Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, today writing about bingeing on BritBox. I got hooked on binge-watching during Covid lockdown and used up most of what was free on Prime and on Spectrum’s On Demand and on Ovation Now. I watched a ton of movies and TV series on DVD, too, but streaming them on my iPad with headphones soon become a nightly habit.
By the time 2023 rolled around, I’d watched a heck of a lot of shows, including the complete series of Midsomer Murders, Boston Legal, The West Wing, Downton Abbey, Warehouse 13, Stargate: SG1, Stargate: Atlantis, The Good Wife, New Tricks, The Bletchley Circle, and Eureka.
There were other series I hadn’t seen and wanted to, but they either weren’t available or came with umpteen commercials. The local PBS station runs a lot of British shows, as does BBC America, but not always at convenient times and not with access to earlier (or later) episodes. I’d been hearing about BritBox for a few years (at Malice Domestic initially, so that’s definitely pre-Covid) and although I’m cheap and reluctant to commit to monthly payments for anything (Prime and our Spectrum bill being the major exceptions), I eventually realized that, for the price, subscribing to this streaming service is a real bargain.
Since signing on in mid-January, I’ve watched all twelve seasons (most of them with 4 episodes) of Vera, seasons 4-6 (8 episodes each) of Death in Paradise (I have 1 and 2 on DVD and remembered 3 well enough from seeing in on TV that I didn’t feel the need to rewatch), season 1 (10 episodes) of Father Brown, The Seven Dials Mystery (movie), Mrs. Bradley Mysteries (episode 1—the others are supposed to be included in BritBox but come up with a rental charge from Prime, so I’m obviously not watching those yet!), and Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (6 episodes).
I jump around a bit, sometimes bingeing and sometimes just watching one episode before going to another series. My BritBox “watchlist” currently consists of the following:
All Creatures Great and Small (1978 version)—I loved this the first time around and won’t watch the new version
As Time Goes By—Dame Judi Dench doing comedy
Ballykissangel—another I loved when it was on PBS years ago, especially for the Irish setting
Beyond Paradise (new series with one episode dropping each week)—spinoff from Death in Paradise featuring the detective from seasons 3-6 (he was also in Love, Actually)
Cranford—historical drama; episode one was hilarious, especially a bit with a cat, but I haven’t been able to get into episode 2. Since I like the cast, I’ll try again later
Death in Paradise (seasons 7-12)—mysteries set on a Caribbean island
Father Brown (seasons 2-9)—mysteries set in 1950s England
Pride and Prejudice—Colin Firth version in 6 episodes
Shakespeare and Hathaway—P.I. mysteries set in Stratford-upon-Avon
The Vicar of Dibley—another oldie with British comedienne Dawn French as the vicar
You’ll note that the mysteries are augmented by a scattering of comedies and historical dramas. There are lots of other older shows available of BritBox, too, some mystery series like Campion, Cadfael and Bergerac that I’ve seen before and some that are new to me, like Sister Boniface and Shetland—plenty to watch after I work my way through this first batch.
Of course, I still make time to watch other things. I watch three shows regularly on network TV: Young Sheldon, The Conners, and Finding Your Roots. Prime comes up with the odd new movie to rent or to buy not too long after they are in theaters, so this month I also saw 80 for Brady and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Did I mention that I love being semi-retired? I finally have time to binge-watch movies and TV shows to my heart’s content and, of course, to binge-read, too. I’m currently working my way through the first seventeen books in C. S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr historical mystery series (second read on each) in anticipation of number eighteen being published next month.
What TV shows or mystery series (books or film) are you bingeing on? Do you go back to old favorites or only watch/read new material? Inquiring minds want to know.
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett has had sixty-four books traditionally published and has self published others, including several children’s books. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Her most recent publications are The Valentine Veilleux Mysteries (a collection of three short stories and a novella, written as Kaitlyn) and I Kill People for a Living: A Collection of Essays by a Writer of Cozy Mysteries (written as Kathy). She maintains websites at www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com.
I am working my way through the original All Creatures Great and Small. What a lovely show and I was so disappointed with the new series that I will not watch it either. Have you watched McDonald and Dobbs on Britbox? Hetty Wainthrop invesitgates?
Thanks for the suggestions. I haven’t seen either but I like the actress who plays Hetty.
Love BritBox (and Acorn too). I have 21/2 seasons to go of Vera, which I absolutely love. All the classic Christies are so stylish, and with my horrible memory I can never tell whodunnit even having read the books. The Long Call is a newer mystery, very good. And for pure eye candy, there’s always a million years of Escape to the Country. I would buy everything if I could. For fun, watch Ambassadors, which features Mitchell & Webb, who are hilarious in anything.
I’ll have to check out The Long Call. Thanks.
Vicar of Dibley was one we watched when it was a weekly. We absolutely love it. Still remember the Telatubby wedding and Marmite cake. Will check out some of your suggestions.
British comedy–folks seem to either love it or hate it. In this house, we love it.
I was trying to explain to my sister in Utah about Britbox but now all I have to do is share your great post. I adore Vera and how she will not give up the awful hat even when she goes in to buy a new one. Just replicating it. Don’t forget “Inspector Morse”!!! PBS has “Endeavor” which is the young Morse. Love the Oxford settings; they make for a different kind of drama I think. Thank you for this post!
You’re welcome. Morse isn’t one of my personal faves, but the husband is a fan. So many good shows to choose from!