Forget about the Royal Family, let’s talk about the actual most interesting thing to come out of Britain – their TV shows on Netflix. Okay, so maybe it’s not the most interesting British thing ever, but if you aren’t checking out the collection of TV shows from “across the pond” available to stream on the site, you are seriously missing out.
There is so much amazing British content to choose from – hysterically funny, chilling and thrilling, top-notch drama, it’s all there – so I have narrowed down the choices to shows I have personally watched and loved. For everyone in the comments section who will inevitably be saying, “You forgot The Crown!” or “Hey, what about Call the Midwife?” or “You excluded Outlander, you ignorant, insolent fool!” relax. I’m sure there are a ton of great shows I didn’t include, simply because I haven’t seen them. I am but one person, and my family occasionally wants me to log off Netflix and feed them and stuff.
Hello, David Tennant. Doctor Who may not be on Netflix anymore, but you can still get your Tennant-fix on Broadchurch, along with many other former and current Whovians. This is the show that made me fall in love with British TV. A suspense drama with a picturesque backdrop, Broadchurch centers around the mystery of a young boy’s death in a small coastal town. I can’t tell you much more about it because it will ruin the show for you. You will just have to trust me on this one. Bring snacks, because you will watch multiple episodes in a row.
You will laugh 'til you pee. Michaela Coel proves herself one of the most underrated actors working today. She is simply perfect in this role of a quirky young woman exploring her sexuality, reconciling her desires with her strict religious upbringing, and managing relationships with a supporting cast of cringy but loveable misfits. If you are looking for steamy sex scenes, this show is not for you. If you are looking for hilariously awkward and bizarrely poignant portrayals of trying to get it on, definitely tune in.
Like Broadchurch, I can’t tell you too much about the plot of this show without ruining it. What you need to know is that it’s about a badass police sergeant, solving crimes like a badass, and searching like a badass for the man who hurt her daughter. She’s badass. The show is badass. Watch it with your badass friends and family.
Two words: Idris Elba. That should be enough convincing, but in case it’s not, tune in for the adorable and touching interaction between Idris and the show’s young star, Frankie Hervey. Idris plays a DJ who is vying to regain his former glory, and ends up becoming nanny to his friend’s difficult daughter. It’s much less cheesy than it sounds. Frankie brilliantly plays the role of a child who is both spoiled and neglected by her rich and famous parents. Idris is, well, Idris. He’s always brilliant.
A detective who struggles with memory loss investigates a murder that she thinks she may have committed herself. Are you interested yet? This is one of those shows that expertly feeds us clues a bit at a time about the on-going mystery, while exploring sub-plots by episode. It’s suspenseful, heart-wrenching, and leaves you feeling not quite sure who to root for.
I did not expect to like this show as much as I did. The virgin teenage son of a sex therapist begins offering sex advice for pay at school. If it sounds campy, it is to a degree, but American Pie it is not. Despite there being some very funny moments, the show tackles some serious issues in a real and poignant manner. Supporting actor Ncuti Gatwa delivers a performance that should win every award out there. It’s rare to watch a scene so powerful it makes you stop and say, “I need a minute,” but Ncuti delivered just that.
A suburban doctor, wife, and mother has a seemingly normal and enviable life – until it explodes. Another suspenseful British drama, Doctor Foster is full of so many twists and turns you never leave the edge of your seat. Dr. Gemma Foster is an anti-hero of sorts. Most of the characters in this show are neither inherently good or inherently bad. There is no true hero, no true villain, and it’s riveting.
This should give you hours of viewing to start with. I apologize in advance for anyone who is counting on you, because once you start these, you won’t be able to stop watching. British TV is simply amazing. Who knew?