I have had friends recommend so many TV shows recently that I would have to quit my job and stay home for months just to watch them all. That being said, I already spend too much time watching my favorite shows. Netflix has only made it harder to choose which shows are worth committing hours of your life to watching. I know this blog post is only adding to the thousands of “which shows to watch next” articles already cluttering the internet, but if you are currently in the midst of deciding which television show to binge-watch next, here in no particular order are my recommendations. And as you’ll soon see, since I’m a proud anglophile, many of my favorites are BBC shows:
- Downton Abbey
What can I say? I fell in love with this show in its first series, and my heart has been broken several times over the past five years. The sixth and final series is airing in the U.S. right now, and I know I’m not the only one hoping my favorite characters find happiness. If you’ve never seen this show, it’s definitely worth your time. The drama follows the Crawley family from the sinking of the Titanic through the years following the First World War, with all the heartbreak, intrigue, and joy to be expected. And who doesn’t love Maggie Smith? Everyone knows someone who owns all the seasons on DVD, so there’s no excuse for not catching up!
Seriously, if you haven’t seen Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the BBC’s modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective stories, you’re missing out. All of us Sherlock fans have been waiting for what seems like forever for the next season, but the creators tantalized us with a stand-alone episode this month that didn’t disappoint. And honestly, is there any other villain quite as terrifying as Moriarty?
- Call the Midwife
Yet another BBC series, Call the Midwife, is a perfect combination of history, drama, and medicine. Very few episodes have ended without a stack of used Kleenex beside me. The ladies’ adventures at Nonnatus House are based on true events, and the show’s creators do a wonderful job at historical research. Prepare to be completely invested in the life of 1950s East End London and the pain and rejoicing that comes from childbirth.
- Mr. Selfridge
Ok, so all of my favorite shows are from the BBC except for two, and this one is not an exception. Mr. Selfridge loosely follows the story of Harry Gordon Selfridge, an American businessman who founded one of London’s most popular department stores at the start of the twentieth-century. The fourth season will air in the U.S. in March of this year, but you’ll definitely want to go back and watch the first three seasons to catch up. The love triangles can get a bit confusing.
I only discovered Poldark last year when the first season aired on PBS, and I’m already eagerly awaiting the release of the second season! Ross Poldark is the title character who returns to England after fighting the Americans in the Revolutionary War. His father has died and the mining estate is failing. And to make everything even worse, the true love he left behind is marrying his cousin! That’s not technically a spoiler because this show is absolutely full of drama from the very first moment. And as an added bonus, the cinematography is stunning with vast stretches of Cornwall’s green cliffs rising above the ocean.
- Once Upon a Time
Since I am American, I suppose I should add my two favorite American television shows. Once Upon a Time is currently on winter break in the middle of its fifth season. It airs on ABC and follows the fairytale residents of Storybrooke, Maine, as they travel back and forth through various mythical realms and reality. Emma Swan is the “savior” daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and only she can break the curse that holds them captive. Light and dark magic face off in every season of this show that has you wondering if all evil villains are really that evil. I will admit that season three and the first part of season four were slow-moving and my least favorite seasons, but the show has picked back up now and I’m excited to see what happens when the show begins again in March.
Before my list gets so long that it seems I already spend all my time staring at a screen, I will finally recommend this zany, ridiculous musical comedy that is proudly aware of the fact that it should not have had a second season on ABC. It airs during Once Upon a Time’s winter break and introduces us to Sir Galavant, a singing knight on a quest to find his one true love. The large and somewhat random cast includes names such as Timothy Omundson, Vinnie Jones, John Stamos, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Hugh Bonneville (who incidentally plays Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey). If you enjoy laughter and being entertained, then watch this hilarious show. The episodes are short, and it’s only on its second season. Here’s hoping they can beat the “Cancellation Bear” once again and return next year with season three!
That’s the end of my list. If you want to save yourself a few hours of scrolling through the Netflix menu, try one of these shows. I promise you won’t regret it!