While many of the great British TV shows make it to the US via Hulu, BBC America, or witchcraft, some of the good-not-great or just newer shows failed to make the trip. Since I am a television loving hermit with internet, I find these shows and bring them to your attention. At that point, the choice to make the effort to find them or just hope they wash up through established channels is up to you.
Up The Women - Even if you don’t love the inherent wackiness and silliness of British TV humor (or humour, really), you have to admire how unconventional their premises can be; they have a standard, studio audience-filled sitcom about a nasty old gay couple (the previously-mentioned Vicious), a comedic-drama about an overweight, oversexed teenaged girl just out of the mental hospital called My Mad Fat Diary, and, most recently, a period sitcom about bumbling suffragettes called Up The Women. And we thought The New Normal was daring (before it was cancelled).
Up The Women is created by and starring Jessica Hynes, a woman familiar to American comedy nerds for her work with Simon Pegg on the beloved sitcom Spaced (she also had a cameo in Shaun of the Dead, literally saving the day). Her rival on the show, the actress Rebecca Front, is also something of a UK TV legend, having appeared regularly on The Day Today, The Thick of It, and Grandma’s House, three of the finest comedies to come out of England in the past twenty years.
Seeing the two of them play off each other as members of the Banbury Intricate Craft Circle; Front’s character is there to boss people around and eat the cakes prepared by the circle’s daft spinster, but Hynes’ character, an awkward academic who clearly struggles with fulfilling the submissive female ideal of that era, wants the circle to attempt something more.
Since the show is so new, it hasn’t quite hit its stride yet; there are solid jokes, but the characters, namely the other women in the circle, are still a little fuzzy, and a momentum has yet to fully build. Nonetheless, I enjoy the show, and look forward to seeing what Hynes can do with such a talented cast and unusual scenario. Hopefully the show stick around long enough so there will be other ways to see Up The Women besides shady downloads.