10 British TV Shows That Crossed the Pond

'House of Cards'
British politician Gordon Brown and "House of Cards" actor Ian Richardson in 2006. Jeff Overs/Getty Images

Plotting. Revenge. Greed. Power. Brutality. No, it's not a soap opera; it's BBC's dramatic version of British government, "House of Cards." The miniseries follows the cold-blooded career choices of Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson), a parliamentary officer passed over for a cabinet position. The snub incited a no-holds-barred struggle to the top.

In the U.K., the role of Frank earned Richardson an award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts [source: BBC America]. When the show was broadcast on BBC America, writer Andrew Davies took home a 1991 Emmy Award for bringing Urquhart to life [source: Television Academy -- Andrew Davies]. Netflix had such admiration that it launched its own American version starring Kevin Spacey. That's a lot of love for some very bad men.