We know you're tired of hearing about all the different streaming services you absolutely must subscribe to — especially in the wake of the news that Disney and Apple will both be launching their new services this fall. But we have one more streaming service we'd really like you to consider subscribing to this year: BritBox.
From BBC Studios and ITV, BritBox is just $6.99 per month (or $69.99 per year) and offers its subscribers access to the best in British programming, which means you no longer have to dig through Netflix and Hulu and Amazon to find your favorite British programs under all the American shows that are constantly being thrust in front of your eyeballs. The BritBox library has everything from your favorite sitcoms and classic sci-fi programs to irresistible crime dramas. And in the case of ongoing series, you can often see the new episodes not long after they air in the U.K. So as you debate cutting the cord and shelling out money for various streaming services, please consider these nine good reasons to look into subscribing to BritBox in 2019.
1. Agatha Christie's Poirot
Poirot is a staple of any good television diet, and not just for those of us who gobble up anything related to Agatha Christie's work and/or every British mystery series we can get our hands on. Everyone would be better off having watched this classic series, which stars David Suchet as the titular detective and which eventually adapted every major work featuring the character. Thankfully, BritBox is home to seven of the show's 13 seasons that were produced over 25 years; you can binge the first six seasons of the series (covering 1989-1995), as well as the more recent final season, which aired in 2013 and is listed under the title Poirot's Final Cases.
2. Doctor Who
You won't find David Tennant's or Matt Smith's beloved incarnations of everyone's favorite time-traveling Time Lord here (check out Amazon Prime if you want NuWho), but that's perfectly OK, because what you will find are all 26 seasons of Classic Doctor Who (save for the lost episodes, of course) and the seven inimitable Doctors who encompassed the sci-fi series' long first run. If you've never seen Classic Who before (no judgment!), this expansive collection is the gift that keeps on giving. You can travel back in time to the show's beginning, in 1963, and fall in love with the Doctor, the companions, and the show's most famous villains right from the start. BritBox also carries the Doctor Who specials and some other cool things, so if you're a Whovian, you're going to want to check this out.
3. Fawlty Towers
A true classic, Fawlty Towers aired just two seasons of six episodes each in the late '70s. Set at a fictional sub-par hotel, the series starred John Cleese as the hotel's rude and short-tempered owner who longed to be part of richer social circles but found himself frustrated with the rich all the same. Cleese co-created and wrote the iconic series with his then-wife, Connie Booth, who played the hotel's chambermaid. Much of the comedy in the series came from the farcical misadventures of the hotel's staff amid various interactions with their eccentric guests, and it was so memorable that the series was recently named the greatest ever British TV sitcom by the Radio Times' magazine. So yeah, you could say this one is worth a watch.
4. Life of Crime
Hayley Atwell stars as law enforcement officer Denise Woods in this three-part series that tracks Woods' career from her time as an idealistic rookie in the '80s through being a detective in the '90s and a DCI in 2013. As each episode focuses on a different era of Denise's life, it also focuses on a different murder — all of which she believes have been committed by the same offender. Meanwhile, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina's Richard Coyle co-stars as Denise's partner (both on the force and later in love), who sports a hilariously bad wig. Life of Crime is a solid police drama, but even if it was just Richard Coyle in this Three Stooges wig it would still be worth watching.
5. Red Dwarf
The cult sci-fi series Red Dwarf, which follows Craig Charles' technician Lister, who is believed to be the last known human alive, has had a relatively long lifespan, but it might not be well known to your average American TV viewer. The series first ran from 1988 to 1999 but was revived in 2009. Now all 12 seasons (we count the three-episode season as a full season, right?) and the adventures contained within them are available for you to stream right here. You're on your own if you want to enjoy the novels, radio show, and everything else Red Dwarf though.
6. Rosemary & Thyme
The cozy mystery series Rosemary & Thyme follows two women whose initial bond over gardening leads to a blossoming partnership as amateur sleuths. The aptly named Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendal) and Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris) team up in each episode to solve a murder that's tied to gardening, using their botany expertise to dig up clues and catch the criminals. It's wonderfully easy to watch, and the natural charm of Kendal and Ferris make it the perfect show for when you' can't decide between a murder mystery and Escape to the Country (which is also available to stream).
7. Mary Berry's Absolute Favorites and Country House Secrets
Most Americans probably fell in love with Mary Berry after seeing her on the Great British Bake Off, probably the only cooking competition show featuring kind-hearted people who genuinely care about each other. But you can fall deeper into love with Mary thanks to two of her other series that are available exclusively on BritBox: Mary Berry's Absolute Favorites and Mary Berry's Country House Secrets. In the former show, everyone's favorite cook shares her favorite recipes. In the latter, you'll find her exploring the U.K. through food. But honestly, it doesn't matter what she's doing; we'll always have time for more Mary Berry.
Shetland is everything you could want from a good mystery series. Set on the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland (most of the show is filmed on the mainland, sadly), the isolated setting can be quaint and picturesque or remote and claustrophobic depending on what the story requires. Since the series mostly deals in murder, it's usually the latter. The drama series, which follows Douglas Henshall's Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and a small police staff on the islands, is engrossing right off the bat but becomes even more so once the series, which is based on the novels of Ann Cleeves, transitions from episodic to serialized storytelling. However, if you're worried about being overwhelmed by dreary doom and gloom, don't be! Shetland also dishes out some well-timed bits of humor, making for a well-balanced series you won't want to stop watching, which is why it's great that BritBox is now the exclusive home of the series. Season 4 is already available on the service and the fifth will debut April 30. The first three seasons will be added soon.
9. The Thick of It
Yes, Armando Iannucci's iconic satirical British comedy The Thick of It is technically available to stream on both Amazon and Hulu, but why should that take away from the fact it is also available to stream on BritBox? Similar in tone to HBO's Emmy-winning Veep, which Iannucci created several years later, the caustic series starring Peter Capaldi is set at the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship and offers up some of the funniest and most profane depictions of politicians you'll ever see, even in 2019.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to add Shetland's first three seasons are coming soon.