Stumbling across ‘Almost Royal’ while in search of something to binge-watch

Photo: BBC America

For many, this ‘sheltering at home’ concept combined with no sports has created America’s newest past time….the art of binge watching. While this has been around for awhile, it now affords the savvy telly watcher the opportunity to catch up on so many series that have been in the queue for some time that you meant to watch but never got around to. For me, we’re talking series such as The Americans, The Man in the High Castle, Good Omens, Fleabag, Schitt’s Creek and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel just to name a few.

Today’s search led me to Almost Royal, the Office-like mockumentary that introduces us to George and Poppy Carlton, descendants of the British royal family and heirs to Caunty Manor, a large country estate in Norfolk, England. Played brilliantly by British comedians Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggar, the young British brother and sister aristocrats are about to take their first trip to the United States, where they will interact with everyday Americans as they travel from coast to coast. Series 1 sees the unconventional ‘royals’ crisscross America starting in Los Angeles and ends in Nashville after stops in Boston, Texas, New York, Detroit and Washington D.C.

Photo: BBC America

George and Poppy have agreed to have a camera crew follow them to document their tour, which has a couple of objectives for them. In addition to allowing them to spread their wings and experience a different culture, Georgie and Poppy hope to achieve specific personal goals. He wants to become more “manly” so he can take on the responsibilities of Caunty Manor and live up to his late father’s legacy; she is looking to raise her profile while in America and fulfil her dream of finding fame as a pop star, actor, author, lifestyle guru or pretty much any profession – as long as she becomes famous.

Georgie and Poppy are endlessly keen to try out new things that they deem “American” such as shooting guns, meeting a barista, making a Twitter account, and working at a car repair shop. Usually, Poppy takes the spotlight even in areas she is bad at, and Georgie compliments Poppy no matter her skill level. Much like other mockumenataries such as The Office, People Like Us and the brilliance of Spinal Tap, you have to watch more than once to catch things that you missed the first time around. The introduction to every episode their ranking in line to inherit the throne changes, always 50 or more places away.

The series, which ran for three seasons on BBC America, is one of those you either love it or hate it. Is it comedy on par with the groundbreaking efforts of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers or Yes Minister? Absolutely not. Is it worth an 8-hour chunk of time to get through the 15 episodes? Most definitely. Anyone else found a series that’s binge worthy? I seem to have a lot of free time on my hands in the evening these days.

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