Last summer, I wrote about how I love British TV and their personalities and shows that have come here to grace us with their presence. Hell's Kitchen and So You Think You Can Dance? remain classics and I think are way better than some of their peers. HK is great because instead of having contested voted off by America, other insipid contestants, or a panel of washed up, so-called experts, they are voted off by Gordon Ramsay himself, whose wisdom knows no bounds. Yes, each week's "winning team" (as determined by GR) nominates the contestants who most deserve to go home, but GR can and will completely disregard their nominations and send whomever home he wants to. And he'll do things like off to send a promising-but-not-ready chef to culinary school. It's too bad the contestants are pretty much all douches, but I'm looking forward to fall's Kitchen Nightmares, where I can get my GR fix without the dumb reality show premise. SYTYCD? (does it have a question mark? I don't know, it should, as well as an exclamation point) is not exactly a meaningful television experience, but it's way better than American Idol and more entertaining. This season brought the astounding robot stylings of Brian Gaynor and the brilliant improvised swing of Jamal Weaver (sorry I couldn't find just the swing part, but it's worth watching it all). Plus, hostess Cat Deeley is a gentlewoman and a scholar.
But anyway, back to actual British shows. I've also alluded to Little Britain recently, which is hysterical and should be added to your Netflix queue. It's sort of hard to watch it all back to back, as many of the sketches are very repetitive, but it is quality stuff. I hear they are going to bring it here to HBO, a la Ali G, which could be either really great or really bad. Also recently, I watched the entire British Office series, which is two short seasons plus a special. I'd seen the first season before but ages ago and I didn't remember much of it. Without a doubt, Ricky Gervais is a comedy genius and it is great, but I'm going to come out and say it: I think the American Office is better. While I realize much of the first season of the American version was ripped off from the original show (jokes, characters, and plotlines), I think the American version has grown into something in its own right that is amazing. Last season's finale was one of the best of any show I've seen: drama! romance! intrigue! surprises! The Pam-Jim romance is more nuanced and tragic than the Dawn-Tim romance, though that got me too in the original series. Not to mention the developing drama of Michael and Jan, or Dwight and Angela. I think it's the minor characters like Kelly and Creed that make it awesome. The Creed Thoughts blog is maybe the funniest thing ever. I can't even read it in public, it's so funny. I see that there have been many updates to the blog since I've last seen it, I think I know what I'll be doing for the next few hours!
So, I've said it, it may be unpopular or even sacrilege to spurn the original show, but I think I prefer Scranton to Slough.