Several hundred channels seems like a lot. So why is there nothing to watch?
That’s where Hola, a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, comes in. The program disguises your device’s location, allowing you to sneak past geoblocking tools like those employed by overseas TV networks.
You got it, Sherlock….
That means you can stream certain beloved series (think “Dr. Who,” “Downton Abbey” and yes, “Sherlock”) when they air in the U.K. rather than waiting months for the U.S. airdates.
A note of caution: Some sites require users to register with an email address, and it might be prudent to create a new address for the purpose. Although using Hola and other VPN proxies is not illegal, it does violate the Terms of Service for many sites. Business Insider does not advocate doing that ever, under any circumstances. As for the links below, you’ll need to live in the U.K. (or install Hola), to make them work.
In any case, there’s also a ton of great TV that most Americans have never heard of. It’s not all must-see TV — far from it — but there are a few gems out there. Some of our favourites:
“Black Mirror” (Channel 4)
Named 2012’s best TV movie/miniseries at the International Emmys (who knew?), the show — often compared to a latter-day “Twilight Zone” — consists of individual dramas examining the excesses of the digital era. In the jaw-dropping premiere, an anonymous hacker kidnaps the British princess, then demands that the prime minister have sex with a pig on live TV or watch the royal be murdered on YouTube.
British comic and musician Nick Helm makes his TV debut as a loser musician who has to keep an eye on his young nephew.
“Dates” (Channel 4)
Think “My Dinner With Andre,” only way sexier. Each episode follows a different couple on a date. It’s a wee bit slow by American standards, but brilliantly written, expertly acted (including a great turn by “Game of Thrones'” Oona Chaplin), and highly addictive. (s1e3)
“Educating Yorkshire” (Channel 4)
A documentary series following a beleaguered British middle school for a year, as a new administrator works to turn it around. One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson is a fan.
“Secrets of the Living Dolls” (Channel 4)
Back off, Barbie. Men who dress up as dolls, known as “female maskers” are the subject of this much-blogged-about documentary, coming soon to Logo.
Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi play a deliciously venomous old gay couple in this otherwise by-the-book sitcom from a former “Family Guy” producer. Rarely has so much Shakespearean firepower been put to less high-minded use — which in itself makes this worth a look.
“Dead Set” (Channel 4)
The stars and producers of a fictional season of “Big Brother” must fight for their lives when a bizarre outbreak begins turning London residents into cannibalistic monsters. It’s a weird mashup of reality TV satire and zombie thriller, but it works.
“Blackout” (Channel 4)
What if cyberterrorists took out Britain’s electricity grid? This chilling speculative TV movie — stitched together with supposedly found footage from mobile phones — is so realistic it’s guaranteed to have you stockpiling provisions.
“The Bridge” (BBC)
The Danish/Swedish crime drama was remade for FX, but the original is way creepier, because, of course, it’s Scandinavian.
“The Undatables” (Channel 4)
In this popular reality series expert matchmakers work with lonelyhearts considered “undateable,” due to various physical and mental differences, like Ruth (pictured), a jazz singer with Tourette’s Syndrome.
“Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents” (Channel 4)
Wayward British youth are sent off for booze-soaked vacations in Thailand in this reality series. The catch: their parents secretly make the trip as well, and spy on their every indiscretion.
An amusing sitcom set in a Spanish resort hotel frequented by middle class Brits.
“The Fried Chicken Shop” (Channel 4)
Set in a down-at-the-heels fast food joint that attracts a colourful (and often intoxicated) clientele, this documentary series has surprisingly poignant charm.
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