5 British Shows That Should Be Checked Out

There are some times when I find it strange that America seems so infatuated with all things British considering we fought so hard to break away from them.  That holds true for British television as well.  We bring it over here to watch, like Doctor Who and Sherlock.  Or we remake it, like we did The Office and Life On Mars.

Naturally, there are a tons of British shows that I think everyone should check out, even if it is only out of curiosity.  I obviously avoided the big ones, so you won’t see Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus on this list, though I think everyone should check them out.  I also left off shows that I have not seen, so Life On Mars won’t be on this list.

So, without further pomp and circumstance… the list.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Red_Dwarf_logo1) Red Dwarf

A British sci-fi comedy series named after the ship that serves as the setting of the show.  In the future, a radiation leak kills off the human population of the mining ship Red Dwarf.  The only survivor is Dave Lister, a crew man who was put into statis for violating rules.  3 million years later, Lister is revived to discover his bunk mate, Rimmer, has been recreated as a hologram, and the cat he had smuggled aboard was the forbearer of a new race of evolved cats, of which one remains on the ship.

The humor of the show is pretty low brow.  Lister is a lazy slob.  Rimmer is as neurotic as he is incompetent.  And Cat is, well, just like a cat.  Along with the robot Kryten, they find themselves on lots of goofy adventures as The Red Dwarf travels through space to return Lister to Earth.

Courtesy: roosterillusionreviews.com

Courtesy: roosterillusionreviews.com

2) Black Books

Another British comedy, though a bite more terrestrial than Red Dwarf.  Bernard Black is the owner of Black Books, a small London book store.  However, Bernard is quite miserable.  There is not much he likes, and a lot that he hates, much to the chagrin of his employee Manny, and his neighbor shop owner, Fran.

The series stars comedian Dylan Moran, who also co-created the show.  And the comedy often spawns from the conflict between dutiful worker Manny and Bernard, who does not seem to want to actually sell anything.  The show ran for three series/seasons.

Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org

Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org

3) Primeval

A sci-fi show that capitalized on special effects created for the various Walking With… series, which used CGI to recreate dinosaurs and other prehistoric lifeforms.  This series followed the adventures of Professor Nick Cutter, whose wife mysteriously disappeared some years before, as he and his team try to discover the causes of mysterious disturbances in time.  These anomalies bridged the modern world with various eras in the past and future, and often, things came through those anomalies.  The series lasted for a number of seasons in the U.K. (even surviving cancellation) and had a Canadian spin-off.

The series took a number of twists and turns, cast changes, and the above mentioned near cancellation.  But the main theme remained, the group searching for an answer to the anomalies while making sure the creatures released on the modern world found their way back to where they belonged.

4) The Tomorrow People

This series will probably get some new attention because of the CW series scheduled for the fall.  But the original series was geared more toward children than to the young adult audience the CW looks for.

The Tomorrow People was a show about a group of young people who took the next evolutionary step.  While they showed various abilities, the primary one they all possessed was teleportation (or jaunting), controlled at first by belts and later wristbands.  Counselled by their sentient computer, Tim, these young people would face off against various forms of evil, from sinister foreign agents, malicious secret organizations, and aliens.

Again, this series was created for children, and thus it does have a tendency to over explain a lot of things.  And there were a lot of cast changes, though the character of John remained throughout the original British series.

In addition to the new CW version, there was a revival of the series in the 1990s.

Courtesy: globalhipstr.blogspot.com

Courtesy: globalhipstr.blogspot.com

5) The Misfits

Probably the most adult of all the shows mentioned on this list, I stumbled across The Misfits on Hulu.  This is the story of five juvenile delinquents who gain super powers from a strange storm while they are performing community service.  The five soon discover their powers (though one does not learn what his are until late in the first series/season), and that they are not the only ones who have gained powers in their town.

The series itself is very adult.  Bad language and nudity abounds, and most of the first season is spent trying to cover up the murder of their probation officer who goes crazy from the same strange storm.  A twisted sense of humor abounds as our heroes try to deal with their strange abilities, with seemingly powerless Nathan finding himself in some of the strangest of situations.  One episode deals with Nathan hooking up with a young woman only to find her reverting to her actual age while they are having sex.

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About chyrondave

Avid comic reader, amateur writer, music fan, and someone with opinions, lots of opinions.

Posted on August 27, 2013, in Lists, Media, Personal, Television, The Fives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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