Black Books

Watch Black Books

  • TV-PG
  • 2000
  • 3 Seasons
  • 8.5  (61,518)

Black Books is a British sitcom, originally aired from 2000 to 2004, that focuses on the misadventures of three eccentric individuals who work and socialize within a small bookshop located in the heart of London. The show stars Dylan Moran as Bernard Black, the antagonistic and often drunken proprietor of the titular bookshop, who has a deep disdain for his fellow human beings and a general apathy towards running his business. His two employees are Manny Bianco, played by Bill Bailey, an optimistic and well-meaning assistant who tries his best to balance the chaos created by Bernard and is often the butt of his jokes, and Fran Katzenjammer, played by Tamsin Greig, Bernard's closest friend whose love of wine and cigarettes is rivalled only by her mildly self-destructive tendencies.

Throughout its three-season run, Black Books follows its main characters as they interact with quirky customers, argue over inconsequential matters, and engage in various forms of debauchery, all while trying to navigate the ups and downs of their personal and professional lives. The show's humor is often absurdist and dark, with side-splitting moments of physical comedy mixed in with witty one-liners and biting satire.

One of the defining features of Black Books is its eclectic cast of guest stars, which includes many well-known comedians and actors from both the UK and beyond. Notable appearances include Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jessica Stevenson, Peter Serafinowicz, and Stephen Merchant, among others. These guests often play exaggerated versions of themselves, infusing the show with an extra layer of meta-commentary and self-awareness.

Additionally, the show utilizes a distinct visual style, featuring vibrant, almost cartoonish colors and imaginative set design. The bookshop itself is a character in its own right, with its towering bookshelves and cluttered decor serving as a backdrop for much of the show's comedic action.

Despite its relatively short run, Black Books has become a beloved cult classic among comedy aficionados. Its unique blend of surrealism and cynicism, coupled with the chemistry between its three leads, has solidified its place in the pantheon of great British sitcoms. The show's legacy has also extended beyond its initial broadcast, with the main cast members going on to successful careers in television and film, and its influence being felt in subsequent British comedies like The IT Crowd and Peep Show.

Overall, Black Books is a witty, irreverent, and thoroughly entertaining show that is sure to delight anyone with a taste for off-beat humor and a disdain for conventional sitcom tropes. Its memorable characters, absurd situations, and clever writing make it a true gem of the British comedy scene, and a must-watch for anyone looking for a good laugh.

Black Books is a series that is currently running and has 3 seasons (18 episodes). The series first aired on September 29, 2000.

Black Books
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6. Party
April 15, 2004
It's Friday night. Manny and Fran are determined to go out and do something for once. Bernard would rather stay at home, get drunk and ignore his friends. Manny insists that they go to a particular party. But why? And anyway, who is the best dancer?
Travel Writer
5. Travel Writer
April 8, 2004
Manny is extremely proud of the travel writing festival that he has organised. He has invited the famously charming explorer Jason Hamilton (Julian Rhind-Tutt) to give a talk.
A Little Flutter
4. A Little Flutter
April 1, 2004
Manny puts a bet on the Grand National for Bernard, who claims not to be interested in gambling but immediately becomes completely addicted to it. Fran, looking for work, needs a short-term job to appear employable.
Moo-Ma and Moo-Pa
3. Moo-Ma and Moo-Pa
March 25, 2004
Manny's parents come to stay. They are a perfectly nice middle-aged couple with one or two slightly annoying habits. Bernard wants rid of them, preferably the day before yesterday.
Elephants and Hens
2. Elephants and Hens
March 18, 2004
It's International Children's Book week in Black Books. Bernard and Manny decide that they can do better than the trash that children are offered these days, deciding to write their own kids' classic and retire Rowling-rich.
Manny Come Home
1. Manny Come Home
March 11, 2004
Fran (Tamsin Greg) comes back from holiday to discover that Manny (Bill Bailey) has resigned and is now working next door at Goliath Books. Left to his own devices, Bernard (Dylan Moran) has let things slip a little.
Where to Watch Black Books
Black Books is available for streaming on the Digital Rights Group website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Black Books on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, FuboTV, The Roku Channel Free, Apple TV, Crackle, Tubi TV, Pluto TV and Plex.
  • Premiere Date
    September 29, 2000
  • IMDB Rating
    8.5  (61,518)