The Amazing Droll-O-Meter!

Can we get a round of applause for the British Broadcasting Corporation? The Brits are using their publicly funded network to produce one droll, absurdist comedy series after another and exporting them to the U.S. There’s been a good run of these in the past 10 years, and many of them are freely available online.

The exception is The Mighty Boosh, of which the first three seasons were just released on DVD and iTunes, and are airing on Sunday nights on Adult Swim. To celebrate the release, I’ve run the best episodes of my favorite British comedies through The Amazing Droll-O-Meter (patent pending) to produce the Matrix of U.S. Watchability.

Simply find the quadrant that best fits your Composite Humour Watchability Quotient Profile and you’ll find the perfect show to suit your tastes!

Matrix of U.S. Watchability

The Office
Like NBC’s The Office but much funnier. And, uh, first.
Available on DVD and Netflix Watch Now

Green Wing
Like Scrubs but dirtier and English-er. And no Zach Braff!
Available on Hulu (exclusively, I think)

Spaced
From the “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” guys, before they were big stars.
Available on Hulu and DVD

The IT Crowd
Your company’s IT department, but with British accents so they’re way funnier.
Available on DVD, iTunes, and Netflix Watch Now

The Mighty Boosh
Madcap adventures of two English zookeepers. Probably even more entertaining if you’re high
Available on DVD, iTunes, and on Adult Swim

Monty Python’s Flying Circus
90 percent unwatchable, 10 percent Funniest Thing You’ve Ever Seen.
Available on DVD, Netflix Watch Now, and iTunes.

I’m sure I’m leaving some out; fill them in yourselves!

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31 thoughts on “The Amazing Droll-O-Meter!

  1. (cough) Fawlty Towers (cought)

    Then also Red Dwarf and a bunch of others I can’t think of at the moment.

  2. The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin.

    I’m not sophisticated enough to know where it falls on your matrix—maybe all over the place. Apparently even inspired an American version…which failed.

  3. A Bit of Fry and Laurie (sketch comedy show)

    Hugh Laurie before he got all sarcastic and House-y.

  4. I’m excited for IT crowd. It’s on our netflix watch now queue on our tivo for as soon as were done with Leverage and season one of Weeds.

  5. Coupling
    Worst Week
    Vicar of Dibley
    Only Fools and Horses
    Red Dwarf
    Green Wing
    Kenny Everett
    The Goodies

    And on and on and on – I miss home :-(

  6. What was the one with the actor from Red Dwarf where he is the manager of a rural YMCA or whatever the British equivalent is. The Britas Empire or something like that. Loved that show.

  7. Having Spaced on Hulu is nice. I watched all the episodes years ago, but I had to set my DVR to record late-night airings on BBC-America to do it. I keep meaning to check out The Mighty Boosh.

  8. BTW – I’m not sure I understand the distinction between The Office with and without subtitles.

  9. This is not comedy at all – but I recently remembered seeing some episodes of a British crime drama called “Cracker” and thinking they were kind of interesting – if you like an antihero Hagrid protagonist.

    Some time ago I checked Hulu to see if they were showing any episodes – but nothing.

    Here’s a wikipedia link about the show:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracker_(UK_TV_series)

  10. Oh, I love The Vicar of Dibley, but if you haven’t watched Gavin and Stacey, then you are missing out.

    BBCA aired both series back-to-back in the fall. The first two series (six episodes each) are available on iTunes (well worth the 99 cents per episode), and you can get the first series on DVD through Amazon (still waiting for the second series to be released). A third series is currently being produced.

    It’d probably fall on the Office (no subtitles) and The IT Crowd side of the scale, but in all honesty- I think it’s ten times better than The Office.

  11. danithew,

    Cracker is excellent. The series are available on DVD. I remember thinking certain seasons were better than others. Robbie Coltraine is a very good actor. I suspect that the show was (very) loosely used as inspiration for The Closer (Cracker is much darker material).

  12. All Doctor Who is great TV. Jeeves and Wooster is one of the best things British TV has given us.

  13. I saw a few episodes of Cracker and didn’t really care for it. Wire in the Blood is a similar premise but I personally think it’s a lot better.

  14. 1. Hitchicker’s Guide TV series
    2. Chef is funny, great use of language
    3. Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister
    4. Are you Being Served – once saw a kid go up to a woman at church and say, “You look like Mrs. Slocum.” Just about pissed myself laughing as soon as I got out of hearing range. It was true same hair but not the different colours.

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