Powered by i.TV
October 23, 2014

The Best BBC America Shows You're Not Watching

by Rebecca Paiement, posted Oct 30th 2009 5:46PM
Being Human Skins

Britain's BBC is a breeding ground for American television. Our classics like 'Survivor,' 'American Idol,' 'America's Got Talent,' 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' and countless others started out as BBC successes that were later tweaked for the American market. In fact, the hit BBC series 'Being Human' has just been Americanized for the SyFy channel. So why not check out these shows in their first incarnation? BBC America is chock full of Brit comedic wit, outstanding series and cheeky talk shows. Below is a list of our top 10 faves and some honorable mentions.
Being Human Skins

Britain's BBC is a breeding ground for American television. Our classics like 'Survivor,' 'American Idol,' 'America's Got Talent,' 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' and countless others started out as BBC successes that were later tweaked for the American market. In fact, the hit BBC series 'Being Human' has just been Americanized for the SyFy channel. So why not check out these shows in their first incarnation? BBC America is chock full of Brit comedic wit, outstanding series and cheeky talk shows. Below is a list of our top 10 faves and some honorable mentions.

Skins'Skins'
Though it appears, at first glance, to be just another teen drama, 'Skins' pushes boundaries, exploring drug use, promiscuity, abuse and emotional angst with a no-holds-barred approach and quickly revealing itself to be primetime adult viewing. Characters such as Effy, her school's most popular love interest and confused friends like Pandora, Katie and Emily move in circles with guy pals/sexual conquests Cook, Freddie and Jonah. These Bristol students get into and out of trouble with a little help and a lot of hindrance from their friends.

Mary Queen of Shops'Mary Queen of Shops'
With clients such as Louis Vuitton and Clarks footwear, Mary Portas has a proven track record in all things retail. In this series, Portas sets out to save floundering "high street" boutiques, brining back the owners' enthusiasm and helping them target and attract the right customers and, most importantly, their cash. She works with stubborn shopkeepers to revamp their stores' style, displays and stock, then revisits the scene at a later date to see if her advice has stuck.

Being Human'Being Human'
The recently renewed BBC co-production 'Being Human' is a well-written, sarcastic trip into the lives of three roommates, attempting to lead a normal existence while cleverly covering up the reality that they are, in fact, mythical evil creatures. Suave Mitchell, a vampire, and slightly nerdy George, a werewolf, work in a Bristol hospital where Mitch tries to avoid the lure of co-workers' jugulars and George occasionally resorts to locking himself into a storeroom during a full moon. Housemate Annie is a ghost who haunts the domicile in which she was murdered. Day-to-day issues that would throw even normal twentysomethings take on more significance as the characters struggle to avoid exposure and various underworld threats.

Top Gear'Top Gear'
Not to be dismissed as simply a "car show," 'Top Gear' brings humor, stunts and boyish charm to all things automotive. Hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May set up challenges like jumping ice cream vans over bouncy castles and creating police cars from old junkyard clunkers. Add celebrity guests who are timed in ordinary cars on a test track and features such as the most economic drives, and ordinary motoring shows don't stand a chance.

Gordon Ramsay's F Word'Gordon Ramsay's F Word'
Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay is just as famous for his signature cuisine featuring fresh local ingredients and simple, delicious recipes as he is for his fresh mouth and liberal vocabulary. The aptly named 'F Word' series has Ramsay sharing his kitchen with brave celebrity guests who go head-to-head with him in cook-offs, and ordinary talents who are challenged to prepare three-course meals for 50 customers. In turn, the diners decide if the food is up to snuff and if they'd be willing to pay.

Robin Hood'Robin Hood'
Now in its third season, the BBC continues to follow the escapades of Robin Hood and his band of thieves as they avenge unrightful deaths, struggle against corruption and scamper sexily about the forest. This darker, slightly scruffier version of the classic tale introduces new players and gives viewers a better glimpse into what motivates the timeless character of Robin Hood.

You Are What You Eat'You Are What You Eat'
Gillian McKeith is one tough diet guru. She takes on chubby and downright fat Brits and not only displays them in their undies but also lays out what they eat in a normal week on a table, exposing a fat-laden, unappetizing smorgasbord of sticky doughnuts and fried sandwiches. Butting heads with these sugar fiends, McKeith sometimes even moves into their homes to help switch them from candy bars to carob chips and marmalade to mung beans. With McKeith's guidance, progress is astounding, energy soars and wounded egos are quickly restored.

Dragon's Den'Dragon's Den'
In this reality show, aspiring entrepreneurs ascend an iron warehouse staircase to face the dragons: a group of millionaire business owners who know what it takes to make it in a tough economic climate. The hopefuls present their business platforms, crossing their fingers that one of the dragons will offer his or her own monetary assistance. But the dragons are a hard sell, giving harsh, sometimes hurtful advice -- though also lending a much-needed hand to the smartest and most promising talent that dares to enter the den.

The Graham Norton Show'The Graham Norton Show'
Comedian Graham Norton's tongue is as sharp as his trademark glitzy suits as he trades barbs with celebrity guests like Jackie Collins, Anna Paquin and Michael Buble. Involving the audience and guests in goofy pranks and outlandishly staged situations, this is a talk show that concurrently shocks viewers while making them guffaw with laughter. No topic appears to be off-limits while secrets are revealed and embarrassing incidents are held up for glaring public scrutiny and general fun.

Friday Night With John Ross'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross'
Jonathan Ross' mischievousness charms A-list guests such as Tom Cruise, Jeremy Piven and Barbra Streisand into giving up more than they normally would to any American talk show host. The relaxed atmosphere, welcoming to audience and guest alike, includes a screen that gives frequent peeks into the green room and an off-kilter house band called Four Poofs and a Piano that sings silly, slightly irreverent intros for each celeb.

BBC Earth'BBC Earth'
Boasting camera technology unlike any other nature show, BBC Earth delves into lions' dens, grizzly bear habitats and naked mole rat burrows with the swiftness of a cheetah and the span of a blue whale. Host Sir David Attenborough brings over 50 years of experience in wildlife documentaries, taking viewers from Himalayan mountaintops to the bottom of the ocean and everywhere in between.

Honorable Mention: Runner-up slots go to recent BBC America shows not currently on air but worth the watch if and when they return: 'Ashes to Ashes,' 'Gavin and Stacey,' 'Mistresses' and 'The Last Resort.'


Related Posts
'Being Human' Will Try Being American on SyFy

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

11 Comments

Filter by:
Dakota Burgess

Will Holby City air on BBC America?

July 16 2010 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners