Few shows have been as iconic in British comedy as Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder. With its witty humour and satirical view on the politics of the time, the viewer is transported to several historical points in British power. There, we follow the Blackadder family, a bloodline forever destined to become number 2 in everything they try to achieve. Running for four seasons and ending in the late 1980s, the show leaves the audience wanting more. So, we have collected our favourite ten TV shows like Blackadder.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
This iconic British sketch comedy series is known for its surreal humour, absurdist sketches, and witty wordplay. Like Blackadder, Monty Python’s Flying Circus stars an ensemble cast that often plays multiple roles and is abound with historical references. Both shows have helped shape British comedy for decades.
Set in a quirky bookstore, this British sitcom follows the misadventures of Bernard Black, a grumpy and eccentric bookshop owner, and his only employee, Manny. Black Books, much like Blackadder, often takes a satirical turn and subverts the audience’s expectations. Both shows use a mastery of the English language to craft witty and clever wordplay that appeals to fans of quick-witted humour.
The Thick of It
A satirical political comedy series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the British government, filled with sharp dialogue and memorable characters. Just like Blackadder, The Thick of It has a focus on political satire, exposing the flaws in the political system they are satirizing through absurd humour. They also display this through absurd yet complex characters.
Created by John Cleese, this classic comedy series revolves around the eccentric and ill-tempered hotel manager Basil Fawlty and the comical chaos that ensues at his hotel. Fawlty Towers, like Blackadder, relies heavily on physical comedy. The former by its plentiful use of John Cleese’s slapstick and the latter with expert use of Rowan Atkinson’s comedic timing and physicality.
A British sitcom that humorously explores the workings of the British government through the interaction between a minister and his civil servant, filled with clever wordplay and political satire. Yes, Minister employs a heavy dose of political commentary, just like Blackadder, and neither show is afraid of stabbing towards the seats of power.
The IT Crowd
Set in the IT department of a fictional company, this British sitcom blends humour, geek culture, and absurd situations. It shares humorous subversions of expectations with Blackadder, setting up a cliché or stereotype only to turn it on its head. IT Crowd also make heavy use of pop culture references, though a bit more contemporary than those in Blackadder.
A political satire series featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Vice President-turned-President, navigating the comedic chaos of American politics. It’s one of the best TV shows like Blackadder because it’s not afraid to poke fun at the established political institutions, often calling the leadership incompetent, much like in Blackadder. It is also known for its quick-witted dialogue and memorable characters.
Archer is an animated series that follows the adventures of suave and sarcastic spy Sterling Archer, mixing clever humour with action-packed storylines. Archer is a successful and self-centred protagonist who often finds himself in ridiculous situations of his own making, just like Blackadder. Just like Blackadder, Archer is heavily reliant on the historical context of the setting it is in.
The Office (UK)
This mockumentary-style sitcom, created by Ricky Gervais, offers a hilarious and cringe-worthy look at the daily lives of office employees. Much like Blackadder, The Office satirize the workplace dynamics and exposes the absurdities that can happen in a professional setting. The Office is also filled to the brim with awkward and embarrassing moments.
Set on a remote Irish island, this sitcom revolves around the misadventures of three eccentric priests, delivering sharp humour and absurd situations. The biggest comparison to Blackadder is Father Ted’s iconic catchphrases. Both shows also critique the settings they are in through the use of absurd and farcical situations.
This have been 10 shows to fill that void left after finishing Blackadder. Do you agree with our list? Do you have any additions of TV shows like Blackadder you’d like to see? Comment below and let us know!