The greatest TV comedies of the decade so far

Friday, 1st June 2018, 12:22 pm
Updated Friday, 1st June 2018, 13:22 pm

Peter Kay's Car Share drew to a close this week, with an ending that was generally praised by fans and critics.

For enthusiasts, the show was one of the finest TV comedies of recent years. So popular, that a petition helped bring it back after season two had left the will-they-won't-they conundrum unanswered.

That said, the commuting comedy is far from the only humorous small screen saga to have inspired fanatical devotion in recent years.

As we found out when we asked members of our Screen Babble discussion group on Facebook. Here, according to them, are the greatest TV comedies of the decade so far.

Everyday heroes

From colleagues on their daily commute to endearing hobbyists obsessed with lost treasure, the past eight-and-a-half-years have been a heady time for the celebration of the common man and woman on screen.

Steve Wilkins is swift to praise the aforementioned Car Share. "Wonderfully understated... and then you get a proper laugh out loud moment every time. It will go down as one of the best comedy shows ever, alongside Fawlty Towers and The Office."

Car Share: a great to rival The Office? (Photo: BBC)

For Jane Fraser it was the ordinary trials and tribulations of a vicar in Rev that resonated. "Funny, sad, poignant, with excellent characters and actors - Tom Hollander, of course, Simon McBurney, wonderful as the venal bishop, and the incomparable Miles Jupp."

Martyn Foster, meanwhile, says the exploits of Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones as the Detectorists gets his vote. "I watched a full season in one night as I wanted to see 'what they got'."

"Yes to the Detectorists," agrees Jane Fraser. "So wonderfully understated I'd forgotten about it. Perhaps TV isn't as rubbish as I thought..."

Ben Williams argues Limmy's Show is "criminally underrated" - and claims it is "shocking it was never broadcast outside of Scotland".

Fortunately, the series is now available on Netflix UK.

A golden age of dark comedy?

The 'traditional' sitcom has fallen out of fashion in favour of more edgy, realistic comedies this decade. And we have arguably seen some of the best dark humour in small screen history. 'Dramedies' are all the rage.

Matthew Sutton hails Phoebe Waller-Bridge's cult, critically-acclaimed series Fleabag: "Vicious, raw, and emotional. Not enough comedies are like this."

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag (Photo: BBC)

For Gus White, it is Him & Her - starring Sarah Solemani and Russell Tovey as a very non-idealised 20-something couple - that shines as an especially fine example, with a story arc that was "tragic, joyous and bleak" all at once.

"[It has] the most wonderfully dark writing. So wonderfully self contained, with a lovely central couple around whom the madness and stupidity happens with all the rest of the characters. The cast are superb and... Stefan Golaszewski is just one of the best writers of comedy I've ever come across."

Pointing to  Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney's team-up as his own personal favourite, Sam Bagshaw sees Catastrophe as a stand-out complex show:"Funny, occasionally heartbreaking - and it has the late Carrie Fisher in it."

Irene Richie seconds Catastrophe, adding: "I was going to nominate 'Pulling' (another Sharon Horgan comedy) but the final episode actually aired in 2009 so it doesn't qualify. Where has time gone?!"

Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan star in Catastrophe (Photo: Channel 4)

In defence of The Big Bang Theory

While all of the previously highlighted shows hail from this side of the Atlantic, Chris Slinn is happy to stick up for colossal US export The Big Bang Theory.

The comedy about a group of hyper-intelligent but socially awkward scientists was derided as one of TV's most overrated shows by our Screen Babble members not long ago. But Slinn is heartfelt in his defence.

"As a geek, I felt it finally gave me a voice - and a funny one at that. Whilst (like all comedies) it plays to stereotypes, I feel that it usually makes nerds the creator of jokes, rather than always bring the punchline.

"I've hung around with nerds for well over a decade and someone once said that it was fun hanging out with us, but we were like '˜piranha' with each other. It's that level of nerd banter (between caring friends) that I love and find hilarious."

Matthew Sutton salutes another US comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which was reprieved from cancellation recently following a fan outcry. "Diverse, inclusive... lovable characters, nearly always funny, even when tackling subjects closer to home."

More comedies highlighted by Screen Babble:

AtlantaFriday Night DinnerRaised By WolvesEpisodesNot Going OutEastbound and DownPeep ShowCommunitySanta Clarita DietSilicon Valley

'¢ What's your favourite TV comedy of this decade? Have your say by joining Screen Babble on Facebook