The Indian audience has an affinity for western TV shows. People never seem to stop talking about how great Game of Thrones is or how intriguing Mr Robot or Suits are. Or how funny F.R.I.E.N.D.S or its uncountable counterpart sitcoms are. Television networks like HBO, FX, AMC, Showtime etc have grasped the Indian market in such a way that we are most likely to miss out on the other great TV shows that are there (which do not run on an American network). But we don’t want that to happen, do we? What if there is another show as good as GoT or F.R.I.E.N.D.S ? You obviously want to know about it and watch it. Today, we list down some of the British TV Series that are as good as, if not better than the popular American ones.
Black Mirror (2011 – continuing)
Black Mirror is a short anthology series and one of the best works of science fiction I’ve seen on television in a long time. All the 7 episodes (3 in season 1, 3 in season 2 and 1 special episode) , set in near and distant futures, are about how we integrate new technologies into the most intimate parts of our lives, often with hideous results. What makes this series so powerful is its incredible psychological realism. The future worlds we see in Black Mirror may be fantastical, but the pettiness, self-absorption, and misdirected righteousness of its inhabitants are as familiar as home. Black Mirror is back with its third season on 21st October. And the good news is that this time you get to watch it on Netflix. So what are you waiting for?
Happy Valley (2014 – continuing)
A six-part crime drama which was one of the TV highlights of 2014. Written by Sally “Last Tango in Halifax” Wainwright and graced by a powerhouse performance from Sarah Lancashire, it became a word-of-mouth hit, attracting 7 million viewers and winning two Baftas: Best Drama Series and Best Writer for Wainwright. Meanwhile, Lancashire won the RTS and TV Choice gongs for Best Actress. Quite a haul. Happy Valley has a total of 12 episodes ( 6 in season 1 and 6 in season 2). BBC1 has confirmed that Happy Valley will return for a 3rd season but no dates have been released yet.
Utopia (2013 – 2014)
This is one TV show that saddens me. The two season long show was called off for a third season because they said that the network needed room for new shows, which was only an excuse as the viewership targets couldn’t be reached. Utopia was also supposed to have an American remake. And guess who would have directed that? It’s none other than David Fincher. You can pretty much understand how awesome the show would have been. The story follows a small group of people who find themselves in possession of the manuscript sequel of a cult graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments, which is rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century. This leads them to be targeted by an organisation known as The Network, which they must avoid to survive. Using the manuscript, they must uncover the meaning hidden in its pages before the disasters depicted become reality.
The Night Manager (2016 – Miniseries)
When you get two great actors of the kinds of Tom Hiddleston (Loki of Marvel, yeah!) and Hugh Laurie (House MD), you are almost certain to have a great whatever you’re making. The Night Manager is one of those. They are a combination of brilliant and sexy and fun to watch, wringing the most out of writer David Farr’s story and luxuriating in the high-definition-loving locales of Switzerland, Morocco, Spain, the U.K., Egypt and Turkey. Former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) is recruited by Angela Burr (Olivia Colman), an intelligence operative. He is tasked to navigate Whitehall and Washington, D.C. where there is an alliance between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. He must infiltrate the inner circle of arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Hugh Laurie), Roper’s girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki), and associate Corkoran (Tom Hollander). Unfortunately, as per the mini-series format, there will be no second season for this marvellous show. But trust me on this, the 6 episodes will blow you off your mind.
Peaky Blinders (2013 – continuing)
This is the last one in the list probably because some of you might have heard about/ watched this one. Does Cillian Murphy ring a bell? Yes. Scarecrow from Batman Begins. He plays the role of Tommy Shelby, the main protagonist of the show. Oh and you got Tom Hardy playing Alfie Solomons too, although his role is a short yet important one. This series is 3 seasons old with 6 episodes in each. It will be coming back for a 4th season next year presumably. It is a gangster family epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England and centred on a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps, and their fierce boss Tomas Shelby, who means to move up in the world. Watch this one for some awesome performances and visually stunning slow motion shots.
On an ending note, I would like to come back to the domestic grounds where a brilliant web series came to an end this week. Yes. I am talking about TVF’s latest Tripling. This one has really set a new high for the other Indian production houses. A 5-episode season which has all the emotions that one can name. And some great original tracks which you’ll want to listen over and over again. Don’t miss out on this one. Here’s where you can start: https://tvfplay.com/episode/1/130/154/828
If you are planning on a weekend TV Series Marathon, may we suggest renting a projector to make the experience bigger and better?