I’ve always found it interesting and frustrating that a television program may trigger diametrically opposite reactions/opinions from various viewers. Yet, the opinion is virtually never couched in the qualifying “imho” (i.e. in my humble opinion); it’s typically expressed in the absolute. Not “I find this show to be…”, rather, it’s “this show is…” Let’s face it: it’s ALWAY just an opinion! So, what I plan on doing is offering my opinion and adding suggestions in the form of “If you agree with me on this opinion, then you’re likely to agree with me on the following opinion”.
Just as an example: if you like “Silent Witness”, you’re probably going to like “Waking The Dead”.
If you like ‘quirky’ comedy: the kind of humor that’s subtle, provokes more of a smile and a chuckle rather than a ‘belly-laugh”, here are some programs (certainly not an exhaustive list) that will likely appeal to you. As I noted earlier, if you’ve seen any of these shows and disagree with my opinion, you’re likely to disagree with my similar recommendations.
“15 Storeys High” (daily life of roommates in a high-rise council-estate)
“2Point4 Children” (on the surface, another domestic sitcom, but it shows itself to be much more than that)
“Absolute Power” (the travails of an “anything goes” public-relations firm; co-stars Stephen Fry and John Bird)
“Adrian Mole” (based on the fictional diaries of a young man)
“Alan Clark Diaries” (political humor)
“Armando Iannucci Shows” (a series of “mockumentaries”)
“The Armstrongs” (a mockumentary in the style of The Office)
If you liked As Time Goes By then you’d probably like:
A Fine Romance (also with Judi Dench, and co-starring her late husband MIchael WIlliams)
After Henry (stars Prunella Scales - think Fawlty Towers…Sybil. This is a light-hearted comedy about the misadventures and daily life of a widow, her adult daughter, and her mother)
All At No. 20 (stars Maureen Lipman, who runs a boarding house for a rather eccentric group of people)
Amazing Mrs. Pritchard (about an ‘ordinary’ housewife who challenges the establishment and becomes Prime Minister)
Barbara (try to imagine a sophisticated, modern I Love Lucy…that’ll get you close to this wacky comedy. Stars Gwen Taylor)
This is a continuation of suggestions/recommendations focussed on domestic-style sitcoms.
Being April - stars Pauline Quirke as a single-mother with a bunch of children by different fathers. What gives this an interesting twist is that each of the fathers tries to have a supportive relationship with both Pauline and his own child
Birds Of A Feather - two sisters, whose husbands are both in prison, try, unsuccessfully, to live a ‘normal’ life
Bless Me Father - Arthur Lowe plays a parish priest. It’s based on real-life experiences of the creator/writer. Charming and funny
Blessed - a greatly underrated show that lasted only a single season. Written and directed by Ben Elton and starring Ardal O’Hanlon (think Father Ted), this will have anyone who’s raised children laughing-out-loud. I highly recommend it
Bread - this is a classic series about a close-knit family in Liverpool. Father has left; Mother ‘rules’ the four boys and one girl, each with a distinct and individual personality. Written by Carla Lane
Butterflies - Another clever and sophisticated family sitcom written by Carla Lane. See Nicholas Lyndhurst as a teenager (before Only Fools And Horses)
Carrie And Barry - stars Neil Morrisey and written by Simon Nye (Men Behaving Badly; Is It Legal; and so many more) as a husband and wife. Really hard to describe what makes this show something special, except that the scripts are really funny and the acting matches
Coupling - comic misadventures of a group of couples. Sophisticated, clever and very funny
Dad - if you enjoyed Barbara, you’ll enjoy this. Think a male I Love Lucy
Dear John - this was later made as a series in the US, starring Judd Hirsh. I think the original is better. It’s about, John, a man whose wife has left him. He joins a singles-group. Of course, his co-members are eccentric and unusual, as is the group leader
Ever Decreasing Circles - Richard Briers plays a somewhat obsessive-compulsive man who, to his wife’s frustration, is always organizing and attempting to control all the activities in his neighborhood. Top notch acting and scripts
Executive Stress - Penelope Keith and Geoffrey Palmer (later, replaced by Peter Bowles). They’re married and work for the same publishing-firm but must keep the fact that their married a secret
Faith In The Future - Linda Bellingham and Julie Sawalha in the sequel to Second Thoughts
Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin - this is probably my favorite British comedy, a true classic. Traces the adventures of a man who becomes dissatisfied with the corporate world in which he’s been employed and tries make a difference. Written by David Nobbs (adapted from his books) and starring the late-great Leonard Rossiter. Don’t miss this one!!!
Fat Friends - the lives, interactions and ‘adventures’ of a group of people/families brought together solely by their desire to lose weight and their membership in a weight-loss group. Touching, clever, beautifully acted, funny, sad. It has it all
Fear, Stress, and Anger - a quirky domestic sitcom. Difficult to describe, but if you liked Barbara and/or Dad, you’ll like this. Stars Peter Davidson and Pippa Haywood