Sunday, October 3, 2010


Five British TV Shows to Catch on DVD

by Nick Zaino, posted Oct 3rd 2010

British TV is definitely more visible in America these days. BBC America reaches about 68 million homes, according to its press site, and features a few shows every TV fan probably recognizes, like 'Doctor Who' and 'Top Gear.' But it's still behind some of its basic cable brethren.

According to TV By the Numbers, the April premiere of 'Doctor Who' series 5 set ratings records for the network with1.2 million viewers. That's a lot of people, but dwarfed in comparison to the 5.3 million who watched the 'Jersey Shore' season 2 debut in July.

Even a show like 'Being Human,' which has been a cult hit and set hearts a-twittering at ComicCon, may have slipped under your radar. But this is why living in the age of TV on DVD is so great -- you get a second chance to find great shows, past and present.

Season 1 of 'Being Human' was released in July, and season 2 hit shelves last week. Here are five British shows you should seek out and why, starting with 'Human.'

'Being Human'
The premise sounds like a punch line -- a vampire, a ghost, and a werewolf rent the same house. If you figured that out from the commercials and skipped it, no one could blame you. But you'd be missing out on a compelling drama with a great sense of humour. The reason it works, perhaps despite the odds, is that the writers create a lot of sympathy for three characters struggling with three different problems that they are uniquely qualified to bond over. And now you can catch up on both seasons before the next one starts.

…When most of the world is killed by a mysterious plague, a handful of people have to find a way to get along and rebuild a civilization gone wild…

'Black Books'
In the U.K., Dylan Moran is already well-known as a genius of a stand-up comedian...He played sarcastic, cynical, often drunk Bernard Black, owner of a bookshop that often seemed a nuisance to himself…

'Man Stroke Woman'
…This is a bite-sized entry, just six episodes of sketch comedy on one disc…It never lingers on a joke, never stretches for time. There are crude gross-out gags (a cautionary tale of not feeding you dog the way the vet tells you), a lot of relationship humour (a woman distraught over her boyfriend suddenly changing from a bastard to a nice guy) and some downright strange bits…

'The IT Crowd'
…The show centres on a two-man IT department and their newly installed manager, the geeks versus the non-geek. Also watch for a couple of regular supporting players from other British comedies you should know…

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