As summer makes itself known, I find myself diving into reruns of my favorite British television shows. If you're like me, then the simple mention of the brilliant actor Benedict Cumberbatch's name will have you running to your nearest computer screen. Stateside, summer is often a time where I hear the cries of thousands of avid TV-watchers bemoaning the season finales of their favorite shows. However, if you are fortunate enough to have stumbled upon different international fan bases, you will find that there are plenty of British television shows being offered that are definitely worth watching!
BBC's modern television adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sherlock is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of British television shows. With its intricate plot lines and cool gadgets, this show presents itself as a deep character study of different types of people in society today. I consider myself to be a complete 'Sherlockian' in the sense that I love anything and everything having to do with the original detective series. An interesting thing to note is that creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss set this story in modern-day London. I find that this change not only adds a breath of fresh air to this commonly-adapted tale, it also allows the show to resonate with the immediate audience. With acting veterans like Andrew Scott, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch onboard, what's not to love about this show? It's an amazing feat that this mini-series has managed to garter such a large fan base and there have only been six episodes!
2. Doctor Who
The biggest thing that can be said about BBC's sci-fi series is that it will never fail to cause you to re-evaluate the inner workings and limitations of your own imagination. Now with Steven Moffat as the head writer, "Doctor Who" has been around for about 50 years, making it one of the longest running series in television history. Through the use of a time-traveling police box called the TARDIS, the Doctor (currently the Eleventh incarnation) consistently manages to find himself in and out of trouble. With the help of his trustworthy traveling companions, he always figures out a way to save the world – all of which happens before dinnertime! This show has gained somewhat of a cult following over here in the United States; this fact doesn't phase me as even I can't resist the idea of traveling wherever and whenever my heart desires, and never having to answer to the beck and call of time!
Last year, winter began with the series finale of BBC's hit series "Merlin." This show deals with the legend of King Arthur and his sorcerer Merlin and the beginning days of their comradeship. This series will definitely cater to the interests of those as obsessed with medieval literature as I am. The best part about this is the fact that being late in the game means that you will have more than enough time to catch up with the four seasons of this series! I have to admit that comparing Colin Morgan's accent in the show to his natural Irish accent is one of the hidden perks that lured me into giving this superb show a try.
In this next BBC series, Idris Elba plays John Luther, a man who has seen more crime and corruption than good in his days as a Detective Chief Inspector. With only two seasons under its belt, this series has managed to achieve a popularity status that most seasoned shows hope to reach in their prime time. The dynamic between Elba and Ruth Wilson is spot-on! It is refreshing to see a woman being portrayed in a place of power, something that is sometimes hard to find in modern television. Also, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this show stars the handsome Idris Elba – need I say more?
5. Downton Abbey
ITV's "Downton Abbey" may be one of the most popular British television soap operas to make its way across the sea. There is something incredibly eye-catching and intriguing about this period drama set in the 1900's and starring Dame Maggie Smith, a bonus that American Harry Potter fans most certainly took notice of. From the lush costumes to the dramatic plot lines, I always find myself unable to take my finger off of the rewind button whenever I happen to catch this show in my metaphorical orbit. Learning about history has never felt so good! PBS television producers must have had me in mind when they decided to serialize both "Downton Abbey" and "Sherlock" onto their network.
6. The Misfits
This show has to contain one of the most well thought-out plots in TV today. E4/Logo's "The Misfits" takes the idea of a group of people gaining powers through a freakish accident and puts a modern twist on it. Not only is this a concept that we comic-book nerds are well-acclimated to, it also provides ground for tying the American superhero cult with that of British humor. Instead of the cookie-cutter superheros, you get delinquents who pick and choose when to play the roles of saviors or demons. While this show may be hard to get into if you are not a fan of gore, I promise that it will not disappoint!
7. Being Human
While it can be argued that everyone loves a good old-fashioned vampire, the point should be made that this is no ordinary supernatural story. Keeping the added element of the supernatural in mind, the psychological concept behind "Being Human" has kept its audience interested for years. Before the sci-fi elements of the vampire, werewolf and ghost were introduced, the show first centered on people dealing with different vices, such as an addiction to sex and anger management issues. I've always wondered how the BBC has managed to produce such promising shows!
Despite my hesitation at revealing the plots of these respective series in too much detail, I am certain that each of these shows will appeal to your interests as a viewer. Judging from countless mentions of these shows in the social media world and the reactions of excited fans, it won't be long before these series "explode" into other areas of media, whether it's cosplay, or merchandise. One thing's certain: If the anticipation for these series is any indication, the impact of these amazing British television shows on the public will bring forth life-long fans. What other shows have you been keeping up with?