Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reason for Going to England #1-TV (of all things!)

Okay, so this isn't the primary reason we are going to England (my wife has accepted a job there is the real primary reason), but I thought I'd start a series of "why we are going" or "most anticipated things" about moving to England. The order will not be hierarchical or logical, just as the reasons come to me and I have time to write about them.

Might have more space than we need.
One of the things we love about England is the television programming. We just started watching Brideshead Revisited, the 1981 miniseries based on Evelyn Waugh's book.The story seems like a natural for us, for we will be Catholic in merry old England. My wife's interest was peaked by George Wigel's Letters to a Young Catholic, which mentions the show and the book. Also, it was partly filmed in the area where we will be living, though I don't think we can afford to live in the castle that served as Brideshead. We'd have plenty of guest rooms, though.

What we are most excited about can be summarized in this photo from one of our favorite local bakeries:

Yes, that is a Dalek, a Tardis, and a Slitheen. If you don't know the connection, they are all from Doctor Who, the longest running science fiction series on television. The Doctor is a Time Lord, a race of time travelers from the planet Gallifrey. He wanders through time having adventures in Earth history and the history of many other planets (and occasional space ships). Usually, he has one or more "companions" with him, typically Earthlings who provide the excuse to have all the fictional science and aliens explained to them. And yes, they often wind up in some sort of calamity from which the Doctor will save them by the end of the episode. Unless it's a two-parter. The series ran on the BBC from 1963 to 1989 and was recently relaunched in 2005 and is still in production as I write.

We've been faithful viewers of the "new" series ever since we watched an episode in New Zealand during our honeymoon. Being a faithful viewer has been challenging for us. We don't have cable TV here in the US, so we can't watch the episodes as they are broadcast in the States. Nor can we watch them online, because Hulu and other typical outlets don't have them. The BBC's iPlayer seems to be the only online spot to watch but is not available in the States. So we watch when the shows come out on DVD, which is often half a year or more after broadcast. It is a little weird watching the Christmas Specials in the middle of the summer. Practicing patience is a Penelopian plight.

But now that we will be living in England, we will be able to watch on broadcast TV. Or, more likely, online after the broadcast. That's how we watch all of our favorite American TV shows that are currently on air. By "all," I mean 30 Rock. We have limited time to watch and keep getting sucked into other old shows on DVD or instant streaming (currently, we're watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is quite delightful, and hope to finish before we leave for England). Experiencing the TV culture of England is something that we are looking forward to, if we can find the time!

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