BritBox: A Streaming Service for the Die-Hard Brits Among Us

at .  Updated at . Comments

Alright Anglophiles, welcome to Day 2 of our investigation of streaming services for the lovers of foreign television.

From the opening and the title of the service, you can probably tell BritBox is exactly what it says it is -- TV for those who dig all things British.

Well, not all things. Things brought to you directly from two British networks, BBC and ITV. It's a decent offering unless you happen to love Channel 4. That's for another time!

Emmerdale

What sets BritBox apart from other services are its comedies and soap operas.

It's the only streamer to offer Coronation Street, Eastenders, Emmerdale, Casualty and Holby City (my favorite!).

However, they only offer current seasons of each, so if it's your hope to start somewhere in the archives of these shows or catch up on previous series (as they call seasons across the pond) you'll have to find another way to do it.

Related: Acorn TV Offers the Best of British TV with a Generous Female Edge

If you are a foreign national, though, and find yourself in the United States, having a home for those five shows alone is worth the cost. It's not easy to go without those shows if you're a Brit. They aren't considered something for the ladies over there, and the latest episodes typically arrive the same day they air. WOW.

AbFab

There are many seasons available for classic sitcoms, including seven seasons of Absolutely Fabulous, 10 seasons of Are You Being Served (which ran for years on PBS in the States), five seasons of the incredible Blackadder, and four seasons of The Vicar of Dibley starring Dawn French.

There is also one season of 'Till Death Us Do Part, the inspiration for All in the Family, as well as seven of Keeping Up Appearances. If you've never experienced the shenanigans of Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced 'bouquet,' she'll be sure to tell you), you've missed out).

Related: Get Britbox via Amazon Channels for the biggest streaming collection of TV from BBC & ITV...ever.

In addition to the comedies, there are some must-see dramas, as well. 

Bleak House from 2005 featuring Gillian Anderson and Carey Mulligan in her first TV role, the entirety of Cold Feet (seven seasons) about a group of friends starring James Nesbitt and Hermione Norris among others, a deep catalog of Doctor Who and the original Life on Mars.

Life on Mars UK

The issue I have with many of the programs available on BritBox is how many of them I've already had the opportunity to see in the US. 

The comedies, for example, are mostly of an age that they aired on many different networks closer to the dates they premiered and then as reruns for years afterward.

Another issue is availability. One of my favorite series was Waking the Dead. BritBox has four seasons out of nine on its service. 

Related: Carissa's Corner: We Need to Talk about Our Reboot Problem

The characters and their arcs were just as important to the program as the cases that were featured, so to watch only four out of the nine wouldn't satisfy at this point and I'd be hard-pressed to recommend the series to a friend. As a BBC Production, it's hard to understand why all seasons aren't available.

For some people, that may not be a deal breaker. As someone who wants to watch most things from start to finish, especially if they're not recent (most BritBox shows are not), it's more difficult for me to start a new series without doing research first.

BritBox

That said, there are also documentaries and plenty of one season series available for your enjoyment in addition to the full series like Cold Feet and Life on Mars, as well as the up to the day programming such as Casualty and even The Papers, which features a lively discussion each day about the coming day's headlines.

Britain is great for topical programs such as that, and if you've never seen one, you can if you explore BritBox.

The service is available as a standalone web application, an app across all platforms, and as an Amazon Channel. You can watch it anywhere you have broadband access.

You now have two options to choose from for faraway fare: BritBox and Acorn TV. Be on the lookout for our third and final examination of streaming services offering foreign television tomorrow!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

Tags: