British television enthralls American audiences

In recent years, there has been a massive influx of British programming taking over American television sets, and British influence only seems to be growing.

But what makes British television, including shows such as "Doctor Who," "Sherlock" and "Downton Abbey" so appealing to American audiences?

Brutus sophomore Alexis Achterhof believes it's the quality of shows that are fueling the trend.

“I think a big difference is the production quality is higher in the British shows," she said. "I feel like a lot of U.S.-based companies are mainly occupied with putting out as many shows as possible until they feel identical. I mean, how many variations of 'CSI' and 'Law and Order' do we need?”

Achterhof said the creativity aspect is another factor in the British versus American debate.

“British productions put in the time and effort to make appealing and inventive television that people want to watch,” she said.

According to Caitlin Hill, British television adds an educational element to its shows, which keeps viewers watching.

“British television challenges its watchers. It makes the watchers think and they don’t feel the need to dumb it down for them," the Mount Pleasant sophomore said. "American television often ends up spelling everything out for the watchers, but British programming makes you think and feel at the same time."

Many popular American television shows are often re-makes or re-imaginings of British programs. The hit sitcom "The Office," for instance, was developed in the States after producer Ricky Gervais noticed the popularity the show enjoyed in Britain and wanted to test its appeal in America.

For all the critical acclaim British television – and American programs adapted from British TV –have received in the U.S., Fremont senior Tonya Pell, who recently returned from a trip to the U.K., said what Americans see is only the very best the U.K. has to offer. That's especially true of reality television.

“The reality TV shows (in Britain) are actually worse, in my opinion, and it's definitely more racy and sexual than American (shows)," she said. "I was watching TV one of the first nights there and they showed explicit body parts on regular television.”

Colorado sophomore Rebecca Bennett, who is not an avid television viewer, has taken interest in British shows.

“Overall, I don’t like watching television because I find it tedious," she said. "A lot of the American shows are so similar; it’s the same thing over and over again. "But I actually really enjoyed "Sherlock," it really piqued my interest and has made me want to watch more British shows.”


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