Pop Culture

Thank God for British TV

Bones is off for another week so let’s talk about some television I have no trouble gushing over. Tally ho, old chaps.


Three seasons, nine episodes of excellence.

I’ll admit it — I was slow to get on the train to 221B Baker Street. I am a Holmes purist, so please don’t even mention those horrible RDJ movies (love you, Bob, but, dude….) and I am not interested in the current American version, either. After watching a documentary on the effect Sherlock Holmes had on true-life crime solving techniques, however, I was intrigued enough by the mentions of the BBC series to give it a look. And thank God I did.

Of course, there’s this:

Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes….Hello, you beautiful boy.

and this:

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, being silly drunk
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as Watson and Sherlock. It will happen.

And be still my heart, those curls (gif from The TV Mouse).

Sherlock ruffles his hair, then takes Molly's face in his hands and kisses her.

The magic of this adaptation is that Sherlock IS Doyle’s master detective, brought into the 21st century. Respectful homage is paid to almost every facet of the genius of the author’s original character and the changes that have been made (for instance the wink wink/nudge nudge, are they/aren’t they relationship between Sherlock and Watson) add to the story without taking anything away. Can I use the word genius again? I’m gonna. Watch this show. (The Pmag editorial team has taken leave to watch that last gif on repeat forever. Please look after things for us. ~eds.)

Doctor Who

People who know me are probably shocked this show wasn’t at the number one spot. Well, there is a new Doctor, after all, and while I’m willing to hope for the best and adopt a wait and see attitude about Peter Capaldi, I am a bit nervous.

The man is wearing pleated pants.

Peter Capaldi as the Twelth Doctor

I can live with the red silk lining, it’s kind of dashing, right? But pleats? Dear God, save us.

Call the Midwife

Are you watching this show on PBS? If you aren’t, why not? It’s lovely! Based on the books by Jennifer Worth, it’s set in 1950s East End London and tells the story of a group of midwives and the sisters of Nonnatus House, a nursing convent. The childbirth scenes can be a bit raw and cringeworthy, but every episode is warm and charming. Plus, Chummy! I love Chummy!

Miranda Hart as Chummy
Miranda Hart as Camilla Fortescue-Cholmondeley-Browne – Chummy!


I’m just going to put this here…

Idris Elba as Luther

And that’s all I have to say about that.


This show is coming to US television in the form of a spinoff (?) called Gracepoint, also starring David Tennant. Unfortunately, they’re Americanizing it, the bastards, and taking away his lovely Scots burr. (As long as he keeps the scruff of sadness and vulnerability, we’re cool, Gracepoint.~ed.) WHY CAN’T WE HAVE NICE THINGS, ‘MURICA?  WHYYYY????

Do yourself a favor and watch the BBC version.

David Tennant, scruffy and gorgeous
David Tennant as Alec Hardy
Arthur Darville as Rev. Paul Coates
It’s a ‘Doctor Who’ reunion! If, you know, Ten had ever met Rory, but never mind.
David Tennant as Alec Hardy
One more David Tennant. Because David Tennant.

The Bletchley Circle

Inspired by real women who worked for the British service during World War II as codebreakers, this series is also set during the 1950s. Being women of course, after the menfolk returned from the war they were all sent back to their rightful place taking care of hearth and home. In season one, these women put their skills to work solving the case of a serial killer. I have season 2 on my DVR still to watch, but I have no doubt it will be as excellent as the first.

the women of Bletchley Circle
The women of Bletchley Circle

So, there you go, a few of my favorites from British television. Tell me what you like in the comments, or just drool with me over Idris Elba. I’m good either way. :-)



48/DWF. "I don't entirely approve of some of the things I have done or am or have been. But I'm me. God knows, I'm me." Elizabeth Taylor

17 replies on “Thank God for British TV”

Hey now hush on the pleated pants hate… On the extremely rare occasion I dress masculine-ish Pleated pants are a bit of a go to. I actually have a chance at a cosplay if I figure out what to do with my hair… (To me the sin is the resultant taper effect… Pleats are fine but either don’t then tuck in to boots or maintain width for reals.)

Don’t you know that people born in the US of A will not watch a show in which all the people have accents (allegedly)? I don’t know how Elementary gets away with their lead character being English. It’s a good show, btw. I’m a dyed in the wool Sherlock Holmes fan (page & screen) & I was pleasantly surprised. Johnny Lee Miller is exceptional & Lucy Liu is VERY good as Joan Watson (I know, but you get used to it very quickly).

Johnny Lee Miller is MUCH more than an English accent and, to me, he is totally believable Sherlock. I don’t know how I’ve missed him before, but his acting is extraordinary. He can say more with his posture than some actors could say with a page of dialogue. They’ve updated the setting in a different way from the English Sherlock, but I totally buy into it even though I was prepared to hate it. To me it’s an adaptation more faithful to Doyle than the British show, which brings a certain amount of camp & humor (which I totally enjoy). They are very different shows but I love them both. You might be surprised if you gave Elementary a look.

I watched Byzantium last night and I came away with a completely new appreciation of the way Miller depicts Sherlock. In Byzantium he plays this 19th Century British army captain who shares a _lot_ of the same characteristics with Sherlock. Arrogant, selfish, completely lacking in empathy, etc. He also has a friend willing to stick by him after some pretty serious betrayals.

The difference is that you still appreciate Sherlock and you have faith in him, while you want Ruthven (did I mention it’s a vampire film?) to have a much more horrible end than he does. It’s not just what the character does, but the selfishness/narcissism of the character that turns your stomach and it’s a line Miller walks with Sherlock as well.

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