Maybe all of your TV watching is firmly this side of the pond, but if you’re not watching British TV, you’re missing out. There is something for everyone. Some of it’s weird, some of it’s heartbreaking, but it’s all good. Here are five shows to get you started.
This show about a madman and his blue box has been around for a staggering 50 years, and for good reason. It’s brilliant, it’s insightful, and, more than anything else, it’s just plain fun. Start at the beginning of the reboot with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, and you might find yourself caught up in time to see Peter Capaldi take on the TARDIS.
You mean you’re not watching this period drama about the Crawleys? It’s slow-moving at times, sure, but this show is such a phenomenon, it’s been spoofed on other shows, like “How I Met Your Mother,” and “The Simpsons.” Maybe it’s because it’s kind of what we expect British TV to look like; maybe it’s because it’s pretty gripping once you’re into it. Maybe it’s losing yourself in another time all together, no blue box needed.
Starring “Moone Boy’s” Chris O’Dowd, the sharply funny Richard Ayoade, and the hysterical Katherine Parkinson, among others, it’s funny and odd all at once. A cultural juggernaut, it follows the exploits of the members of an IT department in an English company. Parkison, who knows nothing about computers, worms her way in as the head of the department. Hmm. Describing it does it no good; watch it and you’ll get it.
“Call the Midwife”
Another period drama, this show is one of the best out there. Giving an insider’s peek into the lives of midwives in the East End of London in the 1950s, it also underscores the strength of family ties, even right at the beginning of a family. The characters feel real and solid, though the show has parted ways with its source material, the memoirs of midwife Jennifer Worth. Make sure you have tissues handy for this one. You’ll need them.
One thing about British humor: it really knows how to find the awkward and dig right in. This show about roommates Jeremy and Mark is steeped in awkward. It’s boiled in awkward, and then marinated some more. The result is a cringy funny from which there’s simply no looking away. Not that you’ll want to.