Current popular drama series on British TV, which may interest overseas viewers.
Downton Abbey began its second series on ITV on Sunday night. I am one of the few people in the UK not to have been watching this. It has a big audience, and almost universal public and critical acclaim. Mrs Polynikes (the wife) loves it, as does Mrs Polynikes (the mother). The only widespread criticism of the first episode was not of the drama itself, but of the number of advert breaks, and of the choice of adverts therein. ITV not unsurprisingly packed in the maximum number of breaks allowed (five in 90 minutes), including some depressing ones about insurance (a large insurance company sponsors the programme). Press criticism was rife, and a record number of viewers complained to the broadcaster. Do other nations complain about this? From my excursions to other countries, I reckon their advert breaks are more frequent and intrusive, so we in Great Britain are relatively fortunate, even when watching commercial TV rather than the BBC.
BBC started its final series of Spooks in direct competition at the same time on the same night. Perhaps it was almost resignation as a way of justifying the end of Spooks. This is an enjoyably daft (maybe intentionally so) series where three or four MI6 officers save the UK every week from some kind of threat. However, in its sixth (?) series now, and well past its sell by date, so time to finish it. The lead actors tend to duck out after a series or two, but their replacements continue to save us from disaster every week. Another favourite of Mrs Polynikes (the wife) and my other female acquaintances, particularly when Rupert Penry-Jones had a leading role.
Dr Who is nearing the end of a run, so it should have made it to channels in the US and elsewhere by now. My wife and children still watch, but I gave up some time ago, so I can't comment on it.
The best of the US drama is being snatched over here in the UK by cable and satellite TV to whom one has to subscribe, and I only have free-to-air channels, so I have not seen series such as Game of Thrones or Mildred Pierce. Did the recently finished Camelot make it to the overseas market? It was a retelling of King Arthur described as a "Game-of-Thrones-lite" made on the cheap (relatively speaking), but a second series was not commissioned. Bit raunchy in places, and as my younger son loves Merlin (coming back to the BBC in the autumn) and Arthurian legends, we let him stay up to watch. As a result, his sex education is well under way. Although it was slow at times, I quite enjoyed it, and as you might expect from a cast including Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green, the acting is generally good. Shame we will not get a second series.