Looking for Escapism? Stream These Great British TV Shows

Across cooking shows and talent competitions, murder mysteries and political satire, British television has earned a reputation for quality. With streaming sites competing for viewers, and many of us at home with more time on our hands, it’s never been easier to find and watch the best of it.

If you’ve made it this far without watching “Fleabag,” which won four Emmy Awards last year, I’m not even mad — I’m impressed. But it’s time to dive in. The show’s creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, stars as a young woman grieving the deaths of her mother and her best friend. She masks her melancholy with a reckless joie de vivre, narrating her exploits to the camera as she goes. The viewer is her closest confidant — until she meets an unlikely match in the second season. “Fleabag” is quite simply a perfect show, a stunningly effective character study that’s as funny as it is devastating.

The only drawback to this fever dream of a satire from 2004 is that it’s only six episodes long. Written by and starring Matthew Holness and Richard Ayoade, “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace” is a show-within-a-show presented from the perspective of the title character, a horror author who unveils an extremely low-budget television show he produced in the 1980s but that never made it to air. I won’t spoil the hilariously nutty details, but if you dig the offbeat sensibility of Adult Swim, give it a try.

Where to stream: YouTube

The anchor of this neat, two-season crime thriller is Catherine Cawood, a tough-as-nails police sergeant in West Yorkshire, played by the wonderful Sarah Lancashire. When the series begins, Catherine is still grieving her daughter, who died by suicide years earlier after being raped. When she discovers that her daughter’s rapist has been released from prison, she becomes obsessed with finding him. Created by Sally Wainwright, “Happy Valley” approaches its stories and characters from a deeply humane perspective.

“Ab Fab” has been revived a couple of times in the 21st century, but its original mid-90s run is a crown jewel of British comedy. The show centers on two middle-aged fall-down drunks, the publicist Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and her best friend the magazine editor Patsy (Joanna Lumley), who use their income and shaky society status to score drugs, attend parties and generally attempt to relive their swinging-sixties youth. Their foil is Eddy’s long-suffering daughter, Saffron (Julia Sawalha), who rebels by being as conventional as possible. Both Saunders and Lumley are experts in physical comedy, and you might just find yourself echoing their refrain of “darling, darling!”

This BBC series from the ’80s and early ’90s, based on a character who appears in several Agatha Christie novels, is gentle and slow, with just enough humor and intrigue to keep your attention. It’s hard to find a contemporary series that has the patience of a show like “Miss Marple.” Joan Hickson plays the title character, an older woman who lives alone in a fictional English village and works as an amateur detective, assisted in the art of forensic investigation by a lifetime of small-town living. There’s something particularly comforting about watching a hyper-competent, unassuming woman quietly figure things out while life bustles on around her.

Sahred From Source link Arts

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