A few things to note: This list will not make me the millionth person to suggest to you that you need to watch Doctor Who. I also didn’t include Spaced or Downton Abby. To me these are shows that are automatically placed on everyone’s binge watching to do lists if they haven’t already seen them. Some of these aren’t any longer on the air, but with any internet savvy you can find them.
So with that out of the way, here is my list of British TV Shows in alphabetical order to alleviate the stress of me having to decide which one was the best.
Black Mirror (2011 -2013)
If you’ve been disappointed before with some of the offerings kicked your way to fill your need of new Twilight Zone episodes, you might not be easily convinced this is the show for you. However, this is the show for you. High production quality meets surprisingly unpredictable story lines with good acting. I don’t want to tempt fate, but I think everything is going to be totally great forever! Except it has not been confirmed for another season.
Luther(2010 – 2013)
If I ever had a problem with opening a door or getting rid of some extra furniture, I would just have John Luther bust it into bits. Idris Elba, professional things smasher, plays a detective with ever growing amounts of baggage. Luther is well written and dark with very well created creepy criminals. I should say that I have not yet seen the 3rd season, but Netflix currently has the first two which I have most recently been binge watching.
Man Stroke Woman (2005 – 2007)
Man Stroke Woman is a British sketch comedy show that I first picked up on DVD on a whim because I recognized Nick Frost on the cover. To be fully honest, at times some of the humor can be pretty … well, British, I suppose, but there are some really great sketches that to this day I reference.
Mighty Boosh (2004 – 2007)
The best way that I can think to describe this show is a surreal adventure of an eccentric hipster and a serious man of subtle comedy. Vince Noir and Howard Moon go a “journey through space and time” while trying to hit it big as musicians. They’re joined by their mystic friend Naboo and his ape Bollo. A fun fact, J. G. Quintel once said the Regular Show series was a largely influenced by the Mighty Boosh.
Peep Show (2003 – )
Now, referenced twice elsewhere in this post, Peep Show! This show is hard for me to contain my enthusiasm for and I find myself returning to rewatch the show often. It’s just reaally, really good. You have Mark, a cynical, self loathing, socially inept history nerd who has steady employment and a pessimistic outlook and Jeremy, an optimistic, self confident, jobless pseudo musician living together. The show is shot entirely through the viewpoints of the characters and lets the audience hear Mark and Jeremy’s thoughts. The writing of this series is brilliant and right up there with Arrested Development or Curb Your Enthusiasm. Conveniently, it’s all on YouTube and mostly on Netflix.
Sherlock (2010 – )
I think a the quality of this modern adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes character can be judged almost solely on the “The Hound of the Baskerville” episode. To be able to create that story successfully in the setting of today without it seeming campy is quite a feat. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss created a great crime drama full of wit, enough violence and obviously, mystery.
Also, here’s a little bonus clip of sorts…
Honorable mention goes to Broad Church, which I admit I began watching because I missed the 10th (11th?) Doctor and Olivia Coleman of Peep Show is in it. They’re possibly the only reasons i finished watching the series. Olivia Coleman is really good at pretend crying and David Tennant has a fantastically thick Scottish accent. Here is the entire first episode.
Lastly, I’m going to slide in Orphan Black as an honorary mention since its on the BBC, even though its really on BBC America. It’s impressive that they have created so many characters played by one person, and many times having those characters interact with each other, without it being distracting to the storyline.
This wasn’t an easy post to whittle down and I know some of you will be all, “How could you not include _____?”. I know, I know, but this is my post (and I’m sorry) but here is your chance to fill in the blank. What did I miss?