Growing up, watching PBS was not my favorite thing to do. Sure, it had some classic kids shows: Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers… but it was free TV. PUBLIC. Broadcasting. All you rich kids out there (i.e. your parents paid for cable) can’t understand the struggle because you had the Disney Channel AND Nickelodeon AND Cartoon Network while I was stuck watching Reading Rainbow. Bluh. PBS would get worse when I was forced to watch some bizarre British show that my mother watched while she folded laundry. The day we got cable was the greatest day of my childhood.
Recently, I sat down to fold some laundry. In my own house. With my own TV. And I turned on PBS. Granted, it was the Amazon Prime video app streaming through my Apple TV… BUT THE POINT REMAINS. I chose to watch a British television show on PBS! (Related: I am turning into my mother.) Those Masterpiece Theater people, whoever they are, make such freaking good TV shows that I’ve stopped watching network television. (Literally, how many shows can we make about a police force?) If you decide you want to be like me (and consequently, my mother) these are some of the British TV shows I’m obsessed with:
Poldark. Aidan Turner is so hott he has an entire blog devoted just to his show. You can read it here: Poldark
Mr. Selfridge. Kinda like Downton Abbey, only they work in a fancy department store and they’re way more slutty. Also, Jeremy Piven plays the exact same character as Ari Gold… minus all the cursing.
Death Comes to Pemberley. Only a 3 part mini series, but watching a continuation of the characters of Pride and Prejudice is just beyond cool. Spoiler (Non)Alert: Wickham is still a bad dude.
Sherlock. I LOVE Benedict Cumberbatch as a fast talking, annoyingly brilliant Sherlock Holmes. For all you people out there scared of old fashioned clothes in period dramas (I’m looking at you, Matthew) Sherlock Holmes is a perfect starter piece for your British TV obsession. It’s set in modern day!! They have smart phones!! Husbands everywhere rejoice!!
Victoria. This is your opportunity to jump on the Masterpiece bandwagon. Victoria just premiered (in America) this past Sunday and it was PHENOMENAL. It’s everything I *thought* The Crown would be. (ICYMI: My negative review of the The Crown) I’ll be recapping Victoria each week, so catch up on the premiere, set your DVR for Sunday night and get excited.
My recap of Victoria’s 2 hour premiere:
Episode 1 “Doll 123” & Episode 2 “Ladies in Waiting”
Victoria inherits the British throne after her uncle dies. To understand why the crown was passed to her, while another uncle is still living, you’ll need to speak to your nearest European history major because it’s confusing. Victoria is 18, short, stubborn, and in this series, SO pretty. She’s been sheltered by her overbearing mother and some other guy named Sir John who tells her what to do all the time. Like who even is this guy? We will call him Savage Sir John.
Since Victoria’s been bossed around her whole life, when she becomes queen she won’t listen to anyone. Until the suave Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, wins her over. He becomes Victoria’s private secretary basically because he’s the only one who can tell her what to do without telling her what to do. Women are complicated, but “Lord M” gets it. She likes him and we don’t really blame her because he’s easy on the eyes for an old dude.
In the early days of her reign, Victoria royally screws up. Pun intended. She drinks too much at her coronation ball and throws herself at Lord M, 1800’s style. She then accuses Savage Sir John of knocking up Lady Flora, even though Lady Flora is still a virgin. (I guess there was no sex ed in 1837.) Turns out the poor chick was DYING from a tumor in her stomach. Whoops. Victoria’s upset and feels like she won’t make a good queen. Lord M swoops in to save the day with a pep talk inspiring her to put on a brave face for the British people. Thanks, Lord M. (Heart emoji.)
Everybody is vying for the throne. Victoria’s mom, Savage Sir John and the still-alive-uncle spend the entire 2 hour premiere coming up with ways to control Victoria. They try to deem her insane, or prove that she’s inept. They want a “regent”… an adult to rule instead of Victoria. Shocking.
Lord M used to complain about being Prime Minister but he doesn’t anymore and Victoria thinks it’s because he likes hanging out with her all day. (This is probably true.) He starts to like his job at a bad time though because he’s losing support in parliament and has to resign. Victoria freaks out. One: she’s not confident enough to be queen without Lord Melbourne’s advice. Two: she’s obsessed with him.
Victoria plays the government games for awhile until she contrives her own plan. She “out flanks her enemies” when she refuses to change any of her ladies in waiting. See, it’s basically like she has 4 republican friends and refuses to make any friends that are democrats. Can you blame her? (JK all you liberals out there. Kissing emoji.) Lord Melbourne tries to reason with her and explain that as the monarch, she cannot show any impartiality to either side of government, but she refuses to listen. He soon gets wind of the “regent” plan to steal the throne and once again saves the day when he resumes his position as Prime Minister.
We always knew you wouldn’t leave us, Lord M. #swoon