Remote Patrol: Monty Python: Almost the Truth
At six hours total, the IFC original miniseries Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut) threatens to dish out more than even the most devoted fan of the British comedy troupe can take. The title alone seems a bit much.
Yet the hour-long segments turn out to be perfect bites of information in both size and flavor. Each focuses on a particular era or project, and all create a harmony between rampant silliness on screen and real-life events that bring to mind an old Steve Martin line: Comedy is not pretty.
The first episode recounts everything relevant up to the debut of Monty Python's Flying Circus on the BBC in 1969, including influences such as Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. In the second, the cycle of influence continues, with Russell Brand, The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant, Simon Pegg and others deferring to Python's impact.
The third explores internal troubles that arise throughout the series, from John Cleese's creative restlessness to Graham Chapman's raging alcoholism and emerging homosexuality.
As if the combo of personal drama and innovative comedy wasn't irresistible enough, the series covers a jaw-dropping parade of legendary talent with whom Monty Python's had little to no degrees of separation, from Pink Floyd and David Frost to George Harrison and Elvis.
"Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut)"
9 p.m. Oct. 18-23, IFC