Hello and welcome to a slightly different angle on the TV Scoop. I’m Wallace Poulter and I’ll be your tour guide as we examine some of the hidden television gems that are available with just a little bit of exploring.
Gone are the simple days of not so long ago when the networks ruled and cable was something of a wasteland. Today brilliant shows are to be found throughout the dial, even if it isn’t a dial anymore, and the proliferation of broadband has opened up the opportunity to watch not only quality American fare, but also the best of Canada, Great Britain, France and Scandinavia.
There has, in many ways, been a curious and subtle shift in our ability to consume such content. Traditionally the American market would welcome in such programs in one of two ways. Masterpiece Theater on Public Television would serve up the best of British drama, but for something of a limited audience, while successful shows would be remade into US versions. Three’s Company, for example, was a remake of the British Sitcom Man About the House and so too was Sanford and Son, which successfully took the format of Steptoe and Son.
Today producers cast a wider net with FX’s Bridge a remake of the excellent Swedish/Danish production Bron. Forbrydelsen, another superb Danish show, was turned into the recently cancelled The Killing on AMC and the widely acclaimed Homeland on Showtime is based on the Israeli series Hatufim.
Moreover the advent of channels such as BBC America bring Broadchurch, Doctor Who and more directly to the US market, even if BBC America does have the occasional annoying habit of judicious editing that removes scenes from the UK broadcast. Curiously even though Broadchurch was shown here, Fox has announced plans to remake the show with David Tennant starring once more, proving that even as things change they still stay the same.
All well and good, but what about the shows that didn’t make it to the US market on regular cable? There are, it turns out, a surprising number of really high quality shows that can be accessed with the help of both free and inexpensive services such as Hulu and Netflix.
And that is where this blog update will come in. Each week we’ll delve into the land of Netflix and Hulu to help to guide you in the direction of some of these exceptional shows from around the globe.
– Wallace Poulter