Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance as Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell in the BBC miniseries 'Wolf Hall'

‘Wolf Hall’ – power and privilege on Amazon Prime

The BBC historical miniseries Wolf Hall (2015) stars Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell (not to be confused with Oliver Cromwell), advisor and legal counsel to Cardinal Wolsey and King Henry VIII. Rylance is a theatrical legend in Britain but not so well known in the U.S., although that’s changing thanks to his sublime performance in […]

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle star in the 1995 mini-series

The definitive ‘Pride and Prejudice’ on HBO Max and BritBox

Pride and Prejudice (1995) – Movies are great for spectacle but the miniseries format has the luxury of time. This co-production between the BBC and the American cable channel A&E is still considered by Jane Austen fans to be the definitive adaptation of Austen’s most famous novel and her work in general. Jennifer Ehle is […]

Ricky Gervais stars on the BBC comedy 'The Office'

The original British ‘The Office’ on HBO Max

“You can’t put a price on comedy.” In the original The Office (2001-2003), creator/co-writer/co-director Ricky Gervais stars as David Brent, the insufferably self-satisfied office manager of a paper company branch who fancies himself a born comedian and a natural leader. He’s wrong about both, naturally, but his yes-man team-leader Gareth (Mackenzie Crook), a brown-noser with […]

David Tennant stars in the British mini-series based on the Alan Furst novel.

‘Spies of Warsaw’ – WWII espionage on Amazon Prime Video

Spies of Warsaw (2013), adapted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais from the novel by Alan Furst, has an almost old-fashioned clarity to it. It’s set in 1937 Poland, and Germany is quietly amassing troops outside the border. David Tennant continued his post-Doctor Who career redefinition playing French military attaché Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, an […]

Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan are 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' in the BBC adaptation of Susanna Clarke's novel.

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015), adapted from the dense, richly-woven debut novel by Susanna Clarke, brings a different of approach to fantasy fiction and the idea of magic in the real world. Set in 19th century England, at the start of the Napoleonic Wars, it weaves the tale of two magicians—Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan), […]

John Cleese, Connie Booth, Andrew Sachs, and Prunella Scales in the classic BBC comedy

‘Fawlty Towers: Complete Series’ on Britbox

Fawlty Towers: Complete Series (1975-1979) – Basil Fawlty, the brazenly rude hotel proprietor created and incarnated by John Cleese in his brilliant British sitcom, is the most insolent, boorish, hilariously obnoxious character in the face of customer disservice. He’s a man who treats his guests as an inconvenience to running his business, with the exception […]

Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg and friends in their BBC sitcom directed by Edgar Wright

‘Spaced’ – the cult British comedy on Amazon Prime Video

Before Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, director Edgar Wright and actor/writer Simon Pegg collaborated with actress/writer Jessica Hynes on the cult BBC sitcom Spaced (1999-2000, TV-14). Pegg and Hynes play Tim and Daisy, slackers who meet at a pub and decide to pose as a couple to get a great flat. They’re not […]

Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin in a promotional photo for Monty Python's Flying Circus

‘Monty Python: Almost the Truth’ – Comedy history on Netflix

If Monty Python is the comedy world’s equivalent to The Beatles, then the six-part documentary mini-series Monty Python: Almost the Truth (2009) is their Beatles Anthology, an epic of a documentary featuring new interviews with the five surviving Pythons and as many colleagues and friends as the producers could track down. Each episode focuses on […]