Influential British cult TV comedies
|Ricky Gervais getting his groove on.|
Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–1974)
Known for: Being one of the most influential television series of all time.
Often voted as the most influential comedy series ever, "Monty Python's Flying Circus" or "Monty Python" by most fans, the sketch-based series starring Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and even John Cleese, are so influential that questions concerning their most famous sketches are even incorporated in the examinations required of those seeking to become British citizens.
Inspiring more than a few comedians and musicians, the Monty crew also surprisingly inspired astronomers to name several asteroids after the castmembers, paleontologists to name a python after the show and changed modern television shows forever like "South Park", "The Daily Show", and "Saturday Night Live".
Monty Python became such a phenomenon that George Harrison once said the spirit of the Beatles had passed onto them.
The Office (2001–2003)
Known for: Making a mockumentary about a dull office into one of the funniest shows ever.
Thanks to modern British comedy pioneers Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant, the creation of "The Office" was inspired by Gervais' experience at an office after a failed career as a pop star. After pitching the 'seedy boss' idea to BBC, the show made an impression and much of the series' comedic success stems from Gervais' character David Brent, who frequently makes attempts to win the favour with his employees and peers with embarrassing or disastrous results.
Also featuring the Hobbit himself Martin Freeman as Tim Canterbury and Mackenzie Crook of "Pirates of the Caribbean" as Gareth Keenan, the show not only lifted successful remakes from the U.S. starring Steve Carrell and many other countries around the world, but has given a boost for many actors involved in the show.
The Thick of It (2005-2012)
Known for: "Omnishambles".
The comedy about the inner workings of the British Government "The Thick of It" is another one of the great mockumentaries made, thanks to creator Armando Iannucci. He has created the show featuring a small cast focusing on a government minister, his advisers and their party's aggressive and foul mouthed spin-doctor, Malcolm Tucker (played by Peter Capaldi) who is arguably one of the best characters ever written.
Their presence in modern British television is so influential that one of the words made up by character Malcolm Tucker, 'Omnishambles', was named word of the year in 2012 and is formally added to the online editions of the Oxford English Dictionary in August 2013.
The Inbetweeners (2008–2010)
Known for: 'Being more realistic than "Skins"'.
The "Inbetweeners'" portrayal of dull suburbia features four friends, who are socially only marginally above what one of them calls "the freaks", are presented as they grow from their late teen years into adults and as they go on their quest, usually unsuccessfully, for such grown up things as beer and sex.
The television show deals with situations of school bullying, broken family life, indifferent school staff and largely failed sexual encounters, and many fans that watched it, British or otherwise, often praise the show for it being an accurate representation of what school kids are like. The show even spawned a film of the same name where it was so successful in the U.K. that it beat out a few Hollywood films like "Cowboys and Aliens".
The I.T. Crowd (2006-2013)
Known for: Being the cooler and more superior "Big Bang Theory".
Though it can sort of be compared to "The Big Bang Theory" in the U.S., which has a bigger following, "The I.T. Crowd" cannot even be compared to it in terms of quality built up in only 4 seasons and a special last episode released this year.
The show also includes a stellar cast of then nobodies Chris O'Dowd (who now has roles in big Hollywood films like "Bridesmaids" and "Thor: The Dark World"), Richard Ayoade (who has now directed two well received independent films) and Katherine Parkinson (who appeared in BBC's "Sherlock" and stars in miniseries "The Honourable Woman").
About the comedic adventures of a rag-tag group of technical support workers at a large corporation, "The I.T. Crowd" attracted many fans through their great references to geek culture and professionalism.