Veep: 2012 – Ongoing
Created by: Armando Iannucci
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Matt Walsh
This very nearly made the original one hundred list. Unfortunately I replaced it for two reasons. The first reason was I had forgotten about the immensely brilliant Channel 4 comedy, Black Books (2000 – 2004). If you haven’t given that a watch, read my article all about it. The second reason was a much better reason than the first. Quite simply, I hadn’t watched enough of the show for me to feel comfortable placing it on the list. Sure, I’d watched the first season, but that most certainly wasn’t enough for me.
So now, after a long awaited absence, I can finally put Veep on my extended list of the best one hundred television shows. The problem with a list of that size is, quite simply, I haven’t seen every bit of television. It really should have been an open ended list, but I digress.
Veep comes from the mind of Armando Iannucci, a man whose name I fail to spell almost all of the time. You may know him from such works as The Thick of It (2005 – 2012) and that’s all you need to know. Think about it like this, if you liked The Thick of It, you’ll like Veep. That’s the most basic way of putting it, and it’s accurate as well.
In all honesty, Veep is just an American version of The Thick of It. That’s the best way to describe this show. However, although it is made by the same person, it most certainly has some major differences. For starters, the way the show is shot is much different to that of its BBC predecessor. Think of Parks and Recreation and The Office. It’s basically those two shows without the talking head segments.
Maybe it’s because I enjoy writing and listening to everything political. That’s probably my excuse for liking Veep so much. Political comedy nowadays is just satire, there’s nothing like Veep kicking around as far as I’m aware. Especially in Britain. Yes, Prime Minister, Spitting Image and The Thick of It have all ended many years ago. As have the American counterparts, Parks and Recreation and The Colbert Report have ended also.
Where will I find a good political comedy? So far Veep most certainly has me covered. Most other political comedies don’t go inside of the Oval Office. Neither does this one, as it follows the Vice President of the United States on her day to day business. Of course it’s not as simple as that and hilarity ensues at the most basic of turns.
It’s very difficult to make seven seasons and have the characters develop through only comedic instances. Surprisingly it works exceptionally well, and there are a few great guest stars along the way. Most notably is Hugh Laurie, who plays Tom James. I won’t go into the details of his character, because it truly does need to be experienced first hand.
You may definitely recognise some of the main cast members. Most notably is Julia Louis-Dreyfus who starred in Seinfeld (1989 – 1998), Curb Your Enthusiasm (1999 – Ongoing) and A Bug’s Life (1998). Of course, other characters are played by some fairly high profile actors, but Louis-Dreyfus is quite possibly the best well known out of them all.
A word that could be used to describe this show is frustrating. Not in the sense that it’s frustrating to watch, but the frustrations of the character are easily recognisable. The Vice President has to deal with regular people, who know nothing about anything. It’s quite hilarious as to how much goes wrong in that regard, and it’s where the show gets its charm from.
Where to buy
Because this is such a high profile show, you can purchase it pretty much anywhere. Amazon has the series one to five boxset, as does HMV for those that like going outside to actual shops. If you’re taking advantage of Sky Box Sets you can watch every episode on there.
I’m not condoning it, but I’m fairly certain googling the show itself will come up with the episodes in HD too. That’s not a prompt for you to watch it like that, I’m just saying it’s there.