Well, three episodes up, and three episodes down. The fourth season of Sherlock has come and gone–too quickly?–so the question must be, well, all right, British TV, what else have you got for me?
(In the meantime, take heart. Watch out following this link if you haven’t finished season 4 yet–there’s spoilers there–but rumors are already flying about a fifth season of the show.)
But if you need something to binge-watch RIGHT NOW, and I understand that need, here’s just a few suggestions.
FOR VIEWERS WHO PARTICULARLY LOVE THE BROMANCE BETWEEN SHERLOCK AND JOHN
Go for Grantchester. The mysteries are more workaday, and the setting the 1950s, but the bromance between Sidney Chambers (James Norton), the vicar suffering from a case of bad war memories and unrequited (well, somewhat) love, and the hardened DI Geordie Keating (Robson Green), offers a dynamic similar to the one between Sherlock and Watson. Keating isn’t quite as cutting, Sidney isn’t quite as sarcastic, but gosh, these two guys love each other. This series is also beautifully produced, has an awesome soundtrack, and is a literary adaptation, based on the mystery stories and novels of James Runcie.
Also consider the more stately but still very enjoyable Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Christie adaptations featuring David Suchet. Poirot is all about using his little grey cells, rather than exerting himself physically (which Sherlock seems more determined to do lately), but his relationship with Captain Arthur Hastings is a good old-fashioned bromance. Sure, Hastings is kind of a pleasant dullard, especially when compared to the caustic Watson, but Poirot and he still need each other. Plus, once you get started with this series, you’ll be kept busy for a while: there’s a total of 70 episodes, over 13 series, available.
Inspector George Gently. The relationship between no-nonsense and world-weary DI George Gently (Martin Shaw) and his borderline-vigilante, impulsive, impetuous, sometimes incompetent sergeant John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) is about as far away from a warm and cuddly one as you’re going to get. Gently is frequently exasperated by John (who isn’t), but he never really gives up on him. For his part, Bacchus can’t help himself; he always thought he’d be just another thick and prejudiced copper, but hanging around Gently seems to make him want to be a better detective. Forget bromance; it’s straight-on romance (think: “you make me want to be a better man”). Set in 1960s and the gritty industrial Northeast of England, this series is considerably darker in cinematography (and sometimes in its subject matter, which can be very dark indeed) than is Sherlock, but it’s unique, and beautiful in its own way, in its time period and setting.
FOR VIEWERS WHO LIKE THE HISTORICAL/LITERARY ASPECT OF SHERLOCK
Whitechapel. A great and not widely enough known crime drama, starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Phil Davis (who, interestingly enough, starred in the first episode of season 1 of Sherlock). The idea here is that a detective fighting crimes in modern-day Whitechapel is startled to find there is often historical precedent that can help him untangle modern crimes. He even goes so far as to hire a consultant (Steve Pemberton) and Jack the Ripper researcher to get his department’s historical records in order, so parallels between crimes can be discovered and used. It sounds like it makes no sense. But it’s a truly great series. Also: Rupert Penry-Jones is dreamy.
Dark Angel. Okay, technically, this one hasn’t started yet in the U.S. Starring Joanna Froggatt, known to viewers of Downton Abbey* as Anna Bates, stars in this miniseries about Victorian-age murderer Mary Ann Cotton. I’m not sure why I think this one will appeal to you if you like Sherlock. It’s just a feeling I’ve got.
Okay. Still not seeing anything you like there? Well, fair enough. Here’s a mere 30 more suggestions to get you started:
Now get out there and fill that Sherlock-sized hole in your viewing time!
*Still miss Downton Abbey? I’ve got some further viewing suggestions for you based on that program as well!