Kim and Tom’s 10 TV Recommendations – Part 1

Welcome to Kim and Tom’s TV Recommendations. Intrepid English Teachers Kim and Tom recommend ten TV shows. Stay tuned for the film recommendations coming soon! You can also download the audio version of Kim and Tom’s 10 TV Recommendations on the Intrepid English Podcast.

Join Tom every week for Music and Film Club, as part of our Group Classes.

Vocabulary

Stellar (adj) featuring or having the quality of a star performer.

Superb (adj) very good; excellent.

Elevate (verb) raise to a more important or impressive level.

Period drama (noun) a TV show or film set in a past time period.

Deep (adjective) very intense.

Laundered (verb) clothing that can be washed and ironed.

Tired (adj) boring or uninteresting because overfamiliar.

Lulled (verb) make (someone) feel deceptively secure or confident.

Give it a go’ (phrase) to try something.

Succumbs (verb) fail to resist pressure, temptation.

Tranquillity (noun) the quality or state of being tranquil; calm.

Delve (verb) to go very deep into something / a subject.

Endangered (adj) (of a species) seriously at risk of extinction.

Reckon (verb) consider or regard in a specified way.

Current (adj) belonging to the present time; happening or being used or done now.

Dry humour (noun) the deliberate display of no emotion when telling a joke/saying something funny.

The Crown (Netflix, 2016 – present)

I’m going to start with an obvious one – the Emmy-award winning Netflix show, The Crown which made 2020 slightly better when the fourth season was released. For those of you that haven’t seen the show before – do. It’s hard to definitely say why The Crown is so excellent. Is it the stellar acting? The superb cinematography? The confident storytelling? The history? Perhaps it is all of these things. One thing is for certain – there is no other show like this. The decision to change the cast every two seasons was a remarkable and serious one, elevating the series beyond anything we’ve ever seen. I’d also add that The Crown is an excellent source for language learning. Everyone, however, speaks the Queen’s English (so not the most natural) but the show uses interesting idioms.  

– Tom

Downtown Abbey (BBC, Netflix, 2010 – 2015)

This period drama is set in England in the twentieth century on a Country Estate. The thing I love most about the series is the romance. The complicated relationships between the characters, some of deep dramatic love, and the quieter love stories. I especially like the quick-witted humour of actress Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, who also stars in Sister Act.
You can expect a powerful storyline, beautiful costumes, and a little fact about the costumes; most are actual articles of clothing from the 1910s and 1920s. They are so fragile that they cannot be laundered.

– Kim

Succession (HBO, 2018 – present)

I’ll be honest with you – at first, I didn’t want to watch this show. The premise sounded…tired. A rich white family backstabbing and turning on one another. I felt I’d watched that show before. But I decided to give it a go, lulled by multiple reviews informing me of its brilliance. And I’m glad I started watching it because Succession is far more than another show about rich white people. Here is Shakespeare’s King Lear set in modern day. The patriarch of the family (played by Brian Cox) must decide on a successor before he succumbs to dementia, but who will it be? This question floats over two seasons (and a third is coming). The characters are vulgar, hilarious, and out-right awful, which makes them wonderful to spend time with. The dialogue is fast-paced (and, full disclosure, there is a lot of swearing) but see it as an exciting challenge – to keep up with the speed and tranquillity of the show.

– Tom

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix, 2015 – 2019)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a light series directed by Tina Fey. The sitcom keeps the comedy rolling while exploring a much deeper drama. The story is about a woman rescued from a doomsday cult who starts life again in New York City. I chose this show as we all need some humour in our lives, and while this show has this, it also has several layers. It delves into real-world topics with heart, and the characters are very relatable. The main character, Kimmy, is strong, powerful, determined and unbreakable. Watch past the first two episodes as it gets better.

– Kim

Olive Kitteridge (HBO, 2014)

I watched Olive Kitteridge for the first-time during winter which seemed fitting as the main credits are images of icing sugar being speckled on a donut. Olive Kitteridge is based on the novel of short stories by Elizabeth Strout. (We have used stories from Strout’s collection in our Book Club Group class.) Olive is a retired schoolteacher living in a small-town in Maine. She is a fierce, strong-willed and quick-witted person (played by the phenomenal Frances McDormand) who battles with depression and anxiety. I fell in love with Olive – the miniseries creates a beautiful portrait of this woman, who, although frosty and harsh, you understand. You’re on her side, as much as she doesn’t want or need you to be.

– Tom

Only Fools and Horses (BBC, 1981 – 2003)

It is hard to know where to start with this great British television sitcom. Only Fools and Horses is an iconic series that proves it’s popularity after airing in Britain for 22 years. Still today, the Christmas Specials are aired on television at Christmas. The storyline: traders and brothers work from London’s streets buying what they can from the auctions and selling at the market, always saying, “This time next year, we’ll be millionaires”. It’s a light-hearted programme with easy-to-follow storylines coupled with real drama. When I was younger, my family and I would sit and watch the show together. It’s certainly a show that appeals to all generations, and I see it as a part of British culture.

– Kim

Dynasties (BBC iPlayer, 2018)

It was hard to pick one David Attenborough show for this list but when I thought about it the thing that makes Dynasties stand out is its focus on family. Each episode explores an endangered animal and their family – chimpanzees, lions, painted wolves, penguins and tigers. The series was filmed over four years and tracks each families struggles – from predators to rivals and humans to climate change – as they fight for their families’ survival.  

– Tom

Sherlock (BBC, 2010-2017)

Having never read any of the Sherlock Holmes fictional stories by Arthur Conan or watched previous tv shows or films, I would consider myself a latecomer. This 2010 Sherlock Holmes series (staring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) is sharp and quick and keeps you on your toes. The cinematography and editing were outstanding, the display of text messages, stylish and clever. I enjoyed the relationship dynamic between the two lead detectives, Holmes and Watson and the unlikely friendship that evolves.

– Kim

The Morning Show (Apple TV+, 2019 – present)

When Apple TV+’s The Morning Show was released, it couldn’t have been more topical. This show aired after – and during – the #MeToo movement. With its set of characters, The Morning Show focuses on the staff at a studio who reckon with the aftermath when their co-host (played by Steve Carrell) is accused of sexual misconduct. Jennifer Aniston’s character, Alex, the other co-host, is short-tempered, frustrated and hardworking. Devastated and confused by her friend and colleague’s betrayal, she goes from grieving widow to full-on Pitbull, out to defend herself against everyone. It’s Aniston’s brilliant, explosive performance that steals the show, but what also makes it so very complex and special is the way it casts a light on our current society.

– Tom

The IT Crowd (4OD, 2006-2013)

This is by no means a serious watch. Instead, The IT Crowd is known for its light humour. The story is centred around two IT geeks and their illiterate technology supervisor. Together they find themselves in hilarious situations. A funny British sitcom with well-developed and loveable characters, dry humour and a great cast.

– Kim

NOTE: The dates in parentheses state when the show first went on TV. If the show is still on TV (i.e. more seasons are due to be released) then the date is marked to ‘present’.

If you enjoyed this blog, why not book a free trial lesson today and talk about your English goals with an experienced and friendly English teacher. It’s never too late to reach your English goals!

This blog was written by Intrepid English teachers Kim and Tom

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us using the chat box, or email us at Intrepid English.

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