Best TV Shows Ever: #19- Black Books
Black Books narrowly fought out competition from The IT Crowd and Father Ted, both created and written by the genius Irish comic Graham Linehan, for it’s spot on this list, but this is the show that deserves to be here.
I suppose I’m biased to an extent- after all, the show does revolve around a wine-drinking, chain-smoking, bookshop-owning cynic who may or may not have been retrospectively been based on me- but judging by the amount of times my best friend yells “WHERE ARE THE TURRETS? IT’S RUBBISH!” at me when I pour her some wine, I don’t think I’m the only one. One of the things I like so much about it is it’s complete refusal to be anything other than a totally cynical, black-hearted, and very funny comedy. There are no lessons learned, no friends made, no walls broken down- just a trio of sour, often cruel humans (played to perfection by Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, and the inimitable Tamsin Greig) bringing pain and suffering down on the heads of those who dare cross their paths.
It’s packed full of the typical Linehan absurdity- coats decorated with accounts, Bill Bailey spontaneously learning to play jazz piano with the spoons, Dylan Moran earnestly whispering “She thinks I’m a reclusive genius! Think how annoyed she’ll be when she finds out I’m just a reclusive wanker!”- and that’s what makes it so memorable. There are only eighteen episodes in total, and they are all a howlingly funny salute to professional cynicism and the complete rejection of anything that might disrupt the status quo. I’ll drink (an entire bottle of wine) to that.
Watch If: When asked to describe yourself, you can’t choose between “angry” and “clever”.
Stick Around Till: The restaurant episode. I wept. I still do.