We know you're tired of hearing about all the different streaming services you should subscribe to (especially since there are so, so many), but you should strongly consider subscribing to BritBox, which offers subscribers access to the best in British programming for just $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. A subscription means you no longer have to dig through Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon to find your favorite British programs under all the American shows that are given priority.
The BritBox library has everything from your favorite Britcoms 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 several good reasons to look into subscribing to BritBox.
Classic Doctor Who
You won't find David Tennant's or Matt Smith's beloved incarnations of everyone's favorite time-traveling Time Lord here (they'll be available on HBO Max when it launches), 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.
The 2005 film starring Keira Knightley has its fans, but for many Austenites, the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is still the only adaptation of the Jane Austen novel worth watching. I mean, Firth in that wet shirt? Defined an entire era. So if you're looking to revisit Austen's seminal work — or looking to visit it for the first time — now is your chance.
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 several 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You probably already know this, but in case you don't: The U.S. version of The Office that you love so much is a remake of the British version of The Office that starred Ricky Gervais as David Brent, the self-important manager of the Slough branch of the the fictional Wernham Hogg paper company. The mockumentary-style show, which was co-created by Gervais and Stephen Merchant — ran for two seasons and had two Christmas specials. If you've already seen the U.S. version, we highly suggest watching the original, since you know, Michael Scott wouldn't exist without it.
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.
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 2020.