Posted by: Paul | December 22, 2010

Paul’s Top TV of 2010 – Part One

Hello! If you’ve ever read these columns before, you’ll know I watch a lot of TV. I do go out sometimes, and occasionally do a bit of work, but…mostly it’s watching TV. So in the run up to Christmas, over the next three days I’m going to be doing my rather selective TV review of the year. I’ll start today with my top 5 comedies, do my top 5 dramas tomorrow and then on Christmas Eve it will be ‘Honourable Mentions’ for four shows I couldn’t quite fit into these lists but excelled all the same.

So, from one to five, Paul’s favourite comedies of the year were:

1. Rev
This was just an absolute joy. A study in how a sitcom should be written, performed and put together (no laugh track required), it was also empathetic, poignant and lots of other things that comedies should be but aren’t, and most importantly laugh-out-loud funny. Another series NOW please!

2. Peep Show
When an all-time great like Fawlty Towers or Spaced only runs to two series, Peep Show has absolutely no right to still be this funny way into it’s seventh. It’s even getting better with age – how do they do it, how?? Writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain are two of the funniest – and filthiest – minds on the planet, and Peep Show is a must-see annual event.

3. The Trip
From out of the blue came Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s postmodern experiment in self-effacement and deconstruction. Or, they went round posh restaurants in the North impersonating Michael Caine and Al Pacino, and coming up with ideas for costume dramas. Slightly odd in tone at first, but once you got onto it’s wavelength it was warm, funny and full of pathos.

4. Roger and Val Have Just Got In
Take a look at this list. You won’t find much slapstick or studio-shot sitcoms on it, because they’re a thing of the past. It’s all about pain now, comedy – and the king and queen of comedy from pain were Dawn French and Alfred Molina as Roger and Val, in a show which made you howl with laughter one minute and tears the next. Who knew that a simple two-hander, shot in near-realtime could prove such an emotional rollercoaster?

5. Vexed
Wasn’t sure which list to put this in since it’s strictly speaking a comedy-drama, but as it was the only program this year to make me fall off the sofa laughing, doubled over in pain (true), I’ve put it here. Vexed is a cop show without any cops. Toby Stephens and Lucy Punch are a brilliant double act, with Stephens playing the utter bastard you’ve always wanted him to, and getting them both into a lot of trouble at the same time. Daft, knockabout stuff, and very very funny indeed.

Tomorrow – top five dramas.

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