It seems as though a few of our favourite TV comedies will be making a comeback this year, what with Arrested Development due back on May 26th, and The IT Crowd getting back together for one last huzzah. You've got to admit, you can't beat a cracking comedy, and with new offerings rather thin on the ground these days, we can't help but reflect upon some of the gems that TV has thrown our way over the years.
Of course, most of these beloved series have been banished to the backwaters of digital TV at this stage, but are actually readily available in their entirety on Netflix. Here are just ten of the best that the site has to offer:
Ah this takes us back. Ricky Mayall and Adrian Edmondson were a pair of rather crude and crazy lads who lived in a filthy flat in Hammersmith, London. Neither of 'em could keep a job and they had very little money, but still managed to churn out some incredibly cartoonish violence. Their juvenile antics garnered many a belly-laugh back in the day.
2. Black Adder
Before he was Mr Bean, Rowan Atkinson was making comedy throughout history as Edmund Blackadder. He was quite the devilish rogue, who chased women and money from the Dark Ages right the way through World War I. Still considered one of the best and most brilliant British comedie of all time, it's definitely worth a watch.
3. Black Books
Our own Dylan Moran made quite the name for himself in this Channel 4 comedy. He stars as misanthropic bookshop owner Bernard Black, who wakes up from a bender to discover, to his horror, that he's hired cheery Manny Bianco as a clerk. Bill Bailey was equally brilliant, and the show earned one or two BAFTAs along the way. If that's not a reason to give it a go, then I don't know what is...
4. Red Dwarf
Yes, that is Lloyd from Coronation Street, known to those of us who watched Red Dwarf back in the day as Dave, the last known human left in the entire universe. The classic comedy sees the lazy technician lost in deep space aboard the titular mining ship (try not to think Nero from Star Trek ok?) attempting to find his way back to earth with only a hologram of his dead crewmate and a feline life-form for company.
5. The Royle Family
Caroline Ahern and Craig Cash's smash hit comedy series follows the Royles, a working class family with far too much time on their hands. Sue Johnston and Ricky Tomlinson give a comedy masterclass as Barbra and Jim, who spend most of their time sitting in front of the telly. Have you had your tea yet? Then stick it on and watch this lot while you're at it...
6. Fawlty Towers
Oh Basil Fawlty. What a man. Scratch that, what an institution. The brawn (his wife Sybil was most definitely the brains of the operation) behind The Fawlty Towers Hotel, the err, jewel of the "English Riviera", he was forever walking himself into trouble. And of course, poor Manuel took all the slack. Featuring John Cleese at this finest, the classic comedy is one you'll happily sit down with of an evening.
7. The Thick of It
Armando Iannucci's comedy about life behind closed doors in government was a smash hit from day 1, with viewers tuning in to get a peek at life in the fictitious Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship. Think of it as a modern day British Bull Island, but without the whole sketch comedy thing. If you haven't come across Malcolm Tucker yet, then now's your chance. Peter Capaldi is at his best as Number 10's highly aggressive and domineering enforcer.
8. Father Ted
Ah sure lads, what can we say? Father Ted, the finest of Irish comedies, has only grown more popular with age. From Father Fintan Stack to kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse, and a very very very young Graham Norton, it's packed with comedic gems
9. Peep Show
When David Mitchell and Robert Webb first stumbled on to our TV screens as Jeremy and Mark, we weren't quite sure what to make of them. The whole camera in the face thing was a little disconcerting if we do say so ourselves, but as the series progressed we came to love the lads and their very different views of the world.
10. The Office
Who'd have thought one of the most successful comedy series of all time could come from the offices of a dysnfunctional paper company? David Brent and co were followed about by a camera crew, who captured each and ever cringe-worthy moment of their day to day working lives on camera. We've only got three words for you, three words: Tim and Dawn.
Last but by no means least is Arrested Development. Due to return later this month, this is the comedy series that, in just three seasons, managed to build up a following that hasn't even remotely waned over the past seven years. The wealthy Bluths lost everything, leaving their son to hold it all together. Find out how it happened, right from the start, before catching the new series on May 26th.
Catch all of the above and more on Netflix UK & Ireland.