The British Are Here!

I’m not one to make resolutions for the new year, but it occurred to me that perhaps I should reserve one for shorter, but more frequent, musings on the moving pictures that I had in the year past promised would come at you oh, every week or so. So, weary reader, I’ll try not to bore you with such philositudes (I made that up; see, it’s already exciting!) as before, and, well, get on with it!

To ring in the new year, I bring you no grand epic films, no artsy fodder for discussion of what the hopes and fears of man might hold in light of the upcoming inauguration, no space oddities…. Winter is a good time for television, methinks. And there’s not much better television than British television—thankfully for them, as they’ve not got the weather, the cuisine, nor the haute couture (ok, I do like them tweeds…) going for them. We watch a lot of British tele through Netflix at the Walter household, and here’s a list of my current favorites:

Black Books takes place in a small bookstore owned by Bernard Black, a curmudgeony [young] dodger if ever there was one! Black is irascible, filthy, drunk, and smart, and the interpersonal foibles between Black, his assistant, and the female shopkeeper next door are hilarious. Short episodes (20-25 min.) make this show work.

Hotel Babylon is new and flashy, and I like it! Based on the confessional novel by Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous (how scandalous!), the show centers on life inside the five star Babylon hotel in London, from the staff’s perspective. The show is narrated by the Babylon’s front-of-house manager, Charlie, and is at times surprisingly touching and thought-provoking. Super hip, we eat this stuff up! Tip your concierge, by god!

Waking the Dead is a “cold case” police procedural, though I’m not sure if it’s what our American Cold Case is based on. Each story is told over two separate hour long episodes, so they get really involved, which is something the Brits, it seems, always have over us dumb Yanks and is a large part of what draws me to these shows. Unlike some similar shows, Waking the Dead has so far focused more on the actual police procedures of digging through the old case files rather than the gruesome acts of violence that [may] have been perpetrated.

And lastly, I’ve been watching through a show that I watched with my brother back when I was in high school—Lovejoy, based on the Jonathan Gash mystery novels. Our hero, Lovejoy, is an antiques dealer of sorts, though “miscreant” might be the more apt term (antiques dealer who wears a leather biker jacket), and he’s always finding himself in the midst of situations that need solving—usually to prevent his landing in jail or owing someone a huge sum of money. Surrounded by a delightful cast of other miscreants (one’s a drunk named Tinker) and taking place in the beautiful English countryside, Lovejoy is a real pleasure and a treasure, especially if you like antiques at all.     

Happy viewing, and if you’ve never given British television a chance, you’re a right ninny!


2 Responses to “The British Are Here!”

  1. teambuildingexercise99 Says:

    walter’s wife would like to add a few other smashing programmes from the brits. we’ve finished most of these series, but you can find them on netflix… prime suspect, 11th hour, second sight, wire in the blood, blue murder, a touch of frost, peep show, red dwarf, the prisoner, the office, extras, tales of the unexpected, and danger man. enjoy!

  2. Katie Says:

    thanks for the recommendations! i think i might check out black books just because the main character has my favorite name to hear in its british pronunciation (BERH-nahd). love it!

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