10 British TV Shows That Crossed the Pond

Actor David Tennant appearing on "The Late Show with David Letterman" in 2014. Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS/Getty Images

This BBC series starts out grimly with the murder of a 12-year-old boy, but the gravity of the plot didn't lessen recognition of its quality. After "Broadchurch" aired on BBC America in 2013, it received the prestigious Peabody Award for its storytelling excellence [source: Peabody]. Part of the series' appeal is that, in addition to telling a first-class mystery, it also examines how the locals are affected by the tragedy. Family and friends reel from the death, the press interferes and tourism becomes endangered.

The show stars a former popular Doctor Who -- David Tennant -- as detective Alec Hardy. Newly arrived to the seaside town of Broadchurch, he is all business and nearly emotionless. Detective Sergeant Miller (Olivia Colman, "The Iron Lady"), who had expected to get the inspector's position, is resentful but also highly competent and sympathetic to the village residents. Viewers tuned in to experience the complex nature of the series. Time magazine critic James Poniewozik wrote that "Broadchurch" was "a murder mystery that is about far more than its murder or its mystery."