10 Best British Dramas (2023)

Before streaming services dominated the way fans consume their favorite shows, there were clear distinctions among international productions. While Hollywood and British television hold similarities, the humor and episode setups dramatically vary. Streaming services like Netflix have allowed British TV series to have an even larger fanbase.

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With so many British drama series currently available, there is plenty of choice. However, some of the best dramas stand out for being captivating, thrilling, and incredibly well-written.

Updated on November 9, 2022, by Samantha McPhee: There's never a bad time to get into a new TV show. There are so many great British drama series currently available that we've updated this list with trailers and recent information so that fans can easily decide which TV show should be their next gripping watch.

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10/10 Killing Eve Is A Spy-Thriller With A Twist

Killing Eve is an enthralling cat-and-mouse series that boasts incredible lead performances. British Intelligence investigator Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) becomes obsessed with Villanelle (Jodie Comer), an international assassin who has outsmarted multiple agencies.

Both Eve and Villanelle have a hard time connecting with others, but find a thrill in chasing each other. Eve becomes more like her true self the deeper she follows Villanelle because she does not have to pretend to have her life together anymore. Killing Eve has no clear antagonist, as both leads are likable and misunderstood. Killing Eve has won several awards for the actors' performances, editing, and music.

9/10 Luther Adds Psychological Elements To Detective Shows

It is difficult to find a thriller that stands out among the numerous series in the genre. However, Luther has remained refreshing throughout its five seasons, which covered a total of 20 episodes. While this might seem like a short run, Luther utilized every minute to draw fans into the mystery and did not overstay its welcome like most police shows.

In Luther, DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) develops a strange friendship with the notorious murderer Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson). Luther is a genius who sees Morgan as his intellectual equal. Neither of the two is truly good or evil, making Luther one of the most gripping detective shows in recent memory.

8/10 Downton Abbey Is An Enthralling Historical Drama

Downton Abbey is the staple of historical dramas and has received high critical acclaim. The series revolves around the affluent Crawley family and the employees on their estate. Downton Abbey uses key historical events to build its storyline and immerse fans in the 20th-century series.

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The family faces their first obstacle when Lord Grantham's male heir dies onboard the Titanic. This tragic event gets the ball rolling on the family's conflicts, deceits, and scandals. The costumes and sets astonishingly transport fans to another period to further strengthen the historical setting, making Downton Abbey a worthy watch. A second Downton Abbey film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, was released in 2022 to good reviews.

7/10 Fleabag Is Not Only Hilarious, But It's Also Profound

Fleabag follows the titular character as she deals with life's ups and downs as a single woman. No matter how difficult her life gets, Fleabag is determined to get through it on her own.

The protagonist's only real confidants are the viewers she connects with by breaking the fourth wall. While this method has been used in many series, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) manages to use the technique to evoke laughter, worry, and sadness. Fleabag's view of the world and her sardonic and witty nature make this comedy-drama refreshingly entertaining.

6/10 Peaky Blinders Tries To Make Period Dramas More Authentic

British television has popularized period dramas, allowing fans to have an immersive look into the past decades. While most period dramas glorify their depicted times and focus on those well-off in society, Peaky Blinders explores a different side.

The six-season series follows the Peaky Blinders gang, who operate in Birmingham like the real-life gang that inspired the show. Instead of ignoring the devastation caused by World War I, Peaky Blinders tries to use this backdrop authentically by focusing on the conflicts that the working class in the neighborhood faces.

5/10 Skins Paved The Way For Controversial Teen Dramas

Before Euphoria took the world by storm, Skins was the gritty teen show that discussed various serious topics. Skins was criticized for its raw depiction of many controversial issues, but it soon became a staple of late 2000s and early 2010s teen dramas.

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The beloved series followed a similar formula to Degrassi, which focused on several characters and the various stages of their adolescence, school, and home lives. This allowed viewers to grow up alongside their favorite characters. Due to Skins' international success, there was a U.S. adaptation that starred Sofia Black-D'Elia and Jesse Carere.

4/10 Misfits Is One Of The Best Lighthearted Sci-Fi Shows

Misfits is a must-watch for sci-fi and superhero fans. The show revolves around five petty criminals who are sentenced to carry out community service. Initially, they don't want anything to do with each other, but after a storm gives them powers, the group start to work together to make sense of their new lives. Unlike most superhero shows of the time, Misfits incorporated a lot of wit and humor to diverge from the usual dark and gritty atmosphere.

Misfits' characters had strong personal development. Another key element of the show was its organic character dynamics and strong cast, including Robert Sheehan (The Umbrella Academy) and Antonia Thomas (The Good Doctor).

3/10 Sherlock Modernizes A Classic Tale

Even over a century after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, the beloved character has remained prominent in popular culture with various media adaptations. Sherlock is one of the most notable portrayals of the titular detective.

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Sherlock's outstanding success is partly thanks to the spectacular depiction of the crime-solving duo by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (Doctor John Watson). Another element that sets this adaptation apart is its modern setting and incorporation of relevant issues. In this version, Watson is a veteran who struggles with his mental health.

2/10 The Crown Shows The Behind-The-Scenes Of The Royal Family

Netflix's historical drama, The Crown, has captivated audiences as it attempts to fill in the gaps between significant events in the British royal family. The series chronicles the late Queen Elizabeth II's rise to power, with each season focussing on a different stage of her reign. The most recent season, Season 5, is set in the 1990s. However, some of the historical events portrayed have been criticized for being inaccurate.

The rest of the royal family and those close to them are also portrayed. With award-winning acting, spectacular sets, and strong writing, fans get an incredible look inside the palace. Some seasons are more sensationalized and captivating due to the storylines and characters, but on the whole, The Crown offers a great escape into the lives of the British monarchy.

1/10 Doctor Who Is The Longest-Running Sci-Fi Series

Doctor Who is a staple of sci-fi shows with a huge international fanbase. Despite its long hiatus, the show was welcomed back, making it the longest-running sci-fi series. Different generations of fans have followed the time-exploration adventures of the various Doctors in the TARDIS.

Although it initially aired in 1963, Doctor Who has managed to adapt to the times with every season. Not only have the visuals improved, but the characters and their stories have changed to reflect modern society. Every Doctor has contributed to the story's uniqueness. Doctor Who has some exciting times ahead; fans cannot wait to see David Tennant return as the fourteenth Doctor in 2023 and see Ncuti Gatwa debut as the fifteenth Doctor.

NEXT: 10 Best Comedies Of The 2010s, According To The Emmys

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