Wednesday, April 3, 2013

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

"C" will definitely be shorter than "B" (finger's crossed!). Lord help us when we get to "M", however!

This is one of my favorite shows of all time! It's often referred to as a cross between Friends and Seinfeld (a comparison I completely disagree with because there is no constant whining and annoying actors - opinionated much?). A face that Disneyphiles and Pirates fans alike might recognize, Jack Davenport (Norrington himself) leads a stellar cast of six friends who fall in and out of love with each other (and back in again). Created by new Doctor Who head Steven Moffat and his real-life wife and loosely based on the beginnings of their relationship. I've actually watched all four of these series more than once, and I laugh every single time! It never gets old!

Here's our first clip, from one of the many rantings of Steve (aka Jack Davenport):

Call The Midwife
I have to admit, I really didn't want to watch this show. Kate recommended it, even starting me off by recording it for me. I was leery because I don't really care for the 1950's (a bit after Downton Abbey's timeline), but again, as per usual, Kate was absolutely right! The characters and storylines were so well thought out, I rarely got embroiled in the surroundings and the period. It's based on the memoirs of real midwife Jennifer Worth, an middle to upper class girl who takes a position as a midwife in a convent in the impoverished area of East London. You get the feeling she is running from something in her past, but little clues are only given out every once and while. This show is riddled with seasoned British actors like Pam Ferris (Aunt Marge to Potter fans) and Jenny Agutter (who will wind up in the M's), but the surprise performance comes from comedian Miranda Hart (who will also make her appearance next in the "M" post). We are two series and a Christmas special down and series 3 on pre-order.

Cold Feet
I loved this show despite it's "not to my liking" ending (and I'll leave it there). Starring James Nesbitt (another Hobbit alum and briefly in Ballykissangel), it follows three sets of couples through 5 series and their ups and downs with each other, children, adultery, and life in general. It sounds similar to Coupling, but it is definitely not a comedy. Also starring Hermoine Norris (who I can't stand, but is in a lot of my favorite shows including Spooks) and, towards the end, a very young and mean Richard Armitage (my absolute favorite British actor, another Hobbit and Spooks alum, who Americans might also remember as the German mercenary from Captain America).

Honorable mention to:
Case Histories - Starring Jason Issacs (Lucious Malfoy to Potter fans). It just finished it's second series (another pre-order), so I can really only speak for the first, but it's the story of a severely disfunctional private detective (Issacs). It's more about the people he comes into contact with and helps (against his desire to do so) than it is about solving crimes, so those looking for a detective story, although there are elements of it, may find themselves embroiled more in the characters lives (which makes it brilliant). He looses visitation with his daughter, drinks incessantly, and is an overall miserable person, but despite all, a great detective.

Again, got a "C" suggestion...let me know!


Kate N said...

Best alcoholic detective ever with gritty and gripping storyline was the UK Cracker starring Robbie Coltrane.

Maria Dunn said...

I am an American and I do enjoy British TV, mostly the mysteries though. Thanks for the intro to more of of Brisitns Tv. I do enjoy some of the others as you mentioned Ballykissangel as well. Sounds like Case Histories might be right up my alley. God bless, Maria from Delight Directed Living

Nagzilla said...

Oooh! I love Jason Issacs, but not for Potter. I loved him as Captain Hook in the live action Peter Pan from a few years back. I'll have to check out Case Histories. Thanks for the highlight!

Hi from Nagzilla bloghopping A to Z

tiffstitch said...

Good call on Cracker Kate, that was one of my favourite shows.

Rebeccah Giltrow said...

The Catherine Tate Show.