2022 has been a solid year for American comedy series so far, with new hits including severance pay and Someone somewherein addition to the return of beloved shows such as The wonderful Mrs. Maisel and russian doll. On the other side of the pond, the shows on offer may be even better. rom-com heart stopper was a great success, Derry Girls came to a graceful end and the family sitcom Here we go looks set to be a future classic.
Indeed, the best new British comedies span a range of subgenres, from screwball romances to coming-of-age dramas to 1960s horror films. In other words, British comedy fans have a lot to do. So turn on the kettle, turn on the television and get ready to laugh.
Derry Girls tells the life of a group of teenage girls in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, during the final years of the Troubles. Set against a backdrop of political turmoil and social tensions, their stories weave in archival footage of real events. While not afraid to deal with difficult themes, the show remains charming and fun all the way through.
The main characters are all eccentric in unique ways, from eccentric Orla (Louisa Harland) to the neurotic Clare (Nicholas Coughlan) to attention seeker Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson). In addition, the show is a masterclass in 90s nostalgia. It lovingly recreates the music, fashion and slang of that decade. After the first two seasons set a high bar, the third struck a delicate balance between absurd comedy and real emotion. As one of the main characters would say: absolutely cracker.
‘Here we go’
This BBC sitcom follows the quirky Jessop family as they stumble from one set of shenanigans to the next, all shown from the perspective of son Sam’s (Jack Christou) video camera. While the premise isn’t particularly new, the show succeeds thanks to the cast’s great performances. With subtle gestures and furtive glances at the camera, they communicate the hidden frustrations that bubble beneath the surface.
Unemployed father is played by Jim Howickwho also appeared in Ghosts and Sex education. Tom Basdenperhaps most famous for his role in Ricky Gervais‘s after life, plays the cycling-obsessed brother-in-law Robin. (Basden also writes the series.) But mostly the scenes are stolen by Katherine Parkinson who plays the mother of the family, Rachel. Since then, she has delivered knockout performance after knockout performance The IT crowdand here’s her comedic chops on display again.
starstruck is a rom-com created by the New Zealand comedian Rose Matafeo. Matafeo stars as a young woman living in London who has a one-night stand with a man (Nikesh Patel) she later learns is a famous actor. Drama and awkwardness soon follow.
The show puts a new spin on classic screwball comedy tropes and updates them for the social media age. Matafeo’s natural look is an important part of its charm. She is instantly recognizable as a conflicted twenty-something Jessie. Matafeo has played great supporting roles in shows like Dead pixelsand was always hilarious as a participant on task masterbut here she shines.
the outlaws is a crime comedy co-created by a gang member turned filmmaker Elgin James and Stephen Merchant, a veteran of British comedy. Merchant worked with Ricky Gervais on the British Office and Extrasand most recently played the real-life serial killer Stephen Port in Four lives.
the outlaws revolves around a group of criminals who are forced to do community service together. But things get more complicated when they discover a bag of money and the real owners come to collect it. Merchant stars, along with Christopher Walkenwho, as usual, delivers a strange and excellent performance.
‘This is going to hurt’
This is going to hurt explores the lives of staff in a busy maternity ward as they struggle with burnout, difficult patients and a chronic lack of resources. It is based on a memoir of a former doctor Adam Kay, recounting his years working for the National Health Service. the stars Ben Whishawmost famous for his role as Q in James Bond and for voicing Paddington Bear.
The dialogues are sharply witty and the storylines are often bleak. Much of the drama revolves around a fateful mistake Kay makes when diagnosing a patient, as well as his strained relationship with his mother (Harriet Walter). Ambika Mode also takes a serious turn when a trainee doctor is terrified of her upcoming exams. Taken together, This is going to hurt is a candid look at the unglamorous (and sometimes downright dysfunctional) side of the healthcare system.
Tinseltown toast is ‘s new show Matt Berrywhom many readers will know as the vampire Laszlo in What we do in the shade. Tinseltown toast is a spin-off of Toast of London, which follows eccentric actor Steven Toast. Despite his best efforts, his career fails and he is forced to place ads for cigarettes and laxatives to make ends meet. In the latest version, Toast heads to Hollywood in search of the fame he believes he deserves.
Tinseltown toast isn’t as easily likable as some of Berry’s other shows, but his performance is once again top notch. He nails the absurdity of the self-aggrandizing and emotionally unstable Toast. In the new season he will be supported by SNL alum Fred Armisen and a beautiful cameo from Larry David.
Located in the port city of Hull, Hullraisers follows struggling actress Toni (Leah Brotherhead), her sister Paula (Sinead Matthews), and her friend Rana (Taj Atwali). It is a remake of the Israeli show little mommy, but with a very local British feel.
The show is quite formal, but is elevated by a witty script by Lucy Beaumontwho starred in the series Meet the Richardsons. It’s an entertaining look at three over 30s as they navigate work, kids, relationships and their unfulfilled dreams.
the witch finder
the witch finder is the latest series of the Gibbons brotherswhich also meet different Alan Partridge projects with Steve Coogan. the witch finder set in the 1600s, it follows a self-important witch finder (Tim Key) while transporting a suspected witch (Daisy May Cooper) across England to her trial. It’s a parody of horror movies like from 1968 Witchfinder General.
The show is commendable for its comedic take on rather obscure topics such as plagues, civil war, and superstitions. It does get cliché at times, but it works out in large part thanks to the great chemistry between Key and Cooper. Cooper’s character is blunt and no-nonsense; the perfect complement to the pompous Key. While the witch finder won’t appeal to everyone, comedy horror lovers should give it a try.
One of the most successful shows of the year so far is the coming-of-age romance heart stopper, about the relationship between two high school students. Recently released Charlie (Joe Locke) ends up next to rugby player Nick (Kit Connor), and soon develops feelings for him, starting a sweet teen drama with a lot of heart.
heart stopper is based on the webcomic and graphic novel by Alice Oseman, and it incorporates some of the comedic aesthetic of the source material. The lead cast gives moving performances, and the supporting cast – including Olivia Colman and a Stephen Fry cameo – are also solid. Indeed, heart stopper has been critically acclaimed and popular with the public, with 14.5 million hours viewed during its first week on Netflix.
Ten percent is a remake of the French show Call my agent. It follows a team of talent agents as they try to keep their business from going under, all the while managing the oversized egos of their celebrity clients. The cast is led by Jack Davenport (perhaps best known for the Steven Moffat comedy To link), next Lydia Leonard, Maggie Steed, and Jim Broadbent in a supporting role.
Ten percent skillfully moves the original French story to London and infuses the story with classic English humor. Perhaps the highlight is the performances of several actors playing heightened versions of themselves, especially Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter.
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