Sabrina Reyes-Peters

British TV

Why it might be better than American TV

Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller on the beach via The Guardian

I got hooked on Jessica Jones over break, after I rewatched Sherlock (BBC) for the fourth time. After I finished watching it, I scrolled through Netflix's British TV recommendations, and noticed Broadchurch (probably because of the David Tennant connection!). I thought, Eh, why not, and pretty much couldn't quit until I finished. I'm a sucker for a good story; once immersed into the plot, through page or screen, I have trouble reemerging until its conclusion.

I've noticed lately that British television has been a lot more appealing to me than American television, so I started to make a list of reasons why.

(Note: I don't pretend to be a screen critic, so this is not very explicative by any means. Even pretending to be a critic would mean ditching life as I currently know it, in order to watch and rewatch films and shows so I could write about them, and who would want that? [Who am I kidding - that sounds awesome!])

Here's my list, in no particular order, with a few short explanations.

  1. Pride & Prejudice (the Colin Firth version, duh)
  2. Broadchurch (I almost got emotional at the end of season two, because the tone of redemption was so strong.)
  3. Sherlock (did you catch the New Year's special? That was a fun ride, and brilliantly done. Simply brilliant.)
  4. Downton Abbey (This is basically a light soap opera, but that doesn't stop me from watching!)
  5. Doc Martin
  6. Black Mirror (I will acknowledge this is great television, but I hate feeling so existential when I watch it.)
  7. Rich character development - this has been especially noticeable in Broadchurch, since it was a crucial part of the story.
  8. The actors in British television seem more realistic to me. American television tends to use actors that are above average in looks, and many times on the thin side. Actors don't need to look like models.
  9. Scenic settings - I think this mostly refers to Doc Martin and Broadchurch. Who wouldn't want to be living in a little British seaside town?
  10. Vocabulary - this is kind of a silly thing to note, but I like that British has a wider variety of slang. I get tired of hearing the same American idioms (and curse words).
  11. Dry humor - c.f. Sherlock.