My local PBS station shows this program (eight months a year, they don't show any of their normal programming during pledge months). I admit that I enjoy some of the other programs fairly well ("As Time Goes By," "Keeping up Appearances") but this one is a scream.
There is still some 'settling in' of the actors into their characters' quirks and focus but this show hit the ground running. Far more interested in American Culture than older Brit-Coms, they actually make fun of President George W. Bush. But "Friends" this is not.
It's a show that is about character. Particularly one George Sunday: Enthusiastic superhero, health food store proprietor (he opened the shop because it was a perfect cover for his superhero work as nobody ever much visits), and all around silly-person. His loving girlfriend/wife Janet is smart, sexy and rock solid. She's the perfect foil for George's flights of in-human behavior.
Her parents, Ella and Stanley, hate George from the word go and are amazingly funny folks who Janet can barely stomach. Next door neighbor Tyler looks like a human pincushion and talks like the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's were VERY good to him. He just happens to instantly recognize George as Thermoman. I admit to having a soft spot for Tyler. He tries so hard, and could have been a one-note character, but he is endearing as well.
George's cousin Arne (another space alien who was stricken from the ranks of superheroes for charging folks for their rescues) and Dr. Piers Crispin (Janet's boss and her mother's idea of a 'catch' for her confounding daughter) are as close as the series get to bad guys.
But they're wimps compared with resident Bad Girl -- Mrs. Raven (the incomparable Geraldine McNulty). She's a mass of Mother Hate, bile, lying, scheming, and genuinely frightening at times; McNulty somehow plays her as an underdog. And G*d help me, I find myself rooting for her at times.
So far, only the first three or four seasons have played here in the States. And while I would miss O'Hanlon as George, I freakin' LOVE James Dreyfus and can only imagine how stellar the show would be with him on it.
This series does everything wrong. The romantic leads marry and have multiple children (a HUGE no-no on American sitcoms with their decade-long flirtations and babies only in the final season ideology). The show takes on current events (when most Brit-coms could literally be from any time at all). But despite these lapses, it is laugh out loud funny.
The moment in season two when Mr. Raven causes a completely naked man to walk out, and back in (under her watchful eye) to the clinic was so funny I nearly passed out laughing. And George's inappropriate kissing of virtually every other character on the show had me in stitches.
Buy the show. Enjoy it! You'll be laughing for years.