Wednesday, April 17, 2013

TV Anorak: An American Intro To British TV-The O'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:


"O" is gonna be a bit different...see, I didn't have any "O" shows in my collection. So I've decided that "O" will be "Others" as in British movies or mini-series that should also be viewed by an American audience. This is a long list, so I'll try to shorten it as best as I can. I may leave out the actor links (since those take the most amount of time).

Lost In Austen
My regular blog visitors have no doubt about my love of Jane Austen. I have every incarnation of her stories ever made on DVD. This is one of my favorites! It's the story of a modern girl named Amanda in love with the idea of Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride And Prejudice, only to find that a wall behind her bath is actually a secret door to Longbourn, home to the Bennets. She and Elizabeth swap places (not by her choosing, Elizabeth can be pretty tricky) and she suddenly finds herself completely messing up everyone's happy endings (as well as finds herself in love with Darcy). Should she go back home to her mundane life, or fight to keep the man she loves? There are so many twists and turns, for a true Janeite, you can't help but love it! The cast is amazing, Jemima Rooper (with Christina Cole not far behind - see "H"), Tom Riley, Hugh Bonneville, Alex Kingston, Gemma Arterton, Elliot Cowan (who I love) and many more. I actually have this on my iPod I watch it so much! But I did actually find the trailer on YouTube:

North And South
Richard Armitage. Yum. I have mentioned this before (and no, not that crappy American mid 80's soap opera) and probably will again. This is my favorite Elizabeth Gaskell novel (she was a contemporary of the Bronte sisters, just a bit after Jane Austen). This is the mini-series that opened my eyes to Richard. It's the story of the daughter of a southern vicar who decides to give up the cloth and move the entire family to the industrial town Milton (a fictional recreation of Manchester). They struggle to survive and deal with the differences in the northern culture. But Margaret's encounters with the broody John Thornton are what drive the "will she" or "won't she" fall in love with him story. This is one of the best scenes from the four part series, and the reason why I absolutely adore Richard! Don't worry, I'm not giving away spoilers here, this is from the middle of the series:

Shakespeare Retold
Talk about stellar casts...these are a series of four modern interpretations of Shakepeare plays, each one completely different, but not one fails to disappoint! MacBeth, with Richard Armitage, James McAvoy, and Keely Hawes; The Taming Of The Shrew - Shirley Henderson, Rufus Sewell, and Stephen Tompkinson; Much Ado About Nothing - Billie Piper, Tom Ellis, Damien Lewis, and Sarah Parish; and A Midsummer Night's Dream with Bill Patterson, Imelda Staunton, Dean Lennox Kelly, Zoe Tapper, and Rupert Evans. There is also a series of Canterbury Tales and Fairy Tales that go with this series, and have just the same large number of brilliant actors.

I've talked about this movie before, I absolutely love it! Ciaran McMenamin and my beloved Jamie Draven star with Anna Friel, a young, recently graduated Irish girl who heads to London with high aspirations (built on a pyramid of lies). But everything goes haywire when her dream job falls through and her boyfriend discovers all and leaves her. She meets a new guy, only to discover she's pregnant by her ex, which she fails to reveal to her new boyfriend until the baby is born. She's forced to run home back to Ireland with her tail between her legs and finally fess up to her parents and the baby's father. But will true love win out? You'll have to watch and see!

Forget Me Not
I've also discussed this movie in the past. Simply put, boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love in 24 hours, boy has secret that could ruin everything. Tobias Menzies stars in this very dialogue driven story.

Death At A Funeral
No....not the crappy American remake, but the original, very dark British comedy. Another amazing all-star cast with Matthew MacFadyen, Keely Hawes, Rupert Graves, and half a dozen other great actors. This was a movie that did not need to be remade. I did try to watch the American version, but ended up turning it off pretty quickly.

I do so love my period dramas! This is filled to the brim with American A-list quality actors who happen to be British; Dame Judy Dench, Imelda Staunton, and a whole host of others. Another Elizabeth Gaskell adaptation, but one of her more comedic stories. You'll laugh and cry, maybe even in the same moment!

Secret Smile
David Tennant as a real baddie...I thought I'd hate it, but he does bad good! He plays a man who, at first seems loving and genuine,but rather turns into a crazy stalkerish madman hellbent on ruining his object of affections life by any means necessary (by ruining her professional reputation, hooking up with her sister, etc, all the while doing the same to several other women simultaneously).

Speaking of David Tennant, ever want to see him in a period drama? Then look no further my friends! This is a mini-series following the life and loves of Casanova (including one love in particular). It gets extremely raunchy at times, so prepare yourself (and hide the kiddies eyes on this one). Rupert Penry-Jones plays his main rival and watching these two on screen together almost as good as Rupert and Richard Armitage on screen together!

I have several others on this list, but I better stop now or I could go on forever! The point of this post is to show that it's not just British series that are worth watching, but their mini-series and movies as well!


Rebeccah Giltrow said...

The Office. I never watched it when it first came out, but I've watched the whole thing on Netflix and it's great. I'm now working my way through the US Office. Both are funny, but I do prefer the British version.

Outnumbered is a great programme, if you can find it. It's partly scripted and partly improvised. The children are allowed to pretty much say what they want, and it's so funny.

Kate N said...

Like I told you and like my sister screamed at me....ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES is the epitomy of british comedy and spawned so many catchphrases and is downright hilarious whichever background or class you come from. I am glad you have this on order and if you dont laugh...I may disown you! hehhehehehe