Aired: BBC, 1975-1979
In a TV interview, John Cleese called Fawlty Towers "just little 30-minute farces that start very, very low-key and finish up absolutely frantic." Farce, of course, is among the trickiest of art forms to pull off; the performers need to be fully committed and the situations engineered to escalate just so. The setting of this jewel of a show was a bed and breakfast in the English countryside, where the proprietor, Basil Fawlty, was more or less bothered by all the vagaries of hospitality. Cleese was coming off of Monty Python's Flying Circus when he created the show with his then-wife Connie Booth. If hitting syndication with 100 episodes became the goal for American sitcom creators, Fawlty Towers was a show that comedy writers grinding out 22 episodes a year would point to wistfully as the model that ensures quality two seasons of six episodes each, broadcast over four years.
*Non-WGA determined credit