Father Ted is perhaps one of the most enjoyably surreal comedies to come out of Ireland (although Moone Boy gives the series a run for its money). Three priests, all with issues that make them vaguely (or totally) unsuitable to interact with the general public, are exiled to tiny Craggy Island, where their parishioners include the obviously criminally insane; the angrily unhappily married; and the generally aged, infirm, and batty–the prime example of such battiness being their tea-obsessed housekeeper, Mrs. Doyle. Father Ted is sometimes driven to distraction by his colleagues, the exceptionally dim Father Dougal and the profanity-spewing and drink-addled Father Jack, but then again, Ted had a little problem appropriating funds from his last parish for his slight gambling problem (and gets into new problems on Craggy Island, when he may, or may not, have kicked his supervising bishop up the arse), so he’s not really in a position to question his exile.
Years aired: 1995-1998
Episodes and seasons: 25 25-minute episodes over the course of 3 seasons
Christmas episodes? Yes, the 50-minute “A Christmassy Ted”
Primary Stars: Dermot Morgan as Ted Crilly; Ardal O’Hanlon as Father Dougal McGuire; Frank Kelly as Father Jack Hackett; Pauline McLynn as Mrs. Doyle
Creator and primary writers: Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews
Setting: Ireland (Rural)
First aired on: Channel 4
Streams on: Hulu, Amazon
Father Ted tour trips are still available.
All out of Father Ted Episodes? Watch these next, luv:
Black Books. More surreal humor featuring another goofy triumvirate of characters who are friends primarily because no one else will have them. Stars Dylan Moran as cranky bookseller Bernard Black. Also co-created by Graham Linehan, who must be a really interesting person to know.
The IT Crowd: Yup, you guessed it, Graham Linehan again. And yes, another trio: this time two misanthropic IT guys and the go-getter woman executive exiled to the basement IT department with them (who gets caught out, eventually, when she can’t tell a job interviewer what “IT” actually stands for). Come for Chris O’Dowd, stay for the weirdness.
The Vicar of Dibley: Okay, the VofD is about twenty times gentler in its clergy- and church-related humor than Father Ted. But it’s still very funny and also features its own cast of village weirdos.
The Office: Again, you take a whole bunch of people who really don’t have anything in common, and stick them in the same space for hours every day. In Father Ted that space is Craggy Island; in The Office it’s the Wernham Hogg paper company. Ricky Gervais as boss David Brent will make you cringe at least as many times (if not more) than an often socially-inept Father Ted Crilly will.