After the repeated urging of my friend Jenny, I finally started watching Dr. Who on Netflix a couple of weeks ago. As soon as the title sequence started, I saw a name flash up and I got really excited. The episode was written by Russell T. Davies (who I later found out was the show runner for the first four seasons) and I knew I was in good hands.
About 8 years ago, I was in the middle of moving from my first apartment to my second. I was packing, I was home by myself, and I couldn't sleep. So I flipped on the TV and did some good old-fashioned channel surfing. I landed on Showtime on Demand, read the short description for a British series called Bob & Rose, shrugged and turned it on.
Here is the premise of Bob & Rose: a straight woman and a gay man fall in love. Hilarity and confusion ensues. I think in the hands of anyone lesser than Russell T. Davies, this concept could be anything from trite and unfunny to downright offensive. But Davies has a way of creating lovely three-dimensional characters who speak fabulously heartfelt, yet realistic, dialogue. The show has one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking break-up scenes I've ever seen. Plus--and I think this happens a lot with British shows--I appreciate the fact that the actors are normal-looking people. They're not hideous, but they're not supermodels and I have an easier time believing they're roaming around bars in London, dateless for a night.
Bob & Rose was what the U.K. calls a limited series: one story told in one 6-episode season (kind of like the U.K. The Office). At 2 AM that night, I watched the first episode. My cable was supposed to be disconnected sometime around noon the next day. One guess as to what I was doing into the wee hours of the next morning. In a nutshell, anything that keeps me up with its quality of story--be it a TV show, book, movie, etc.--will always get a gold star in my book.
By the way, I actually really like the idea of limited series and wish there were more of them in the states. Why? Because I think the stories end up being more controlled and refined when the creators/writers know the whole arc from the start.
And, in case you were wondering, I think Dr. Who is pretty fabulous too.