In recent years, British television has made huge waves in mainstream American pop culture. TV from across the pond has been making its way Stateside for years, often thanks to PBS, which has for years imported shows like Doctor Who—the addictive sci-fi series about an alien named “The Doctor” who travels around in blue police box that doubles as a time machine—and Downton Abbey, an equally addictive period drama/soap opera that’s just as scandalous and engaging as any show The CW, just with more tophats and corsets.
But, with the rise of streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, there are more opportunities outside of public television than ever before for U.K.-produced comedies and dramas to find a happy home on U.S. television. And there's also more of an audience hungry for these shows than ever before. Don't believe us? Just browse Tumblr, and there’s a one-in-three chance that the blog you’ll stumble upon is run by someone who’s obsessed with a show from British channels like the BBC or Channel 4. And don't be surprised if that show is Sherlock.
Though the series runs tend to be short and the episode counts low compared to U.S. programming, there’s some seriously great television coming from the United Kingdom beyond just those marquee names mentioned above. From crime dramas like Luther, to groundbreaking, personal comedies like Fleabag that aim to make viewers laugh as often as they make them uncomfortable, the world of British television is as varied and expansive in tone and topic as everything we have here. In honor of its excellent programming, here's a foolproof list of British TV shows you should be watching. Some of these shows are still running, while others have wrapped already, making them prime binge-watching candidates. Either way, we promise you won't be disappointed.
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