Ah, the British -- they lost their rule over us Americans, and they've been regretting it ever since. Luckily for those Brit nationalists, some UK cultural influence is spreading over these shores once again, with the first BBC America original program, Copper, beginning to air. In light of this milestone for the network, we decided to look at some of the top shows to air on the channel.
What's cooler than a star sitting down for a little talk-show chit-chat? How about sitting down for a little chit-chat and a little racing? Such is the case on Top Gear, a fantastic program that features races, gearhead car info, and, every episode, a segment in which a star takes a spin around a racing course. Seeing Kristin Scott Thomas do the segment -- known as Star In A Reasonably Priced Car -- was priceless.
This BBC classic has been going strong since 1963 (albeit with a break between 1989 and 2005). An incredibly ambitious sci-fi series with major drama to go along, the program follows the adventures of a time-traveling alien who, at times, takes a human form (the Doctor). The Doctor has been played by eleven (count 'em!) different actors over the years, but currently Matt Smith is playing the role. The show has won numerous accolades and is generally considered to be one of the greatest BBC programs ever made -- with the level of reverence we have for, say, The X-Files.
Richard Hammond's Crash Course
For those hardcore Top Gear fans who feel like simply racing totally incredible automobiles around the place is not extreme enough, there is Richard Hammond's Crash Course. In this new series, the Top Gear host is planted in America, giving himself exactly three (three!) days to learn how to operate an incredibly complex and heavy-duty piece of machinery. Mayhem and mishaps with fire trucks and tanks -- yes, tanks -- follow. This is probably the only program out there that makes Top Gear look tame!
This one-season series is an update of a little novel you might have heard of. In the new version of the classic tale, James Nesbitt stars as both Tom Jackman (a descendant of Dr. Jekyll) and, of course, Mr. Hyde. The thing is, this time the people around Jackman/Hyde don't see the two personalities as being the same man -- rather, they see him as different people entirely. Throw in an ancient organization who is watching Jackman -- and may want him for some nefarious purposes -- and you get an eerily creepy show. In just six episodes, writer Steven Moffat delivered the goods here.
One Doctor Who-based program not enough for you? Not to worry -- in this spin-off set in the Doctor Who universe, we have the Torchwood Institute, which helps deal with extraterrestrial affairs. John Barrowman, who was wildly popular for his performance as Captain Jack Harkness in the 2005 season of Doctor Who, reprises the same role here as the leader of the Torchwood team assigned with dealing with alien threats.
After putting together this list, it seems like those Brits are a lot more clever than we realized. Maybe we should've remained a colony after all? Nah, probably not. But having BBC America to watch is a close second. What did you think of our picks? Any BBC hit shows we're overlooking?