I love British TV. In general I think they run a better model in the UK than we do in the states. Occasionally, I've mentioned a show here or there but haven't really delved into reviewing them and I thought it might be fun to start doing a few short write ups. Some will be old, some newer, and some current. I won't be ranking them or anything like that, it'll just be in whatever order I happen to think of them.
Starring: James Nesbitt, Gina Bellman
Series: 1 (6 episodes)
Netflix: Available to stream or DVD
Tom Jackman is the only living descendant of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hide. Struggling to contain the monster that grows within him, he does his best to keep his two lives separate and to protect his wife and children from Mr. Hide, all the while trying to find answers and a cure.
The show only had one series, and while it left an opening for the possibility of a return (and a few unanswered questions) it still finished with a satisfying ending. Surprisingly graphic but not really gory, it's dark but also very humorous. I didn't really like James Nesbitt at the start but the more I got to see of his interpretation of Mr. Hyde, the more I became a fan. The writing is superb, managing to balance well the sentimental, the horror, and the two separate identities. There were a couple things that bothered me slightly, but not really enough to take away from the enjoyment of the show. 9 out of 10
Gavin and Stacey (2007 - 2010)
Starring: Mathew Horne, Joanna Page, James Corden, Ruth Jones, Rob Brydon
Series: 3 (20 episodes + a Christmas special)
Netflix: Series 1 available to Stream or DVD
After carrying on a romance over the phone and internet between Essex and Whales, Gavin and Stacey decide to meet up. Love at first sight the two realize they are meant to be together. The only question is how to divide their lives between family and jobs in two separate countries?
Despite some very adult humor, I would describe the series as cute, sweet and extremely funny. It's one of those rare shows where not just one person steals the scenes, but each one does. The writing is sharp and with only three series it never has the chance to wear out its welcome. One of the pure joys of the show is the timing, each actor playing off of one another. Both ABC and NBC have purportedly had a go at American adaptations, though thankfully nothing has come of it. Just for the characters alone, I'd rate this 9 out of 10
Starring: Karl Howman, Geraldine McEwan
Series: 2 (13 episodes)
Netflix: DVD only
Mulberry is the son of death. His father wanting him to join the family business sends him out on his first job; the reaping of old Miss Farnaby. Not quite having the heart for it, he instead takes up employment with her, becoming her personal assistant and friend.
The show is sweet without being saccharine. It's filled with an innocent humor that even your crotchety old grandmother wouldn't mind. The writing is great (though there are a few moments where it falters slightly), as are the leads. I pretty much devoured the series when it first came out on DVD. The only real problem I had was that between series 1 and 2 they switched actresses for one of the roles. A change that I didn't care for. It also featured one of the worst theme songs ever. Sadly it ended after two seasons, before it come to any kind of logical conclusion. A third series could have finished it off properly. Still, even with its faults I give it an 8.5 out of 10