Saturday, April 13, 2013

TV Anorak: An American Intro To British TV-The L's

1. British: A person obsessively interested in a thing or topic that doesn't seem to warrant such attention.

This series of Challenge posts is an introduction to British TV shows for my fellow Americans. For instructions on how to play different region-coded DVD's, please go either here or here to read my previous blog posts that should clear up any confusion. Next up:


Lark Rise To Candleford
I'm really surprised I made it this long until I had a true period drama on my list (not including Garrow's Law - but a more Austen-esque type). Lark Rise is the story of a young girl named Laura who was born in the very poor Lark Rise, and is given an opportunity to work in the post office by her post-mistress second cousin in the affluent Candleford. She does a lot of growing and changing throughout the series, growing up, falling in and out of love, dealing with loss, and trying to balance her life between the two very different worlds. She often blunders things, but there is usually a happy ending. The cast in this show is quite amazing...Dawn French is absolutely fabulous as the often drunk and lazy, mostly single mother of numerous children who ends up in debtors prison, leaving her oldest son to take care of his siblings. Then you have Julia Sawalha as the post mistress who is completely in love with a man she can never have. Brendan Coyle (Americans might know him as Bates on Downton, I know him as Nicholas Higgins in North And South-no not that stupid 80's civil war drama, but the Elizabeth Gaskell classic starring my dearest Richard Armitage) as Laura's very proud father. There are four series of this show and they have a very nice sendoff, so no worries on the ending!

Lewis is a spinoff (or followup, depending on how you look at it) of Inspector Morse, one of the most beloved detective series probably in British history. Set in Oxford, Lewis picks up a few years after Morse leaves off, Morse is now dead and Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately resumes his role) has been promoted to DI. Instead of being in the shadow of Morse, he now leads DS Hathaway (played by Laurence Fox-Billie Piper of Doctor Who's real life husband) as they solve crimes in and around Oxford. The scenery of this show is amazing and I often catch myself looking around as the action is going on. Lewis focuses a lot more on the surroundings than Morse did. It is kind of funny how quickly Laurence Fox grows on you...he goes from being this gangly, extremely tall, geeky looking guy, to a total hunk! There have been seven series of Lewis, and both actors say it is their last, but we'll see.

Law And Order UK
One of the few British shows to copy off an American one instead of the other way 'round (it was bound to happen sometime). I haven't watched a single Law And Order American version, so I can't compare, but I absolutely love this show! I guess it operates off the same premise...the police solve the crimes and the crown prosecutors make sure the criminals are punished. But man, what a cast this has! Jamie Bamber (who most Americans might know from Battlestar Galatica), Freema Agyeman (from Doctor Who), and Ben Daniels are just the regulars. You have a plethora of guest stars and, unlike regular cop shows, this one tends to push a few boundaries, so prepare yourself. So far there have been six series of this show.

Honorable mention to:

Life Begins
Another Caroline Quentin show, about a woman who seemingly has everything, only to have her husband leave her and is suddenly forced to get a job and support their kids. She struggles a lot to find her place in the world and to keep her teenagers in check as well as dealing with her husband's many girlfriends. Eventually, the husband wants to come back, but can it work? There are three of these series and it's very heavy on the drama side.

That's it for "L". "M" is a big one, so I hope you're ready!


Kate N said...

Did I ever mention that Kevin Whateley lives near me and I once saw him in the supermarket?! All good shows :D
Erm...Last of the Summer Wine, Little Britain, Did you never watch Life on Mars?, Lifes Too Short, Little Crackers - was/is a series of one off dramatisations?

Keebles said...

I am not a Little Britain fan...David Walliams is just creepy to me! The others, no. Life On Mars aired on BBCA, and John Simm aside, I never wanted to watch it...I'm not sure why. But someone at work thinks the only British TV show ever made was Last, so I hear about it quite a bit!

Rebeccah Giltrow said...

Little Britain!

And Look Around You. This programme is awesome. It's designed to be like those awful science programmes from the 70s, with bad hair and horrible clothes. Series two is better than series one.