I love American television, but I’ll admit it: the Brits have figured out a magic television formula that we’ve never been able to quite match. It’s a combination of wry humor mixed with heartfelt moments that destroy you. My favorite British shows are the comedies; the ones you think won’t break you with emotions. But of course you’d be wrong.
Here are three British shows—and one book!—to binge watch for the next time you want to laugh/cry your way through a rainy fall afternoon:
Skins is a teen show that switched up its cast every two years, creating all-new dynamics, issues, relationship, and teenage drama. It’s also one of the best high school shows ever made, delving deep into the realism of what it means to be a modern teenager. Sure, they were a little over-the-top with the partying scenes, but this show is basically the Degrassi of the UK: from drugs to eating disorders to sexual relationships, it hits every issue. Plus it has the best music, usually used in dreamy, lovely shots like this (slightly NSFW):
For less of a cool teenager experience, check out The Inbetweeners about a group of awkward English boys trying to navigate high school. They attempt to pick up girls, make fun of each other endlessly and are all around hilarious. The show was so popular that they even made two follow-up movies. Here’s a scene from the first one—very NSFW, but still insanely funny:
James Corden is a British gem and he shines as Gavin’s best friend Smithy in this hilarious and touching comedy about two long-distance lovers. Gavin falls for Welsh girl Stacey despite the miles between them. They both have ridiculous families and even more ridiculous friends, and when they combine their two worlds, the characters mesh with varying degrees of success:
Christmas at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown (Harper; November 3, 2015)
I love a good England-based novel, especially when it’s about a charming business and its eclectic cast of characters. Christmas at Carrington’s is Brown’s follow up to her hit novel, Cupcakes at Carrington’s. This latest installment takes readers back to Carrington’s department store and plucky heroine Georgie Hart. It’s Christmas, Georgie’s favorite time of year, and she can’t wait to celebrate with her handsome new boyfriend, Tom Carrington. But things don’t exactly go her way when the department store becomes the focus of a new reality show. Will retail maverick Kelly Cooper steal Tom away? Will Georgie’s reputation be ruined after the show airs? Pick up this charming new novel on November 3 to find out.