Hulu has been making all the right, super-sweet moves lately, at least in my book. Not only is the site streaming the marvelous British comedies Peep Show and Green Wing, but now Spaced is on Hulu, too. Spaced! You can tell I'm excited because I put an exclamation mark on it. The show has been available on DVD in the States for quite a while, but now that both seasons are online, there really isn't any excuse to not experience it. Is it obvious that I have a weird, almost evangelical need to spread the word?
I was going to save this extra-classic show, Monty Python's Flying Circus, for the later part of the Sketch Comedy Saturday series, but I just had to do this in light of recent, super-exciting news. As I hope most of you know, Monty Python will be having a reunion. Sure, John Cleese and Graham Chapman won't be there (for two, completely different reasons) but it will still be nice to see Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam get back together, right? Magic always happens when there's more than one Python guy around. Except that time John Cleese and Michael Palin tried to do "The Parrot Sketch" on Saturday Night Live a few years ago. That was just weird.
The show, called The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, will be co-written by Cross and Shaun Pye (you may know him as Andy's smarmy nemesis on BBC/HBO's Extras) and star Cross, Will Arnett and Spike Jonze.
For some strange reason, I was initially compelled to start this installment of Sketch Comedy Saturday with "Never fear, Little Britain is here!" I suppose there was a need for a campy intro. Then, I realized that there are actually plenty of things to fear in Little Britain: Matt Lucas wearing really tight shorts, old women violently projectile vomiting on everything in sight, more Matt Lucas wearing really, really tight shorts ... Really, the horrifying list goes on.
I recently -- and giddily -- posted about Hulu.com's inclusion of Channel 4's Green Wing, one of my favorite programs. Hulu is definitely on my good side right now, as they also have the first season of Peep Show online now. Those of you that don't have this in your list of British comedies to conquer, you should. Now. I mean, once you get over David Mitchell's extra-weird, giant, almost-black eyes, it's pretty enjoyable.
After seeing how some UK shows have been mangled in the American adaptation -- Life on Mars (although it had its fans), Worst Week, Coupling, Eleventh Hour -- I am glad that the only Ab/Fab I will ever have to savor will be the original.
All right, let me back up. I am a British comedy nerd. Some of you more eagle-eyed readers may already know that one of my favorite shows is something called Green Wing, which aired on Channel 4 way back in 2004. It's one of those programs that perfectly blends the quickness and quotability of sketch comedy with the engaging story arcs of more traditional sitcoms. There is no laugh track (thank goodness) but a beautifully quirky score that heightens the comedy instead of fighting with it. Plus, it's just plain snazzy.
After years of reaching US audiences as only a series of forwarded video clips and teh internetz, the original Channel 4 British sitcom The IT Crowd is finally coming to American TV. The IFC Channel has picked up the series and will begin airing it September 29.
I had to make an extra point to specify that this is the UK IT Crowd and not the NBC remake starring original cast member Richard Ayoade and Joel McHale. No, no, that project is still dead. As much as I love Ayoade and McHale, I couldn't help but feel a little relieved that the show didn't take off. I'd rather get my fix from Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and The Soup than see them attempt to tip-toe through that dangerous territory of American remakes.
The script for the IT Crowd's third season has just been completed, and folks from the show are looking for some help to dress up the set. Calling all geeks with decent knowledge in pop culture! If you've never seen the show before, it's basically the geekiest show about IT guys in the history of British programming. "Did you turn it off and on?" is a recurring joke, so that should say enough.
Spaced director Edgar Wright recently updated his blog with his own thoughts on this situation and now I'm even more upset. The gist is this: McG and FOX are planning to remake Spaced. Director Edgar Wright and writers/stars Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson were not contacted before the decision was made to pursue an American version. They will not be involved in the same fashion as the way Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant worked with NBC's adaptation of their creation, The Office.
Well, good news for anyone else who is still in need of some Office love. July 1st's Concert for Diana in London will feature a multitude of stars to celebrate Princess Diana's life. Among those stars will be Office stars Ricky Gervais and Mackenzie Crook, performing "Free Love Freeway" before introducing Sir Elton John.
Merchant was one half of the writing and directing team behind the original The Office. He appeared in the show as the Oggmonster only one and a half times (once during the Red Nose Day episode and another time as a voice over Gareth's speakerphone), so it was only natural that his writing and directing partner, Ricky Gervais, got all the attention as the star of the show.
I have to admit that I've only seen a few minutes of Are You Being Served?, even though it seems to be on my local PBS station every other day. I don't know, I just never get into some British comedies. Sure, Monty Python and Fawlty Towers are shows I love, but some of the sitcoms I've never really given a chance beyond an episode or two.
But even I know who John Inman was. His face was unmistakable. Inman was one of the stars of the classic British comedy that was set in a department store. He played Mr. Humphries, whose catchphrase was "I'm free." Not sure of the context of that catchphrase, but Inman was voted both the "Funniest Man on Television" and BBC TV's "Personality of the Year" in 1976.
Inman died in London earlier today from complications of Hepatitis A.
[thanks to Jon for the tip]
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