I have just finished watching Inside No.9—it is brilliant! It’s a British black comedy series, written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, and each episode is a self-contained story, almost all starring one of them or both (usually both).
Ingenuous plots, clever twists, good dialogue, good attention to detail. Also, both Shearsmith and Pemberton have a great range.
Here are my 10 favourite episodes (in chronological order):
- A Quiet Night In: two hapless burglars trying to steal a (postmodernist?) painting whilst the couple in the house argue; almost entirely without dialogue.
- The Understudy: about a production of Macbeth, and inspired by Macbeth.
- The 12 Days of Christine: 12 days from 12 years of Christine’s life; great drama and emotion packed into just half an hour.
- The Bill: simple premise (four men arguing over a bill), simple location (for most of the episode, around a table); the entire plot driven by characters and dialogue.
- The Riddle of the Sphinx: one of the most ingenuous episodes in the series; revolving around a cryptic crossword.
- Zanzibar: a Shakespeare mash-up; the whole dialogue in iambic pentameter.
- Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room: double-act Cheese and Crackers reuniting after 30 years to perform in front of an audience.
- Once Removed: a removal man arriving to help a woman move house, leading to bizarre circumstances that unfold through reverse chronology; one of the cleverest episodes.
- Misdirection: a battle of wits between magicians, years after a stolen trick.
- Wuthering Heist: a heist film in the style of Commedia dell’arte and inspired by Reservoir Dogs.
- The Bones of St Nicholas: a professor camping in a church that is said to be haunted and contain the bones of St Nicholas.
All right, I know, that’s actually 11. But you can’t make me get rid of one.
One of my favourite jokes from Inside No.9:
- Jesus! What a blue-cock!
- What’s a blue-cock?
- A tight-fisted wanker.