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PBS To Air Six New Monty Python Specials 219

Posted by Zonk
from the pining-for-the-fjords dept.
Freshly Exhumed wrote to mention a PBS release with good news for BritCom Fans. The Public Broadcasting Service is planning to air six new Monty Python specials. From the article: "Each of the exclusive-to-PBS six one-hour programs will focus on one member of the original Monty Python troupe - Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones - and showcase favorite clips from the group's television series and movies, mixed with new footage. The five living Pythons - Cleese, Idle, Gilliam, Palin and Jones - will each produce and write their own episode, with the five collaborating on a sixth special to honor deceased member Chapman."
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PBS To Air Six New Monty Python Specials

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:18PM (#14771149) Homepage Journal

    Frist NI pr0st for the Knights who say "Ni"!

    Ni!

    Ni!

    Ni!
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:19PM (#14771154) Homepage
    With our powers of surprise, fear and...what was that other one?
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:20PM (#14771166) Homepage Journal
    "new material".

    Any chance to see former Monty Ptyhon members with their favourite bits hanging out, with new material added, is a good thing.

    Well, except for that dead guy - hope they don't trot out his moldy corpse, wire its jaw to a computer, and make him some kind of animatronic "I'm feeling better" kind of bit.

    That would bring me down just a tad.

    Care for a cup of tea? I hear Sartre's going to pop in today ...
    • Re:You had me at (Score:5, Informative)

      by ePhil_One (634771) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:28PM (#14771254) Journal
      Well, except for that dead guy - hope they don't trot out his moldy corpse, wire its jaw to a computer, and make him some kind of animatronic "I'm feeling better" kind of bit.

      In the past they had an urn on a chair which they claimed were his ashes. I don't recall if they had an animatronic lid or not.

      • Re:You had me at (Score:4, Informative)

        by rjmnz (165487) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:40PM (#14771375)
        John Cleese (IIRC) brought them in and placed the urn on a small table. Everyone greeted the urn as if Graeme was actually there. At the end there was an orchestrated dispute and the urn got knocked over spilling the ashes. It ended with the pythons scrabbling on the floor attempting to retrieve the "ashes".
        • The first time it happened it was semi for real. Eric Idle as a joke burnt toast and scrapped it for ashes. He told everyone it was Graham's ashes then proceeded to sneeze and blow the ashes all over the audience. Michael Palin thought it was really Graham at the time. This came from one of their personal assistents who is a friend. He later found out it was fake and was in on the later jokes.
      • by amliebsch (724858) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:42PM (#14771388) Journal
        Well, except for that dead guy

        He's not dead, he's pining for the fjords.

  • Nothing like a little fresh how's your father from the Ministry of Silly Walks.
  • w00t!
  • Oh yeah, I'm there. The marketing people have found yet another way to grab my money by repackaging the stuff I already have. Sort of. More or less. I'll still buy it. And now - for something completely different.
  • obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:21PM (#14771182)
    "I don't think there's a punch-line scheduled, is there?"
  • BBC? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by taskforce (866056) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:22PM (#14771188) Homepage
    That's interesting, one might expect them to be shown on the venerable BBC first? I wonder how PBS managed to secure a deal. I'd guess the Pythons have no contract with the BBC running, but still, I would expect it to be the first place they would go.

    Maybe PBS approached them?

    • Re:BBC? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:25PM (#14771218) Homepage Journal
      It makes sense. Apart from the movies from some ill-advised, heavily edited syndication on I think Comedy Central in the 90s, Python's US exposure has been on PBS.
      • Re:BBC? (Score:2, Informative)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613)
        It makes sense. Apart from the movies from some ill-advised, heavily edited syndication on I think Comedy Central in the 90s, Python's US exposure has been on PBS.

        I was first exposed to the Python when MTV aired episodes of Flying Circus, at midnight I think, in the mid-1980's. I seem to remember them being unedited and commercial-free, but I was a wee lad at the time so I may be wrong about that. But I'm CERTAIN it was MTV.
        • You remember correctly. I was amazed that they got away with full frontal nudity. I stayed up many a night, watching that when the others went to sleep.
      • I watched Python on MTV in the mid 80s. Uncut, commercial free. MTV used to rock.

        Python -> Young Ones -> Comic Strip Live. All commercial free.
    • Python is having a slight resurgence in the US with their "Spamalot" musical. This is probably the reason for PBS. The show doesn't open in London until October.
      • It's a sad part of the world where Python needs to go through a resurgence. One of my earliest memories is of my father reciting the Argument Room sketch. Their comedy is brilliant and timeless, even with Idle's somewhat shameless lifting of his old mates' material for a broadway show.
    • Audience Size? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:50PM (#14771466) Journal
      Well, Terry Gilliam [wikipedia.org] was born in Minnesota (the only member born outside the UK). I'm also from Minnesota and I haven't forgotten about his origins.

      Even though Python is known for being British Comedy, their films and shows are still purchased everywhere in the United States--they possibly have more sales in the United States than Britain just because of the population sizes. Perhaps they want to maximize exposure?

      I caught the Kids in the Hall on tour in Minneapolis once and it was packed, I was deafened by laughter. Whether you believe it or not, foreign comedy like Monty Python or The Kids in the Hall are greatly appreciated by Minnesotans. I assume it's similar in other places around the United States.
      • Re:Audience Size? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MightyMartian (840721)
        I think Kids in the Hall are very likely as close to Python as any comedy troupe has gotten since. They had a bit darker sense of the bizarre, but also really had no problem going in any ol' direction they pleased. For some very odd reason, publicly-owned networks like the BBC and CBC seem more likely to create this sort of comedy. Perhaps part of it is that because they get so much money from the state, they don't feel so reliant upon ratings and are a little more willing to give long-shots a chance to
        • by leoxx (992)
          The reason the CBC exists at all is to fund stuff like KITH that the purely commercial channels in Canada would NEVER take a risk on. If it were up to Global, CTV and CHUM, all they would show would be US shows or Canadian variations thereof (eg: Canadian Idol). The CBC is the only organization in Canada that actually takes real risks with Canadian produced shows.
          • The CBC occasionally gets the basic stuff right, as well - as an American who grew up blissfully close to the Canadian border (Detroit) and always had CBC included in basic cable, Hockey Night in Canada has been, and still is, the best sports program on television, hands down.

            I still can't believe the NHL has failed to get Don Cherry on American airwaves, but I digress...
        • Don't forget another great Canadian TV comedy ensemble: Second City TV.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:22PM (#14771189)
    This Chapman is no more.

    No no no. He's just asleep.
  • Their humor (Score:5, Funny)

    by propertechdotnet (932592) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:22PM (#14771197)
    Their humor is not dead. It's just pining for the fjords.
  • *sings* SPAM! Spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam! Spaaaaaaaam! *cough* Well, at least I didn't claim I wanted to be a lumberjack... '-)
  • by Starker_Kull (896770) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:24PM (#14771210)
    ...It is still amazing how well these shows have held up over 30+ years. Perhaps it is just sentimentality, but Monty Python is still one of the best comedy troupes, if not THE best, I have seen in my life.

    Are we getting less funny? Or is familiarity part of the enjoyment? Or are they really just uniquely brilliant?
    • Are we getting less funny?

      Prediction: It'll turn out that they've gotten less funny. (Except Cleese.)

      • I think Idle still has it to some extent, and certainly Gilliam is still a pretty amazing filmmaker (even his failures are spectacular). Jones doesn't seem to do a lot, though he did a rather fascinating show on the Crusades a few years ago. Palin's travel shows are quite funny, and I really enjoyed the Sahara series. Cleese is the one I actually find post-Python to be the most disappointing. I know that he, in particular, was far more interested in writing than in acting, but I think it's a little sad
        • Cleese is the one I actually find post-Python to be the most disappointing. I know that he, in particular, was far more interested in writing than in acting, but I think it's a little sad to see him doing almost self-parodying roles in Hollywood trash films.

          I would agree with this except for Faulty Towers. It's a pity they only made twelve episodes.

    • I'm in my 20s and not old enough to have watched the original Python series on TV. I recently found out there's a box set with all 4 seasons on DVD, so I've bought it. There's no reruns that I'm aware of in Canda (unless I get BBC?), in any event I'm still getting the set.

      British humour is unique and not everyone "gets" it. Its nice to see though that the material these guys did was really founding to the rest of TV comedy. Its all really good, classic, clean comedy.
  • It will be available on iTunes? Or do we have to put up with all the "please support your local PBS" spamalot?
  • I've heard its funny. Has anyoen seen it?
    • I saw it this weekend, and was disapointed. Maybe it was the $100 price-tag, or the fact that I had to wait 10 months for a decent seat, but it just wasn't that funny. A lot of it was just pieced together scenes from the movie with moderately funny interuptions. There were a few good, funny original songs .. but I noticed that when I was laughing like a lunatic the people next to me were quiet, and vice-versa. Some of my family thought it was superb, but I don't really count them as being die hard Python fa
    • We saw Spamalot the last week it was in Chicago at the Shubert(sp?) last year and it was pretty funny IMO!

      It was actually a good friend's birthday so we bought a block of tickets in the nosebleed section. We laughed our ass off while the rest of the audience kind of just sat there.

      It got so bad that we noticed that when the cast would do a good joke they'd glance up to see if we got it because they knew the rest of the crowd wasn't going to.

      My only regret was that while we had one of the stuffed fake de
  • I think I've already seen a set of Python DVDs by artist. How will this be different? Erudite commentary?
  • by mistermocha (670194) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:36PM (#14771322) Homepage
    ... which I hate do do, since I so much adore the Monty Python gang. Televised events of this nature seldom do well, and seldom excite me. An attempt to drudge up the past will only prove how far the mighty have fallen. We just might see ol' Graham "Wormy" Chapman on screen. Recently, I saw The Meaning of Life for the first time, and although parts were delightfully pleasing, I could tell that the quality of story was stepping aside for mere shock value, which is the dead end where all comic genius eventually comes to die. Part of what made the troupe so funny was that it was funny during their time. We see success from modern-day comedy troupes, such as Saturday Night Live, because they do their best to stay with the times. Context of creation period has a lot to do with the quality of the performance. (e.g., there's only so many Bill Clinton jokes that will fly nowadays). Trying to make Monty Python work for a modern era would be like trying to install vacuum tubes into a 939-pin socket... you'd have to have one hell of an adapter kit. That said, TiVo is armed and ready!
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:54PM (#14771506) Journal
      To be honest, by the time of the Meaning of Life, I think even they knew that the well was dry. My understanding was that after that, they pretty much split up, though they did make appearances on occasion in each other's projects. But Life of Brian is an astonishingly irreverent and blasphemous observation piece on organized religion which, to be quite honest with you, is more relevant right now than it was even then. The Holy Grail is pretty much a crossover classic, one of the great cult films which has earned its place among the funniest films ever made. The TV series, of course, wasn't always even (particularly after Cleese's departure), but those first three seasons are jaw-droppingly funny. These guys had no respect for anything at all, not even for their own real talents as writers. The thing I like the very most about Python was their absolute rejection of the sacred cow. Homosexual drill sergeants, the upper class portrayed as almost animalistically stupid, sketch routines that would just be cut off in midstream in violation of every notion of how to write that sort of comedy. Monty Python was to television what Sgt. Pepper was to records, and both were rare events where the lunatics were essentially given the run of the asylum and ended up producing some of the 20th centuries most extraordinary entertainments.

      Maybe the first season of Saturday Night Live came close, and certainly the individual talents of all the guys that came out of Second City have to be considered, in a slightly different, more North American fashion, to be the equals of the Pythons, but seeing a sweaty John Belushi lose his marbles, while funny, doesn't seem nearly as funny as seeing John Cleese go bananas and start shouting "DON'T MENTION THE WAR!" I think you'll find most of the guys from Second City and SNL will pretty much pay homage to Python as the real Holy Grails of sketch comedy.

      Let's face it, Englishman are funnier to mock than Americans, and it's even funnier when it's an Englishman.


      • doesn't seem nearly as funny as seeing John Cleese go bananas and start shouting "DON'T MENTION THE WAR!"

        That wasn't a Python (Monty) sketch: that was Python cast member John Cleese in another series called 'Fawlty Towers'. Cleese plays Basil Fawlty, a right awful (and funny) b*st*rd of a hotel owner manager.

        German Guest: "Will you stop talking about the war??!?"

        Basil Fawlty: "You started it!"

        German guest: "We did not!"

        Basil Fawlty: "Yes, you did - you invaded Poland!"
  • by riflemann (190895) <riflemann&bb,cactii,net> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:36PM (#14771330)
    Great choice of topic and its associated logo :) I dont reckon you can get more appropriate!
  • This is a terrific idea really. It's too bad Graham Chapman can't be a part of it though. Quite a tragedy when he died. No doubt he thought it was only a flesh wound at the time.

    PBS: "We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril."
    Pythons: "We don't think we were."
    PBS: "Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril."
    Pythons: "Look, let us go back in there and face the peril."
    PBS: "No, it's too perilous."
    Pythons: "Look, it's our duty as comedians to sample as much peril as we can."
    PBS: "No, we've
  • Old? (Score:3, Informative)

    by svip (678490) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:39PM (#14771359)
    The press release is dated July 13th 2005...
  • by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:39PM (#14771361)
    Customer: I wish to lodge a complaint about this Chapman parody!
    Clerk: Yes, what's wrong with it?
    Customer: It's dead, that's what's wrong with it.
  • It's 2006! Being dead should not prevent Graham Chapman from being in the new shows. Someone get the makers of Forest Gump on the line and either use bits of old footage or create a CG Graham Chapman and insert him into sketches! Or better yet, George Lucas!

    Hell, as long as Lucas is at the helm, put in Jar-Jar--"Meesa think thissa dead parrot!" OMGLOLZ!!!!!11one
  • 45 or 47? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:44PM (#14771407)
    The series' 45 episodes ran until December 1974. ... Beginning in Spring 2006, PBS stations will be able to introduce a whole new generation to the series when all 47 episodes will be available for broadcast.

    Methinks the PBS public relations team should spend more time watching Sesame Street and practicing numbers. =p
  • I work with a Brit and she hates Monty Python. She thinks they are the most unfunny "comedy" troupe around. Of course, she also says I have an accent. That said, I'll be watching. By the way, I now have can of Spamalot [somethingstylish.com] and a few bottles of Monty Python's Holy Ail [blogs.com]. I'm all set for a night of taunting.
  • by skwang (174902) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:54PM (#14771503)
    According the the PBS Web site for Monty Python [pbs.org], the first two one-hour episodes air tomorrow night: Wednesday February 22nd. The Flying Circus episodes will air starting in April of this year.

    You'll have to check your local listings for the exact time. For all you MythTV users in Chicago it will be Channel 11 WTTW at 9pm CST.

  • The (unofficial) member of team, that I remember most fondly at a young impressionable age, was Carol Cleveland. I hope we see plenty of her appearances!

    Carol Cleveland [Wiki] [wikipedia.org]
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @06:02PM (#14771603) Homepage
    Looks like these specials are already out on DVD...

    Eric Idle's Personal Best [amazon.com]

    John Cleese's Personal Best [amazon.com](coming soon)

    Graham Chapman's Personal Best [amazon.com](coming soon)

    Terry Jones' Personal Best [amazon.com](coming soon)

    Terry Gilliam's Personal Best [amazon.com](coming soon)

    Michael Palin's Personal Best [amazon.com]

    The two that are released are already available on Netflix (with four to be available 28-Feb).
  • A better link (Score:5, Informative)

    by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @06:04PM (#14771623) Homepage Journal
    Rather than the 7-month-old press release referenced by the slashdot story, try the current PBS Monty Python [pbs.org] page. The first special is scheduled to air tomorrow (February 22), and the series reruns start in April.
  • by Ranger (1783) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @06:08PM (#14771654) Homepage
    I watched Monty Python in my formative impressionable years. All I can say is you lousy rotten b...

    The original poster has been sacked.

    As I was saying Monty Python was the best most wond..

    ...astards! You cocks...

    The original poster has been really been sacked

    I cannot say enough good things about Monty Python. In fa...

    ...uckers! You ruined my li..

    The original poster has been really REALLY been sacked. *BANG*

    My llama can sing and it has a huge d...

    *BANG*

    This posting has been terminated because it was determined to be no longer funny.
  • Titles (Score:3, Funny)

    by FrankDrebin (238464) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @06:37PM (#14771928) Homepage
    1. I'd like a PSF license for my snake, Eric (Idle)
    2. A mööse once bit my self (Gilliam)
    3. I'd paid for good keyword arguments (Palin)
    4. Every whitespace is sacred (Jones)
    5. And now for something completely __init__ (Cleese)
    6. Nobody expected a Guido van Rossum! (All)
  • It is sweep mode right now and Olympic games are in session. I was going to not watch anything this week, but now this came up. Nice timing. ;) Too bad it is not HDTV format.
  • Sit on my face, and tell me that you love me...

  • And now for something completely different...

    I, for one, am really looking forward to this. I'm a fan from the Flying Circus days...

    One must always keep Python in perspective (the people, not the language or the reptile)... They're not the messiah... they're very naughty persons!
  • Mony Python is one of my favorites. I recently saw "the Meaning of Life", and was pleasantly surprised that it was as clever as I remembered it.

"If value corrupts then absolute value corrupts absolutely."

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