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.

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

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Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

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Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.

Dad Turns Photos Of Daughter Into Kickass Album Covers

(Instagram/rfosterdesign)

When graphic designer Ryan Foster spotted a somber, black and white photo of his daughter, Harper Lou, it instantly reminded him of a blues album cover. He couldn’t help but throw some graphics onto the image to create her first “album” cover himself.

This has led to a series of album covers featuring Harper Lou, many of which look pretty damn legit. She may not be making actual records yet, but her dad will definitely be ready when she does.

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You can find more awesome album covers as well as other design projects by Ryan on his Instagram.

The 5 Hottest Father’s Day Tech Gifts Your Dad Will Ask To See The Receipt For

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Mother’s Day is in the rearview and our annual celebration of everything Dad is fast approaching. Sure, he loved those grilling tongs and Three Stooges boxsets you got him last year. But if there’s one things all dads love, it’s being assured that they’ve genetically passed on their cheapness. Here are 5 Father’s Day gadgets your dad is definitely going to demand the receipt for.

1. A smart speaker

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Source: Amazon

These have become relatively expensive in recent years. This, of course, isn’t going to stop your dad from assuming it set you back several thousand dollars. Your dad just figured out how to make a Facebook profile. He’s gonna need a minute on talking AI servants.

2. A streaming stick

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Source: Roku

“So yeah, you just plug this Roku stick into the TV and you can pretty much watch anything you want.” That’s you. That’s you telling your dad you just spent a boatload of money on a piece of technology. “Instant access to every movie ever made” is your dad’s cue to ask you to retrieve the Best Buy receipt crammed in the console’s cupholder.

3. A dashcam

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Source: Amazon

These are great to have in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, your dad is still under the impression it’s 1999 and all digital cameras cost ten million dollars. Be sure to keep this receipt in your wallet, because this thing’s going right back to the store if it ran you how much he thinks it ran you.

4. An e-reader

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Source: Amazon

What a lovely thought. Your dad, sitting up in bed, every book he could possibly want at his fingertips. What will he read first? A book about World War II? The biography of Henry Ford? The answer is, of course, the receipt for this fancy reading tablet that probably set you back three mortgage payments.

5. A yearly-subscription to a music streaming service

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Source: Spotify

You just want him to be able to listen to the Doobie Brothers whenever he wants. But by his math, if buying a single song on iTunes costs $1, and Spotifly, as he calls it, gives you access to over four million songs, you’ve essentially just bankrupted your family. Good job. Be sure to keep that receipt handy to prove to him that he can still see his grandkids attend college one day.