I see you there, watching your British TV

We are readers. We delight in the heady escape into the endless possibilities of the written word. We live vicariously, we invest our emotions in characters who we love too much to admit to their inexistence outside the confines of the page. We live for the moment when we grasp a shiny new novel in our hands and crack the binding.

So am I the only one who feels more than slightly guilty when I would rather curl up in front of the television and let it do my imagining for me? We book bloggers are a dedicated bunch, but we are more than our blogger identity would suggest. We are students, we are professionals, we are mothers who barely have time to breath, let alone indulge in our every literary whim. And sometimes, when we are just too tired to do what we love, we welcome the shallow comfort of regularly scheduled programming. I know I’m not alone in this, though we might not like to admit it too often. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I would share some of my guilty television pleasures in return for suggestions of shows I should check out. Be forewarned: British TV makes up the majority of the list below, though I doubt this will be a problem for most.

I’ve pimped it recently, so I figured I’d lead off with this one. I’m dismayed to learn that the upcoming fourth season will actually see the departure of not two, but three of the original cast members. Still,  I’m looking forward meeting the new characters and seeing what crazy adventures the writers come up with for these young offenders.
I’d followed the progression of this show for a long time on Tumblr before I finally found out what all the fuss what about for myself. This was prompted in no small part by the fact that literally EVERYONE I know was telling me how absolutely amazing it was, and oh were they right. It will be a long, cold winter until the third season brings us back our two favorite mystery-solvers.
Game of Thrones
Speaking of a long, cold winter…I was completely unprepared for the epic sprawl of this show and how completely invested I would become in the slow unraveling of motivations and machinations. I don’t think I’ve ever been inspired to such absolute loathing toward a character before (Joffrey, I’m looking at you, you sick sick boy-king). What really keeps me enthralled, though, is how very much my feelings toward most characters have evolved into a murky ambiguity as the show has gone on.
Mad Men
Serving as another nice seque, perhaps the epitome of murky ambiguity this year was the unexpected evolution of Don Draper. Don is not a moral man; we knew this going into the show’s long-awaited fifth season. Yet in an odd turn of events, Don was in many ways the most moral of the bunch this season. How long it stays this way is anyone’s guess, but it’s time to realize that, underneath it all, Don isn’t a bad man. I’ve got my qualms about many secondary characters in that regard, but that’s what makes Mad Men so compelling.
The Syndicate
And once again, the BBC proves to all American broadcasters that a fantastic story can, in fact, be wrapped up in only five episodes. I became completely engrossed in this show about a group of supermarket workers whose lottery win irrevocably alters their lives. Unfortunately, though the show was picked up for a second season, it will follow a completely different cast of characters. I’ll tune in nonetheless.
After years of being jerked around by Hart Hanson and company, this past season finally saw many fans’ dream plotlines come true, though many complained about the manner in which they were executed. Still, after six years’ worth of foreplay, I’ll take what I can get; Booth and Bones are together, and that’s all I can ask for. Well, no, that’s not strictly true, as I’d also love a more pronounced return to the sharply-written, humor-laced crime plots that characterized earlier seasons (along with more Hodgins screentime, some more guest appearances by Gordon Gordon and Caroline and, hell, the return of Zack while I’m at it).
The Office
Once you’ve written fanfiction for a series, you really can’t divorce yourself of your love for it. I was never actually a huge Michael fan, and so his departure this season wasn’t the calamitous event for me that many found it to be. In fact, I wish James Spader were staying on as undeniably creepy Robert California, but instead we’re stuck with Nellie. Still, I’ve stuck with it this long; I think I’m in for the long haul, however much longer that winds up being.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
My first, my forever favorite. I could go on for ages about how witty, wonderful, wacky, and completely relatable Buffy and the Scooby gang are, how much better off Buffy is with Spike than with Angel, how Buffy serves as the foundation for every YA paranormal written today whether the author wants to admit it or not, and countless other things that make this series one of the best in recent decades. Instead I’ll just go back to my Season 6 marathon and cry as Buffy saves the world- again.
Skins Generation 1
I’ve only seen the first two seasons of Skins (UK, of course), and I got sucked in despite myself. It was only after finishing the storyline for the first generation that I realized how much I cared about certain characters. It’s a bit uncomfortable at times, usually completely irresponsible, and not at all realistic (unless I led a much more sheltered teenage life than I am aware of). It’s also replete with moments of cheeky brilliance (see the out-of-left-field musical number in the first season finale).
So what should I add to my watch list? Should I attempt to tackle Dr. Who? (And are there any brave souls out there willing to give me a primer guide to how, exactly, that should be done, which season to start with, etc.?) Are there any other shows I’m missing out on? Being Human? Castle? Revenge? Merlin? (Though from what I’ve seen, I rather think not). Come one, come all, bring me your suggestions!

4 thoughts on “I see you there, watching your British TV

  1. Thank you for watching our Brit TV. 🙂

    I love Sherlock, so you’re already great in my book for that. I must admit I loved The Syndicate, but I was frustrated by the ending, or should I say non-ending of it, and I feel a little short changed if the next series is a new cast.

    As for Doctor Who… Without sounding too much like a cheerleader. but yes… absolutely, definitely, positively try Doctor Who.

    As a primer, I would say try the first Matt Smith series (Series/Season 5), move on to Series/Season 6, because of the ongoing “Silence” story arc. This should prep you for Series/Season 7 later in the year.

    Then, if you like it, move on back to Season/Series 1 with Christopher Eccleston in the lead role and then watch the David Tennant version from Season/Series 2 up to and including his season of Specials.

    The reason I say this is that there was a big story arc which revolved around “The Time War”.

    If you’re still interested after that, feel free to send me a tweet and I can give you some info of some good stories to watch from the “Classic” (as it has become known) version of the series. (There’s nearly 50 years of Doctor Who to have a go at, so there should be something for you, if you make it through the new stuff and you’re still interested).

    • Thank you- so helpful! This is why I knew I shouldn’t just dive into it on my own without any suggestions first.

      And I do agree- The Syndicate’s non-ending was a tad frustrating after getting invested in so many storylines only to have them all hang in limbo at the end. Still good viewing though.

  2. I also agree to start with Series 5 of Doctor Who with Matt Smith – he is my favourite and its a brand new Doctor/companions so it wont matter that you haven’t watched the previous ones. Then I’d go back to Series 1 with Eccleston – who I didn’t personally like much, however Rose and David Tennant from Series 2 onwards are great, so you do need the ‘backstory’ as it were.

    I think you’ll love Doctor Who 😀

    I adore Sherlock and Bones and Buffy and Game of Thones and Skins Gen 1. I also only just saw it for the first time recently. Everyone was watching it at uni but I didn’t think I’d like it (and actually I probably wouldn’t have 4 years ago) but I find it hilarious now. I’ve seen bits of the other generations and don’t like them much. Like you, it is nothing like my teenage years which were very… well normal. No boys, drugs, drinking etc. I’m still not sure if I was abnormal or if the majority of teens aren’t really like this either (despite it being touted at ‘realistically’ portraying teenagers). Who knows lol.

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