I used to watch a lot more TV than I do now. It’s not because there are so many other things so do, although that’s true. I just got so sick of American TV that I stopped watching it. I can’t bring myself to watch any kind of series that I have to commit to watch week over week. I would forget it once and then not know what’s going on. The comedies that are on are just silly sex jokes. Every thing has been done and copied so much that after the first few minutes, I can usually tell the outcome.
This very reason is why we canceled cable. We were paying more than $100 a month for 300 channels and there was never anything interesting on!
Somewhere between the complaining and disappointment we discovered Netflix streaming. I wasn’t so sure it could sustain me, but then I found that they carry British TV. I’ve watched British films from Netflix for a few years, I love it, so glad they have such a good collection of foreign film. But now I can watch so many of the TV shows that I’ve heard about through the years. Also, I can watch all of those Masterpiece Theater series that I missed because I can’t remember to turn them on at the right time.
My darling mother loved Bennie Hill and that was probably my first introduction to British television. I understand the wry sense of humor and find it amusing. When I visited my cousins Linda and Richard, Richard put on videos of Ali G which is hilarious. That is such a fun memory for me because every time Ali G said something funny, Richard would look over at me to see if I liked it. Ali G is better known to Americans as Sacha Baron Cohen.
Here in America they play British comedies on PBS on Saturday nights. Keeping Up Appearances is a lot of fun to watch. When my cousin Linda visited us a few years ago, we went to stay at a B&B right off of Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. The innkeeper kept calling her “Hyacinth” because he said she reminded him of her! I also like As Time Goes By with Dame Judy Dinch, about 20 years ago I would guess.
I actually never thought of Masterpiece Theater as British television, but I’ve watched as many as I can because they are done so well. The fact that over the years they have brought so many Jane Austin,Thomas Hardy, and Charles Dickens novels to life, originally endeared it to me. Another thing I didn’t think about as being anything other than Hollywood is Disney films. My entire life I have enjoyed anything by Disney especially if Hayley Mills was in it. So much that he did was based in the UK. Peter Pan for instance, Kidnapped, Treasure Island, Grey Friars Bobby, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, The Sword and the Stone to name a few.
Now I’m really enjoying watching British murder shows like Midsommer Murders, Rosemary & Thyme, Miss Marple, Murder in Suburbia, Inspector Lewis, Mystery (part of Masterpiece again), Prime Suspect, and Vera with Brenda Blethyn (who, in my humble opinion is brilliant in anything she does). Some are silly and quaint, others are edgy and realistic. What I like most is that they’re set in England and I get to have my dose of British culture any time I want.
Other series that I like are Monarch of the Glen, The Vicar of Dibley, Mr Bean (who doesn’t even have to speak and I’m rolling on the floor)! Also, Land Girls, Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Upstairs Downstairs, Downton Abbey, the list is innumerable.
My all time favorite for character, setting, humor, and story line is DOC MARTIN. I can watch it over and over, it’s that well done. I’m not sure who came up with the idea for this one, but it’s perfect in every way! If you are a fan, there are two prequel movies out that you can watch to see how it evolved into the stroke of brilliance that it is. The first is called “Doc Martin” and the second is “Doc Martin and the Legend of the Cloutie”.
I’d love to hear which are your favorites.