The other day a friend asked me what movie should she see in the theater and I didn’t have an answer for her because in my opinion at this time in history the best entertainment value is found right in your own home with full seasons of amazing TV dramas.
But as I was trying to compile a list of my favorite (current) TV dramas, I noticed that half of them weren’t even American shows but great shows from across the pond.
The brits are kicking TV’s ass!
Setting aside the premium channels and their ability to have nudity, violence and graphic language (as well as afford top talent in front of and behind the camera) my top ten include all three AMC shows (Zombies, Dealers & Admen oh my) Fringe (on FOX so you know it will be cancelled prematurely), Justified (because Timothy Olyphant is truly Olyphant-astic) And the following five BBC shows that are available on Netflix or BBC America.
I’ve always been a fan of the subtle drama especially when it’s well-written and well-acted. Downton Abbey is immensely enjoyable and engrossing. And has become a guilty pleasure.
Even when the characters are annoying me with their inability to communicate or share their feelings, I am loving every minute of it. This show just drew me in and held my attention and now I can’t get enough of this family and their servants and their trials and mishaps. Bates and his infuriating need to do the right thing. Mary and her frustrating inability to make life decisions. I can’t help but enjoy the character arcs. The younger sisters’ growth. The evil duo’s conniving and scheming. I love this show. A must see if for no other reason than to witness Maggie Smith steal every scene that she is in.
2) The Hour
I don’t know if this show is coming back but I hope it does. Usually when a show tries to be too many things at once it fails miserably but The Hour succeeds as a period piece, an industry drama, a political thriller and a tale of espionage and intrigue. It is a fantastic show on so many levels with great performances from the entire cast.
Ben Whishaw is brilliant.
Steven Moffat‘s Sherlock Holmes retelling is fresh and funny and entertaining. But mostly it’s smart. It’s such a smart show.
Luther is a large black man with anger problem who doesn’t always play by the rules (remind you of anyone?) who is played by the gorgeous Idris Elba. Luther just happens to be really good at his job. What is his job? You ask. Catching serial killers. The show is amazing, suspenseful and engaging.
Although Ruth Wilson‘s hauntingly beautiful psycho-socio-pathic serial killer/love interest who makes the first season fun, appears less in the second. (Please bring her back) The show is still thrilling and tense. And the theme song is just plain choice.
5) Dr. Who
I started watching the tales of the body changing time lord when I was a kid.
Tom Baker was my Doctor and I never missed an episode. I remember the day he regenerated. (When a time lord dies [circumstances permitting] he regenerates into a completely different person with the memories but a different personality) I think I wept. I may have yelled “who the fuck is this guy?” But I know I turned off the TV and never watched the show again. However when Russell T. Davies rebooted the show in 2005 I was there with bells on.
He immediately let the audience know not to get too attached to any character as he breathed new life into the story of the lonely time traveler. And then he handed the reigns to Steven Moffat. And Mr. Moffat made magic.
All five shows are available to stream on Netflix right now. And don’t worry about the accents. After a while you start to understand them and except for the occasional colloquial term, it’s not hard to follow.
So put the kettle on. Grab a comfortable seat and enjoy.
No passport required.
Meet you on the couch…