I've wanted to do it since "The Sopranos" went away, but every time I get really aggressive about it my wife, Scheherazade, points me to some new, minor show that spares the axe. First it was "Extras," then it was "Entourage," now it's "Summer Heights High".
We've been enjoying the first four episodes of this import comedy quite a bit, and they can be caught on reruns or on demand. The show, set in a suburban Australian high school, follows three story lines, in each of which the main character is played by one Christopher Lilley. Lilley portrays, variously: a snobbish girl student, transferred from a private school, who can't stand her new popular girl friends at public school; a burnout half-Polynesian punk prone to invent stories of molestation to get out of doing homework; and most humorously, the school's music teacher, Mr. G., who delights in cruelty to unpopular students as he casts the school musical, "Annabel Dickson," which he sells as a "tribute" to one of his students who died of an overdose, while portraying her as a drug-addicted slut.
The show was wildly popular in Australia, and has earned comparisons to "The Office" on these shores, but the better comparison would be to the "mockumentaries" of Christopher Guest. That's high praise, but "Summer Heights High" approaches the cruel fun of Guest's movies at its best. If you enjoy black humor, you should see this while HBO is showing the first season. I'd call it the best comedy on television.