October 2011

Category:Drama

Tune-In Tonight: William & Mary at 10:30pm!

Heads-up for all our fans of William & Mary - tonight's episode will be starting a little later than the past few weeks, so make sure you've updated your calendars accordingly.  

Due to the slightly extended run time of the special Mark Twain Prize ceremony broadcast, there'll only be one episode of William & Mary tonight, and it'll be starting at 10:30pm on TV 26 and WETA HD. Wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of this slight shift and didn't miss anything - and don't worry, we'll be back to showing two episodes of the series on Monday nights next week!

Category:Drama

The Final Episode of Case Histories Airs Tomorrow Night

One of the most disappointing parts about Case Histories is simply that there’s not more of it. It’s an interesting and largely charming series, and there are definitely worse things that could happen to television than having Jason Isaacs’ Jackson Brodie around more often.

So, make sure you enjoy the ride through the last episode of this season of Masterpiece Mystery! tomorrow night at 9. Someone gets hit by a train, we sort of meet Jackson’s dead sister, and he acquires a rather fun new sidekick, the Kevin Costner to his Morgan Freeman, if you will. (And that joke will actually make sense once you see it, I promise.)  Fair warning though, this last installment is a bit heavier on the drama than the comedy, compared to the first two episodes, and the end is a bit bittersweet. But it also feels just right, by the end.

And I have still never seen a better advertisement for vacationing in Edinburgh, immediately. Gorgeous!

Category:General

Friday News Roundup Time!

TGIF! And Happy (almost) Halloween!

It’s time for another Friday Roundup of everything we thought was worth reading in British entertainment news this week. Click right on through for bits and bobs on Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Skins, Upstairs Downstairs and more!

Category:Movies

What Will Be This Year’s The King’s Speech?

The end of the year is nearly upon us, which inevitably means the transition from “blockbuster”-type films and popcorn movies at your local multiplex to what can most aptly be labeled “Awards Season Movies.”  Sure, there are still a few big Fall/Holiday releases slated – the new Twilight film (ummm), Happy Feet 2 (okay, kind of cute), yet another Mission Impossible (why??), along with a few others – but come December, it’s basically Christmas for the more serious film fans all month long.

Last year, drama The King’s Speech opened in December to gushing critical accolades (Rotten Tomatoes still lists it as 95% “fresh”), widespread audience acclaim, and a multitude of awards, including recognition at the Oscars, the British Academy Film Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the New York Film Critics Circle, the British Independent Film Awards, etc. etc. Star Colin Firth won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a vertiable bucket of other accolades. Even the Queen liked it.

Now, of course, in the wake of The King Speech’s success, we wonder – what will be the next film to strike it big in America and clean up at awards time? Two upcoming British movies look especially promising, though both are quite different in tone. (And they both have Benedict Cumberbatch in them, which is really just an extra win for me.)

More (including trailers) after the jump!

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Category:Royals

Royal Ramblings: David Cameron Supports Historic Reform of the Monarchy

The British government seems poised to end primogeniture, a practice in place since feudal times guaranteeing that male children receive preference in the Royal succession. In the current system, a male child will always be first in line for the British throne, even if he has older female siblings.  For example, this is how King Henry VIII’s youngest child, Edward VI, hopscotched over both his sisters Mary and Elizabeth to the crown, even though he was only nine years old at the time of his father’s death. 

Only when there is no male heir at all is it possible for a female child to ascend the throne. Queen Elizabeth II became Queen only because she had no male siblings.

Now, however, Parliament and Prime Minister David Cameron are moving toward making significant changes to the law of succession. Cameron has written to British Commonwealth leaders proposing that the law which ensures male children automatically take precedence in the line of succession be altered. (The 16 nations who recognize the Queen as their monarch have to agree to any changes.) This proposed change would apply to any children produced by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, guaranteeing that if their first child is a daughter, she would be at the head of the line for the throne behind her father and take precedence over any subsequent sons.

More Royal-related rambling after the jump!

Category:Drama

New William & Mary Tonight! Martin Clunes Sure Looks Different, Huh?

Starting at 10pm tonight on WETA, we've go two more back-to-back episodes of romantic drama William & Mary. (For those of you keeping track at home, these are episodes three and four of the series’ first season.)  In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that despite my vast personal knowledge of all sorts of British TV, I’m a relative newcomer to Doc Martin and the acting of Martin Clunes.  In the interest of really full disclosure, I’ll even admit that I’m only on the first season! But, all that said, I can already tell why so many people love it, and I’m looking forward to catching up to the rest of you.

Anyway, despite my relative ignorance of Clunes’ acting resume, I still have to say that his performance in William & Mary is really charming, displaying a sort of quiet (even adorable) everyman appeal that’s almost a complete 180 degree shift from his role as the prickly, grumpy Doc Martin. He even plays the guitar in a band! I mean, just compare the two pictures after the jump, and that should kind of tell you all you need to know about just how far apart these performances are. (Plus, I had to come up with SOME way to share that - I just get a tremendous kick out of that William & Mary episode photo. It’s just so unlike every other image I’ve ever seen of Clunes. It’s awesome.)

Britwatch: Catherine Tate to Return to The Office

Doctor Who alum and fantastic funny lady Catherine Tate is set to return to NBC’sThe Office this season

Tate, who appeared briefly on the series last May, will return as Nellie Bertram, one of the candidates who interviewed to replace Michael Scott. If you didn’t catch her original appearance back when it aired, click through and watch the video below, because Tate’s performance is quite hilarious. (Apparently, she so impressed The Office producers that she was one of their top choices to permanently replace the departing Steve Carrell, though obviously that didn’t work out at the time.)

Category:General

Friday News Roundup

Here at Telly Visions, we’ve decided to implement a Friday roundup for all those fabulous little bits and pieces of news and fun things that surface over the course of the week that don’t necessarily merit an entire post on their own, but are too interesting to just ignore.

(Well, for now it’s a Friday roundup. We’ll see how we go.  If you want more of this kind of thing, give us a follow on Twitter, it'll be a bit more lax over there.)

Anyway, click right on through for bits and bobs on Sherlock, Downton Abbey, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Doctor Who, Misfits, and more!

Category:Drama

Preview This Sunday’s Case Histories!

The second episode of Masterpiece Mystery!’s new drama Case Histories premieres this Sunday night at 9pm on TV 26 and WETA HD.  Jason Isaacs remains tremendously dishy appealing, the writing remains snappy, and the mysteries remain intriguing, involving a drowned girl who may or may not exist, a crime novelist who witnesses a violent act, and a society lady who learns shocking secrets about her husband after he ends up in a coma. Don't worry, it'll all make sense by the end.

And for a hint of things to come: We’ll see some familiar faces from the first episode pop back up again, and get a little more insight into the events surrounding the death of Jackson’s sister.

Whet your appetite with a preview for Episode 2 below: 

Category:Drama

More New Sherlock Series 2 Promotional Art!

More new Sherlock Series 2 promotional art has surfaced! (Like water in the desert, hurray!) 

Both images are included after the jump to protect those that are uninterested in seeing anything about the new series before it airs. So, you’ll have to click on through if you’re feeling brave.

 

Britwatch: Karen Gillan to Make West End Debut

Doctor Who Companion Karen Gillan will make her theater debut this month in London’s West End, starring opposite Douglas Hodge in a revival of John Osborne’s 1964 play Inadmissable Evidence.

Dame Eileen Atkins (most recently of Upstairs Downstairs) played Gillan’s role in the original production, proving once and for all that there are way less than six degrees of separation between basically every British actor/actress you like.

Unfortunately, if you’re going to happen to be in the UK during the play’s run and would like to check it out, you’re out of luck. Tickets sold out in a record-breaking fashion, thanks to what the Telegraph calls “the Doctor Who effect.” (This production actually sold out faster than their last effort starring Jude Law. Well done, Karen!)

Category:Drama

NBC Really, Really Wants You to Try Their Prime Suspect Remake

NBC is doubling down (tripling down?) on their new Prime Suspect. If you’ve been curious to try the American remake, next week is going to be your chance. With the early demise of several of their new Fall offerings, the network is lining up a big push for the police drama heading into November sweeps.  Repeats of Prime Suspect will air on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night next week, leading into the series’ regular Thursday broadcast.

If you're a British TV fan - should you try it? Well, maybe. But not because you loved the British version.

In all honesty, NBC’s Prime Suspect isn’t a terrible show. Yes, it has some issues (the relentless portrayal of every man on the police force as an obnoxiously sexist ogre is especially tiresome.) But, it’s well-acted, well-produced, and if detective/procedural shows are your thing, you could do a lot worse. The problem is, is that it isn’t Prime Suspect. Calling this series by the same name is not only, well, incorrect, but offers viewers no clue about what this series is actually going to offer them. British TV fans are no more likely to enjoy this show than anyone else, and will probably be predisposed to a let down once they actually try it out.

More after the jump!

Category:Drama

Tune-In Tonight: William & Mary at 10pm on WETA!

Don't miss Doc Martin  star  Martin Clunes in a very different kind of role, starting tonight at 10pm on TV 26 and WETA HD. William & Mary features Clunes alongside Survivors' Julie Graham; the duo plays a pair of lonely hearts looking for love.

You’ll probably be shocked at just how different a role this is for Clunes! His character, undertaker William Shawcross, is a virtual 180 from his role as Portwenn’s Doctor, both in attitude (William is actually quite charming and nice and dare we say cuddly?) and appearance (Clunes gained something like 25 pounds for this role and as you can see in our photo, his hairstyle is quite a bit different!)

 

Category:Comedy

Six Free Episodes of Blackadder Available on iTunes This Week!

Rowan Atkinson has a new film hitting theaters this week, Johnny English Reborn, and in honor of its release, there’s a really brilliant promotion going on.  Did you love the comedy series Blackadder? Did you miss it, but are curious what all the fuss is about? Are you a huge Atkinson fan? Do you just love free downloadable TV?

Well, if the answer to any (or all) of those questions is yes, then run immediately to the iTunes store to snag your FREE download of the entire second series of Blackadder. Yeah, free as in to keep, not just rent.  (I told you it was brilliant.)

The second series of Blackadder is set in the Elizabethan era, and features a fantastic guest turn from Miranda Richardson as the Queen herself. But, if you’re interested, you’ll have to hurry, as this particular promotion is only available until October 21st!

Cheers to BBC America’s Anglophenia for the heads-up!

Category:Drama

An Early Look at Masterpiece Mystery!’s Case Histories

The new Masterpiece Mystery! series Case Histories gets underway tomorrow night at 9, and introduces us to Jackson Brodie, a former police investigator turned private detective who’s a bit different from most of the “types” in this genre. Based on the popular series of Kate Atkinson novels, Case Histories is very appealing – Harry Potter’s Jason Isaacs shines in the starring role, the writing’s witty, and the cases are intricate enough to hold viewers’ attention and provide an entertaining pay off.

Take a look at this scene from the first episode to get a feel for the tone of the show and, if you’re feeling brave, click through for some of my early (spoiler free) thoughts!

Category:Drama

BBC Commissions Victorian-Era Jack the Ripper Drama

The BBC has commissioned a new eight-part drama series called Ripper Street, slated to go into production early next year. The Jack the Ripper-inspired tale is set in the East End of London in 1889, and takes place during the aftermath of the Ripper murders.

According to the BBC press release, “Ripper Street explores the lives of characters trying to recover from the Ripper's legacy, from crimes that have not only irretrievably altered their lives, but the very fabric of their city. At the drama's heart our detectives try to bring a little light into the dark world they inhabit.”  Cue suitably edgy and dramatic music!

The Guardian’s coverage of the new drama suggests that, with Ripper Street, the BBC is attempting to capitalize on the worldwide success they’ve found with the recent revival of Sherlock. To be fair, that’s probably true; so don’t be too surprised if some of the main characters turn out to feel fairly familiar: my guesses include an innovative-but-rude Victorian police officer who loves science, or perhaps a dogged sidekick type who has extensive experience with firearms and really likes tea. Though, personally, I rather fail to see the bad in that… At any rate, the setting’s fantastic. And aren’t we all a little fascinated by that era of history? (Thanks, early sensationalistic press!) Ideally, this would end up being a mash-up of the cleverness of Sherlock with the period feel of Downton Abbey. (Well, if I ran the world, at any rate. Or at the very least the BBC.)

 

Category:Drama

FYI: You Should Watch Hustle This Weekend

This Sunday night at 11pm, WETA's beginning the first series of Hustle, a super intelligent, exceptionally charming caper from the producers of MI-5 about a team of expert con men that stage elaborate setups or “long cons”.  It’s very similar in tone to films like Ocean’s 11 or Catch Me If You Can, and if you’ve enjoyed any of the recent slate of American con-man style series – Leverage, White Collar, and their ilk – you’ll love Hustle. It's also one of those shows I'm endlessly recommending to people who say they're tired of all the police procedurals in America. (I feel like Hustle didn't get enough love when it first aired in America ages ago on AMC, and it's such a gem of awesome Britishness that everyone should really see it if they haven't yet.)

The preview below doesn’t explain the cons so much, but it introduces you to all our major players, including the always excellent Robert Vaughn (Albert), fairly adorable Marc Warren (Danny) and Philip Glennister’s brother Robert (Ash, and the family resemblance is uncanny).

Category:Drama

First Promo for Julian Fellowes’ Titanic Miniseries

Julian Fellowes, creator of everyone’s favorite period drama Downton Abbey, is writing a four-part miniseries about the sinking of the Titanic. It’s set to air early next year, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking.

From the looks of this trailer, it’s got a bit of a Downton Abbey on a Boat! feel, but let’s not kid ourselves. We all know we’re going to love it . (And if we could get a cameo from the ill-fated Crawley relatives, as a nod to Downton…well, that would just be the frosting of greatness on top.)


 

 

Category:Drama

News of the Day: Sherlock Series 2 Gets American Air Date!

My personal Christmas has an official airdate! Yes, the much-anticipated second series of Sherlock is now, officially, set to hit American airwaves on Sunday, May 6th, per the latest from the lovely folks over at Masterpiece.

Now taking suggestions for any and all Sherlock-related countdown calendars, shrines to Cumberbatch/Freeman/Moffat/Gatiss, or other worthy "No, Really, Is it May Yet?" paraphenalia that is absolutely in no way for my desk. (Cough.) Pictures will totally may ensue.

 

Category:Drama

Harry Potter's Lucius Malfoy Decidely Less Evil on Masterpiece Mystery!

Lucius Malfoy solves crime! Well, sort of. Jason Isaacs, whom many of you probably know as Draco Malfoy's impeccably coiffed evil father in the Harry Potter films, is coming to Masterpiece Mystery! 

Beginning October 16 at 9pm, Isaacs stars in Case Histories, based on the popular detective novels by Kate Atkinson. Though, unfortunately, if you were hoping for a return of the impressive Lucius hair, you're sadly out of luck.

Category:Drama

Sherlock Series 2 Poster!

Executive Producer Steven Moffat tweeted something which will probably be of great interest to our Sherlock fans - fairly amazing poster art for Series 2 featuring Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch), John (Martin Freeman) and Moriarty (Andrew Scott). And yes, to my great personal relief, the scarf is back!

Full image after the jump!

Category:General

Inspector Spacetime and Cougarton Abbey: Is Being A Britophile Going Mainstream?

If you saw the season premiere of NBC’s comedy Community, then you were probably pleasantly surprised to catch two references sure to bring joy to Brit lovers' hearts. Abed, Community’s resident pop culture geek, is on a quest to find a new show to watch while his favorite American program is on hiatus. With some help from his friends, Abed is introduced to the joys of British television, namely two series called Cougarton Abbey and Inspector Spacetime. Sound familiar?

Category:Drama

Possible First Sherlock Series 2 Photo?

With filming wrapped on the much-anticipated second series of Sherlock, everyone's been waiting for some more information to be released about the new episodes and what we can expect. Finally, it seems that the first actual promotional photo of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman has surfaced!

[Possible spoiler after the jump, but nothing beyond the photo itself.]

Category:Sci-Fi

For Our Doctor Who Fans: River Song’s Timeline Explained Chronologically

The sixth series of Doctor Who has wrapped, with a wild, occasionally ridiculous, timey-wimey ride through “The Wedding of River Song.” [Warning: There’ll probably be a few spoilers in the following, if you’re not caught up with this season. Proceed with caution!]

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Category:Drama

Jean Marsh to Miss Start of Upstairs Downstairs

Loyal parlor maid Rose Buck has appeared in every series of Upstairs Downstairs, including its popular 2010 revival. But, sadly, actress Jean Marsh will be absent when we return to Eaton Place next year, after suffering a mild stroke.

Britwatch: Benedict Cumberbatch in Parade’s End

Can’t get enough British period drama? Did Sherlock turn you into a Benedict Cumberbatch junkie? Then this news will make your day.

The BBC recently announced a new adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End, originally a series of four novels set in roughly the same time period as Downton Abbey.

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