British Vs American Fantasy TV by Kerry Harkin
When it comes down to it, Britain is seriously lacking in the fantasy and sci-fi shows department! Sure we’ve got Doctor Who but it’s been running so long most of the viewers now have never seen the original series or Tom Baker’s impossibly long multi-coloured scarf. We used to have Merlin until it got cancelled. (seriously BBC, what is your problem!) Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Colin Morgan, Bradley James – nope, sadly I don’t have Merlin ‘s power to resurrect. But when you look at the variety of American TV shows, even the most devoted Doctor Who fan has to admit, we suck when it comes to fantasy shows in general.
From superheroes to fairy tales, America has everything. Marvel and DC TV shows are a huge hit, with most of them being made available in Britain for our enjoyment. So clearly they’ve got something right when it comes to superheroes. They have Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Flash and Arrow, so many shows based on comics from years ago. And the budget these shows have is fantastical so they’re typically exceptionally high quality too!
And then they have other fantasy shows. Some, like Once Upon a Time, have a lower budget but are just as enjoyably addictive. When it comes to the big bucks, there’s Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead. There are so many shows, which have millions of views every time they’re one TV. Some of them are the most popular shows on Netflix, both the American and British versions.
We do have a few (emphasis on the few) shows that we can be proud of. To date our biggest and longest running TV show is Doctor Who. Whether we watch it all the time or have only seen a few episodes, us Brits have an unwavering loyalty to the Doctor. And as a nation we pretty much agree that Game of Thrones is ours, although its national origins can be debated. The whole cast is British and the majority of the show is filmed in Northern Ireland, despite HBO actually being an American company. So in a way, it’s a shared custody kind of thing. Bless.
Overall, Britain is severely missing out when it comes to the fantasy area of television. But why is this? Is it because we Brits love our soap operas and period dramas more than we like fantasy? Truthfully, no one will ever really know why we don’t have the same love for fantasy as American’s but maybe someone from the future will come back and tell us one day….