Mockmentary-style television has become the preferred method for edgy, self-aware sitcoms, and now the original mockumentarian is giving TV a try. Family Tree, a BBC/HBO co-production from Christopher Guest, creator of classics like This Is Spinal Tap and Best in Show, follows Chris O’Dowd as Tom Chadwick, a sweet but aimless 30-year-old who has been laid off from his job and dumped by his girlfriend.
When his great-aunt bequeaths him a trunk full of family knick-knacks, Tom becomes obsessed with tracing his lineage, with the help of a convenient antique-store-owning pal (Jim Piddock, who co-created the series with Guest), and despite the bumbling of his dim-witted best friend Pete [...]
Fans of Downton Abbey may be pleased to know that you can also catch Hugh Bonneville in another show — Twenty Twelve — on DVD starting this week. Bonneville stars alongside Spaced’s Jessica Hynes in the British mockumentary series which follows the committee responsible for planning last year's Summer Olympics in London. The DVD set contains both seasons of the satire for your satire-enjoying enjoyment.
If you were to make a chart of British influence upon the United States, a start at around 100 percent on the morning of Lexington and Concord would drift relentlessly towards the bottom right corner over time, except in one regard — television. From American Idol to The Office to Trading Spaces to Prime Suspect to America’s Got Talent to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, our appetite for concepts coined in London remains positively colonial.
As some sort of sop to national pride, these efforts are made over in our own image of course, with new performers, writers, and creators (occasional hold-over viceroys like Simon Cowell and Piers [...]
If you liked the above video, you are in luck because the BBC is going to be airing a new Jim Henson Company produced puppet program (or programme, to put it Britishly). English comedian Danny Baker will be running the show with the Henson team. Entitled No Strings Attached, the puppets apparently won't be able to move their likely string-based appendages or maybe they will. Considering that British people and Muppets are the two most adorably voiced things in the world, I think the kids are going to be all over this thing like kids watching a television show they like.
When Ricky Gervais announced last month that he was reviving his Office character David Brent for a new short film, it seemed like an iffy proposition that could tarnish the legacy of the classic show. But it turns out the 10-minute short, entitled "The Return of Brent," is actually pretty good. It picks up with Brent 10 years after The Office's Christmas special finale to find him working in a new career as a rap producer. The short aired on the BBC during Comic Relief's Red Nose Day Friday and is the first piece of original content to debut on Gervais's YouTube channel. Although Gervais reprised his [...]
Mel Brooks was the subject of this wildly funny BBC documentary, I Thought I Was Taller, that originally aired in 1981 and has now surfaced on the shores of YouTube. The doc was released to coincide with the premiere of The History of the World, Part I. Finally, we get to see what it's like when Mel Brooks watches one of his own movies. Check out the rest of the hour-long special, embedded after the jump:
Andy Samberg may be done with SNL, but that doesn't mean he'll stop appearing on your TV. At least if you live in the UK. He's signed on to star in the upcoming BBC Three series Cuckoo alongside Greg Davies, the Post reported today (the news actually came out a couple months ago but this was the first we'd heard of it). He'll play "an idle young man who marries a British girl," the overprotective father of which will be played by Davies. There's no word on when the show is set to premiere, but expect the sort of short, six-episode season that's the norm over [...]
Could Steve Carell be set to re-make a second popular British sitcom for American audiences? ABC is working on a US version of the BBC show Only Fools and Horses, to be written by Scrubs writers Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley. Steve Carell and Jason Biggs are rumored to be playing the lead roles, but you know what they say about rumors. (That they're always true and we're going to have another Office!)
Cuckoo, the BBC Three sitcom in which Andy Samberg plays an American hippie slacker who's the nightmare of his father-in-law, was the most popular new show on the network last year when it premiered. So it's not a huge surprise that it looks like it'll be returning for a second series later this year. It's not clear whether or not Samberg will return, but with British sitcoms generally having six-episode seasons, compared to 22 for their American counterparts, it would certainly be a much smaller commitment than playing a regular role on, say, Parks and Rec.
Jon Plowman, the BBC's former Head of Comedy, has been responsible for some of the most successful UK comedy series ever, including The Office, Absolutely Fabulous, and The Thick of It, but he told an audience at an arts show in Brighton last night that he regrets not producing Chris Morris's brilliant tabloid news satire Brass Eye, according to Chortle. The Brass Eye pilot was produced by BBC, but the company was worried over the legal risks of running the controversial show. Plus, Plowman revealed that he passed on an opportunity to work with a young Sacha Baron Cohen, explaining "I didn't know who he was at [...]
High concept experimental episode time! This week Tom spends 20 minutes trying to explain 50 years of Doctor Who lore to Tim, someone who does not know or care about Doctor Who in the least.
After Tim's insistence that Doctor Who is really just Quantum Leap with an attractive redhead, Tom bets Tim that if he watches three hand selected episodes of Doctor Who ("Blink," "The 11th Hour," and "Victory of the Daleks") he'd be bound to like it. We then hop in the TARDIS and travel 4 days into the future to see if it worked. Will he succumb? Well we're certainly not going to tell you here, [...]
The kindly Brits over at the BBC have decided to make an American version of their longtime news quiz satire show The News Quiz, called The News Quiz USA With Lewis Black. The pilot episode, which will be taped one week from today in New York, will feature comedians Andy Borowitz, Kathleen Madigan and Ted Alexandro chattin' about the news. Keep your fingers crossed for the pilot to succeed so that the show can be sold to US radio markets! Unless you hate good things. Then you can do whatever you want with your goddamned fingers. I don't care.
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