Because I never used to watch Channel 4 very much, I missed out on most of Graham Linehan‘s TV shows, like Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd. The only sitcom of his that I had previously watched was Hippies, which was broadcast on BBC Two in 1999 – whilst I liked it, it was panned by critics and only ran for one series.
Anyway, back in March we started watching The IT Crowd, and have now bought and watched all four series – on DVD, as bizarrely it’s cheaper than buying them on iTunes and you get a physical copy to keep. It’s a great show that manages to tread the difficult line between keeping geeky people like me on side without alienating a wider audience.
Having watched all 24 episodes of The IT Crowd (a one-off special is due to be broadcast this year), we moved on to Black Books. Black Books is actually older than The IT Crowd, with series one broadcast in 2000, series two in 2002 and series three in 2004. We’ve just finished the first series and it does show its age a little.
That said, it’s still hilarious. The first episode requires a bit of perseverance as it takes time to set up the characters – especially Manny, played by Bill Bailey. But there are some real laugh out loud moments.
The one thing I have noticed is that the two series essentially have the same dynamic. Both have three main characters: a dysfunctional Irish man (Bernard/Roy), a geeky English man (Manny/Moss) and a single woman who has a series of unsuccessful dates (Fran/Jan). I suppose it’s a formula that works.
Like with The IT Crowd, buying Black Books on iTunes is expensive at £6 per series, totally £18. Instead I got all three series in a box set from a seller on play.com for about £9, on DVD. By contrast, Amazon are asking for about £11.
I suppose once we’ve finished the second and third series, we’ll have to move onto Father Ted. I own a free copy of a Christmas special thanks to an iTunes offer but haven’t watched any other episodes. Still, better late than never, eh?