Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Favorite British TV Shows: Take 2

Summer may be my favorite time of the year because I enjoy the warm weather, sunshine and 2-3 months where kids are out of school and therefore I don't have to go to work. However, Summer can be a terrible time for watching television because it seems that all of my favorite shows decide to air their finales and go on hiatus at the same time that I have all of this free-time. Sound familiar?

But, Summer can be the perfect time to catch up on shows that you might have missed out on. Last year I shared with you a list of British TV shows that my American (and other non-British) readers should be watching, and since then I've continued to keep up with British programming. Here's my new list of British television shows that my non-British readers should be watching.

10. The Graham Norton Show Available on BBC1 and BBC America
If you follow my What's Making Me Laugh series, you've no doubt seen me post several clips from The Graham Norton Show. If you don't, The Graham Norton show is a weekly evening talk show with celebrity guests and it features a segment called "The Red Chair" in which members of the audience are asked to tell their most funny/embarrassing story while setting in a red chair and if Graham or the celebrity guests don't like the story they'll pull a lever and flip the storyteller out of the chair. This show is hilarious and blows anything from the current U.S. TV talk shows out of the water.

9. Episodes Available on BBC2 and Showtime
I was put-off about watching Episodes because I worried that the premise sounded too similar to the show, Extras, but I'm glad I gave it a chance (and ended up binge watching all 3 seasons in just 3 days). This show follows a happily married British couple who are invited to The States to create an American version of their BAFTA winning television show...and it's all downhill from there. The show features Matt LeBlanc from Friends.

8. Moone Boy Available on Sky TV 1 and Hulu
Fans of the It Crowd's Chris O'Dowd will enjoy watching him in the Irish comedy, Moone Boy, that is both co-written and co-starring O'Dowd. The show follows a young boy growing up in the Irish countryside in the late 80s/ early 90s. This show is funny, heartwarming at times, and innovative.

7. Broadchurch Available on ITV and BBC America
Here's one for you Dr. Who fans (particularly from the David Tennant era) and also fans of The Killing. In Broadchurch, Tennant plays a detective who recently moved to the country side with his family to escape scandal only to be put on the case to track down the murderer of an eleven year old boy. If you want added incentive to check this out, The Fox Network is planning to make an American version of this show called Gracepoint also starring Tennant.

6. Gadget Man Available on Channel 4 and YouTube
Another one for fans of the It Crowd as series 2 stars Richard Ayoade (series 1 starred Stephen Fry). The series explores the latest innovations in technology- sometimes in hilarious ways. It's a bit like watching a live action The Jetsons.

5. Fargo Available on Channel 4 and FX
Fargo is an American dark comedy based on the Cohen brother's 1996 film of the same name. Like the movie, the show starts out with the words "This is a true story" and takes place in the northern US. However the premise is entirely different and follows the 2006 chance meeting of Lorne Malvo and Lester Nygaard and Malvo's influence on Nygaard. This show features a great cast including Billy Bob Thonrton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks and Bob Odenkirk. This is gripping television.

4. The Paradise Available on BBC 1, BBC America and Masterpiece
If you're looking for a costumed period drama to tide you over until the next season of Downton Abbey is released, check out The Paradise based off of the novel Au Bonheur des Dames by Emile' Zola. This series takes place around 1875 and follows the lives and loves of the people that work in one of England's first department stores, The Paradise.

3. Mr. Selfridge Available on ITV and Masterpiece

Here's another period drama based around a department store. Mr. Selfridge is based on the real life flamboyant and visionary American founder of the London based Selfridges department store.

2. The White Queen Available on BBC1 and Starz
Fans of The Tudors will love the series, The White Queen, based on Phlippa Gregory's historical novel series, The Cousin's War and set against the backdrop of the War of the Roses. The series begins in 1464 as The House of York and House of Lancaster are in conflict. This series is full of sex, war and beautiful costumes.

1. I Wanna Marry Harry Available on ITV and HULU
This was my go-to guilty pleasure show, and I was crushed when I found out that Fox pulled the plug before the final 2 episodes aired. Yes, the plot is stupid and sounds remarkably similar to Joe Millionaire (i.e. Poor guy gets made up pretends to be rich; lies to a random group of women competing for his affections and hopes that they'll fall in love with the 'real him'. If woman stays with him after he reveals the lie then they both get paid; if not they're broke). But, sometimes you just want to watch a show that lets you take your mind off of other things.

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Also worth mentioning: 

The Crimson Field Available on BBC1
This drama takes place at a French hospital camp near the battlefields during World War I. It's got all of the drama of Call the Midwife, but on a battlefield.

Peaky Blinders Available on BBC2
With all of the grit of Boardwalk Empire or The Wire, Peaky Blinders following a Birmingham gangster family in 1919. It also stars Cillian Murphy and Sam Neil.

Misfits Available on Channel 4 and Hulu
This show is described as a sci-fi, comedy/drama about a group of young convicts doing community service that get struck by lightning and develop super-powers. It combines three genres that I like and sounds interesting.

Fresh Meat Available on Channel 4 and Hulu
A hilarious comedy following a group of students at Uni (University to you Yanks) by the creators of Peep Show. Fans of The Inbetweeners will recognize Joe Thomas.

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