Fans eagerly await return of British television shows

With the rapid approach of the holiday season, the break from school is only one cause of excitement among dedicated television fans. Three British television shows are set to return very soon. While the shows originate half a world away, they have gained huge popularity in the United States, and fans eagerly await the return of these beloved shows. Even if you’ve never heard of the shows, or have just never seen an episode, be sure to check them out  they are worth a look.

Doctor Who, the longest-running TV show in history, follows the story of an alien Time Lord who travels through Time and Space, with various companions, in a blue 1950s police box. The Doctor has had many faces over the years, as he regenerates into a new body, and personality, every time he is supposed to die. Doctor Who ran from 1963-1989 with eight regenerations of the title character. Then, in 2005, it was relaunched by showrunner and head writer Russell T. Davies.  In 2010, Steven Moffat became head writer.

In recent years, it has gained increasing popularity in America. While the next season does not return until the fall of 2014, the 50th Anniversary Special is premiering on Nov. 23. This special episode has been highly anticipated because it is bringing back previous Doctors and companions. Known for its wild special effects, complicated yet brilliant writing, and heart-wrenching character development, the 50th Anniversary is expected to raise the bar on its already amazing reputation.

Sherlock has also gained an enormous following, especially among fans of Doctor Who. Doctor Who writers Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss are the writers for Sherlock, as well, which brings a lot of Who fans to Sherlock as well. The show is a mini-series, with three episodes in each season, and each episode being about an hour and a half.

Each episode is a modern-day retelling of one of the original stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, with slight adaptations to fit modern-day London. The show stars two very famous British actors, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, respectively. Part of the show’s appeal comes from the beloved actors; however, they are often working on other projects. Therefore, Sherlock production is often delayed. Season 3, highly anticipated because of the cliffhangers in Season 2, premieres on Jan. 19, 2014.

Downton Abbey has also received surprising success in America; it’s already quite popular in the U.K., but perhaps even more popular in the U.S. Created by Julian Fellowes, the period drama depicts the lives of an aristocratic family with three daughters struggling to adapt to the changing times in the early 1900s. In the early 1900s, the times were quickly moving out of the aristocratic class system, leading to both financial and personal crises.

Season 1 begins with the news of the sinking of the Titanic, where one of the heirs to the family perished, leading to a financial crisis for the family. Season 2 follows the family into World War I as they adapt their old estate into a hospital for wounded soldiers.  Season 3 shoots into the 1920s, leading to even more changes in the times and personal family changes.

Known for its large, ever-changing cast and its unorthodox character exits, the show has captured audiences with the realistic and very beautiful costumes and set. Downton Abbey will premiere in the United States on Jan. 5, 2014.

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