Yo, this be Reuben. Shock. Horror. I’M NOT WRITING ABOUT MUSIC. Well, sorry. I’m writing about TV, for once, because I feel like it, and also this website is getting a bit over musiced up, really.
So yeah, I’m gonna list my top fifteen favourite TV shows, because ten isn’t enough. It’ll be full of comedies, because that’s what I enjoy watching most. Oh yeah, and this is kind of a redux, but the last one was just a top ten, and that was back when I called myself Speedy (give it a looksee if you want). I hope this intro has been as exciting to read as it has been to write. Yay.
15. The Inbetweeners
Yes, yes, this show is absolutely pleb-tastic and I’m a classless buffoon, BUT, it got as popular as it did for a reason, and I love it. It’s just got no boundaries and that’s what is so good about it. About every single line is something ridiculously inappropriate and it’s unashamedly stupid, and hilarious for it. It’s the perfect show for when you just want to have a mindless laugh, nothing more, and for that I reckon it deserves its place on this list. I know sixth form won’t actually be like this but it would be funnier if it was.
Slightly classier, this time, and less overtly idiotic. Scrubs is notable for its mix of quality stories and ridiculous comedy, and is grounded by fantastic writing and its cast of brilliant core characters. It has the ability to tell emotional stories with its developing plot lines but within that there’s a treasure trove of memorable comedy and quotes. I don’t often get the chance to watch this show nowadays, but I always have fond memories of it and whenever I get the chance, I’ll usually take it.
13. Impractical Jokers
Yes, I mean the original American series, not that crappy British replica that occasionally plagues our screens. This original American series, in fact, often graces our screens and it’s a joy to watch every single time. It’s just, stupid. Big, fat, in your face, stupid pranks. And it’s one of the most entertaining damn things you could ever watch, whether it’s a repeat or not, because it’s so entertaining that it’s pretty much infinitely re-watchable.
12. I’m Alan Partridge
What a lovely character Alan Partridge is. What an absolutely charming man. In fact, his character is a work of comic genius and is and forever will be Steve Coogan’s best work as a writer and an actor. Alan Partridge, of course, is right at the center of everything in the show and it’s usually somewhat disgusting, unpleasant of cringe-worthy, creating something to laugh at in its sheer ridiculous nature, whilst it’s grounded by the show’s boring regularity in its Norwich setting.
11. Malcolm in the Middle
This show is just so, for lack of a better word, watchable. I can easily sit down and watch hours of this show, and, well, I have, numerous times. It’s a show full of charm and charisma, with its fantastic cast of characters growing through the series and really gelling as a group of actors together, with each of them having an important part to play and each being great in their own right. And really, it’s just such a simple and light-watching series that can be enjoyed whatever mood you’re in.
10. Arrested Development
This show follows the tales of something so far distant of my situation that it’s almost so watchable for morbid fascination alone, as it’s based on a high-class American family — and a damn strange one at that. But what makes it such a fantastic watch is its quirky take on situation comedy, with its hilarious cast of characters providing stupid jokes out the wazoo. And these jokes come thick and fast, as the show is quick in just about everything it does, with fast camerawork, writing and editing: and all this makes Arrested Development an energising and constantly enjoyable watch.
9. Black Books
This is where Bill Bailey and Dylan Moran did their best work, and by far. Bill Bailey as Manny, the ledge, and Dylan Moran as Bernard, also a ledge, and the main writer for the show. It’s miserable, drunk and dingy comedy, but not how you might expect it. It’s not dark comedy or anything, in fact it’s in the style of a classic British sitcom and is one of the very best. With Moran’s miserable performance of the also miserable Bernard Black, the show has a unique edge of scholar and grumpiness, and that’s part of what makes it so funny in many cases, as it uses it as a great tool in much of its writing.
8. Fawlty Towers
This show is essential to any comedy fan and is brilliant for so many reasons. Well, the main reason is that it’s insanely funny, in its ridiculous and far-fetched plot lines and the extravagant messes that Fawlty manages to get himself into, which get funnier and funnier as he digs his own hole deeper and deeper — the comedy writing and acting by John Cleese are both some of the best on TV. It’s also quintessentially British, so extra points for that.
7. My Name is Earl
This show goes against the grain to make for a unique and brilliant watch, as for an American comedy it’s notably subtle in its comedy, presenting a slow take on it that focuses on quirky writing, character and setting more than anything – a little like a live action version of King of the Hill, if you know what I mean. There’s a lot of surreal happenings and stories in this show, as Earl Hickey tries to remove all the karma he gained himself with his crappy life, and each episode as a result offers something different and equally funny and interesting to the one before it.
Two classics in a row, eh? My personal favourite series is Blackadder Goes Forth (series 4), but each and every series offers something different and pretty much equally brilliant — excluding perhaps the first series, although it’s still good. The character of Blackadder is about the most slimy man in TV history, and he’s written to perfection by Richard Curtis alongside being Rowan Atkinson’s greatest acting performance. Blackadder found the perfect medium of an intellectual comedy and one for the masses, and mixes idiotic gags with smart writing fantastically. Also, it’s oh-so British, and I much appreciate that Shakespeare got punched in the face in the process.
5. Flight of the Conchords
I could have picked any of the songs from this series to give you an example of the brilliance and hilarity of it, but that one’s probably my favourite. You may not have known that you need a cross New Zealand-USA music comedy, but you really do, believe me. This show is legendary and the best live-action comedy to come from across the Atlantic. With Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement joining forces in music and writing, it’s the perfect representation of the subdued New Zealand attitude and is a marvel in comedy.
4. The Mighty Boosh
Although less of a clear-cut one than Flight of the Conchords, this is another musical comedy, which like the former brings a lot of its laughs and charm with music and it’s what gives it its main unique edge. Nonetheless, The Mighty Boosh has a borderline concerning amount of ‘unique edges’, as it’s about the most ludicrous, weird and off-the-wall TV series you’ll find, carrying the flag for surreal comedy and mounting as one of the most funny shows to grace TV, basically summing up the mid-2000’s in Britain and what kind of madness was going on here. It’s also the crowning achievement of comedian Noel Fielding, who made a brilliant duo with Julian Barrett, who, really, was the brains behind the show and grounded the whole thing so it wasn’t just nonsense.
I could have used so many gifs for this masterpiece but that’s the one I chose, so I hope you’re happy. Futurama, before its initial cancellation after its fourth series, was the epitomy of consistency, as practically every single episode is just brilliant, and collectively it’s an absolute goldmine of quotes. As well as having an eye for simplistic and overt comedy like its counterpart The Simpsons, it also has a great sense of grandeur in its stories, which can be open to countless jokes, but also emotion and science fiction — it’s essentially a nerdier take on The Simpsons, if you like. But, let’s face it, the jokes are the main attraction and with characters like Fry, Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan (the ledge you see above), it’s not very hard for it to be funny, and boi, it is.
2. Father Ted
This is and forever will be the greatest British comedy. I mean, it’s Irish to the bone so technically it’s not even British, but I like to say that to give it extra credit. In fact, it’s so damn Irish it hurts — in a good way. It’s a stereotype slinging machine and a legendary one at that, making Irish mannerisms and all that jazz one of the funniest things on TV with Graham Linehan’s brilliant self-micky-taking and unbeatable situation comedy writing. It brings all the tropes of a classic British comedy, and somehow it just propels itself ahead of all the others before and after it and it’s just hilarious. The funniest thing on TV.
Before ye get to see what takes that filthy number one spot, here’s a bunch of honourable mentions (the ones that didn’t quite get in but are still great):
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Dragon Ball Z
The Twilight Zone
King of the Hill
The Fast Show
The IT Crowd
Fifteen Storeys High
Better Call Saul
Star Wars: the Clone Wars
So, without further adieu, here’s number one (you better be excited, or else):
1. The Simpsons
I gave you four gifs because I could not just give you one. There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said about this show, but I’m going to say this. It got and has been as popular as it is for a very, very good reason. It is, in my opinion, undisputedly the best show ever on TV. I’ll admit, it definitely had its golden age and has since deteriorated, but that golden age spanned at least eight seasons, and at the time the show was absolutely brilliant. It’s hilarious, for one, and it’s the ultimate meme and quote machine, with it having countless memorable moments and episodes and many that I’d consider perfect (my personal favourite is Cape Feare). It’s just, classic. And its best episodes never fail to amuse me. Whether nostalgia comes into it or not, this show cannot be beaten.
Bringing redundant opinions for scrollers everywhere,