The thing about British TV shows is that they're more like miniseries. Eight to twelve episodes per season, shot in months, and usually written by one or two persons, instead of a team of writers. The Hollywood model is based on speed and quantity, with ten or more people pitching plots and critiquing each others' pacing. Brits like to take their time. It isn't unusual to see just one writer taking credit for a show's entire run.
One of the best in the BBC (heck, anywhere) is Steven Moffat. I knew him via "Coupling," which is what "Friends" can only aspire to be and "Sex and the City" isn't smart enough to rip off. Loved his work on "Doctor Who," writing some of the very best episodes of a show that spans forty years.
His most recent series is "Jekyll," currently on its third episode. I haven't been this jumpy and scared while watching a TV show since "Tales From the Darkside" twenty years ago.
Then there's "Life on Mars," which is being transplanted into the US next season. Not by Moffat, but still very good. A CSI-type detective inexplicably wakes up in 1973, where (when?) he's also a cop, albeit surrounded by Dirty Harry types. Hilarity ensues but believable and well-acted drama keeps it from becoming too silly.
Perhaps in an attempt to balance their karma after foisting Pop Idol on the rest of the world, the Brits have taken to producing some of the best shows currently out there, bar none. Download away, you're not likely to see any of them locally.