Blimey, British TV is the Dog’s Bollocks!

16 Aug

I will sum up everything I know about Downton Abbey in this post; did you know that it’s not called Downtown Abbey? Because I didn’t until I Googled it 5 seconds ago. I’ll just go ahead and risk alienating myself from our entire fan base by admitting that I’ve never understood the appeal of period dramas. There, I said it. The British tv I’m referring to is much more… common.

An Idiot Abroad

The concept of this show is simple; Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have persuaded their friend, Karl Pilkington, to travel around the world, even though he has zero interest in visiting new places or trying new things.

Finally! We get a travel show as seen through the eyes of someone who doesn’t think the world is filled with wonder and beauty at every turn, and is completely mystified by the customs and cultures of the people and places he’s visiting. The beauty of the show is that nothing Karl says or does actually comes off as intentionally mean or insensitive – he simply doesn’t understand the appeal of travel. And I, for one, feel better knowing that I’m not alone in this.

Misfits

“You lot, superheroes? No offense, but in what kind of fucked up world would that be allowed to happen?”

As long as I live, I will never be able to thank Hulu enough for stalking my viewing habits and using that data to recommend this show to me. It has everything I could ever ask for in a tv show – Disaffected youths? Check. Excessive yet creative profanity? Yep. Super powers? All over the place!

I’m not blind to the periodic plot holes, and I’ll be the first to admit that some episodes are altogether poorly executed. I just choose to overlook these facts so that I can continue to enjoy a truly unique show, with a terrific ensemble cast of entertaining weirdos.

All three seasons are available on Hulu so you really have no excuse not to watch. Unless you’re still using a dial-up modem, in which case, I’m sorry, and say hi to 1997 from me!

Luther

“The universe is not evil, John, it is just indifferent.”

Listen, I watched the first season of the The Wire, but I felt truly ambivalent toward it the whole time. On the one hand, Everyone and Their Mom loves this show, but on the other hand, I had no urge to continue watching the 2nd season. But, if it helped pave the way for Idris Elba to become the title character of Luther, then I owe The Wire a great debt, and probably an apology for not liking it more.

Because Idris Elba, you guys. Idris. Elba. He plays John Luther, “Detective Chief Inspector working for the Serious Crime Unit,” which is British for, “Main Cop Investigating Creepy Psychopathic Murderers.” This show is bleak, but Elba is so captivating that you won’t mind falling down this forlorn rabbit hole. It’s also punctuated by just enough wit and hope to keep you going to the next episode. I recommend setting aside about 10 hours of your life to watch the first 2 seasons on Netflix streaming, all in one sitting, preferably during a gloomy, cloudy,  rainy day.

British television has come a long way  from laugh tracks and the Benny Hill Theme, which in my mind is the only style that existed pre-The Office. Nowadays, you just never know when a US network executive is going to steal remake a UK show and water it down for an American audience, so it’s really in your best interest to get on board before then. Let’s be honest – when someone asks you if you’ve seen the “new” American version of a UK show, haven’t you always wanted to be able to reply, “Oh, I saw the original BBC version years ago,” in a snide and condescending manner?

Honorable mentions: Sherlock, Spaced, Life’s Too Short, and the Olympics Closing Ceremony Spice Girls reunion.

4 Responses to “Blimey, British TV is the Dog’s Bollocks!”

  1. Emily Collins August 16, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    Sherlock only gets an honorble mention? Have you seen Benedict Cumberbatch’s cheek bones? And the dramatic tension between Moriarty and Sherlock is beyond amazing. I think I watched the Reierbach falls episode five times just to see the last scene on the roof.

    • mthep August 16, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      It really is a great show! And I’m pretty sure those cheek bones could cut granite. But I haven’t watched season 2 yet, so I felt I had to withhold my review until I’ve seen it. I blame Netflix!

  2. Elise August 16, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    I second all Sherlock comments. And FYI, the Idiot Abroad goes well with cheap beer.

    • mthep August 16, 2012 at 11:24 am #

      I could definitely see a High Life pairing very well with that program.

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