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5 Shows like The Wrong Mans: Great Power, No Responsibility

Ciara Ruane itcherJames Corden and Matthew Baynton’s action comedy mini­series was a rare gem, blending genres and playing around with tropes is a satisfying and entertaining way. Here are some TV shows like ‘The Wrong Mans’ if you want both punches and punchlines. ~ Ciara Ruane

The Incorrect Grammar Is Annoying Me

The show is uniquely British in a brashly American genre and turns the seriousness of it and the lack of realism on its head.

These series similar to ‘The Wrong Mans’ do the same things with action, espionage and explosions.

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Shows Similar to ‘The Wrong Mans’…

‘Archer’ (Netflix, 2009- )

This animated spy comedy actually has very little to do with spying and a lot to do with office politics, family rivalries, relationship problems and highly irresponsible workplace behaviour. Of course there is a little espionage thrown in there for good measure.

This cult series has brilliantly outrageous characters who seem to care more about the jetset lifestyle of spying and one-upping their co-­workers than working for the safety of their nation. At the centre is Archer, a narcissistic and decadent head spy working under his domineering mother and using company expenses to visit casinos and impress women.

It’s a show that has both appeal as a thriller and an animated sitcom where anything goes, including petty office conflicts.

Make sure to also have a look at these other great tv series similar to ‘Archer’.

Similarity Match: 80%
It’s dirtier, ruder and more outrageous, but if you want another show that puts a comedic spin on the spy and action genres, look no further.

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‘No Offence’ (Channel 4, 2015-­ )

An investigation drama with a filthy sense of humour, this show has as much pitch perfect gallows humour as it does edge-­of-­your-­seat twists and turns. A run-down police station in Manchester investigates a disturbing string of murders along with other nasty crimes of the city’s underbelly.

This is a dark and hilarious show from the writer of ‘Shameless’, with an edgy wit and engrossing story including weekly investigations. The cast of tough female characters keeps the show as funny as it is gritty, and the title is appropriate given that the characters hold nothing back.

At the centre however is a serious and disturbing string of murders with a killer preying on vulnerable young women. There is a shocking twist and the end you won’t see coming, and the show has been commissioned for another series so take a look at this darkly comic rarity.

Similarity Match: 75%
It has a darker and much more grounded feel but it’s still a distinctly British comedy drama with thrills and humour.

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‘Daredevil’ (Netflix, 2015-­ )

More of a superhero drama with plenty of comedic moments thrown in, this Marvel show follows blind lawyer/superhero Matt Murdock as he parkours his way around Hell’s Kitchen NYC fighting for justice, all the while not seeing a damn thing.

There’s kick ass action here, as can be expected from a Marvel project and a critically acclaimed Netflix superhero show. However there’s plenty of humorous moments too, mostly thanks to the genuine bromance between Matt and lifelong friend/colleague Foggy. The show also takes a look at some of the more ridiculous and clichéd aspects of superheroism, such as secret identities and silly costumes.

Other tropes of the genre are subverted too, with male characters having weak moments and strong women turning them down and working independently. It’s a show where the vigilante plays damsel in distress to a feisty nurse, being hauled out of a dumpster and stitched up. Check it out before season two and Marvel’s upcoming ‘Jessica Jones’ series.

Similarity Match: 70%
This is more drama than comedy but there’s plenty of tinkering with genre tropes and comedy moments in there.

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If You Like ‘The Wrong Mans’, You Will Like…

What makes shows like ‘The Wrong Mans’ unique is their cross genre status as action comedy TV shows. If you want something without a directly action­y plot, check out these comedies.

‘Spaced’ (Channel 4, 1999­-2001)

There are zombies, shootouts and ‘Matrix’ riffs in this geeky sitcom, it’s just that most of them happen in the character’s heads. The first collaboration between Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright, this show was co­written by Pegg and Jessica Hynes.

Tim and Daisy are two twenty something Londoners who pretend to be a couple in order to rent a flat at late­ 90’s London prices. This would normally be a zany sitcom set up that causes numerous miscommunications and cover-ups. Here it’s merely a background detail, placing these characters under the same roof with their eccentric flatmates so they can debate ‘Star Wars’, have wrestling matches, fight over scrabble and fantasise about blasting armies of the undead.

It’s the original geek sitcom and it still holds up, an essential for fans of well-made British comedy.

It’s a straight sitcom with no direct action or chase scenes but there’s plenty of thrilling scenarios going on in the characters’ heads.

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‘Garth Marhengi’s Darkplace’ (Channel 4, 2004)

Matthew Holness’s pretentious author character Garth Marhengi wrote and produced a dire supernatural hospital drama and he takes it all extremely seriously. A comedy that makes the most of poor editing, cheap sets, bad special effects and a cast that thinks they’re geniuses working on a breakthrough horror show.

This surreal and self referential comedy takes the premise of an outlandish and poorly made drama involving demon summoning, ape-­men-­monsters and casual sexism and creates a hilarious and clever comedy.

Featuring “behind the scenes” interviews with top comedy actors as the big-­headed cast and crew, the characters are po-­faced and totally convinced that the world wasn’t ready for their dark masterpiece. The brilliantly realised Garth Marhengi introduces each episode, bigging up is creative efforts and plugging his pulp horror novels. It’s a cult hit worth discovering.

A far more surreal and experimental approach to action/comedy but one worth discovering.

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It’s All About to Blow Up…

Clichés of certain genres can become so ingrained that there is the perfect opportunity to exploit them for comedy.

What genre parodies are your favourites? Let us know in the comments.

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