Comedy

Category:Comedy

Five Instances Where US Remakes of British Shows Weren’t Such a Bad Idea

In case you haven’t heard the news, fan favorite Doc Martin is being adapted for American television.  Believe me. I can imagine your collective grumbling and indignant protests as I write this post.

I guess we’re supposed to feel hope for this venture because the project is in the hands of Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators of Friends. We know she can write a phenomenally popular American sitcom. Unfortunately that doesn’t convince me that she can achieve the elusive feat of turning a quintessentially quirky British dramedy into something typical US viewers will embrace. (You and I are not in the aforementioned demographic, by the way.)

Every time I turn on my computer these days it seems that a pilot has been commissioned by Hollywood execs in hopes that it will translate to big ratings just because it’s been successful in the UK. If this scenario sounds familiar it may be because the Showtime series Episodes mocks this very trend.

Category:Comedy

An American Version of ‘Doc Martin’ is Apparently Happening

For some reason, American networks can’t seem to get enough of making their own versions of popular British programs. Recent examples include FOX’s Broadchurch remake Gracepoint,  HBO’s Getting On, MTV’s attempts at re-doing The Inbetweeners and Skins, and several others. A US version of The IT Crowd was rumored to be happening for the longest time.  An American Luther is in the works, apparently.

So, it probably shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise that someone’s finally decided to take a swing at one of the most popular Britcoms on-air currently.  But, it’s official: Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators behind mega-hit US sitcom Friends has decided to have a go at making an American version of Doc Martin, the British hit that chronicles the adventures of a curmudgeonly London doctor who sets up a practice in the quaint and quirky small town of Portwenn.

Yes, really. That wasn’t a typo. An American Doc Martin could legitimately be a thing on our TV screens within the next year or so. 

Category:Comedy

Get Your First Look at ‘Vicious’ Season 2

The highly anticipated second season of Vicious, the ITV sitcom which stars acting legends Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi as a bickering, co-dependent gay couple, is almost upon us. It seems like we’ve been waiting for this forever, which in some ways, we have, since Series 2 was commissioned in September 2013 and the first season originally aired here in the US last summer. So, yeah, bring on new episodes! We are sooo ready for them

The second season will once again be comprised of six half-hour episodes. McKellen and Jacobi are both returning (obviously) as the titular “vicious” couple, along with regular cast members Frances de la Tour (as Stuart and Freddie’s BFF Violet) and Iwan Rheon (as Ash, their younger upstairs neighbor). 

Category:Comedy

Filming Begins on ‘Doc Martin’ Season 7

It’s official – Doc Martin Season 7 is coming! To be fair, we all sort of assumed this to be the case already – either through just general fannish intuition, blind hope or the fact that star Martin Clunes offhandedly referenced heading back to Cornwall to start production in a recent interview.

At any rate, it’s at least nice to have official confirmation – straight from the horse’s mouth as it were.  ITV has officially announced the start of filming on Season 7, along with a few choice details about with the future has in store for the residents of Portwenn next year. 

Category:Comedy

Retirement Is a Laughing Matter (on British Telly)

Whether you call them senior citizens, retirees or OAPs (old age pensioners), people of advanced age certainly have a sizable presence in British entertainment. Popular series such as Last Tango in Halifax, Vicious, The Old Guys and Boomers feature seniors as main characters, not just someone’s colorful grandfather or an eccentric old auntie to provide a laugh or wise word when called upon.

Think back to 2011’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel wherein a group of British retirees make the trek to India to live out their golden years. Their reasons may have varied –the warmer climate, cheaper cost of living, an opportunity to reconnect with the past and as a means for getting a needed operation much sooner – but they all found a sense of community.  The success of this film is a prime example of the bankability of stories focused on elderly characters and their concerns.

This showcase of British acting legends was so popular that a follow-up, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, was just released. With a cast of respected and award winning veterans who range in age from 62 (Celia Imrie) to 80 (Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench), this highly anticipated sequel demonstrates that there is a significant audience for stories that don’t involve perfectly pert bodies, martial arts fighting sequences or pyrotechnics.

That’s not to say that aging is a cozy, gentle process. Ask anyone who’s approaching AARP membership eligibility (that includes me) and they’ll tell you there’s nothing easy about getting old or about adjusting to retirement. Fortunately, British telly strives to makes us laugh at an issue we all have to face sooner or later.

Category:Comedy

The Third Season of ‘Moone Boy’ is Happening

Some of you probably already knew that quirky comedy series Moone Boy would be returning for a third season  - but just in case you didn’t, rejoice, because it’s totally happening! UK cable network Sky 1 has released the trailer for the next installment of the popular series, which is scheduled to get underway in the UK this March.

Developed from one of Sky's Little Crackers comedy shorts, the Chris O'Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy-written series tells the story of loveable lad Martin Moone, and his travails growing up in late eighties/early nineties Ireland with a houseful of sisters and an imaginary friend (played by O'Dowd himself).  The show features a many great guest stars, super cute animated sequences and a whole lot of heart, served with a heaping dose of painfully awkward secondary embarrassment.

In short: It’s so much fun.

Category:Comedy

So ‘Doc Martin’ Season 7 is Apparently a Go

Despite the fact that no one seems to have officially announced anything about a seventh season of megapopular comedy series Doc Martin being a thing that’s happening, well: it actually really looks like it’s a thing that is happening.

This news undoubtedly comes as a welcome relief to fans, who’d previously been led to believe that the Britcom’s sixth season could be its last, but then, following the conclusion of this most recent outing, there was basically global radio silence about the whole thing. Until now.

Category:Comedy

Watch: Martin Freeman in Middle Earth’s Answer to ‘The Office’

Hi gang! I’ve been on vacation for the past week – so if you noticed that the blog was dark over this time, that’s why – and now that I’m back catching up it seems like a lot happened during the past few days!

Clearly the best thing that I missed out on – and it’s so good I’m not even upset that I’m writing about it so late – is the fact that Sherlock star Martin Freeman hosted the iconic Saturday Night Live last weekend.  While I haven’t managed to watch the entire episode yet – though I hear from various corners of the internet that the whole thing was actually good, something of a rarity during the past few years of SNL – I did catch the standout moment that resulted when the worlds of two of Freeman’s biggest hits collided.

The Office: Middle Earth imagines what life might be like for Bilbo Baggins following the conclusion of his quest in The Hobbit. It turns out that life looks a lot like the iconic  British sitcom The Office, which also starred Freeman as loveable everyman Tim way back when. Only this time, there are definitely more orcs. 

Category:Comedy

Saying Goodbye to 'Miranda': A Look Back

It’s official. Miranda Hart has announced that after a three series run, her what- I –call successful sitcom Miranda will be coming to a close. The comedienne revealed her plans on BBC Radio 2 with this statement. "So I'm doing two Christmas specials, but they are going to be the finale of the show, full stop." 

It’s hard to believe that this sitcom debuted in the UK five years ago since it seems only yesterday I found my first Miranda episodes on YouTube. I’ve been a fan ever since. Here was a woman who could make fun of herself on so many levels including her size, her social awkwardness, and her upper middle class upbringing. I immediately identified with her humor - so much so that I bought the entire series on DVD even though it was only available on Region 2 which means I had to invest in a “multi-region” DVD player. I’ve even had Miranda viewing parties with my friends. Éclairs and wine were served. I think Ms. Hart would approve.

From the moment she invited us into the joke shop she bought with her sizeable inheritance, we knew that Miranda was a woman who marched to a different drummer. Her kooky sense of fun made us want to join right in.

Miranda’s supporting cast of memorable characters deserves their fair share of the kudos too of course. Let’s face it, without Miranda’s overbearing mother, Penny (Patricia Hodge); Stevie (Sarah Hadland), Miranda’s childhood friend and store manager; Tilly (Sally Phillips), Miranda’s boarding school chum and friendly nemesis; and the lovely Gary (Tom Ellis), Miranda’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, our heroine would just be a rather tall woman who loves to gallop and falls down a lot.

There will be so many things to miss when Miranda and company say their goodbyes at Christmas. Let’s revisit a few of the elements that make this sitcom so enjoyable.

Category:Comedy

A US Remake of ‘The IT Crowd’ in the Works For Some Reason

For some reason that I will never understand, American television networks seem to regularly go through this weird phase where they think ratings success is waiting for them just around the corner….if only they can find the perfect British TV show to remake for their primetime schedule.

Yes, this keeps happening, year in and year out – FOX’s new Thursday drama for this season is called Gracepoint and is a remake of the British hit Broadchurch – and it doesn’t matter seem to matter how many of these US spins on British series don’t do well in the ratings (US versions of Coupling and Skins), or never even make it out of the pilot stage, come to that (looking at you, recent US attempts at Gavin and Stacey and Only Fools and Horses). The networks are going to keep swinging anyway – chasing the elusive magic that makes particular British series popular among American audiences.

Next in line for the remake treatment? Popular Channel 4 comedy series The IT Crowd. Yes, sadly, according to Deadline, someone at NBC seems to think that creating American versions of Moss, Roy and Jen is a great idea, so much so that they’ve given this new series a put pilot commitment, meaning that the revival will air, at least in some limited capacity. 

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