And Now For a Brief Time Out
I recently signed up for a free trial of BritBox. BritBox, like Acorn, is a streaming service that you can subscribe to either on its own or thru Amazon.com. Both carry predominantly British television programming; Acorn also includes Canadian and Australian programs.
Why did I do this? Frankly, I needed some diversity in what I watch and American TV just wasn’t cutting it.
The irony of this is that some of the shows both services carry can be found on American TV, usually PBS. The infamous BritComs that many fans have supported over the years, plus the wonderful costume dramas, are purchased to fill voids left by American production companies that failed to provide content that appeals to discerning viewers.
For those who aren’t sure what I mean, PBS usually purchases productions from the UK because their viewers actually want to watch something that the other American networks are absolutely certain no one wants to watch. Like Downton Abbey or Poldark or Dr. Who.
Although, come to think of it, my first encounter with Dr. Who was a syndicated series on an independent channel. Makes you think.
Why do we gravitate toward such programming? Some of us love to see other parts of the world. Some are curious about how other people live. Some just want to see something that doesn’t treat them like lumps on a sofa.
That is not to say that all non-American programming is high brow. Far from it. Sit through a season of Are You Being Served? and let me know how high brow that is. Once you stop laughing.
One of my recent discoveries is the Hairy Bikers. Two guys who ride motorcycles and love to cook. At first glance you might raise an eyebrow. At second glance you might hope for an invitation to their table.
For the armchair traveler, Penelope Keith has several wonderful series touring Britain. Julie Walters has provided wonderful company as she tours England by train. Martin Clunes has provided several series about animals and life in other countries. And these are but a few.
As you contemplate what is available to you from your provider, I suggest you take a good look at what is available via streaming. As long as you have Internet access, you can stream. The purchase of a streaming device (Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.) makes the process simpler and easier. The cost is nominal and the potential is enormous.