Mothers’ Day is over, but you can keep the love for your mum alive all year ’round with this list of TV shows from the Motherland. On the docket are some of my personal favorites, Peep Show, Spaced, and Black Adder. These shows illuminate the strange bond close friends and roommates develop over the years, in a quirky, upbeat, slapstick British style that may shine a light on the complexities of your own familial relations. If your mother has any inclination toward the 1981 hit Arthur, she may get a kick out of sitting through a few of these shows with you.
Peep Show – Two guys living together, just going through their own breakups and makeups and failed business endeavors. Well, Jeremy isn’t much of an entrepreneur, but he does have a love of music that he transposes into a hatred of doing anything at all, really. Mark and Jeremy are two completely different animals when it comes to finances and the art of wooing women, but their fictional lives are entertaining to watch. Most of the scenes are shot from right in front of their faces (are they wearing cameras on their heads?) and a lot of the dialogue stems from inner monologue shot from their thoughts to your speakers. It’s an interesting take on the idea that a TV show can actually make you feel somewhat involved, and Peep Show does.
Skins – Probably not recommended for parent-child bonding, unless you’re mother has a rebellious teenager living inside her. I would attest that all moms want to feel what it’s like to be wild and crazy again, before they conceived you, and I bet it might be somewhat relieving to watch the the full manic blowout antics that these characters display, which will make you realize you weren’t such a bad teen yourself, in retrospect.
The Black Adder – You’ll recognize Bean (Rowan Atkinson) if you ever watched the show. He’s a central figure in the main duo and what he says is just as funny as how he gesticulates his feelings at even the slightest hint of upset. The Black Adder is a real tongue-in-cheek sort of comedy, and if the Old English guises rile you, you may need to throw on the captions to understand what the characters are saying. It’s OK, no one’s judging.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Now, here’s a show that would appeal to most women, in my opinion, as our leading lady is a spitfire. Miss Fisher (and never Mrs.) is a restless spirit who seeks out adventure, drives her own car, and carries a pistol, if the job so requires, all in the name of solving mysteries. Jack, the town constable, is a little unnerved by Miss Fisher’s prying into his affairs of untimely deaths and shocking disappearances, but he can’t help but admit she has an eye for detail, always fishing out the most meager clue to help with the investigation.
Spaced – Hot Fuzz‘s Simon Pegg leads the helm on this one, as a cartoonist who can’t seem to land the big job he’s always been waiting for. It would help if he didn’t paint his editor as a big-headed monster, but that’s beside the point. Tim (Pegg) and Daisy (Jessica Hynes) pull all the cliches of the cultural psyche into their roles and throw it back at you in Spaced. In one scene, they even manage to flesh out the roles of Shaggy and Velma from Scooby Doo, by accident. They have a quite charming, yet uncanny, relationship and with the addition of the tortured artist from downstairs, it’s one of those sitcoms you have to see if you’re the type of person who can find a joke in anything.
Black Mirror – Black Mirror gives you a haunting take on the harsh reality behind politics, the pornographic film industry, and much worse. It was hard to sit through the first episode and the second had me in tears. If your mother is looking for a deeper, darker House of Cards that will make her question the very fabric of our society, then this series is for her.
Being Human – A group of otherwordly creatures find friendship in the fact that they are all socially unacceptable outcasts. OK, no one aside from a werewolf and a vampire would even know that a ghost was living inside their house, but that doesn’t keep them from leaning on her ectoplasmic hospitality. They cling together in a world that doesn’t understand them, which is pretty understandable.
Misfits – This garish show is about another group of people, who aren’t necessarily friends, though some pair off, travel through time, and kill one another every so often. Misfits is a dark show about delinquents with super powers, and once they find out, everything goes awry.
Shameless – I believe this show has been remade for an American audience, but the British version is a hoot. James McAvoy (Wanted, 2008) is the star of this family drama where you’re sure to hear crazy curse words that you never thought existed. His drunk dad is hilarious as the elusive glue that still somehow keeps the siblings together. If he didn’t act like such a layabout, they wouldn’t have to work so hard to keep the household intact, so the situation may seem as a blessing in disguise to some. *warning: adult content in video*
Peaky Blinders – This show proves to have all the grit of Deadwood with the gumption of the Victorian age, as our main character tries his best not to get involved too closely with anyone who could ruin his reputation. Thomas Shelby is a mobster collecting old debts, but he’s a lover, too.
Have you watched these shows with your mum or da? Or are you too busy using their free laundry to sit around and watch the telly with them? Let me know what you think about these British shows in the comments below!