US-to-UK TV imports that deserved better

Feature Mark Harrison 4 Feb 2014 - 07:00

From Breaking Bad to Quantum Leap, Angel to S.H.I.E.L.D., Mark takes a look at US-to-UK TV imports' bumpier journeys...

Historically, US TV shows, particularly those that fall into the "cult" bracket, have had a bit of a rough ride in the schedules when they've arrived in the UK. In theory, it's gotten easier to watch these shows in the age of multi-channel television, streaming services like Netflix, and the shortened release window between first transmission (or TX) and DVD.

Talk to anyone who remembers, and there are a litany of complaints about the handling of US TV shows from back in the day. BBC Two omitted or shuffled the order of certain episodes of The X-Files and Quantum Leap upon their UK TX; Channel 4 would cut down the family-unfriendly Angel for a pre-watershed slot and then pad out the hour with T4 gubbins; and Sky would swipe any flagship US import that did well on terrestrial TV, most memorably when they took Lost away from C4 at the height of the show's popularity.

Not so long ago, it would be a matter of waiting for chunky VHS boxsets or, later, more compact DVD collections to watch the show as the creators intended, without shuffling, censorship or someone coming round your house and taking it off you until you pay a premium to watch the next season.

But as cable series and Netflix originals have thrived, it seem as if UK broadcasters have lost their appetite for importing some of the best US TV shows. Recently, Five announced that they were dropping a number of shows from their channels - Once Upon A Time, (after two seasons) Justified, (with only two more seasons to go) and perhaps most surprisingly, The Walking Dead.

In the US, with Breaking Bad finished and Mad Men set to conclude within the next year or so, The Walking Dead is arguably the jewel in cable network AMC's crown, frequently breaking records for the highest cable audience figures, as well as spawning a video game and plans for a spin-off series.

But Five is a channel that is currently getting its highest audience share from Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother, and the transition in viewing habits means there's probably more advertising revenue in original reality shows for commercial broadcasters these days anyway.

It feels like there's been a decline in acquisitions across the board, at least where the Freeview channels are concerned. Sky Atlantic hoovers up popular shows like Mad Men, Game Of Thrones and Girls, and has literally defined its name and brand on bringing those shows across the pond, while E4 tends to dominate the more successful of the US sitcoms, with How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and New Girl.

One of the major exceptions, as far as the Big Five (formerly known as terrestrial) channels are concerned, would be Channel 4's coup with Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, a series that ties in to the biggest movie franchise going and also has the king of "cult TV”, Joss Whedon, working behind the scenes. But here's another series that could find itself suffering from the same diminished viewership as The Walking Dead, once it arrives on UK screens proper.

As mixed reviews of the series would suggest, it feels like the series is being given more time than many series like it would get, both here and in the US, because of its connection to Marvel Studios, who already have plans to make some of their future series into Netflix originals rather than network shows.

Plus, the transatlantic difference between scheduling habits means that while Channel 4 started out showing Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D just days after it was broadcast in the US, it's currently off air until March to account for the mid-season hiatus, and to plug the occasional fortnight-long gaps between episodes that are more customary to American viewers than Brits.

It's bound to come back with some fanfare, so close to the cinema release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but at the time of writing, they're two episodes behind, and the fans who have stuck with it will have had plenty of time to catch up via other viewing methods before then. And so, we'd be surprised if the viewing figures for the second half of the season were anywhere close to as strong as the first half.

These could be the reasons that led to Five dropping the series. Fox is still showing The Walking Dead, and has adopted the practice of showing the current, fourth season the day after the US transmission, which seems to be the best way to retain viewers who might otherwise be tempted to watch their favourite series online, whether by fair means or foul. The option is still there to wait and watch it on TV.

But Justified and Once Upon A Time aren't currently showing anywhere else. Netflix and iTunes have the episodes that have already been transmitted on UK TV, but there doesn't seem to be any sign of new episodes on the streaming services. It comes down to waiting for Region 2 DVD releases, importing Region 1 versions, or finding the latest episodes by more dodgy online means. Fans of those shows are bound to feel that they deserved better.

Early adopters of Breaking Bad may remember that the first two seasons of the show were aired on 5USA, ridiculously late at night. At that time, nobody could have been too surprised that the viewing figures weren't high enough to justify Five acquiring the remaining seasons, but Breaking Bad has gone on to become the poster child for the ways in which television viewing has diversified.

The reasonably short run of 62 episodes, combined with the compulsive pace at which you end up watching them once you're on the hook, means that you can probably devour the entire series in the space of a month's free trial with Netflix. When the series was still headed towards its shattering finale, the streaming service made the series an emphatic selling point in their marketing, putting episodes online the day after AMC broadcast them in the States.

Even if it's premature to call Breaking Bad the greatest TV show ever, there's little doubt that it was amongst the very best that America had to offer at the time, and those who have discovered it in the UK have had to keep up with it by other means.

The audience share of a channel like BBC Four isn't huge, but the demand was there - they probably could have simultaneously boosted their own ratings, as well as bringing a popular show to a wider audience, if they'd acquired the series in between importing dour Scandinavian crime dramas.

But there are other niche shows that aren't getting the airing they deserve at all. It's hard to immediately imagine shows as funny and innovative as Community or Archer fitting in with the more populist sitcoms on E4, but then a lot of the major Freeview broadcasters seem to have lost that enthusiasm for cult curiosities.

Even Comedy Central UK's schedule is mostly comprised of Friends reruns these days, picking up the baton of endless Central Perk relays after E4 finally let it go. They've recently given The Middle a home after Sky One gave it up, but as the most obvious home for such funny, underappreciated shows, it's disappointing that they're primarily repeating tried-and-tested comedies.

Archer is up on Netflix, while Community gets much delayed screenings on Sony TV, a channel that tends to evoke frowns if you're trying to recommend where people can see it. Both are there if you know what you're looking for, but that makes it much harder to discover them by accident. They  have also had Region 2 DVD releases, and may have benefited from another shift in viewing habits- binge-watching.

Shows like Community, in particular, can be quite more-ish- I lost whole days watching it the first time through, and if you end up having all of the episodes at once by buying the DVDs, or downloading them, or streaming them, you're not beholden to appointment viewing. It's changing the way that we watch TV, but there's not necessarily any indication that the producers responsible for the future of these shows have changed their viewpoints concordantly.

Community season 3 episode 3

It's not a problem that we have more ways to watch quality TV series legally, via streaming services and paid-for digital downloads. The problem is that not every new show is available via those services, and UK broadcasters have become less competitive because of those paid-for services, meaning that the potential UK audience for certain shows is considerably diluted.

Breaking Bad and Community are series that convert new UK fans on DVD all the time, but both benefited from the online hype and buzz, warranting their Region 2 releases. But like Justified, a show that by all accounts is excellent, and The Walking Dead, a show that continues to be popular with fans, they're all examples of shows that have been given short shrift by UK broadcasters.

Have you been frustrated by a UK channel dropping a series between seasons? Are there any US shows you have to recommend people go the extra mile to see? Are there any shows you're still waiting to see in the UK for the first time? Let us know in the comments, and see if we can't all find something new to watch.

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What annoys me with UK tv isn't that the shows are not on (community on Sony tv for example) but the fact you can never find when the new season starts. (When is Community back on Sony???)

The main gripe I have is Sky Atlantic taking some of the best shows but having no audience for people to watch. If they offered Virgin TV or BT vision subscribers a chance to pay for the channel, maybe less tv would be streamed via the net?

Really annoyed about Jusitfied: it's ace. They better renew Sons of Anarchy!

I forget which Sky channel aired it but Chuck being dropped before it's fifth and final season infuriated me and made me break my no downloading policy, I held out for over 18 months and it was still listed as "no air date."

Also Dexter and Supernatural airing 10 months late saw the big season finales spoiled for me almost every year.

"Even if it's premature to call Breaking Bad the greatest TV show ever"

When would it *not* be premature, out of interest?

Having watched the odd episode on trains and planes, I was really surprised (and a bit annoyed) it took a UK channel so long to pick up the fantastic Parks and Recreation, and then even more annoyed that the BBC stopped showing it after the second season, just as it was hitting its stride. I think the third season is being broadcast soon, but I've caught up and moved on by other means since. Also, I really got into Raising Hope thanks to Sky One, but there was a huge gap between the US and UK broadcast of the second season, and they haven't even started showing the third yet, despite the fact it started in September 2012! Again, I've caught up and moved on by other means.

They have done studies on this and if people can find the programs they want to watch at a reasonable price online they would prefer to pay for it than download or stream it illegally. The two shows I think could do really well on UK TV is Workaholics (which Comedy Central Makes) and It's Only Sunny in Philadelphia which has a much harder comedy edge that fits more easily into the British Comedy genre than the American one.

I really hate sky for their treatment of the Simpsons and futurama where we get episodes up to a year behind the US if we're lucky

I tend not to watch American shows apart from the Big Bang Theory. Lost I hated that show and it put me off so many American shows where i need to invest too much time and effort into watching the show for it to drag on forever with the most stupid of plots (that's only my opinion). I am happy with a start a middle and a finish all in the alloted hour.

Because "ever" implies it will never beaten.

I think your point is well made if it was made ten years ago...loads of really great stuff coming out of the US of A over the last five years much of which has an ending....with Big Bang Theory not even making the top ten.

Really interesting article and really well written. DoG really is the best in terms of features and articles, but did you really say Community is innovative?

Sky is a big problem. There's a fairly small number of people who watch it, but they hoover up all the most attractive imports because they've got the cash. Mad Men was very popular over here on BBC4, but then Sky gave AMC an offer that BBC4 couldn't possibly compete with. It sometimes feels like our favourite shows are being held to ransom by Murdoch. They wait until a show is popular and nab it, saying that if you want it back you'll have to pay them for it. It's their business model and I'm sure they make a lot of money out of it, but it certainly isn't about getting these shows out to a wider audience. Of course, BBC4 have been quite clever really in they way that they've countered it. They realised that Sky would always outbid them on the more glamorous imports, so they have instead gone after imports that no other network would be interested in - programmes that aren't even in English. Without the profit-motive that underlines any commercial broadcaster, BBC4 have been able to put out shows just because they think they deserve a bigger audience, even if it's not a certainty that they'll get one. And they've now built up such a good relationship with the networks in Denmark and Sweden, that they've cornered that market. Sky wouldn't have given 'The Killing' the time of day when it started (Ooh, they're all foreign!), but now that they can see its popular I'm sure they'd dearly love a slice of that pie too. Except, they can't have it. DR is a public service broadcaster and is much more chuffed that millions of people are watching their shows on the BBC than they are interested in making a fortune from a tiny subscription audience on Sky. It's a heartening example of intelligent outmanoeuvring on the part of the BBC, against a much wealthier opponent. Of course, none of this helps us non-Sky viewers who want to see the rest of Mad Men and House.

30 rock dropped with one season to go by comedy central was a biggie for me. Just worried when the DVD will come out over here for it

Recomendations of a U.S show to catch. If you haven't seen it check out the League on netflix. Don' be put off by the fact it's "about" a group of friens who are involved in a fantasy American football league. It's genuinly one of the funniest shows around.

Very interesting comment, you are very correct in your observations. Ill never pay for a sky subscription, Id rather pay for the boxset.

Arrested Development was shafted by a late scheduling time on BBC2, I think it was 11:10pm on a Friday? A poor slot for such an excellent show. I have also been disappointed with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s move to E4 on Sunday. That's when I'm playing with my kids. 8pm on Friday was a much better time, when they're tucked up in bed and I can relax and watch it, and it also grabs the pre-watershed teenage audience. (Incidentally, I enjoyed the first episodes shown at 8 on C4, while they seem to have received a lukewarm reception here). 5 are doing a good job, showing Person of Interest and Alphas, but again, way past my bedtime. I am currently relying on Netflix for my viewing choice as I have neither a DVR nor Sky / BTVision / Virgin.

It is isn't it? There isn't another show really like it around. I can't think of any thing similar, a show set in a small college about a small group of friends but instead of your standard hi jinks and relationship stuff we also get treated to complex plots, riffs on action films, they even managed to put a space episode in there. No othe show is really trying stuff like that. it's certainly different even if you don't think it's innovative.

I meant because I personally need distance from something before proclaiming it the best ever. For instance, I liked The Dark Knight A LOT when it first came out, but I wouldn't say six years down the line that it's the greatest film I've ever seen, as I hastily did at the time. I'm planning to rewatch BB sometime later this year and see how it holds up for me, but I'm fully expecting it will stand the test of time. Thanks for your comments!

Given that only finished a few months ago it as barely had time to sink in and be reevaluated.

In 10 years time if it still stands up as good at that time then it might be crowned - personally I have got it to look forward to, I've just started watching it and only watched 3 episodes so far!

Sounds like i need to watch more TV. To be honest I tend to watch Football (The English version) and play my Xbox. I do watch more British shows as I have recently been watching the White Queen, Atlantis and most recently the Three Muskateers so maybe i am leaning more to historical shows now.

Sorry probably being a little facetious. I know what you mean though. How many times i have watched a show or a film that i immediately declared the greatest ever, only to re-watch it and reliase that in fact it was pretty average.

This article just reminded me of the joys of trying to follow Babylon 5 on Channel 4 - every week seemed to be at a random time the it would dissappear without explanation only to be found halfway through the series at about 2 am on a Thursday.

The Sopranos got shoddy treatment from channel 4 I'd say, first couple of series fine, then after that episodes were moved to different days without notice, times were changed mid season and forget about trying to stay on top of the final season, I seem to remember having to stay up past midnight for the final episodes start time, and this for arguably the greatest tv show ever produced??. It was almost like 4 just wanted it to be over by the end. Shameful.

Watched the first 3 episodes of Breaking Bad and found it the most tedious TV experience I have ever had.

Still really pissed about Teen Wolf being dropped in the UK. I have yet to catch up on it.

This article makes an excellent point. There are so many great shows that are scheduled so badly that it's just impossible to keep track of if they appear on UK television at all and then they just disappear. It's frustrating for audiences and the programme makers are missing out on a worthwhile revenue stream. I didn't even realise there was a sony channel let alone that it shows community. If it hadn't been for a friend getting me into it, I probably wouldn't have even seen an episode of one of my favourite ever shows.

I really love Once Upon a Time, and Justified,and I really think that 5 have well and truly shot themselves in the foot with their lack of foresight in droppping these series.And as for the final season of Chuck...... I could still call curses upon the head of the imbecile that didn't care that there was an audience who loved & cherished that massively underrated programme, and didn't think that showing the final series would bother anyone...it did !!Thank goodness for box sets, and raspberries to short sighted programme execs.

Pretty Little Liars has had a hell of a time:
Season 1: Shown on a weekend marathon on Viva
Season 2: Bought up by MTV and shown on a bizarre schedule without any changing announcements
Season 3 & 4: ITunes only

Those available on formats like ITunes are actually really irritating because they then fail to get DVD releases so unless you have a special TV you are stuck watching them on a tiny screen. I have now resorted to buying French & German imports of a number of shows because they online exist to buy on download.

It would be nice to see E4 expand it's sitcoms into more quality ones. I love BBT and HIMYM, but shows like Parks and Rec and Modern Family would go over well in this country (at least, all my British friends I've loaned DVDs to have liked them). Community is a great example as well.

Things happen in that show that will make you gape in horror as you beg the characters not to do what you think they are going to do.

Which is my point. If you have to set the clock before you can declare it so (and thus it is "premature" to say it is now), how can it ever really be declared with any authority?

Does mankind to wait until the sun goes supernova to look back upon the whole of human culture before we make such bold statements, or should we just avoid using them altogether?

"Greatest TV Show Ever" is - and always shall be - a completely subjective declaration and isn't dependent on such trivial things as logic, timing or hindsight.

PS. Breaking Bad *IS* the Greatest TV Show Ever.

What never ceases to amaze me is the fury with which networks and for that matter studios criticise illegal downloading while failing to provide a cost-effective legal alternative. Personally, I would always take the legal route (better quality, also supports more quality programming I want to see by increasing revenues) but in many cases this is just not an option. Thanks to Blinkbox, non-Sky viewers can see Game of Thrones (one of the most talked about shows on TV) without waiting a year for the previous season's box set, but this was not always the case, hence no surprise that for a time at least it was the no. 1 illegally downloaded show on TV. Why can't subscription services make a "pay per view" alternative available? Or DVD boxsets be released shortly after a series' original transmission? And I don't mean UK run here - look at Supernatural, season 8 of which was finally broadcast (and in a rush, with multiple episodes per night) by Sky Living months after the season finale aired in the US. Excuses based around licensing are just that - it's a contract, negotiate something to cater for this for Pete's sake!! Alternatively, sit back and watch the illegal downloads continue, but please stop acting like none of it is your fault.

If the terrestrial channels choose to buy these shows and them bury them in dead slots, it's their own fault. E4 have done a great job of prioritising what they've attained and they've been rewarded for it with good figures,. On the other hand, 5 and it's various offshoots have been a complete failure with their awful scheduling and now they've lost, in The Walking Dead, what should have been a huge show.
Ultimately it won't matter too much to the viewers, we'll find our way around their incompetence.

As far as I'm concerned, if you give money to Sky you're only tightening the noose around your own neck. I've always refused out of principle.

No more Once Upon a Time? #Gutted :(

BBC4 showing series 1 and 2 of Parks and Rec back to back two episodes a night was brilliant but then nothing. That hurt.

After the first season Heroes got pushed to a midnight slot and the fantastic Arrow is only on Sky whatever.

If I could watch it I would.

Stick with it. It gets better. I'm on season 4 and I keep being asked are you on the final series yet.

E4 treats shows like S.H.I.E.L.D and Big Bang terribly. They only just brought Big Bang back after a few months break and already they've stopped again for another few months... I think they only aired three new episodes! S.H.I.E.L.D is another one that's been taken off for a couple of months, so you know that's gonna get similar treatment. You end up losing track of when the damn thing's on and missing episodes as a result... or just watching it on demand or waiting for DVDs so you can watch the whole thing without momentum being killed. If there's a mid season hiatus in the US to account for, fine, at least then we'd be midway and only waiting once, instead of the constant stopping and starting.

When the Beeb showed the Wire it was incredibly frustrating. Quite simply because it was on late every night which is good if you don't have plans but sucks when you miss a few and suddenly you are miles behind.
The iplayer is the only reason I've ben able to keep up with the Bridge which is fantastic. And as for Shield I finally caught up with it over Christmas and I'm pleasantly surprised at the direction it is finally heading but I've had to watch that online because its not on here again until March.

Most of the people who want to see American Imports watch them on the Internet. The remaining audience for most of the shows just isn't big enough. And if any of the terrestrials do get an imported ratings winner, Sky will outbid them for the later series. The schedulers don't cancel shows out of spite - American Imports are not nearly as popular on TV as people believe.

Sounds more like your leaning towards rubbish shows, lol

I don't bother waiting for shows to air in the UK I just torrent everything new that I want to watch, if it's older shows I just binge watch them on netflix.

TV blows. Everyone has seen all these things. Listing make no difference anymore. Maybe to the older generations.. But most of us hear about something good - then buy it, or stream it. I basically stopped using TV 8 years ago.

season 3 starts on tuesday

30 rock with one season to go dropped by comedy central was a hard one for me. ridiculously scheduled even when they had it

Really annoyed about The Walking Dead, 5 have treated it abysmally with it's time slots and dropping the "main" channel repeat the day after 5 USA aired. I only have freeview so most decent imports are shortlived and move to Sky so this was a high rated US import and they put it on at 11pm onwards. If they promoted it properly, put it on primetime at 9pm and had a decent build-in (Maybe a link to the podcast or something online) and actually acknowledged it's success abroad then perhaps more viewers = greater advertising revenue. Shame that rubbish like CBB wins out over decent tv.

I can up on conventional TV methods 3 years ago, I don't pay for a tv license as I don't have my tv tuned or an areal . Simply because TV is s**t if you just watch what is broadcast. I have my Netflix account, I torrent, any show that I watch that doesn't go onto netflix I buy when its released on dvd. It may be in the morally grey area, but this way my money goes to fantastic shows and not too fund reality BS shows or sports licenses that I have no interest in.

Person of Interest. Awesome US import currently showing on Ch5, but for how long. Currently hallway through season 2, the US are well ahead on season 3. How long before Ch5 ditch it because once again you can watch it on the Internet right up to date. If Ch5 didn't keep messing around with the schedules maybe more people would watch it.

UK scheduling for US shows is a particular bugbear of mine, I would be the first
to admit I am impatient, but also I'm on the internet a lot and for sites, like
DoG, Digital Spy, IGN, io9 etc, that I frequent it is difficult to avoid
spoilers spilling from US broadcasts. Of the (frankly insane amount of) shows I
watch in 95% of cases I am prepared to wait for UK broadcast (or if UK
broadcast is not forthcoming for the season to finish in the US and procure and
watch them all usually 2 eps per night) but in the other 5% of cases I am not
prepared to wait months having all the important events spoiled in the mean
time. To me this seems to be a problem not necessarily with UK broadcasters or
impatient viewers but with the whole concept of the US September-May Television
season and the accompanying 22-24 episode seasons. This means you have about 8
months (mid September-mid May) so approximately 32 weeks to fit spread 22
episodes through, even taking 2 weeks for the Christmas period and 1 week for
Thanksgiving that still leaves 29 weeks, so 1 episode every 1.3 weeks (1.2 for
24 eps) so you are bound to have gaps there. For some reason American audiences
seem to be okay with this, or at least there hasn't been a major change in the
last few years. This becomes problematic for UK broadcasters because by and
large British audiences are used to a) a shorter season and b) a continuous
weekly run from start to finish (Doctor Who notwithstanding). From my
experience with US cable networks like Showtime and HBO they tend to forego the
22 episode season for a 12-13 episode seasons (in some cases 10) and with the
occasion exception run continuously on a weekly basis from beginning to end. So
with the exception of some unacceptably stupid decisions (B5 on C4, POI and
basically everything else on C5, Supernatural on Sky Living) UK Broadcasters
have a hard time getting it right, if they show it within days of the US then
the regular audience complain when it goes on sporadic breaks because America
has and it either won't or can't show the episodes before the US (there have
been some rare occasions where we've got episodes before the US, Stargate
Atlantis on Sky 1 got ahead of the US broadcast in one season if I recall) or
if they choose to wait to show an uninterrupted run they get lambasted by
keener audience members for being too far behind the US and promptly lose their
core audience as they flock to other methods of viewing the shows they love.
The solution to this seems simple, US networks should move to commissioning 12
episode seasons and then have a Fall slot (Mid September to December) and
Spring slot (February to mid May) and only allowing 1 week in the run
(preferably between episode 6 and 7 but not necessarily) as a break week. All
12 episodes should be filmed in advance of airing and a decision should be made
after episode 6 if the show is to be renewed or cancelled at which point a 13th
episode can be shot to finish the series off or an alternate 12th episode
(filmed with the bulk of the series) which finishes the series can be aired in
place of the planned 12th episode. Or you know a less drastic (if inferior)
option could be that UK broadcasts supply the episodes on their On Demand
service the day after the US broadcast for a limited time) then begin airing
the series on regularly when they can have an uninterrupted run. The effect on
advertising revenues would be minimal mainly because watching a show live has
become (at least in our house) a thing of the past, even watching a show on the
evening of its first airing will result in starting 15 minutes later to be able
to fast forward through the adverts and perhaps catching up as the 4th
quarter begins. But if required adding no more than 2 unskippable 1 minute adverts
to the beginning and two 30 second ads in the middle of a show (assuming 42-65
minute shows) wouldn’t be the end of the world. Broadcasts seem stuck with the
concept of live TV and taking ratings and charging for advertising accordingly,
this is fast becoming if it hasn’t already a redundant system and either of the
two options above could be used by all broadcasts in the drastic case or by UK
broadcasters in the latter case to reduce audience loss and allow them to put
uninterrupted runs on later with less of a burden on audience figures. But
maybe I’m wrong...and for those who read to the end, good for you and thanks for reading ;-)

Yeah probably. But don't even watch the shows always on my iphone anyway!!

Agree. If you can make it through the first two series, then it's very good. They are tedious and slow and often boring, but I'm currently halfway through Season 3 and it's much better. It prides itself on references and in-jokes, so I think the further in you are the better it becomes

Stick with Agents of SHIELD, the past three episodes have been by far the best of the series too far - similar to what was said in the article though, I'm worried about how the gap between US and UK airings and how the rather poor reviews will have affected it.

I caught The League when I was in Australia recently. Never heard of it before but it was hilarious! Will definitely recommend it.

The first time I ever saw Arrested Development was on a plane. Watched it on a whim knowing nothing about it. I bought and watched the entire series within days of landing!

The SHEILD delay was just UNESSSESRY, and don't get me started on the 9 months we have to wait for supernatural to hit the UK.

We also have the same thing in NZ, a lot of things get shafted, dropped or are played like two years later infuriating!!

Atlantis - Historiacal. LOLOLOL

i had heard of 'it's always sunny in philadelphia' but could never get hold of it in the uk, but when i signed up for netflix i was surprised it was on there, i was instantly hooked, great show now one of my faves

Cougar Town! I really enjoyed the humour and we are now 2 seasons down after Sky gave up. And it's not on Netflix in the UK or USA. Bloody frustrating.

Unnecessary? You think that two weeks on, two weeks off, one week on and then three weeks off is a better viewing pattern?

They've taken SHIELD off the air specifically so they CAN air it all together. ABC aired two episodes at the start of January, then skipped the next two weeks. They then aired one episode this week, and aren't coming back for another MONTH. Channel 4, meanwhile, will start airing it in March and not take it off the air until the season has finished.

Easily the best TV show ever, nothing comes even remotely close.

'I tend not to watch American shows apart from the Big Bang Theory.'

Do you even care what the internet thinks of you, man?!?!

Why would I care what an inert object cares about me? And if you meant people, I have real friends that i care about but as for you lot. no i don't care what you think of me.

You can't even spell historical. Atlantis was a story (so fiction I agree not fact) by Plato a famous philospher from ancient Greece, and The Three Muskateers was a written by Alexandre Dumas in 1844 and is known as historical fiction. And the White Queeen was an historical fact. You make George W Bush look like a scholar.

The BBC in particular have a long track record of shoving highly reviewed shows into ever-shifting off-off-peak time slots. They did it to Mad Men, as though if it garnered a deserved audience it would highlight homegrown drama's own inadequacies. And way back they used to show Seinfeld anytime between 11 and 1 mid-week BBC2 and announce it as the "Beeb's best kept secret."

For me ATM the best drama is the original BBC version of Edge of Darkness, a monumentally brilliant performance from Bob Peck, fantastic music by Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen and an inspired story dripping with menace and substance directed with style and real feeling.

The original BBC version of House of Cards was excellent as well.

You make George W. Bush look like a philosopher.

Ha ha, your profile picture tells me all I need to know.

Quite apt to bring Helix into the conversation.

Yes the acting isn't all that and the story doesn't make much sense but it was my show goddamit and I enjoyed watching it... 10pm Mondays... lovely just before I hit the sack.

Then last week 5 move it to midnight, rather annoying. Then 5 announce it's going on a hiatus and will return in later in the year on 5USA.

Well thanks a bunch. Because of this I chose to watch the next two eps online illegally because I don't really want to wait x number of months for 5 to decide they want to broadcast it again.

Has It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia been aired at all in the UK outside of Netflix. One of the funniest shows in years.

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