British television has really been knocking it out of the park lately, especially with popular and critically acclaimed shows like Luther, Misfits, and Sherlock. We’ve mentioned them before on Unreality, so if you have not checked them out, please do yourself a favor and watch them over the summer! They are all available on Netflix too! So, what are you waiting for?! Goooo!
But for those of you who already have watched those shows (I am guessing there are quite a few of you!), I have three lesser known series that you should most definitely check out! Each one of these are significantly different from one another, so there’s really something for everyone!
Now, on to the list!
Case Histories (2010-Present, two seasons)
Case Histories is truly a hidden gem to North American audiences. I’m really not sure how popular it is in the UK, but I do know that its recognition over here is virtually none as I have not met one person who has heard of it.
The story revolves around Jackson Brodie–former soldier and policeman—who decides to become a private investigator in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. He takes on cases that usually intertwine with each other and become much bigger than expected. As expected, this gets him into quite a bit of trouble because he’s kind of a stubborn (yet moral) bastard. Brodie is played by the brilliant Jason Isaacs (who played Mr. Blond in Harry Potter), which is what initially brought me to this series.
What strikes me most about Case Histories is how personal and real it is. You feel that this could all happen and you become emotionally attached the Brodie and his cases, especially since he seems to want to do the right thing despite the warnings from the people he works for.
Case Histories has just recently finished its second season. The first season contains 6 episodes and the second has only three, with each episode being an hour and half long. I really enjoy the long episodes, short seasons format, which seems to be common place overseas. Anyway, give it a shot; you won’t regret it!
Robin Hood (2006-2008, three seasons)
BBC’s Robin Hood is an origin story of the legendary hero (no unique spin, just a straight forward retelling) starring Jonas Armstrong as the lead and Keith Allen as his nemesis, the evil and charismatic Sherriff. It’s also where I was first introduced to Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Strike Back), who is excellent as the Sheriff’s second in command, Sir Guy of Gisborne; he really is a great actor, overall.
Yes, it’s very cheesy and full of camp but it’s also fun and entertaining! And it grows on you! We can’t always have our Sopranos! Right? Well, perhaps we can and maybe this kind of show isn’t for you, but I thoroughly enjoyed its charm and humor! It sort of reminded me of a 90s action and adventure series with higher production values. That being said, it’s not all cheese as there is quite a bit of drama as well, which I thought was done pretty well.
So, if you’re looking for a good, light-hearted adventure, go no further as Robin Hood delivers!
The show went on for three seasons, ending in 2008. It is also available on Netflix, so watch a few episodes and tell me what you think!
Inside Men (2012, Miniseries)
Like Robin Hood and Case Histories, Inside Men also has a completely different tone. It’s a very dark and dramatic mini-series about the events that lead up to an armed robbery at a secure money counting house as well as its aftermath. The first episode begins with a depiction of the brutal robbery and then explores the motivations behind those who committed the crime; you will find that it is a unique way of telling the story as it jumps around time wise.
If you can get past the somberness of Inside Men, then you will find a lot to like here. The cast is phenomenal and you will definitely recognize the main actors from other British shows, mainly from Luther. It’s also a one-off miniseries, so it won’t take you long to get through the four, one-hour episodes.
Well, there you have it! If you’re looking for something new to watch during the summer months, these series might satisfy your needs!
What are some of your hidden gems in recent British television, mates?