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British TV shows are the BEST!!!

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I think a lot of it has to do with syndication here in the States as well. If you have a television show with more than 100 episodes, it's easier to get it syndicated, at which point everyone involved can continue to make money off it.

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The IT Crowd grew on me, still not enough to have made me invest in the DVDs but I will when they are cheaper. I am particularly fond of the football episode in series 3. If Richard Ayoade makes you giggle then I must repeat my recommendation of Garth Merenghi's Darkplace.

 

 

Blackadder is at long last getting the treatment it deserves on DVD this month with a bumper Ultimate Edition box set release, re-mastered and crammed with extras including Atkinson contributing to audio commentaries (which is a real surprise);

http://www.dvdactive.com/news/releases/blackadder-remastered.html

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It depends on the shows really. Some shows in the UK (and some cable shows here) have too short a season IMO. For example Doctor Who's 13 episode season is very short, when you only have 1 batch of episodes year (or no season at all this year). 16-17 episodes like Lost does really is the sweet spot if you run it straight. If you don't run straight they do it right with how USA handles Monk. They run 8-9 episodes In the Oct/nov time, then the next 8-9 run start of summer.

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I find it hard to keep up with US seasons that run 18-20+ episodes a year. I was pleased to discover shows like Mad Men and The Wire were between 10 and 13 episodes a season. Personally I think they're stronger shows for it (and both have small teams of writers, typically lead by their creators writing for every single episode in some capacity).

 

Contemporary American drama pisses on whatever we're trying to churn out over here these days. British drama, outside of period drama, simply cannot compete with America when it comes to budgets... In the UK modern drama lacks money and ambition, and you've stolen some of our best actors now too. :) Cracker was probably our last truly exceptional example of contemporary British drama on television.

Edited by Doctor Hoo

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I'm old school.

 

Fawlty Towers is my show!

John Cleese just gives me a damned headache in that show.

But a well deserved one! :-)

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Saw that BBC America is launching an HD channel this summer in the US... are a lot of the shows actually running HD yet? I know of Robin Hood, Torchwood, Doctor Who (S4 Specials and on), and perhaps some nature programming... is a lot of the stuff still running 16x9 PAL on BBC-HD nowadays?

 

At least this leads the way to Who Season 5 broadcast in HD here in the states... whenever they decide to air it that is. :(

 

Definitely gotta check out The IT Crowd... heard many good things about it. It's funny.. I've been making 2x more Amazon UK order that Amazon US lately because of the good exchange rate/sales. heh.

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The BBC HD channel here in the UK is separate to their four SD channels so no, to the best of my knowledge they don't air any upscaled content but they may end up doing so on the BBC America HD channel.

 

Over here they will traditionally "simulcast" (I cannot stand that word) specific content from BBC1, BBC2, BBC3 AND BBC4 that they are also able to air in HD; so various drama, nature, music (Later with Jools Holland & I think some music festival coverage now too), some comedy (Mitchell and Webb) and imports like Heroes and Mad Men, certain movies and sport like Wimbledon..etc. They broadcast in 1080i 50hz/25fps.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbchd/

 

BBC HD is still not even a 24hr channel here as the content is limited. This is where the BBC's years of cost cutting in shooting on tape more than they did film in the past comes back to bite them in the arse as they've no way to re-broadcast, re-package and re-sell the fast majority of their most popular content. Even some of the stuff they have shot on 16mm in recent years, like Life on Mars, they will not even post-produce in HD due to their backwards way of thinking. The Life on Mars Blu-ray release is actually upscaled!

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Interesting.

 

Lots of the HD channels we have in the US do not show much of anything in the way of HD content. For instance, I've yet to see ANYTHING in HD on G4-HD or Comedy Central HD (besides South Park). They just upscale their programming to a windowboxed 16x9 image and occasionally you'll see commercials in full HD.

 

I was surprised that even this year's E3 pressies were not in HD on G4-HD. I constantly wonder the point of it. :) I'm guessing BBC-HD is just setting themselves for whatever HD content they might have in the future... after reading up on it it appears they are premiering the channel in July with Doctor Who - Planet of the Dead in HD (along with The Next Doctor showing the previous night in SD) and they will also be premiering the new Torchwood series and the third series of Primevil in HD the same month. That's all for now however.

 

I agree that BBC really shot themselves in the foot as far as recording the vast majority of their series on tape. PBS-HD (our american equivalent public broadcaster) has almost all their original content in HD nowadays and The History Channel started producing all their content in HD waaaay before they even had an HD channel, so all their content is in HD.

Edited by Lutter

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A friend of mine got me interested in the IT crowd and State of Play. I haven't seen much of the IT crowd to interest me yet, but State of Play is really good. It's a 6 part mini series that you can find on Netflix on DVD but not on streaming. I would recommend checking it out if you get a chance.

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A new series of Top Gear started on Sunday.... I'm so excited for it. I absolutely LOVE this show. Probably my favorite of any right now. This week's was great with one of the infamous races, one of the funniest segments on the show ever and a reveal of.... The Stig!

 

And it looks like there's plenty more great stuff to come (although to be honest, typical Top Gear... but I love it!)

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Two things of note:

 

Firstly, BBC America HD launches next week (allegedly with no official carriers!) and one of its launch shows is "Being Human", a drama that I think a lot of people here will really dig. What happens when a vampire, werewolf & ghost share a flat & try to fit in with humanity? It appears like a comedy but it's really a damn good drama with some good writing. My wife adored it.

 

Secondly, Psychoville, the new series by part of the League of Gentlemen crew is fantastic.

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I love both Being Human and Psychoville... Both have a really unique "feel" to them as dogbert said - Being Human is like a dark comedy played as a drama (if that makes any sense) and Psychoville is amazingly funny :)

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I picked up the "Internet in a Box" edition of 'The IT Crowd' on sendit.com recently... cool box containing the first 3 series of the show.

 

Fantastic show, BTW. Love Linehan's shows... I'd rank it above Black Books but it still cannot touch the heights of Father Ted (which just might be the funniest show ever, IMHO).

 

Hopefully AT&T Uverse picks up BBC America HD soon... looks like they're throwing everything they've got at the opening lineup. I'd really love to see "Being Human" in HD.

 

Also July 28th... Torchwood: Children of Earth and Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead are both coming to blu-ray.

 

Still need to pick up Torchwood S2 ... I'm just very conflicted because I have the Season 1 set on DVD and can't decide if I want keep them uniform on that format (and save some cash) or get S2 on BD.

 

EDIT: Lemme just add... if you love British TV shows I can NOT stress enough how important it is to have a region-free player. Lots of shows take years to get over here or not at all (big advantage) but the real advantage is price. For instance... The IT Crowd has been released here for $29.99 MSRP per series... I picked up the entire set from the UK for 17 quid (~$28).

 

(usually use sendit.com as their shipping is a mere 1.60 and occasionally Amazon UK)

Edited by Lutter

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When you watch Torchwood S1, don't despair. Yes, the first half in particular is rubbish. But your reward for making through that is a second season that's perfectly reasonable, and the new Children Of Earth is possibly the best thing I've seen on TV this year; easily the best thing Russell T. Davies has done since Casanova.

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When you watch Torchwood S1, don't despair. Yes, the first half in particular is rubbish. But your reward for making through that is a second season that's perfectly reasonable, and the new Children Of Earth is possibly the best thing I've seen on TV this year; easily the best thing Russell T. Davies has done since Casanova.

The "Cyberwoman" episode in the first half of season 1 is one of the more ridiculous and laughable hours of sci-fi I've seen. :)

 

Love the chick that feeds off orgasms though. What a way to die. ;)

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BBC America HD launches next week

 

It's on our cable system. However they put it in the middle of all the foreign language channels, away from the rest of the HD stuff

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It's on our cable system. However they put it in the middle of all the foreign language channels, away from the rest of the HD stuff

Who is your cable provider? Cablevision?

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Time Warner. I didn't even know we had it until today, but I saw it listed on Tivo.com's listing. Its on channel 811 here. I double checked, and it is on here

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and the new Children Of Earth is possibly the best thing I've seen on TV this year

 

Airs here next week. Every review I have read has had nothing but praise for it

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Simply put.....North American shows just don't do it for me anymore. Supernatural is the only thing I watch now that is filmed here in North America.

 

British TV shows is were it's at! From "Keeping up Apperances, The IT crowd, Skins, Black Adder, Spaced, Black Books and now my newest Addiction. The 2004 award winning Blackpool series staring David Tennant.

 

 

You're cracking me up dude. Not that I disagree with the quality of any of these shows (they are all top notch), but you're cherry picking the creme de la creme of British TV over the last ~15 years and then generalizing that all British TV kicks the hell out of US TV. If you sat down and watched the very best of US TV since 1993 for the first time I'm sure the effect would be the same ;)

 

But there is some awesome stuff going on in Britain. As mentioned above, I love Top Gear (even if you're not a car buff it is way cool) and Cracker is an amazing series. All the recent USA supercops with issues shows stem directly from Cracker IMHO (except the CSI shows, those are home grown I think.) Robbie Coltrain invents a great, amazing, brilliant, and incredibly f'd up detective in Cracker. The guy makes Monk look like a boy scout. They even tried to remake it in the USA, but it sucked, sucked, sucked.

 

The thing I miss the most aobut British TV is the nightly game shows and comedy news programs. Daily Show and Colbert fill the latter desire pretty well, but the game shows (Shooting Stars, can't remember ???) were such fun.

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Shooting Stars returns in the autumn. There was a one off special last Christmas which wasn't particularly good, but they did a documentary about the show which was the real highlight. I loved Shooting Stars in its prime, it still boasts some of the funniest sketches I have ever seen (the

and
spoofs were particularly brilliant; in fact the Carry On one leaves me in utter pain with laughter). I adore Reeves and Mortimer and am thrilled they are going to be back on TV, however I wish it were more in the style of The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer, and Bang Bang. Catterick was wonderful but hardly anyone watched it.

 

I've heard very good things about Psychoville from Reece Sheersmith and Steve Pemberton of The League of Gentlemen fame. I have missed every episode although it is coming to DVD (and Blu-ray) soon.

Edited by Doctor Hoo

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Wow, that show has expanded. When I was watching it was pretty much just a silly Q&A game show. Lots of talent there, glad to see that they are still on the air. George Dawes (sp?) is quite a chameleon, been enjoying him in the Little Britain USA show on HBO. His "I'm the Gay" skits are insta-classics.

 

So what are the other big comedies in Britain these days? I wish BBC America was better about putting current comedies through (if even at 3 AM so I could DVR them.)

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