Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An ode to BBC (well, mostly to Sherlock).

I love the BBC. I guess it started back in 2007, when PBS was airing all of those new adaptations of Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, etc. I was already an Austen fan, but those three were the first adaptations of those books that I'd ever seen.

So of course BBC is where I go for amazing quality period dramas. But recently I've been branching out to some of their other productions. Here are my rambling thoughts about some of my favorite BBC shows and mini series. :)

I don't know why I didn't watch Call the Midwife when it first aired on PBS...we didn't have our antenna then, but I could have watched it online like I did Downton Abbey. Anyway, for whatever reason, I didn't watch it. About a month or so ago, I stumbled across it on Netflix and decided to give it a try. (I remembered Ruth and a couple of other bloggers writing about how much they enjoyed it.)

I loved Call the Midwife! It's set in 1950s London, in a very poverty stricken area, and revolves around a group of midwives and nuns who serve the women and children there. This show is so many things: tense, funny, joyful, heartbreaking, etc. I'm not into medical stuff in the least, and sometimes the child birth scenes are almost a bit much for me...and there is at least one birth in every episode. At times I'm like, maybe I shouldn't have watched this until after I have kids of my own. :) But it really is a lovely show. It's mind-blowing to think that these are realistic events and situations that were common less than 60 years ago.

Chummy is my favorite character so far. I love how tall and slightly awkward and good-hearted she is. :) P.S. I have not seen the second season yet...it isn't available on Netflix until later this month. So try not to leave me any spoilers in the comments, please! :)

And now for my favorite new discovery from BBC...Sherlock.

I love this show so much. Again, I don't know why I'm just now discovering it! I'd seen occasional mentions of it (like on Tayler's Pinterest board :). Before I looked it up on Netflix, I thought it was a big series like Doctor Who or something. I was very surprised to see that there are only two seasons and six episodes so far (though the episodes are 90 minutes long, so they're practically films).

I've always had a thing for mysteries. Specifically murder mysteries. Is that morbid? I have absolutely no interest in real life ones...I'm not one of those people who follows big cases on TV as they unfold or anything. Maybe I should say specifically detective stories. Sherlock Holmes, Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man series, and Agatha Christie's books? Yeah. I can get into that. I love reading or watching ridiculously brilliant people take apparently meaningless clues and decipher them.

Sherlock is amazing. The casting of Sherlock and Watson is perfect. (Is it normal to get this attached to fictional characters? :) I love how Sherlock can be such an antisocial, obnoxious, awful jerk and Watson has to bring him back down to earth and remind him of the emotions that normal people feel. I love how they modernized the stories but still left little references to the originals. {I read several Sherlock Holmes stories years ago, but I can't remember which ones. I know I read "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League"...one remembers a name like that. :) }

Basically, I love everything about the show. Except for the occasional profanity, and of course the inappropriate content in the episode "A Scandal in Belgravia." I just watched "The Reichenbach Fall" last night. Oh my goodness. Rip my heart out, why don't you, BBC? I knew what was going to happen, so I didn't think it would really be a cliffhanger. But it is...because I need to know how they're going to explain this one! There was a body. And blood. Poor Watson. Moffat says there's a clue that everyone missed...what was it?? Wow.

Anyway, these are my other favorite shows or mini series by BBC. When I look at the period drama section of my DVDs, most of them have the little BBC DVD emblem at the top. :)

{Doctor Who, Jane Eyre, Persuasion, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Little Dorrit, Cranford, Bleak House, Wives and Daughters, Lark Rise to Candleford, Downton Abbey, North and South}

The only BBC productions I've seen so far that I didn't like are Any Human Heart and The Way We Live Now. Coincidentally, Matthew Macfadyen (my favorite Mr. Darcy) is in both of those. I started watching Any Human Heart on PBS and didn't get past the first part because it was so full of filth. I pretty much only watched The Way We Live Now for Matthew Macfadyen. In it, he plays a spoiled, obnoxious cad who also happens to be a mama's boy who whines all the time. That was actually a bit amusing. :) But the rest of the show was filled with selfish, mean people (quite like Gone With the Wind *ahem*), and I didn't like it at all.

The BBC shows on my "to watch someday" list are: Merlin, Robin Hood, Lilies, and The House of Eliott. I've heard good things about those first two, and the second two I just stumbled across on Netflix and thought they sounded interesting.

So yeah. BBC always blows me away with the amazing quality of their shows. And their ability to drain my wallet when I have extra cash because I love their shows so much that I want to buy the DVDs and watch them over and over. :)

What are your favorite BBC shows? Do you have any recommendations for me? What do you think really happened to Sherlock?

Until next time,


  1. *This comment might be long and silly and quite devoid of depth... just a warning* :)

    Ahhh! I love this post so much. On Pinterest I actually started with a single “I <3 the BBC” board, but soon realized that I needed to break it down into individual shows. ;) Hopefully I haven't spoiled anything for you! I try to stay spoiler free, but I may have gotten carried away a time or two. I haven't seen season 2 of Call the Midwife either, so you're safe there. :D

    My favorite BBC shows are Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin and Robin Hood. I also really, really like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife, but I feel the need to differentiate between fanship, and rabid fanship. :D You should definitely try out Merlin and Robin Hood sometime. So good!

    I haven't seen Jane Eyre or Bleak House (Sally Sparrow!) yet, but all the other mini-series on your favorites list are on mine as well.

    Soooo, yep. Sherlock is lovely. When I first heard about a modern TV incarnation of my beloved Holmes and Watson, I was skeptical. It only took a few minutes to win me over though. :D Benedict and Martin are practically perfect in every way, I really like the movie length episodes (as much as I bemoan the actual number of episodes we get to see...), and the videography amazes me every time I watch. Pretty much the only thing I could do without is the cliffhangers. You're right, they are terrible! The best part about getting hooked on a TV show that's complete, is that you can plow through episodes without all the dreadful waiting. Sometimes I'm okay with it (like Downton Abbey) and other times I just need to know what happens (*cough* Once Upon a Time and Sherlock).

    To conclude, I'll answer your question about fictional character attachment issues. Yes, it is perfectly normal, although not entirely healthful, to be utterly attached to certain fictional persons. :D

    1. "Sometimes I'm okay with it (like Downton Abbey)"

      Yay! Another person who's okay with the whole Downton thing. :) *high five*

      Agree with you Tayler - Merlin and Robin Hood are cute although both break our hearts.

  2. Woo-hoo! Great collection, Kristin.

    Love DW, Wives and Daughters, Lark Rise to Candleford, North and South, 'Downton' and so many others! Glad you enjoyed 'Midwife' - it was/is precious and I cannot wait to get your thoughts on S2 (it's good!). It's not in the states yet but keep an eye out for The Paradise; it's really sweet - also just finished the alternative to that, Mr. Selfridge but the former is much better.

    As for Sherlock... don't know what really happened to him but Molly figures primarily into it! ;)


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