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Top 10 British TV Shows America Is Obsessed With


Turns out we’re not the only ones hooked on these sublime series. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British Shows that America is Obsessed with. For this list, we’ve broken down those best of British programmes that have proven especially popular with North American audiences. From cult comedy to seminal sci-fi, it’s all eyes on the UK. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Shows that America is Obsessed With


Turns out we’re not the only ones hooked on these sublime series. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British Shows that America is Obsessed with.

For this list, we’ve broken down those best of British programmes that have proven especially popular with North American audiences. From cult comedy to seminal sci-fi, it’s all eyes on the UK.

#10: “Catastrophe” (2015-)

The Americans got their first taste of this Brit-com – albeit, one that was created by Irish actress Sharon Horgan and American comedian Rob Delaney – on Amazon Prime. This comedy series, about a couple who barely know each other and fall pregnant together, made waves across the pond for all the same reasons that it’s loved in the UK. It’s brash, bold and it touches on topics that writers normally shy away from. It also helps that one of its leading characters is played by a US comic, and that it features Carrie Fisher.

#9: “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” (1969-74)

And now, for something completely different. This comically risqué series became popular in America back in 1974 when a PBS station in Dallas began transmitting it, giving the Pythons an unlikely foothold in the country. Having once been labelled as a ‘bizarre, unpredictable show’, it's surprising just how well America took to it. Turns out, its kooky, silly nature was what appealed most, though. And, with the release of their trio of feature films, the only way was up for the Monty Python team.

#8: “Peaky Blinders” (2013-)

This period crime drama set in 1920s Birmingham has well and truly taken America by storm. And is it any wonder? Our cousins across the pond are certainly used to some good crime-based tele, and this show, with its stellar cast, stunning sets, brilliant costumes and engaging plot lines doesn’t disappoint. With Cillian Murphy at the helm, plus a key role for Tom Hardy, expectations were obviously high, all around the world. But “Peaky Blinders” definitely delivers, regardless of which side of the Atlantic you're on.

#7: “Merlin” (2008-12)

This fantasy drama was one of the first British programmes to be shown on network television in the United States, when NBC began transmitting the series in June 2009. So, it's fair to say that “Merlin” was a pretty big achievement in the small screen world. The show later relocated to Syfy – a cable network – tapping into the same kind of audience that had already become addicted to things like “Doctor Who”. And, in a time before the likes of “Game of Thrones”, you can see why it was so popular. King Arthur, wizards and a medieval world? Oh, yes please.

#6: “Luther” (2010-)

Unsurprisingly, the Brits aren’t the only ones just slightly obsessed with Detective Chief Inspector John Luther and his work with the Serious Crime Unit. Idris Elba is a well known face on American screens, what with the popularity of Baltimore-based, “The Wire”. But “Luther” doesn’t just rely on its celebrity lead actor. Some brilliant storylines, well-rounded characters and edge-of-your-seat style thrills are what makes this crime series so watchable, turning it into one of the most binge-worthy entries on today’s countdown.

#5: “The Fall” (2013-16)

Maybe it shouldn't be too shocking that “The Fall” caught US attention. After all, two of its lead actors – Agent Scully herself, Gillian Anderson, and Jamie Dornan of “50 Shades” fame – are both big Hollywood names. But if the star power is what brought viewers through the door, it’s the gritty nature of this show that kept them watching. The central chase to catch a serial killer isn’t for the faint-hearted. But with Anderson’s brilliant detective leading the way, this is one series that demands to be seen from dramatic beginning to the bitter end.

#4: “Sherlock” (2010-)

Benedict Cumberbatch is clearly a household name now, but his journey toward worldwide fame probably started here. Because America is just as fascinated as Britain by Batch's modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Which really says something about Benedict’s performance, because “Sherlock” closely contends with other American-made Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations, including CBS's similar series “Elementary” and the Robert Downey Jr. led films. There’s just something special in the on-screen chemistry between Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, spearheaded by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss behind the scenes.

#3: “Black Mirror” (2011-)

This British anthology series, created by the super-satirist Charlie Brooker of Screenwipe fame, is nothing short of captivating. With black humour, dark cynicism and a sci-fi edge, “Black Mirror” is both a twisted reflection of our current reality and a stark warning on where we're headed. With each story being a stand alone production, and each instalment uniquely written and superbly acted, it’s no surprise that America has jumped on this particular bandwagon - especially considering the endless supply of well known faces, too. What’s not to like?

#2: “Doctor Who” (1963-)

While “Doctor Who”'s original run gave it a kind of cult-following status, the 2005 revival gained a whole new audience. The 1996 TV movie was a direct attempt to find a footing in the United States – and yet it failed to do so. But Nu-Who arrived just as “Star Trek: Enterprise” went down in flames, leaving science fiction fans in the US ready for something different to scratch their tech and fantasy itch. With higher production values, the writing talents of Russell T Davies, plus Christopher Eccleston and then David Tennant taking the lead, “Doctor Who” became sci-fi supreme.

#1: “Downton Abbey” (2010-15)

The toast of today’s list is this incredibly popular period drama. Of course America was going to become obsessed. It's filled with themes and things that US audiences love – high production values, a period setting, a sense of English aristocracy and a whiff of sophistication. With its stately setting, interesting characters and dramatic storylines, “Downton” soon became a favourite for households across the rest of the world, too. Fuelling posh British stereotypes for a brand new generation, but bringing it all together in undoubted style, it’s a quintessential classic. If only everyone could sit in and drink tea all day, eh!
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