TV Shows From Across The Pond That I Can’t Believe You Haven’t Watched

(Getty/Illustration by GraphicaArtis)

I don’t want to startle you, but I’m English. I know that there have been no clues (I guess I did write an article about it), and I know that you are shocked, but there is a reason I am telling you this. You’re an American (probably). We have different TV.

In the old days, I’m talking *spooky voice* the niiiiinnnnneeeeties, that would have probably meant we couldn’t talk about TV together. Imagine us. Young me, young you, sitting on a couch, trying to talk TV, but just having none of the same references points. Awful, right?

Well, now we live in something that I like to call TheModernAgeTM where we have things that let us watch TV on the internet.

So, what does it all mean? Good question, pal. What it means is I’m going to recommend you some damn good British TV shows that you should be watching on Netflix or Hulu.

Gavin & Stacey (Hulu)

Let’s start with something that might be a little familiar; I don’t want to startle you any more than I already have. Gavin & Stacey is a sitcom about a couple who meet over the phone through works calls, and the subsequent merging of their families as their relationship progresses. He lives in England, she lives in Wales, it’s a bit of a drive. That’s the basis of a lot of the humor, to be honest.

The reason I say it might be familiar is because it was written by James Corden and Ruth Jones. You obviously know one of those names. Corden plays Smithy, the best friend of the titular Gavin, and his performance is basically what exploded his career, as both an actor and a writer.

It’s got a really good cast (Mat Horne, Joanna Page, Ruth Jones, James Corden, Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Alison Steadman, Melanie Walters, and others) that runs pretty deep. It’s got a great soundtrack (The Libertines feature in episode one and that automatically makes it a win for me) and has some wonderful standout comedy moments. It also has a running theme of naming families after British serial killers (Shipman, West, Sutcliffe), which is pretty excellent.

There were 3 seasons between 2007 and 2010, and in total there were 20 episodes. You could polish it off in a day.

(Source: YouTube)

Spaced (Hulu)

What is there to say about Spaced, other than it is absolutely excellent? Well, hopefully, a little more than just that because I need to write some words.

Essentially, the show is about two people (Daisy & Tim) who meet in a café while looking for new places to live. Because they can’t afford anywhere individually, they decide to pose as a couple in order to get a cheap place that is for couples only, and they move in together. The show features around their friendships and is… I think it’s safe to say it’s pretty weird in places.

Again, the cast is great. You’ll likely recognize Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson who both star in and wrote the thing. Nick Frost is probably the stand out of the supporting cast, but Katy Carmichael is great as Twist, and Mark Heap’s character, Brian, is excellent.

There are only 14 episodes and they are 25 minutes long. It’s literally less than 6 hours worth of viewing. Considering how little there actually was, the fact that this show is still being talked about 19 years after it started speaks volumes about its quality.

(Source: YouTube)

Peep Show (Hulu)

I fucking love Peep Show. It is so, so funny. It’s about two best friends who live together in their late 20s and into their 30s. The comedy comes from the fact they are so remarkably different. Mark is incredibly introverted, awkward, and shy. He works in finance and he is usually miserable. Jeremy is an absolute shlub who is convinced he’s going to make it as a musician even though he’s shit. Both of them have cripplingly low self-esteem and make absolutely terrible decisions throughout their lives.

The show is kind of unique in the way it is shot. There are a large number of scenes that are shot from head-mounted cameras, in order to show the world from the perspectives of Mark and Jeremy. When we see the world through their eyes, we also get to hear their internal monologue, which is always brutally honest and at odds with the character they portray to the world.

David Mitchell & Robert Webb play the main characters, and they are both excellent in the roles and supported by some outstanding performances. Notably, Olivia Colman as Sophie is fantastic, while Matt King’s Super Hans is one of the most loved characters of 2000s comedy.

There are 9 seasons of Peep Show, which sounds like a lot, but we have shorter seasons than you guys. That means only 54 episodes, so there are really no excuses.

(Source: YouTube)

Moone Boy (Hulu)

Alright, technically this isn’t a British show, it’s Irish, but I’m including it anyway because you’re American and let’s not pretend you understand the difference. Moone Boy is about a young boy named Martin and his imaginary friend growing up in rural Ireland in the late 80s. The imaginary friend is a 30-year-old man named Sean Murphy, which highlights the lack of exposure that Martin has had to the outside world. Literally, the best thing he could imagine was an older Irish man named Sean. With the middle name ‘Caution’.

Now, people talk about the kids from Stranger Things as being great actors (which they are), but the kids in this show are amazing. David Rawle was 12 when he first played Martin, and he was brilliant. The comedic timing that he and Ian O’Reilly (Padraic) display as a couple of pre-teens is astounding.

The star though is Chris O’Dowd. The show is loosely based on his experiences as a child, and he plays Sean fantastically well.

Again, this is a short one. 22 minutes an episode. 18 episodes. Bang it out, guys.

(Source: YouTube)

Uncle (Hulu)

Uncle is great. It’s about a giant waste of space asshole wannabe musician who is suddenly forced to spend time with his teenage nephew when his sister gets divorced and needs some help. The relationship between Andy (the uncle) and Errol (the nephew) grows throughout the show, and they bring the best out of each other (aww). Every episode features a musical number, often the fantasy of Andy, and they are usually really, very good.

Nick Helm stars as Andy, and he basically plays himself, which is handy because he is really good at it (if you don’t know Helm’s standup comedy, I would recommend checking it out). Like Moone Boy, there is a great performance from a child, Elliot Speller-Gillott (try having a more stereotypical British name, jeez) who really elevates the show to the next level. They are supported by a great cast, which includes Sydney Rae White, who is also a pretty cool punk rock singer and guitarist.

There were only 3 seasons, 19 episodes, and at 30 minutes each, you really can’t go wrong.

(Source: YouTube)

The Mighty Boosh (Hulu)

Ok, the shows from before are pretty standard in format and humor. They are sitcoms that you can get into very easily. The Mighty Boosh is… different. It’s surreal as fuck, and kind of hard to explain. It’s set in a surreal universe and follows Howard Moon and Vince Noir through a number of different bizarre settings and adventures. In season one, they are zookeepers; they live in a flat together in season two; and in season three, they work in a shop, but I guess it’s fair to say they are also musicians the whole way through. Again, music features heavily with a number of really funny, really weird songs in each episode.

Noel Fielding (Vince) and Julian Barratt (Howard) are the creators, writers, and stars, but The Mighty Boosh is a comedy troupe also featuring Rich Fulcher, Dave Brown and Michael Fielding, and every member of the troupe contributes fantastically to the show.

The music, the artwork, the costumes, the dialogue. Everything about the Boosh is an equal partner in making this show the spectacle that it is, and it really is important you watch it. There are only 20 episodes. You know you want to.

(Source: YouTube)

Toast of London (Netflix)

Toast of London is absurd.

Basically, it’s about an actor called Steven Toast, who is an extremely self-important idiot. He’s basically a failure and everyone knows it, except him. It’s incredibly strange but absolutely hilarious. We follow Toast through the ups and downs up his career and romantic life, and generally, he is just an utter buffoon.

Matt Berry plays Toast and he does it phenomenally well. Honestly, this show couldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Matt Berry. Nobody else could have played Toast. There is a great supporting cast, but really it is all about Matt Berry.

Unlike the other shows I’ve mentioned, this one is still technically in production. There are three seasons so far, and it has been kind of confirmed that there will be a fourth.

I cannot stress to you enough how much I recommend this show.

(Source: YouTube)

A Young Doctor’s Notebook (Netflix)

This is a bit of a different one from the others. A Young Doctor’s Notebook is based on a collection of stories by Mikhail Bulgakov, a Russian playwright and physician at the start of the 20th Century. The story is centered around the experiences of a young doctor in rural Russia during the Russian Revolution in 1917 and then the Russian Civil War. As you can imagine, technology and conditions were pretty appalling, and the doctor has to… let’s say, “improvise” regularly. The story is basically about the doctor, now an older man, reflecting on his notebook and remembering his youth. This is shown by the presence of the young doctor and also an older doctor and the interaction between his present and past (or future and present, I guess) selves.

It’s dark as fuck, hilarious, and, as I’m sure you can work out from the cast (Jon Hamm plays the older doctor, and Daniel Radcliffe plays the young doctor), brilliantly executed. If you like turn of the century Russian literature, you’ll love this. And if you don’t, you’ll probably love it anyway, because it’s been updated to modern language and is really so good.

There are only 8 episodes of this show. There is absolutely no reason not to watch it.

(Source: YouTube)

A few others...

I’m not sure if these are easily available to you, but I would also like to mention these shows, for if you ever the time:

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Camping, Nathan Barley, The IT Crowd, Black Books, The Inbetweeners, Phoenix Nights and The Royle Family.

All phenomenally good and without a doubt worth watching.

Head of Security at Cowboy Museum Handed Keys to Twitter Account

Tim Send Tweets
(Twitter/ncwhm)

In these trying times, it’s nice to see folks pull together, helping where they can, doing others’ parts in addition to their own. One hero that’s emerged in recent weeks is Tim Send, head of security for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma.

After the mayor of Oklahoma City declared a state of emergency, the museum closed to the public and various tasks were relegated to employees still able to work. The responsibility of maintaining an active social media presence was entrusted to Tim, whose big heart and unbreakable spirit are needed now more than ever.

He introduced himself with a pic.

He then tried to show us around, unsure of how these newfangled hashtags work.

So he reached out for some pointers.

Well, accidentally.

No progress yet on hashtags.

His wholesomeness is nothing short of heartwarming.

He gave a shoutout to his grandson.

Keeping so positive and encouraging.

Eventually, he figured out hashtags.

Come to find out he has both a sense of humor and a wife named Tina.

And if that’s not sweet enough, he even used the platform to wish his grandkids goodnight.

Click here to follow Tim’s journey into the world of tweeting. We wish him good health and can’t wait for the Cowboy Museum to reopen its doors!

Hero on Twitter Uncovers the Secret Meaning Behind “Triscuits”

Triscuit Mystery Solved
(Nabisco)

Without being able to go to bars and restaurants and concerts and sporting events, thanks to the coronavirus, most of us are stuck inside all day long without a lot to do. We’re forced to Netflix and chill ourselves into oblivion, which, thankfully, the various streaming services are more than happy to help us do.

There’s only so many times we can re-watch Tiger King before we find ourselves searching for different ways to pass the time.

One man has found a heroic way to do just that, by launching an investigation into one of the enduring mysteries of our time: where did Triscuits get their name?

His name is Sage Boggs, and his Twitter bio reads, simply, “Triscuit guy.” He certainly lives up to that description with this thread, which he started by saying “OK, buckle up. I wanna talk to you about Triscuit.”

And talk about Triscuit he did.

He begins by explaining how he became interested in tracing the origins of the popular cracker’s name.

He quickly discovered that there was no definitive answer.

So he reached out to Nabisco, to hear it from the horse’s mouth. But what he learned was… unsettling. Not only did Nabisco themselves not know where the name came from, they immediately refuted the seemingly obvious assumption that the “tri” in Triscuits means “three” or something.

Sage was not satisfied.

In fact, he was left with more questions.

He kept digging.

And he discovered the truth.

The answer will shock you!

After Sage published his findings, Triscuits themselves finally weighed in, confirming Sage’s research.

No, living under quarantine is no fun. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be productive! Sage Boggs hero dug deep and uncovered a mystery. We salute you.

TRISCUIT MEANS “ELECTRICITY BISCUIT”

Who knew?!

Father Figures: Thank God You’re Here

“It’s 3:33 in the morning, and I, a man known by his wife to be a world-champion sleeper, am hopelessly awake.

Since I work from home these days, I’m not too concerned about having to power through tomorrow’s work day; one of the silver linings of this terrible pandemic is that instead of catching the 5:45am Manhattan-bound bus in a suit and tie, I wake up at 7:30 in mesh shorts and a t-shirt and go with my wife to get our little 9-month old daughter out of her crib.

Eventually I fire up the computer and earn my paycheck, but not before taking the time to be a good father and husband. I’ll miss this dearly when life goes back to normal.

But I won’t miss the underlying sense of concern I constantly feel for our Siena as we live amidst viral pandemic.

I never used to be this way; back in my twenties, when my bod wasn’t so dad-like, I was pretty fearless.

9/11 literally hit close to home and became my inspiration for joining the Marines. In the nine years I stuck around the Corps, I found myself volunteering often to deploy, eventually hanging it up after four tours. I never thought seriously about the possibility that I might get hurt or killed. Why bother with those harsh considerations when you are an immortal twenty-something anyway?

But the thirty-something game is way different. I used to run around with an M4 rifle strapped to my chest, my adventurous soul fueled by nothing more than Mountain Dew and a youthful ignorance sometimes known as bravery. Now, I take baby aspirin to reduce my risk of heart disease (okay, not really, but to be honest maybe I should start).

Life is not just about me anymore. It’s about the woman I get to wake up next to. It’s about the little girl in that crib who smiles and gives you this ‘thank God you’re here!’ look every morning when you rescue her from the monotony of her mandatory rest period.

No, little girl, thank God you’re here. You are my reason for being and I’m glad you’re awake.

And as uncertain as things are these days, at least one thing is for sure: there is no one I would rather be stuck with in this damn house than you and Mommy.”

– Nick De Gregorio

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here

Sports Apparel Companies Start Manufacturing Hospital Supplies

Sports Apparel PPE
(Twitter/AROD/BauerHockey)

Getting healthcare workers the supplies they need has become a worldwide effort, with companies doing what they can to make sure doctors and nurses have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely treat COVID-19 victims. We saw it with medical TV dramas donating their supplies to local hospitals, and now sports equipment manufacturers are shifting gears to help answer the call.

Major League Baseball and Fanatics, the company that makes its jerseys, are retooling their efforts to instead make some of the most in-demand items in hospitals: masks and gowns. Fanatics immediately stopped making jerseys for MLB and is using the fabric to make those masks and gowns. Their goal is to make one million for hospitals around Pennsylvania (where the factory is located), with hopes to increase production to help the New York/New Jersey area as well.

The employees are appropriately spaced out in the factory (read: more than six feet apart) and volunteered to be part of the movement. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred quickly agreed to the shutdown of MLB jerseys and cleared the way for Fanatics to refocus on much-needed hospital supplies. Baseball greats approve:

Fanatics isn’t the only sports company getting in the mix. Bauer, which is synonymous with ice hockey, has joined in to start manufacturing much-needed face shields for doctors and nurses. Sure, it would be cool if they were inked up like a goalie’s mask, but I understand how that may be time prohibitive. The legendary hockey company released a statement on social media, saying:

Protection that allows athletes to give everything for their team is our heritage. Right now, we’re all on the same team. We’re repurposing our facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable.

Bauer will put skates and helmets on hold, and will instead be dedicating its efforts to making the equipment doctors and nurses need more than ever.

The 9 Best Disney Virtual Rides and Tours You Can Enjoy at Home

9 Best Disney Virtual Rides and Tours
(YouTube/Theme Park University)

Disney might be closed right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their rides. Videos of just about every ride are available online now, and even better you don’t have to wait in line! With so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down, but we’ve come up with a handful of our favorites. (Maybe one of these will even inspire you to create a DIY Disney ride experience for your kids.)

Star Wars Millennium Falcon

Turns out a galaxy far far away was actually only Florida. Galaxy’s Edge opened last year and has proven to be enormously popular. The best ride is undoubtedly Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and with this video, you can see why. As Chewie says….actually no I have no idea what he says.

Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World

You shouldn’t watch pirated videos at home – unless it’s this one. This ride is always popular and a firm favorite and this video nicely captures the magic.

It’s a Small World at Walt Disney World

Another essential for younger kids, and even better this will keep them entertained for 13 minutes and 7 seconds, which really is Disney magic!

Space Mountain

It’s one of the best and most iconic Disney rides. There are a number of videos that use night vision to capture the real experience but we enjoy this one, the lights are on and it’s cool to see what you’re screaming about!

Splash Mountain

You can’t ride Space Mountain without its bigger, wetter brother. Enjoy the relaxing first section through the caves before that incredible drop, when my stomach introduced itself to my feet.

Expedition Everest

Another classic, this time from Animal Kingdom. Kids will love the part when the track unexpectedly ends, resulting in a thrilling backward plummet. And watch out for the Yeti!

Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

As it is the best ride in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, the lines are usually pretty long. But online they’re not, and you get right to the front! Get ready for that boost start midway through! To infinity…and well, back to the start.

The Seas With Nemo & Friends

If you can find Nemo, this ride is an under-rated gem at Epcot, and you can see here what a fun, colorful experience it is.

Test Track

A Dad favorite – designing a car, and then testing it out on the track? We’re all in. Do not wear driving gloves though. People laugh. Don’t ask how I know.

Dad Makes up for Canceled Disney Trip With DIY Splash Mountain Ride

Dad's DIY Splash Mountain Ride
(reddit/laramargaret)

The coronavirus has taken something from everyone. Even for those who are in good health, it’s disrupted and changed daily lives in ways we are still unpacking. Even the small indignities can have big effects on kids, such as missing graduation, a prom, a birthday party, or even the last three months with a beloved first-grade teacher. And for plenty of families, a missed vacation is part of the equation.

Obviously not equivalent to having a family member or friend struggling with the virus, but it’s still a bummer to see your kid’s heartbroken at the cancellation of a long-awaited trip to Disneyland. That was what one Utah family was experiencing. So their dad decided if they couldn’t go to Disneyland, they would bring Disneyland to the living room. All he needed was the library of virtual Disney rides on YouTube and a little dad-ingenuity.

In a video shared by their mom, the dad is shown with his five-year-old son on his lap, as they watch a POV video from Splash Mountain. He’s got his kid in an empty diaper box that he’s moving around along with the ride and even adds authentic home-made splash effects throughout.

When you can’t go to Disneyland…thanks for the idea Reddit! from r/Disneyland

This is where we’re at after only a few weeks into life under pseudo house arrest. For now, we can turn our living rooms into theme parks. If this lasts into the fall, we can kick off the NFL season in our basements, ruthlessly bowling over toddlers on your way to a badass touchdown.

Everyone is going to cope with changes in their own way, so if some dads are going to kick that creativity up a notch, more power to them. And maybe we learn we don’t really need Disneyland because the real Disney was in our hearts the entire time.

And that’s the lie we’ll all tell ourselves until this mess is over.

Here at The Dad, we hope you, your families, and communities stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information, please utilize online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.

Ryan Reynolds in Talks for Live-Action Dragon’s Lair Adaptation

Ryan Reynolds Dirk the Daring
(Don Bluth/Cinematronics)

I have a confession to make: I don’t “get” Dragon’s Lair.

This was the supercool looking arcade game that seemed to take things to the next level. It didn’t look like other games, it looked like a cartoon. Like something you’d watch on Saturday morning. But it was playable! Somehow. Like I said, I was never really able to figure it out and preferred to waste my tokens on Outrun and pinball. It was an incredible looking game that foreshadowed more immersive video games with movie-quality graphics – like we have today.

Which makes it the perfect time to bring Dragon’s Lair back. To the big screen!

Ryan Reynolds is doing just that, having signed on to a movie version, both live-action and animated, that he’ll star in for Netflix. The Hollywood Reporter says that the movie will be written by Dan and Kevin Hageman, who worked on The Lego Movie and wrote the recent Scary Stories We Tell in the Dark. Netflix only just secured the rights to the game, so there’s no word on the director, plot, or release date yet. Obviously.

Released in 1983 with animation from Don Bluth, who went on to direct An American Tale and All Dogs Go To Heaven, Dragon’s Lair was a sensation.

Apparently, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the game used LaserDisc technology to deliver the graphics, and they were so good that the game was the most popular arcade game in the country for a time. It recently had a cameo in Stranger Things, along with every other piece of 80s pop culture you can think of.

The game is about a knight who is trying to rescue a princess from an evil wizard and a dragon, and one presumes Reynolds will play the knight, Dirk the Daring. Or maybe a man playing the actual game itself? Hard to tell at this point, but one thing is for sure: no matter who he plays, Blake Lively’s husband will spend a lot of time winking at the camera because that’s basically what he does when he’s not supporting bartenders or donating large sums to food banks.

If anything, the dude knows how to have fun, and this movie will surely be that. We’ll find out, eventually.

MLB Teams Share Messages of Solidarity as Opening Day Passes

We Miss You Baseball
(Twitter/RaysBaseball)

Usually, this is a triumphant time for baseball.

Winter is over, teams are hopeful, and fans are ready for a new season. Opening day is a special day in America, even if baseball doesn’t occupy the same place in our culture as it once used to when it truly was the country’s national pastime.

Unfortunately, thanks to the global pandemic we are all dealing with right now, opening day has been postponed, along with the rest of the season. But major league teams still did their best to recognize opening day online.

First, Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, put out a statement urging fans to stay home to help contain the coronavirus, sharing ways they can watch classic games for free online, and professing hope that the sport will return soon.

Teams across the league put out video messages on social media, sharing messages of solidarity with fans.

The Rockies made an exception to the “no crying in baseball” rule.

The Red Sox put out a statement recognizing fans for their efforts to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:

And the Mets put a call out to fans to share images of themselves celebrating this unique opening day with their gear:

We may not have baseball this April, but we’ll have it again, and the MLB is doing its best to keep fans happy and hopeful as we wait to return to our favorite ballparks.

Community Hosts a Social Distancing Parade for Girl Finishing Chemo

Social Distancing Parade for Coco
(Twitter/momuses)

Social distancing has been in our lexicon for only a few weeks, which in 2020 time, is equivalent to about 40 years. And as we get used to the guidelines of our new society, we’re finding ways to make it work. Friends and family are connecting over Zoom. Neighbors exchange pleasantries with the proper six feet of space between them. Kids school themselves on iPads with all screen time rules abolished. And we are also finding new ways to celebrate.

In one of the best feel-good stories you will see today, a young girl was returning home from her last chemo treatment, and her neighbors wanted to do something to celebrate. But with our social distancing rules in place, they had to get creative. So they did, helping set up a social distancing parade to welcome home the young girl.

Hat tip goes to John Krasinski of Office fame since he put the call out for good stories, and to the girl’s mom for delivering the video we needed to see today.

The girl’s friends, family, and neighbors all lined the street in decorated cars, holding balloons and signs, cheering her on as they pass.

It’s the most heartwarming thing you’ll see today, and frankly, we can use all the good news we can get these days.

Welcome home, Coco.