Friday, June 24, 2011

The British Invasion

Anyone that reads my blog knows I'm a huge HULU fan. The reason I'm still a fan for so long is that it continually adds content that is top notch. They have managed to keep putting up new and better programming by negotiating with some major networks and now they have managed to bring some top notch programming from England. Yes the island nation that brought such great shows as Black Adder, Faulty Towers, Doctor Who and Monty Python is still making some top notch programming that rivals anything from our own great nation (America just in case that was in question.)

With that in mind, I have been a fan of British television for awhile but until recently what I was able to watch was limited to what aired on PBS, which more often than not were period pieces and mystery shows that seemed far from the mainstream programming we see in America, not anymore though. With Hulu I am now able to watch some of the most popular shows in ol' Britain. Believe it or not they are a far cry from the fair we have seen on PBS often risque and with a boldness we only see on cable television.

First off Misfits is new to Hulu even though it is starting it's third season on BBC 4. This is a show that is part X-files and part Heroes but even though it's an odd combination it works. The show revolves around five teens who are struck by lightening and receive super powers. It's a simple concept that's shaken up by the fact that all five are juvenile delinquents on probation, stuck in a community service program. The premise works brilliantly and it's an enjoyable show that I want to say is targeted at teens but with this very strong warning. British television often runs along the TV MA gambit and as such contains some stuff we in America find taboo, such as extremely vulgar language and nudity and this show is no exception. There is, as the rating's people like to say, strong sexual situations and nudity involved, as well as strong language, drugs and alcohol which is to say even though the premise involves teens you might think twice before queuing up the show with your teens in the room. Still a great show for scifi fans looking for something missing currently on american television.

The next show I have become obsessed with is Peep Show. The story follows Mark and Jez, roommates on the cusp of thirty trying to deal with all the mundane events of daily life. It sounds bland but what it does is show how some of the most innocuous events in our life can actually be the opposite and at the time out right hilarious. Honestly this is one of those shows you will either get or not get but if you get it, it's one you will watch religiously. There's alot of rough language which is the standard for any British show.

Spaced is another one of those offbeat crazy shows where you either get it or you don't. It's made by the creator of Shaun of the Dead and it's humor runs along the same lines. If you haven't seen Shaun of the Dead, then shame on you, one of the best zombie movies ever made with it's quirky humor and anti-heroes. This show does the same thing except rather than facing zombies the protagonists are facing the realization of what being a responsible and mature adult entails and as is often true in real life, it's funny and often not pretty. The premise is about two strangers posing as a married couple to get into a flat (apartment). They learn to deal with their own differing personalities as well as the realization that maturity waits for no man or woman. Funny show that is offbeat and often surreal.

There are a bunch more out there not to mention the Office, the show that was the premise of the popular US version of the Office. If you like our own NBC version you will most likely enjoy the British version. I hope that you take the time to check out the new shows on Hulu especially those from England as it helps you realize that we in the US are not the only source for great television. If you are one of the many out there that is watching Netflix you will find a section devoted to British television, with shows that run the gambit from scifi to cop shows. Probably the one that really shows just how good television in Britain can get is Sherlock, a retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes story set in modern England. It's funny, witty, and action packed, with a quality to rival anything on American television.

Give them a try and enjoy. Leave a comment if you seen any of the above or have a favorite.

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