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Why I’m Binging These British TV Shows

by Abby Montanez

I’ve somehow stumbled down the rabbit hole that is British television. First, I started out watching one casual series here and there. Then, I would blindly begin another show not even knowing that it was a BBC program. The final push was watching all six seasons of Love Island (UK), totaling over 260 hours of pure gold. So, you might wonder why I’m binging these British TV shows. Is the allure in the accents? The culture? The banter? Most likely, it’s all of the above. I’m just sorry that it took this long for me, and hopefully the rest of America, to catch on. 

Catastrophe

Variety

The stars and love interests of Catastrophe, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, are also the series’ writers and creators. During a business trip to London, Rob (the American) impregnates Sharon and the next four seasons follow the two on their journey to becoming parents—and a bit more than strangers. 

Watch on: Amazon Prime Video

Peaky Blinders

Irish Times

I’ve loved Cillian Murphy in everything from Red Eye to the Batman movies, and his role as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders continues to fill my quota for why I love British TV shows. The show, set in Birmingham, follows the Shelby family after the First World War, and introduces you to their gang which is loosely based on a real 19th century youth gang in England. The show confronts themes such as PTSD, addiction and the wild antics that Tommy and his brothers get into. Not to mention the villains each new season brings with it. 

Watch on: Netflix

Normal People

StyleCaster

Based on the best-selling novel by Sally Rooney, Normal People is one of the newest series to hit Hulu. Young love is messy, emotional and Normal People intends on bringing those very ideas to the big screen. And without giving anything away, it does so by eliminating the cookie-cutter, fantasy aspect of other relationship drama programs.

Watch on: Hulu

Trying

Indiewire

An Apple TV+ original, fans of Catastrophe will find Trying similarly enjoyable in the playful and comedic parenting nature of the show. Main characters Nikki and Jason are “trying” for a baby, but when their luck runs out, they look into adoption. As a result, the two become acutely aware of their own shortcomings and are forced to lean on one another during what becomes a long, drawn-out and stressful process. 

Watch on: Apple TV+

Broadchurch

British TV shows

Digital Spy

Before Olivia Coleman won an Oscar for The Favorite or played the evil stepmom in Fleabag, she was one part of a detective duo on Broadchurch. Joined by Scottish actor David Tennant, the two solve crimes in a small tourist town. The scenery, along with the suspense, is reason enough to watch while most scenes take place against the backdrop of the sea and rolling cliffs. 

Watch on: Netflix

Sex Education 

British TV shows

Deadline

If the thought of high school and sexually active teenagers makes you cringe, Sex Education brings a progressive and comcial lens to the most awkward time in any young adult’s life. Otis, the show’s front runner, begins an underground therapy clinic for his classmates, giving sex and relationship advice he’s picked up over the years from his own mother—an actual licensed therapist. His companions Eric and Maeve are along for the ride. 

Watch on: Netflix

Killing Eve

British TV shows

Indiewire

You know those shows that always get really good by the end of each episode? That’s Killing Eve. Always leaving viewers at the edge of their seats, Sandra Oh plays a female security operative that becomes obsessed (and infatuated) with assassin Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer. The two women enter into a game of cat and mouse, and their relationship couldn’t be stranger. 

Watch on: Hulu / Season 3 currently airing on AMC

Fleabag

BBC America

Based on the one-woman show by writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag is a British sitcom that breaks the fourth-wall in an extremely intimate and hilarious way. The show, while lighthearted in dialogue, focuses on relationships (both familial and romantic), sex addicition and themes such as suicide. All from the perspective of a protagonist who at times is unreliable, and potentially even unlikable.

Watch on: Amazon Prime Video

Love Island

People.com

Anyone who says Love Island is like The Bachelor has clearly never seen the show. A group of singles take shelter in a villa in Mallorca, Spain and surveillance cameras keep watch as the contestants begin to couple up with one another—which is the only way to win, and stay on the show. In the coming days and weeks, more singles are added into the mix at any given moment. Which makes for an interesting twist, to say the least.

Watch on: Hulu

The Great British Baking Show

British TV shows

Qz.com

The UK’s best amateur bakers compete against one another making cakes, breads, pastries and more in one of the most iconic British TV shows. The show takes place outdoors, under a giant tent, which makes things like temperature and humidity a battle the bakers must also overcome. They all want to win, but a handshake from Paul Hollywood is sometimes just as good.

Watch on: Netflix

The End of the F***ing World

Vulture

There’s a very specific level of dark comedy that makes seasons one and two of The End of the F***ing World so good. And also, so creepy. Two misfit teens, James and Alyssa, run off in a coming-of-age adventure tale that’s riddled with violence and mystery. Though the show is gruesome at times, there’s also witty dialogue between the two that supports the debauchery.

Watch on: Netflix

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