My British (TV) Invasion

January 30, 2013

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It started a few months ago with Doctor Who, then came Downton Abbey, and now Sherlock. I don’t think I’ve really even watched a new American show in months.

I remember making the decision to watch Doctor Who. I was flipping through Netflix trying to find a new series to watch after finishing Mad Men. I’d seen mentions of Doctor Who around the interwebz and figured if my nerdy friends like it, I might too. But after the first episode I found it to be annoying and the aliens to be reminiscent of The Power Rangers in the ’90s. I was disappointed, but I continued to watch a few more episodes. Then I was hooked. I spent most of my days with the Doctor and his various companions — Rose is still my least favorite. (The Daleks still make my ears bleed, every single time they talk. I hope the Doctor EX-TERM-IN-ATES them for real. They don’t even creep me out like other creatures do, they just annoy the shit out of me.)

Eventually I ran out of Doctor Who episodes on Netflix and had missed season 7 on BBC America (which my cable provider doesn’t offer in HD so, that sucks, a lot). I saw that all the episodes would be airing prior to the Christmas Special, so I set up the DVR and snagged them all. Moving from the HD, commercial-free Doctor Who to non-HD commercial-ridden Doctor Who annoyed me to no end. You mean this is how regular people watch this? That’s awful. Poor people. #Sadface.

After watching a few horrible movies, I decided to watch Downton Abbey (the buzz and all that). Of course, I got sucked into it. I’m so typical. But I just had to see if Mary was ever going to tell cousin Matthew that she really loved him (if you haven’t seen it, that last sentence won’t make much sense to you, but yes, it’s just as messed up as you can imagine. But it was 1920s England, apparently that shit was ok.) Netflix only had season 1, so I had to use up another free trial over at HuluPlus to watch season 2. I finished it in time to be all caught up before season 3 started.

Now that I’m on a weekly schedule with Downton Abbey (thankfully commercial-free), I needed something else to watch.

I’ve had Sherlock in my Instant Queue since I started Doctor Who and decided to give it a whirl. The thing that prevented me from watching it sooner was the limited amount of episodes. Yes, they’re 90 minute mini-movies, but there are only six. SIX!! That’s it. That’s all you get. (Thanks Moffat, you dick. It’s not like you’re working on another major show or anything. KIDDING!!). Last Friday I watched three episodes. Yesterday, I watched the remaining three episodes and now I have nothing. And of course, it ends on a serious cliff hanger! Arrrrggggghhh!!

According to Wikipedia, season 3 isn’t even in production yet, that’s apparently supposed to kick off in March. That means a few months of taping, post-production, blah blah, and hopefully it’s aired concurrently in the UK and US, unlike the whole Downton Abbey thing, by the end of the year. Chances are though, I might have to wait until early 2014. I figure I should be able to finish all 50-ish Sherlock stories by then (haha!) and I’ll be way ahead of the game. I haven’t decided if I’m going to start with the obvious next story, or if I’m going to start from the beginning.

I watched an episode of Ripper Street last week and really liked it, but the fact that BBC America isn’t in HD really limits how much I can enjoy it. Also, it hurts my eyes. I need to get in contact with my cable company and have them fix that. My HD options are seriously limited and it’s 20-freakin-13, c’mon now!

I don’t know what’s up with my latest obsession. I mean, I watched four seasons of Breaking Bad in the same time, and I love that show, but there’s something novel about British TV that appeals to me. Or else I’m just a closeted hipster turning my back on American TV like everyone else in America. Although it probably has something to do with the fact that popular American TV is made up of a lot of reality shows (Honey Boo Boo, Kardashians, whatever shit MTV is calling TV these days, etc) and that crap is getting annoying. I don’t even care about American Idol this year, for the first time in a decade, and most network TV shows suck. I can only DVR so many cable shows before my DVR fills up and I delete them to wait for the commercial-free versions on Netflix.

Or maybe British TV is just better than American TV and I’m just now realizing this.

I spent this past weekend at my parent’s house. Friday night I walked into the family room and my dad was watching “Live from Daryl’s House.” Dad asked, “Ever seen this show? It’s great.” Of course I hadn’t since I don’t even have sweet channels (if I do, they’re not in HD. So in my mind, I don’t have them). Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to watch it because mom needed my help with something. So, I just went about my weekend and didn’t think about it again.

Then on Sunday my dad gave me a flash drive of new music (he usually does this in a “hey check these guys out” sort of way). To be honest, I didn’t even see who was on it, I just put it in my computer, transferred the files and that was it. Today I finally had a chance to look at what he gave me.

One of the artists was Allen Stone. I’d never heard of him before so I did what I always do and hit “play” on iTunes and started Binging (yeah, I’ve fully converted to Bing and never use Google anymore). One of the first links that popped up was “Live from Daryl’s House” featuring Allen Stone.

So I clicked and watched.

Amazing.

It wasn’t so much that Allen Stone is an amazing artist (because he totally is), but the show as a platform is pretty fucking sweet. I thought it was incredibly awesome that Daryl’s band learned Allen’s songs and he basically just showed up and played with an entire band that sounds like they’ve been playing with him for years. Obviously that’s not the case. So, in short, there’s an incredible group of musicians who are working on this show. The artists who stroll through “Daryl’s house” are pretty great too.

He’s had Cee Lo Green, Eric Hutchinson who drives himself to Daryl’s house, which is unusual based on the episodes that I’ve seen, (he’s also one of my favorites ever, so… I’m totally biased), Jason Mraz, who has a really interesting (in my opinion anyway) dinner conversation with the group, Fitz and the Tantrums, which is a great episode, mostly because I LOOOOOVE Fitz (but the music is stellar! Watch it!!), and Rob Thomas also has a great episode.

Apparently the show has been around for a while on the internet (and some random TV station my dad has), and once again, I am late to the party. Better to be late than not show up at all, right?