't Red Dwarf Yahtzee's favorite show? Even though he said the current run of it is probably going to be bad?

Haven't seen the show, but it sounds neat.

Not sure he went quite so far as to say it's his favourite show but, yeah, he definitely said he likes it enough to automatically watch anything new they make. Which also conveniently summarises my opinion. As it happens, he was wrong - it turned out to be good. Not exactly vintage, but far better than you'd expect considering the last properly good series was in 1993 and it was on complete hiatus for over a decade before the new series.

Really that long eh? I was only 1 year old back then.
Hope he liked it too. Thanks for the info. =w= d (<- Thumbs up face)

SonicWaffle:

Nice, but no Thunderbirds.

Five!

Four!

Three!

Two!

ONE!

BOOM!

Thunderbirds are GO!

Yeah except that's just the first 10 seconds or so of the entire intro, then about 15 seconds or so for the fast cutting teaser and then a rather sedate remainder until the explosions at the end. Brilliant when I was a kiddy-wink watching it on BBC 2 back in the 90s, however IndianaJonny is right when it comes to the entire intro of Stingray...despite the fact I preferred Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons. (Side-note: IndianaJonny, every time that I see that part of the episode "The Heart Of New York" where Captain Magenta puts on the personal receiver so the so-called Mysteron Agents "don't overhear" whilst Captain Ochre scans them with the Mysteron detector...I will now forever think of the Escapist forum! :) )

Now all that being said? The fast Thunderbirds music used for the teaser (or, for the purists, the Fireflash emergency landing music at the end of "Trapped In The Sky") makes for a fantastic ringtone when I can't find my phone... ;) and for those who have not been blessed with hearing this particular music? Here is the very scene itself:-

Watching that clip now? Almost makes me reconsider my choice.

Anyway, moving on...

Those who say that Top Gear doesn't have a rabid fanbase clearly haven't looked at the oft-recited stats, that there is an American version on The History Channel and the American founded and maintained Final Gear fan site. And to further comment on the staged nature of Top Gear, it's not so much staged as poorly presented. For example, remember the used BMW 325i test where all three arrived in 325i cars of a similar year and model? And pretended that it was all an "unfortunate mistake"? That. Anyone with a working brain would know that this would have been decided far in advance before filming, but rather than simply state "we decided to all buy a 325i each and see how they stacked up"? They just had to pretend like it was all an "accident" that they all went with the same car. *facepalm* And then there's the hot hatchback test in Italy where they all, presumably, drive into the town...and then somehow not know how to get back out.

It's antics like that which makes the more intellectual viewer switch over to Fifth Gear who tell it like it is and, if you like to see a more mechanical representation of cars, Wheeler Dealers.

As for Red Dwarf, I remember Robert Llewellyn recounting in his book "The Man in the Rubber Mask" where he and Craig Charles attended a sci-fi convention in America back in the early 90s and how amazed he was that the convention go-ers actually knew who they were. He also talked about his involvement in the pilot for the US version that (fortunately in my opinion) was never made. So yeah, there was a great deal of interest then as there is now. :)

Switching gears again...

KaZuYa:
*snip* Let's just say KaZuYa's excellent selection.

The only change I would make to your list would be swapping Life On Mars for the original series of The Sweeney (the less said about the recent...interpretation...the better I think!). Here's a clip of the opening teaser (yes, the teaser!) of the first series episode "Stoppo Driver" (19740 including the title sequence.

And I'd recommend to all those who are interested in older police action dramas to find and watch the first episode "Ringer", which stars Brian Blessed* as the head villain. Again for the purists, the actual pilot was of course Regan, however I'm talking about the series here. :)

Now there have been lots of excellent UK series been mentioned and here is another that's well worth a look:-

On The Buses is a sitcom based around the life of Stan Butler, a bus driver in his late 30s/early 40s who still lives with his Mum, his sister Olive and her layabout skintflint husband Arthur. At work, Stan's best friend is Jack - his bus conductor and fellow sex-obsessed slacker. The bane of their existence is Inspector "Blakey" Blake who takes great pleasure in making their lives difficult and wants nothing but rid of them...below is the opening to the 1971 spin-off film featuring all the original cast and really does give the context (the time bit I put on the link doesn't work in the preview, so just in case, skip to the 19 second mark). Fan's of Yahtzee's not-so-subtle elements of humour will more than likely appreciate this... :D

And should any of you watch Porridge thanks to KaZuYa's - again excellent - list, don't forget to watch the continuation of the story in the form of Going Straight.

Finally, I also rarely hear people refer to themselves over here as "British" - it is indeed either English, Scottish or Welsh.

* = And yes, I did consider writing his name in all caps, bold, underlined, in italics and with several exclamation marks... ;)

Loki_The_Good:
I was all for doctor who until I heard Monty Python and the I was like oh crap there's going to be a war. I think the last point actually gives Monty Python the edge not necessarily because of an obsession of the best doctor but it points to the divide between the whovians (those that watched the show from the beginning) and newvians (those that watched the newest incarnation of the show) which I think leads to an unnecessary elitism that ultimately hurts the show and those trying to get into it. Especially since it's so hard to find the earliest episodes of the show even for the most dedicated fan. I love doctor who. I love the story and the style. However, I always feel like I'm missing part of it, where as Monte python is like "here's something funny enjoy".

I just want to point out with this post: this is true of EVERY FAN BASE FOR EVERYTHING THAT HAS MORE THAN ONE ITERATION. AND IT NEVER STOPS BEING TRUE. STOP HATING EACH OTHER WE ARE ALL NERDS TOGETHER! SPREAD SOME LOVE!

more to the point, I have to say Fawlty Towers over Flying Circus personally if only because John Cleese (spelling that right? I think) is a fucking genius mastermind of comedy and absurdity.

Also I'd reccomend Spaced Out to anyone that hasn't seen it as it's also simply brilliant

No honorary mention for "The Thick of It"?

"Come the f**k in or f**k the f**k off!"

Sherlock is good but not brilliant. Think about S01E02, the one with the Chinese gymnasts -- what a mess.

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:

I like the bit in the ending credits where marina gets offended at the restaurant because she gets served fish.

talideon:

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:

No! But you're in the right stable: Captain Scarlet had a better intro, and it was much more dark and sinister:

That reminds me...should someone tell 2K and Gearbox about that series in regards to one of the Borderlands 2 DLC? I shouldn't have to tell you which one...

If you think Doctor Who makes too much sense, Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you; Sapphire & Steel

Elements in human form (maybe), tasked as reality police (possibly!)

Even the intro was more surreal than every Doctor Who episode combined!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gjHmEUiaxo

What about Coupling? It's like an British Friends only much smarter and way funnier. It was also written and created by Steven Moffat, before he went downhill with Doctor Who.

KaZuYa:

5) The Brittas Empire

I'm so pleased to see this mentioned! I thought everyone had forgotten about the Brittas Empire. Chris Barrie was brilliant in that.

Andy Farren:
This is... unintentionally patronising. I would like to think my culture boils down to a bit more than a sketch show or a sci-fi franchise. Just saying, like. Love The Escapist, though ,keep up the good work!

I'm not sure how. No Right Answer isn't about comprehensive exploration of a topic. That's The Big Picture. This show is about pointless(but entertaining!) comparisons of gems from our entertainment culture. That they specifically focused on British television this week is not an indication that they think that's all there is to your culture.

Is this the right room for an argument?

Black Adder is my favorite - there is very little that is more British than Black Adder. I've never watched Dr. Who. Should plan on doing that sometime, but I'm afraid that none of it would make any sense to me.

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.

Clarkson is an awesome guy, it's Hammond that's a little tw@t! (met them on a shoot, Clarkson hangs around with the crew laughing and joking, Hammond sit's in his trailer and doesn't bother with those he deems to be below him!)

OT Python, Python a million times over, with the exception of Spike Milligan's Q5 there was no other surreal comedy on the TV. They were the first to push the boundries on what you could do and say, and inspired some of todays greats.

Ni!

DVS BSTrD:
All Creatures Great and Small
It had a Doctor Who AND a Dumbledore and the one and only James Herriot.

Oh my, I used to watch that show with my mom all the time! Though I think Red Dwarf is still my favorite show of all time, from any country.

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.

I wouldn't say that those are better than monty python, but at least on par!
Also:
19) Allo Allo,
20) Vicar of Dibley
21) The Inbetweeners (Come on... it has some f-ing hilarious scenes... even if it is a bit tosh overall)
22) Not the 9 o'clock news
23) Have I got news for you
24) Never mind the Buzzcocks
25) Bottom
26) Armstrong and Miller
27) THe Fast Show
28) French and Saunders
29) A Bit of Fry and Laurie
30) Jeeves and Wooster
31) Shooting Stars
32) Harry Enfield and Friends

etc! :P

For me there is no question. Monty Python absolutely revolutionised British comedy and inspired countless generations of performers.

bluepotatosack:

Elijah Newton:

bluepotatosack:
Hell, I would have even watched the American version they were trying to make.

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:

talideon:

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.

Hunh. Yeah, those are some really solid counters. Well put. As with the U.S. versions of Coupling and the I.T. Crowd, I remember the first episode of The Office in the US using nearly the same script as the British original, which I hate. But you're right, the Office became its own thing. (though, like talideon, cringe humor kind of weirds me out so I've only seen a handful of episodes. I want to like it, but... )

talideon:
The comedy show Episodes explores this dichotomy very well.

What's this now? *rummages around Wikipedia* Oh, right, I remember hearing about this when it launched but then it dropped out of sight. Thanks for the reminder, I'll have to look into this. Nice to see LeBlanc getting some work, and I've dug Ms. Greig in other shows (after enjoying Black Books, my chief complaint with Green Wing is that she wasn't in it enough).

Seeing as some brits take offense at Monthy Python, I'd say that was a poor dedication to the British fans, when the waters are so divided on this point. I personally love it.

Red Dwarf and Only Fools and Horses would have been better contenders, even if they don't match the random requirements listed at the beginning. You don't need to be British to understand them and you'll learn the slang and the references as you see the shows.

I've never seen Dr. Who, but I imagine I'd like it, if I had any idea where to start.

For those suggesting other shows, remember that they would need to meet the starting requirements they listed to be up for consideration. I don't know of any British TV shows that have had more penetration into the American psyche than Dr. Who and Monty Python, and so these other contenders would fail on that point. We can list comedies that we believe to be better than Monty Python, but none have the sort of zeitgeist quality of Flying Circus. I love Flying Circus myself, but if given the choice, I'd probably be up for watching Black Adder, Red Dwarf, or Yes, Minister instead. I'd also rather watch All Creatures Great and Small or the new Sherlock than Dr. Who. Still, none of them have the cultural impact on America that Flying Circus and Dr. Who have.

Well, Monty Python had to win, simply because it's the Tolkien of comedy. Yes, there have been better comedy shows, and indeed better fantasy novels, but that is where it starts.
Also I'm amazed that nobody mentioned The Prisoner.

The fact that neither of those is "The Prisoner" invalidates this whole debate.

The thing about Doctor Who that I just don't get is that everyone has their favorite doctor. And more likely than not, it's not the person who's playing the Doctor now. Most people are watching thinking 'The story's good, but my favorite doctor would have handled it more much differently aka 'better'. I personally have a favorite and he's lost past gone.

And that's another thing. I feel Camaraderie with my fellow Python fans. You mention the wrong Doctor to a Whovian, and that's your ass.

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