Earlier this week we published an article about 4 amazing TV series from the UK that were not available by any legitimate means in North America. Not to end a story on a bummer, we promised to return with a great selection of British TV series that ARE available in North America. That brings us to now. Just a few days later, we return with twice as many series as in the last article, this time representing shows you can watch on streaming services in North America. So brew some tea, bake some scones, and get ready to enjoy some great British television.
Heightened hilarity is the name of the game in Green Wing. As a hospital series that has nothing to do with medicine, Green Wing explores the comic relationships of the insane hospital staff. Green Wing stars Tamsin Greig (Episodes) as Doctor Caroline Todd, Stephen Mangan (Episodes) as Dr. Guilaume Secretan, Julian Rhind-Tutt (A Touch of Cloth) as Dr. Macartney, Karl Theobald (Primeval) as Dr. Martin Dear, Mark Heap (Spaced) as Dr. Alan Statham, and an extended cast of other unforgettable characters. The comedy is largely derived from the love triangle between Dr. Macartney, Dr. Todd, and Dr. Secretan, though I am a bigger fan of the awkward and self important Dr. Alan Statham. Green Wing streams on Hulu.
Miranda is a goofy comedy in the same vein as I Love Lucy. Starring 6’1” comedian Miranda Hart, Miranda follows the socially awkward owner of a joke shop. The series deals with the 3 prominent relationships in her life, her friend and employee Stevie (Peep Show’s Sarah Hadland) , her over involved mother Penny (The Elephant Man’s Patricia Hodge), and Gary, the chef next door (Once Upon a Time’s Tom Ellis) that she lusts after. Blending physical comedy, charming awkwardness, and manic behavior makes Miranda a light and joyful comedy that is uncommon these days. Miranda streams on Hulu.
Portraying the events that lead up to and follow a mass shooting in a fictional English town, Southcliffe shows multiple perspectives, including that of the killer. The large and talented cast includes Sean Harris (Promethius) as the gunman, Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful) as a reporter, and Joe Dempse (Game of Thrones), as a returning soldier. With a non-linear presentation, Southcliffe explores the lives of all of its characters before and after the darkest event of their lives. Southcliffe streams on Netflix.
The Wrong Mans
A Hulu exclusive in North America, The Wrong Mans tells the story of Sam Pinkett as portrayed by Mathew Baynton (Peep Show). Sam, recently separated from a long time girlfriend, encounters a major accident on his way to work. While exploring the scene, he finds a ringing cellphone and answers it. This single event spins his world into a mess of kidnappings, assassinations and government conspiracies. Joining Sam for the “fun” is his enthusiastic co-worker Phil Bourne (Gavin & Stacey’s James Corden). The Wrong Mans’ comedy comes from the extremes of the situations befalling our unlikely heroes.
In The Flesh
Airing on BBC America, and available through various content purchasing platforms, In the Flesh takes a fresh approach to the zombie apocalypse by focusing on the recovery as a parallel to current social issues. In the Flesh tackles homophobia in a small town and the stigma of mental illness through the discrimination of PDS (partially deceased syndrome) sufferers. PDS is the term used to humanize zombies that have been treated with medication to hold off their rabid symptoms. Referred to as rotters, by those who discriminate, the zombies of In the Flesh must face the atrocities they committed in their rabid state. As the main force that held the zombies at bay before a treatment was discovered, the HVF (Human Volunteer Force) now have to deal with reconciling with those they once hunted. Prejudices have been developed, and PDS sufferers face a hard return to civilization.
An Idiot Abroad
Coming from comedy masterminds Ricky Gervais (The Office) and Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies), An Idiot Abroad is a travel documentary series that sends radio personality Karl Pilkington across oceans and continents to take in the world’s most fascinating points of interests. The hook is that Karl Pilkington is chronically unimpressed, always annoyed, and possessed with a unique world view. Adding to that, is the sheer glee Gervais and Merchant take in Pilkington’s discomfort. Whether traversing the Great Wall of China, training as a Luchador, or participating in Rio de Janeiro’s famous Carnaval, Pilkington is always and hilariously miserable. An Idiot Abroad gives you a perspective of the world’s greatest treasures from a man who just wants to eat at a cafe and read books about freaks. Joining Pilkington in the 3rd season is famous dwarf actor Warwick Davis (Willow), who shares the adventure with an optimism to match Pikington’s pessimism. An Idiot Abroad is available to stream on Netflix.
The Up Series
The Up Series is a famous series of TV documentaries that follow the lives of a group of children from different social classes over the course of decades. Beginning in 1964, 7 Up!, introduced us to 20 innocent 7 year old children, asking them questions about life, love, and social class. In 1970 the children were revisited in the follow up 7 Plus Seven, again in 1977 we met up with the now 21 year olds in 21 Up. The Up Series checks back in every 7 years to see how the lives of the participants progresses. The crew have checked in 8 times so far, last in 2012’s 56 Up. While some participants have chosen to drop out of the series, the majority remain through triumph and heartbreak. The appeal to catching up on the series now is in watching these children age before your eyes for better or worse. The next Up special will air in the UK in 2019 as 63 Up. The Up Series streams on Netflix as individual titles (7 Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, etc…).
In demand in North America for years, but absent due to music copyright issues, Spaced is now available to stream and own on dvd in North America. Spaced is essentially the prequel series to Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto film trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End). About roommates in London, Spaced marked the beginnings of the careers of Director Edgar Wright, and Actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who would later move onto the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy together. 2 young Londoners Daisey (Burke and Hare’s Jessica Hynes) and Tim (Pegg) meet by chance as strangers in a café. each trying to find an apartment with no luck. The 2 conspire to pose as a couple in order to meet the requirements of a cheap apartment. All of this leads to a motley crew or eccentric characters living together and experiencing life through the heightened lens of Edgar Wright. Spaced streams on Hulu.
If you love any of these shows, or feel that we missed one that should be represented, tell us in our comments. Stay tuned for more coverage of your favorite TV shows here at TVEnthusiast.