I love British television. It’s bold, smartly written, and short. You can watch an entire series in the span of an afternoon! And loads of it is available to watch instantly on Netflix! If you’re ready to take the leap and try some new shows, but aren’t sure where to start, here are seven suggestions:
If you like Meet the Parents, try The Worst Week of My Life
Ben Miller (rhymes with Ben Stiller!) stars as hapless Howard Steel in this Murphy’s Law of sitcoms. “Anything that can go wrong, does,” is the tagline used by it’s writers. This past-faced, laugh a minute show is like watching a chain of dominoes fall down.
If you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, try Doctor Who
Both shows are comedy-infused science fiction cult classics with devoted audiences, and with good reason. Doctor Who already has a huge American following. Gripping, highly accessible, kitschy and well-written, if you like science fiction, you’re doing yourself a disservice every minute you spend reading this sentence and not watching Doctor Who!
If you like Friends, try Coupling
Six friends: three guys, three girls. Two fall for each other right away. Two more eventually come to recognize their mutual attraction. And two on hand for hijinx and comic relief. Smart writing, likeable characters, and some bizarre rants you won’t be able to stop laughing at. Spend 14 hours to watch the whole of this series and you won’t be sorry you did.
If you like Bridesmaids, try Pulling
Women can be just as shallow, raunchy, and misanthropic as their fellow comedic counterparts, as demonstrated in this family un-friendly 12-episode series. If you like bold humour, outrageous situations, and trashy jokesters, you’ll laugh your arse off at the appalling situations these women find themselves in. Warning: this is decidedly a black comedy. If you hate potty humor, implied animal abuse, excessive nudity, and depressing situations, avoid this show like the plague!!! If, however, you’re like me and nothing can shock you, you might just be surprised by Pulling!
If you like Saturday Night Live, try That Mitchell and Webb Look
In terms of sketch comedy, Britain has us solidly beat. There are numerous sketch shows and comedy duos out there, but That Mitchell and Webb Look is something special. Sometimes political, sometimes nonsensical, always hilarious. There are 6 seasons to get lost in, and something for everybody on the roster. Now THAT’s Numberwang!
If you like Jane Austen, try Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey, the current season of which is airing on PBS, is an early 20th Century period drama gaining viewership and popularity as we speak. Dame Maggie Smith herself plays the Dowager Countess! The show follows the lives of a wealthy family, their three unmarried daughters, and their many, many servants! The lush costumes and settings draw you in, but the complicated entanglements of the characters will keep you hooked. Catch up on the first season on Netflix, then watch the second season unfold as it airs!
If you like South Park, try Spaced
Spaced almost defies comparison, and that is precisely why it’s worth checking out. Set in the late nineties, many of the references are dated (“retro?”) but the writing and the jokes are timeless. The characters are so loveable that you just may miss them when the series is over: wannabe comic artist Tim and his amateur writing friend Daisy pretend to be a “professional couple” to rent a flat in boozy Marsha’s house. They acquire tortured artist Brian as a new neighbor and friend, as well as adding Daisy’s shallow friend Twist and Tim’s bizarre military-obsessed old chum Mike to the mix of zany characters. And then there’s Colin, probably the cutest dog on television. If you remember the 90’s fondly, you’ll appreciate this charming little time capsule with it’s nerdy references and heart-warming message.
Happy viewing everyone! If you’ve seen any of these, let me know what you think! If you haven’t, you’re totally welcome… 😉