My Experience in British Television

Coming into this class, my favorite television shows were all American series – Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Lost, Friday Night Lights, and The Wire. The important common characteristic among these dramas was there serial nature. This “cinematized television” where each episode was necessary in order to truly appreciate the depth and plot behind this (for all purposes) 12 hour movie was what drew me in as a viewer. I was in love with the feeling that each episode I watched was like a crucial stepping-stone towards understanding and reaching that elusive finale and I would insatiably consume these series because of it.

Thus, British television and its focus on short run series with very little serial elements threw me off at first. For example, I loved the first episodes of Doctor Who, Misfits, and Sherlock that I watched. However, after watching the next episodes of these respective series and realizing there was little carryover from episode to episode (aside from the characters), I found little incentive or reason to come back for more. These series felt more like little “adventures of the week” than comprehensive, serial narratives.

Yet, as the course progressed, I began to get more exposure to these series and the ideologies behind their design choices. This increased exposure bred a sort of fondness for these little pieces of bite-sized entertainment that I never thought I would remotely like. Although they may not have had the overarching narratives that I yearned for, their ability to take more creative liberties with each individual episode was something I developed a strong appreciation for. I began to spend every free moment using streaming services to finish Doctor Who, Misfits and Sherlock and these shows now rank up there with any of my favorite American television series.  Although widely different than the American-centric interests that I had developed, this experience in British television has opened my media mindset to appreciate a far greater range of programming. This new found appreciation will be the core influence behind my television watching this summer as I plan to watch Luther and Torchwood as soon as I finish these bloody finals.

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