First of all, a quick disclaimer. I LOVE all of these shows, so be prepared for a very gushing and hyperbolic post to follow. But I love them all because they’re brilliant. Really brilliant, and well worth catching up on (luckily they’re all available on iPlayer and 4OD.) If you need a dissertation break, or you just need cheering up, try watching one – or all – of these.
This Country, on BBC Three, has become one of my all time favourite comedies. The premise doesn’t sound like much: it’s a mockumentary following the lives of two teenagers, Kerry and Kurtan, in their small rural village. Admittedly, not an awful lot happens (aside from scarecrow festivals, ‘plumming’ attacks, and failed attempts at romance.) However, part of what makes This Country so damn effective is its simplicity. Real-life sibling duo Daisy May and Charlie Cooper give unnervingly convincing, hilarious, and at times touching performances, with an on-screen chemistry that makes for seriously entertaining viewing. The recurring characters, too, such as the vicar and local boy ‘Slugs,’ could have come straight from any village in Britain. This Country has made me genuinely laugh out loud in every episode thanks to the cast’s nuanced performances and the fantastic attention to detail. I cannot recommend it highly enough – especially if, like me, you are well acquainted with the trials and tribulations (and sheer boringness) of growing up in a village.
Watch if you enjoy: The Office, Parks & Rec, Summer Heights High
Summed up in two words: Hilarious, accurate
Now in its third series, Catastrophe is as good as ever. Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney are forces to be reckoned with, having written and starred in one of the best comedies of recent years. Catastrophe is an antidote to sitcoms like My Family, in that its characters are likeable, funny, and relatable. We now find Rob and Sharon with a toddler, a young baby, and a marriage hanging by the threads (after Sharon may or may not have slept with a young guy from an indie band.) Perhaps not aimed at a university age group (who are probably not familiar with marriage or kids,) Catastrophe is nonetheless a must-see, and has set the sights exceedingly high for any future British sitcoms. Horgan and Delaney have a sizzling, sexy chemistry and the late Carrie Fisher’s cameos as Rob’s mum are a delight. I implore you to watch the previous series on 4OD – you won’t regret doing so.
Watch if you enjoy: I’m struggling to compare Catastrophe with anything else, because it’s just so much better than any other sitcoms out there. So watch if you enjoy laughing.
Summed up in two words: Relatable, naughty
Finally, Inside No. 9 is an absolute treat. The show is very dark, whilst also being very funny and very clever. Its writers and stars, Reece Sheersmith and Steve Pemberton, have created a truly unique style of comedy: it makes you feel uneasy, confused, claustrophobic, but all the time leaves you wanting more. I can highly recommend watching Episode 3 of the current (third) series on iPlayer. It has so many twists and turns throughout the episode, but has an ending that still manages to be truly shocking. This episode encapsulates the tone of Inside No. 9 perfectly: dark, uncomfortable, clever and unlike anything else on TV at the moment. I realise this ‘review’ has turned into a list of adjectives, but it’s hard to describe a show that has such a paradoxical and thought-provoking style of comedy. Just watch Episode 3: if you enjoy this one, you’ll love the others.
Watch if you enjoy: Brass Eye, Getting On, Sherlock (it’s got a similar dark/clever/funny tone)
Summed up in two words: Weird, wonderful