What do you think of the British sitcom landscape? Page 2

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Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Monday 21st December 2020, 12:27am
  • England
  • 18,802 posts
Quote: Sitcomfan64 @ 20th December 2020, 10:05 PM

You mean ignore Mrs Brown's Boys, arguably the most popular sitcom this century? Comedy is subjective but the viewing figures are undeniable.

Yes, but really?!? In the last 20 years? I think this one trick pony should have been put out to grass many moons ago.

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TonyT

  • Monday 21st December 2020, 6:07pm
  • Barnsley, England
  • 151 posts
Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ 21st December 2020, 12:27 AM

Yes, but really?!? In the last 20 years? I think this one trick pony should have been put out to grass many moons ago.

Now, why isn't there a 'like' option on this forum?

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Piggler

  • Monday 21st December 2020, 7:24pm [Edited]
  • 26 posts
Quote: Sitcomfan64 @ 20th December 2020, 10:05 PM

You mean ignore Mrs Brown's Boys, arguably the most popular sitcom this century? Comedy is subjective but the viewing figures are undeniable.

Yes, it's definitely popular. I was just making a (snobby) joke :-D

To be fair though, I do think some of its success lies in the lack of variety on modern television. For example, if fashions changed, resulting in only one quiz/talent show being shown on TV, and it was on prime-time BBC One...I imagine it would get a LOT of viewers. Even if it was just "alright," "decent" or even "pretty good."

Similarly, as Mrs Brown's Boys is basically the only studio sitcom on a mainstream TV channel, it will be watched by a large audience looking for studio sitcoms.

That's not to say that those watching Mrs Brown's Boys don't enjoy it! Of course they do, otherwise why would they watch it?

But they may well enjoy something else more, if there was anything else. There's no splitting of the viewing figures, so no way of viewing figures indicating how good the show is. There's no competition, so no need for something to be "great" to be popular. It pretty much just has to be at least "alright" and the best option out of one.

Of course, anyone reading this may think Mrs Brown's Boys is the holy grail of sitcoms. Who am I to judge? But there's no way of indicating how good it is through popularity.

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john tregorran

  • Monday 21st December 2020, 8:55pm
  • mornington,victoria, Australia
  • 1,913 posts

That's true.There's lots of very popular comedies I've avoided.Just because I didn't like them doesn't mean that they are no good.

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Firkin

  • Tuesday 22nd December 2020, 1:29pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 1,138 posts
Quote: Piggler @ 21st December 2020, 7:24 PM

Mrs Brown's Boys is basically the only studio sitcom on a mainstream TV channel

Agreed, Mrs Brown's Boys is a nod to old style sitcoms and it's popularity partly due to the lack of competition in that area. Dressing up as a woman is very two Ronnies. If it had to compete with Porridge for the first time (not the reboot), slightly adjusted to modern day or Rising Damp or OFAH etc... how popular would it be ? It looks on par with Bread imo, but not Porridge.

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jsg

  • Tuesday 22nd December 2020, 3:46pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 463 posts
Quote: Firkin @ 22nd December 2020, 1:29 PM

Agreed, Mrs Brown's Boys is a nod to old style sitcoms and it's popularity partly due to the lack of competition in that area. Dressing up as a woman is very two Ronnies. If it had to compete with Porridge for the first time (not the reboot), slightly adjusted to modern day or Rising Damp or OFAH etc... how popular would it be ? It looks on par with Bread imo, but not Porridge.

That's a bit harsh on Bread to be honest.

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Bob Carolvorderman

  • Tuesday 22nd December 2020, 6:03pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 130 posts

I honestly can't name a single sitcom made after 2010 that I have watched, it all seems like panel shows with the same rehashed luvvie guests with the same 'jokes' about Brexit, Trump, er, Brexit and erm... Trump

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 11:09am
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,829 posts
Quote: Lazzard @ 19th December 2020, 5:21 PM

I just don't think 'quality' writers see it as a medium for them any more.
And I think they're probably right.
I think the good sitcoms are often produced when you harness a better writer than the show deserves into a rather restrictive format. The writers constantly wishing they could do something with a little more heft - hence long running series inevitably drifting into more narrative, comedy/drama style (OHAH etc)
It's the sort of Butlin's end of things, where they see themselves swanning up the red carpet to pick up a Bafta.
I think the old, old comedies Dad's Army etc etc were written by a completely different breed of writer.
Gag writing teams, often as not moving across from radio. No ambitions for greater things, just happy to have a cushy job in the warm.
Different world now.

That television, and specifically sitcom, is dismissed as some kind of low-rent unworthy is a significant problem. Writers need to be more in tune with the public, not the dinner party set.

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Lazzard

  • Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 11:17am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 5,090 posts
Quote: Aaron @ 23rd December 2020, 11:09 AM

That television, and specifically sitcom, is dismissed as some kind of low-rent unworthy is a significant problem. Writers need to be more in tune with the public, not the dinner party set.

So why aren't the streaming services making sitcoms?
They only care about viewing figures - no snobbish-ness there.
And the last thing writers should do is try to second-guess the public.

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chipolata

  • Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 11:40am
  • England
  • 30,171 posts
Quote: Aaron @ 23rd December 2020, 11:09 AM

That television, and specifically sitcom, is dismissed as some kind of low-rent unworthy is a significant problem. Writers need to be more in tune with the public, not the dinner party set.

I think this reveals more about your own personal prejudices against the "dinner party set" than those of writers.

And I'm not sure the general public are that hungry for new sitcoms anymore. As a viewer I'm far more interested in getting the next Game of Thrones, Line of Duty or Black Mirror than the next Porridge or Only Fools and Horses. And I think that's reflected in the type of shows being produced.

The search for the next pure sitcom isn't the Holy Grail anymore. Maybe that will change, but I can't help but feel the Golden Age is dead and not coming back anytime soon.

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Firkin

  • Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 12:02pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 1,138 posts
Quote: chipolata @ 23rd December 2020, 11:40 AM

And I'm not sure the general public are that hungry for new sitcoms anymore...

Fair point, but there is still an appetite for comedy which is being fed via a proliferation of panel shows, youtube pranksters and stand up specials, which is due partly to cost. America still produces sketch shows and sitcoms and we don't so much, due to cost. America always had the bigger budgets. Modern Family, Arrested development and the Big Bang etc... have been huge hits. How much is driven by cost I wonder ?

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 12:30pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,829 posts
Quote: chipolata @ 23rd December 2020, 11:40 AM

I think this reveals more about your own personal prejudices against the "dinner party set" than those of writers.

And I'm not sure the general public are that hungry for new sitcoms anymore. As a viewer I'm far more interested in getting the next Game of Thrones, Line of Duty or Black Mirror than the next Porridge or Only Fools and Horses. And I think that's reflected in the type of shows being produced.

And I think that reveals more about you than the general public. ;-)

You're right, I am biased. But I also study viewing figures in depth, both of 'classic' comedies, and of modern shows, whether premiering or also in repeat, and there's a clear, sustained pattern that audiences still flock to traditional studio sitcoms when they are available.

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Lazzard

  • Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 1:01pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 5,090 posts
Quote: Firkin @ 23rd December 2020, 12:02 PM

How much is driven by cost I wonder ?

Quite a lot.
The Beeb particularly looks to re-coup costs vis international sales - hence it has one eye on that market.

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Piggler

  • Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 2:02pm [Edited]
  • 26 posts
Quote: chipolata @ 23rd December 2020, 11:40 AM

I'm not sure the general public are that hungry for new sitcoms anymore. As a viewer I'm far more interested in getting the next Game of Thrones, Line of Duty or Black Mirror than the next Porridge or Only Fools and Horses. And I think that's reflected in the type of shows being produced

Unfortunately for me, I personally have zero interest in Game of thrones, Line of Duty or Black Mirror!

I think that the type of shows produced is largely affected by fashion. (Your tastes fortunately align with what is currently fashionable, mine clearly do not!)

Understandably, if commisioners at Netflix think, "Ooh, wasn't Game of Thrones popular!" it would seem a bit daft to then buy Only Fools and Horses mark 2. Therefore, stuff is made similar to what is already popular.

However, making programmes the same as what is already popular, makes everything...the same. Therefore those looking for something different (like me, and it seems many others on here) are completely missed out. There's a whole market of people with unfashionable tastes to capitalise on!

However, fashion is circular, so we may see the return of the sitcom at some point when someone decides to make something "different." Then we'll have people saying "what happened to all the great shows like Game of Thrones?"

On a related note, does anyone else think TV is just generally a lot grimmer then it used to be? I'm in my early 20s, so perhaps have a somewhat inaccurate perspective of what things "used to be like." However, it seems like stuff on TV used to be a lot more upbeat!