If your teenager has begun to gradually incorporate a British accent into his or her dialogue, then he or she is most likely deeply (and probably emotionally) involved in the booming popularity of British television shows.
Today, more and more American teenagers are being captivated by British television brilliance. Over the past few years they (the shows, not the teenagers) have exploded in popularity; our generation’s British Invasion, if you will. Shows such as Doctor Who, Sherlock, Downton Abbey, Orphan Black, Merlin and Torchwood are more familiar to many of us than most American television.
Of course, America’s love of British television isn’t anything really new – anyone remember Monty Python’s Flying Circus or the more recent Top Gear? In fact, we have loved British television so much that we’ve even created our own adaptations of their shows. The Office, Skins, Dancing With the Stars… even American Idol had its roots in England.
But what is it about current British shows that has us teens obsessively hooked? Genius storytelling full of plot twists, character curves, continuity, and awesome yet off-beat characters make these shows incredibly entertaining to us.
Take, for example, the BBC’s most popular program, Doctor Who, which tells the story of an alien entitled The Doctor, who can travel anywhere through time and space in his time machine that is disguised as a 1960s London police box. Throughout the show The Doctor picks up various human companions and takes them to places unimaginable while saving humanity over and over again. Written with wit and heart, and full characters you fall in love with instantly, the show wins the imagination of all who watch it, especially of those who are not yet twenty.
Sherlock is the latest incarnation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, placing beloved classic characters in modern London, with modern themes and modern cinematic effects. While sticking to Doyle’s masterpieces, the makers of Sherlock have invented their own fun depictions of the characters. Sherlock Holmes’ notorious talent for logical deduction (that the rest of us can’t hope to possess) is made fascinating to my easily-bored generation by rapid-fire details cleverly coupled with unconventional visuals.
But let’s face it. Great scripting and memorable characters are just as likely to be offered by American producers – however, they lack the British accent, which makes everything cooler. It just does.
The proof of our love can be found in the constant hype on social media sites such as Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, which boom with statuses, posts, tweets, and hashtags in regards to these shows. “Trending topics” on all these sites are often related to them. Of course, these shows don’t merely instigate published adoration; they also inspire various forms of creativity. Many fans express their love for them through drawings, paintings, “cosplay” (costume play), fan fiction, clothing, desperate (and most likely failed, but fun nonetheless) attempts at British accents, and much more.
As a fan, it becomes a sincere pleasure to always be secretly seeking out fellow fans in hopes of sharing the beloved emotion, humor, and culture that these various programs bring, and at the end of the day, they all contribute a joyous factor in the lives of their viewers.
So, if your teenager does try to incorporate a British accent into their dialogue, ask them if they watch any of these television shows. And if they do, take some time to watch an episode or so with them. You’re bound to fall in love, too.