Is British television better than American TV? Sometimes it seems so, especially when you discover how many American shows are British remakes: Whose Line is it Anyway, American Idol (Pop Idol), The Office, Three’s Company (Man About the House), All in the Family (Till Death Us Do Part), Sanford and Son (Steptoe and Son), Shameless, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Dancing with the Stars (Strictly Come Dancing), What Not to Wear … I think you get the picture.
One thing I know for sure is that I’ve come to love British Broadcasting. I often find their shows to be more substantive than their American counterparts. If you agree with me, here are some British shows you don’t want to miss.
Maybe it’s because my husband and I spent 12 years working in the church, but I love Rev. This little show is about a priest and his everyday struggles as both clergy and husband. I first watched Season 1, Episode 2 (Jesus is Awesome), and I found it hilarious. The episode starts off with Priest Adam Smallbone (played by Tom Hollander) standing before a miniscule congregation to which he says, “It’s nice to see so many faces here today that are so familiar.” It really is a perfect show.
Broadchurch is not light. It’s heavy right from the start, so be warned. The entire show revolves around the murder of a young boy in a small seaside town. As you follow Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant) and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (played by Olivia Colman) your opinion about who is responsible for the murder will change with each passing episode. The acting is brilliant, and the writing will leave you guessing until the very end.
Back to the lighter side, Extras is about two actors Andy Millman (played by Ricky Gervais) and Maggie Jacobs (played by Ashley Jensen) who are trying to find their way as they do background acting work in films. As you would expect from Ricky Gervais, the show is filled with wonderfully awkward and self-deprecating humor. You will also enjoy the cameos from a myriad of actors. From Kate Winslet to Robert De Niro to Ben Stiller, the cameos alone are worth watching for.
What can I say about this surprising little show, which also comes from Ricky Gervais? It’s unexpected, and you have to watch to fully understand the heart behind it. Gervais plays Derek Noakes, a 49 year old man who works in a retirement home. All his friends either work at the home or live at the home. I was uncomfortable the first time I watched because I didn’t want Gervais to go too far with his humor considering the setting. What I found instead, was that Gervais is capable of producing a heart-warming show about people who are unwanted in this world — a show about misfits. And we all know that misfits make for the best television around.
One word of caution I will add is that the character, Kev (played by David Earl), can be quite crass at times. Even then, don’t discount the show based upon his seediness.