television shows

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Sword of Honour (2006)

This two-part WWII drama based on a trilogy by Evelyn Waugh is sort of like a British "Catch-22" in the way it satirizes military culture during wartime.   Englishman Guy Crouchback joins up out of idealism and a sense of honor, both largely shattered by the end of his war, which takes him to France, Scotland, Crete, Egypt, Croatia and Italy. Stay with the story through part two, when it becomes especially engaging and moving.

The IT Crowd (Season 1, 2006)

This hilarious series will make you laugh uncontrollably.  Two computer geeks who work in the basement IT department of a giant British corporation are assigned a new boss who knows nothing about computers.  The computer guys are the slovenly, lazy Roy, and the super nerdy, socially inept Moss.  Their new boss Jen sees her job as a relationship manager who will get the IT department noticed and appreciated by the rest of the building.  It takes an episode or two for the show to get its rhythm but after that  it's impossible to stop laughing.  And the best part is

South Riding (2011)

It's 1934 and the wounds of the Great War are still fresh when 30-something Sarah Burton returns to her small Yorkshire hometown to run the local girls' school, encountering poverty, local politics, hypocrisy--and a handsome local landowner with a tragic past.  Is there romance in store for Sarah?  Yes, but the story doesn't go the way you think it will. Based on the novel by Winifred Holtby.

Island at War (2003)

This suspenseful period drama depicts life on the Nazi-occupied Channel Islands during World War II, focusing on three local families and several German soldiers. It's an absorbing series that shows how different human beings respond to the stress of being occupied by a hostile force--or being a hostile occupier. Check Our Catalog

Foyle's War (2002-2010)

I recently discovered this British period drama cum mystery series and can't praise it too highly. Start with the first episode ("The German Woman") and meet Detective Chief Inspector Foyle (Michael Kitchen) as a modest yet razor sharp British policeman trying to do his crime-fighting job on the homefront during World War II. The series begins in May 1940 and ends 22 episodes later in August 1945 and incorporates many actual historical events.

Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)

Samurai Champloo is one of the most entertaining adventures in the samurai genre. Three unwilling companions set out on a journey across Edo period Japan.  A young woman looking for a possibly nonexistent samurai that smells like sunflowers,  a wild swordsman looking to challenge absolutely anyone who irritates him, and a taciturn ronin with a hidden past forge an unlikely bond. Though set in the 17th century,  Samurai Champloo has a hip-hop sensibility, with many modern references and themes.  The dialogue is extremely witty and the characters endearing.

Upstairs, Downstairs (2011)

This three-part series picks up a few years after the old Upstairs, Downstairs television series left off, circa 1936.  The maid, Rose (Jean Marsh) returns and there's lots of nostalgia throughout.  A bit on the sugary side but fans of the 1970s series will enjoy the trip down memory lane--and the full color production. Check Our Catalog

I, Claudius (1976)

Roman history and political skullduggery come alive in this BBC miniseries. Has something of a stagey feel (in a good way), the dialogue is sharp, and the saga of the "half-wit" Roman emperor engaging. If you enjoyed HBO's "Rome" miniseries, this one picks up about where "Rome" left off. Check Our Catalog

The Tudors (2007-2010)

If you missed this four-season series on Showtime (first season aired in 2007), try it out on DVD from the library. If you like costume soaps about sex, power and political intrique, this one is addictive! Check Our Catalog

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