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“black books” … very funny.

October 20, 2013

British TV program. One of the funniest I’ve ever seen.  Main character is named Bernard Black. He’s a misanthropic owner of a tiny used book shop. He constantly smokes, guzzles wine and is rude to people. His assistant is a short, bearded, friendly but stupid man, named Manny. Bernard’s best friend, Fran, is a slightly strange woman who owns a gift shop next door. Lots of craziness. Fans of “Fawlty Towers” will quite like this program. Lots of shouting. Excellent script. Only two problems I have with the show.. 1. there is a laugh track. I HATE that. 2. There were only three seasons made, as far as I know.

There are some episodes on youtube you can watch for free. The show is also on Netflix.

You wanna laugh? Enjoy British programming and original characters? Watch this show.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2013 2:55 PM

    Yes, Back Books is a great show – three series, as you say. I like the surreal nature of happening that is interwoven into what could have been just another standard sitcom. There are some nice cameos from other sitcom stars, including an appearance by co-writer Graham Linehan (who always turns up incognito in an episode of each show he makes).

    Have you seen any of Dylan Moran’s stand-up? I think you would recognise a lot of Bernard. I find Bill Bailey absolutely hilarious -he does fab solo shows with musical parodies & great tales (he’s made me laugh so much I ached afterwards) & also appears on a lot of panel shows (such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks & QI) which are very good, if you ever get the chance to view them. A lot are out as audio recordings too.

    If you enjoyed Black Books, you might also like some of Graham Linehan’s other shows: Father Ted (three inept Catholic priests on remote Craggy Island); & the IT Crowd (about an IT department stuck down in the company’s basement & their – often surreal – adventures & mishaps). The latter has recently been remade for the States, retaining one of the main UK characters (Maurice Moss – Richard Ayoade),

    Tamsin Greig has appeared in a number of very different sitcoms – she’s currently playing a Jewish mother to two teenage sons in a show called Friday Night Dinner (about the Jewish tradition of having a family meal at the start of the Sabbath) – again very surreal & over the top at times, with another strong cast, should it ever get shown on PBS. Quite a contrast when you’re used to seeing her as Fran in Black Books!

    If you like Python, Fawlty Towers & Black Books, have you ever seen Blackadder? It’s a four-series historical sitcom based round successive generations of Edmund Blackadder (played superbly by Rowan Atkinson); he picks upon his hapless manservant, Baldrick (Tony Robinson). Other regulars include Hugh Laurie (as the dim Price Regent (series 3)& Lieutenant George (series 4) – not a bit like you’ll know him from House, which I think is his claim to fame in the US) & Stephen Fry (fantastically shouty & mad Duke of Wellington & Lord/General Melchett). Plenty of shouting, violence & very clever nods to historic facts. My favourite is series three (Regency England), followed by series two (Elizabethan times) & , further behind, series four (WWI trenches). I’m not over keen on the original series (Richard III period) but some folk rave about it. If you’ve not seen it & ever get the chance, give it a try!

    All the best.


  2. tomschronicles permalink
    October 25, 2013 12:57 AM

    I looked up Dylan Moran on youtube a few nights ago. I watched part of his show “What It Is.” He looked like he just stepped off the set of “Black Books,” and it seemed he was still in character too. I like his style of humor.

    I’ll try to find Bill Bailey on youtube as well. He’s hysterical as Manny.

    The IT Crowd is on Netflix. I’ll watch that pretty soon. I don’t know if Father Ted is on there. Black Adder is on there, if I remember correctly. I saw a few episodes of Black Adder years ago at a friend’s house. It was funny. I need to laugh more, so I’ll be watching that show.

    I’ve watched a few episodes of “Spaced.” You’ve probably seen that one. I like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I’ve seen all three of their films, and own two of them on DVD. “Spaced” isn’t nearly as funny as the Pegg/Frost movies though. “Shaun of the Dead” is a classic!

    I’m familiar with Fry and Laurie from watching Jeeves and Wooster. Fry shows up here and there. He played Microft (spelling?) Holmes in the second Sherlock Holmes movie featuring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock. I liked the second movie better than the first.

    Gosh.. Sherlock.. yeah.. watched the Benedict Cumberbatch version awhile ago, and liked it mostly. That guy is one of my favorite actors. Season three of Sherlock is supposed to be released.. within a few months?

    Lots of great programs coming out of Great Britain, that’s for sure.

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