February 2013

Category:Drama

The First PBS Trailer for Call the Midwife Series 2 is Here!

The highly anticipated second series of hit period drama Call the Midwife will premiere in the US on March 31. (Our lucky friends across the pond are currently watching Series 2 as we speak and we are all very jealous of them, obviously.)

Happily, however, we’ve only got to wait a couple more weeks before we can return to Nonnatus House, and here’s your first look at the new season from PBS. Granted, this clip doesn’t show us very much in the way of storylines for the new season, but it’s still lovely to see some new footage, no matter how innocuous it may be.

Category:Drama

Preview ITV’s Broadchurch Starring Doctor Who’s David Tennant

Get your first look at Broadchurch, the new eight-part mystery series starring Doctor Who alums David Tennant and Arthur Darvill.  ITV has released the first trailer for the new drama, which will premiere in early March in the UK.

Written by former Torchwood showrunner Chris Chibnall, Broadchurch ranked fairly high up on my list of Most Anticipated Shows of 2013, mostly because of its absolutely stellar cast. The drama follows the events that unfold in a small town after the murder of a young boy places their peaceful community in the glare of a major media spotlight. Allegedly, the mystery series is at least partly inspired by popular drama The Killing, though let’s hope this particular version will more closely follow the trajectory of the Swedish original rather than the American remake. (Fingers crossed!)

You can watch the first official preview for Broadchurch in full below. It certainly appears to be an exceptionally emotional drama – almost everyone in this clip’s couple of minutes is either crying or in varying degrees of upset at some point. The slow motion action shots and melancholy music, combined with Tennant’s emotional vow to find whoever’s responsible for the child’s murder are all pretty affecting.  It really does look quite good.  (And scruffy is a good look on Tennant. Just saying. /shallow)

Category:Online

Amazing Internet Things: Downton Abbey Does One Direction

So, this new trend of making spoken word mash-up versions of hit songs using popular figures from pop culure is a bit strange and silly (and I totally blame President Obama and Carly Rae Jepsen for making it a thing in the first place), but it’s hard to resist something that’s as cute as this particular version turns out to be.    

Most Downton Abbey fans are in need of a bit of a pick me up after the emotional devastation of the Series 3 finale, and this bit of ridiculous fluff is pretty much exactly what the Dowager Countess ordered. Comedian Richard Sandling has put together a pretty epic video mash-up of the Crawley clan and all their servants performing One Direction's (ridiculously catchy) hit song “What Makes You Beautiful”. 

Cobbling together bits of footage from all three seasons and both Christmas specials, Sandling actually gets the Downton crew through every single line of the song, save one, which gets a slight Edwardian update. All in all, it’s pretty fun. 

And, as usual, Mr. Carson absolutely steals the show. 

Category:Drama

Downton Abbey: So, Where Do We Go From Here?

Series 3 of Downton Abbey wrapped up a week ago with what is arguably the biggest twist/cliffhanger/shock in the show’s history and fans everywhere are reeling (and not in the Anna-and-Rose-dancing-at-a-Scottish-ball adorable kind of way).

We’ve got months ahead of us to debate the wisdom of Series 3’s final minutes – but with Series 4 filming kicking off in England sometime in the next few weeks, many around the internet have already started speculating about what the next iteration of Downton will – and ought to – look like. Here’s my attempt to sort through some of my (apparently quite complicated) thoughts on the subject – I imagine some of you have also been mentally brewing over similar themes.

Obviously, there be spoilers here, so tread with caution if you haven’t seen the conclusion of Series 3 yet.

Category:Other

Star-Studded Radio Version of Neil Gaiman’s 'Neverwhere' Gets an Airdate

F air warning: I am a huge fan of author Neil Gaiman and his work and out of all of it, Neverwhere is my absolute favorite and I am basically at like DEFCON TUMBLR levels of excited for this, so you know, apologies in advance.

One of the things I love the most about the British entertainment industry in general (besides its dedication to costume dramas and enduring love for Sherlock Holmes) is the fact that they still embrace radio as a valid and valuable creative outlet. While we also had radio series here in America back in the day – soap operas actually started out as radio serials for example – once we got television, we basically broke up with radio and never looked back. Not so in the United Kingdom – the BBC frequently puts on all manner of fantastic radio series, from dramas to comedies and everything in between.

Thanks to the Radio Times, we’ve now got details on the new Radio 4 dramatization of Neil Gaiman’s popular – and awesome –fantasy novel Neverwhere. (As well as a lovely new cast photo!) It’s packed with an all-star voice cast of that reads like a who’s who list of British acting talent, including X-Men’s James McAvoy, Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch, The Tudors’ Natalie Dormer, Homeland’s David Harewood, Doctor Who alums Sophie Okonedo and Bernard Cribbins, Merlin’s Anthony Stewart Head, The Hour’s Romola Garai, the great Sir Christopher Lee and more. Find out who everyone's playing - and get a better look at that photo - under the cut.

Category:Sci-Fi

Harry Potter Actor to Play William Hartnell for Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Film

It’s a big year for Doctor Who fans around the world – the iconic sci-fi series is turning 50 this November. Many plans are currently under way to celebrate this momentous occasion – including a new TV special based on the series’ origins.

An Adventure in Space and Time is set to dramatize how Doctor Who first got started way back in 1963 and explore the many personalities who were involved in bringing the show to life. The feature length biopic will be penned by current Who writer and general fanboy (as well as Sherlock co-creator) Mark Gatiss, who has called his involvement in the project “quite simply a dream come true”.

Actor David Bradley – though if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll know him better as Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch – will star as William Hartnell, the actor who was the first to take on the role of the mysterious Time Lord known only as the Doctor. Hartnell played the First Doctor until 1966, when his deteriorating health and occasionally fractious relationship with the Doctor Who production team lead to his exit from the show. (His departure from the show served as the catalyst for the idea that the Doctor could regenerate, and Hartnell become Patrick Troughton in the fourth episode of serial The Tenth Planet.)

Get your first look at Bradley in character, as well as a peek behind the scenes of the new special.

Category:Drama

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know About The Series 3 Finale

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Bates (FINALLY) got out of prison, Thomas made a move on the Hottest Footman in Northern England and got shot down, sending the house into a tailspin of drama, Bates saves the day by blackmailing O’Brien with her ladyship’s soap, Matthew and Tom join forces to run the estate, Mary has some unidentified surgery for some unidentified lady problem, Edith finds out Dishy Editor has Mr. Rochester syndrome, and also there’s a cricket match.

How is it possible we’ve reached the end of Series 3 already? It seems like we just started! The finale will take us through a time jump, a trip to Scotland and what’s possibly one of the most shocking moments in Downton to date. Obviously, we’re going to have a lot to talk about. So, let’s go. 

Category:Online

Amazing Internet Things: Jimmy Fallon Takes Us Back to “Downton Sixbey”

Now that we’re well into Downton Abbey Series 3, late night host Jimmy Fallon has brought back his hilarious parody of everyone’s favorite costume drama, Downton Sixbey.  In fact, Fallon’s been so on top of his game the past couple of weeks that there are two new episodes of the skit, which both offer send-ups of various Downton plot points from this season, including the Crawley’s money troubles and a family wedding.

While some of the humor in these skits is a bit…well, I imagine Carson would refer to it as low-brow, Fallon’s re-imagining of the characters and events of the popular British soap is hard to resist. Click through for a look at the next two installments in Downton Sixbey – and here’s hoping there are more to come in honor of Series 3 wrapping up. 

Rare Dame Maggie Smith Interview Set to Happen on 60 Minutes

All Downton Abbey fans are probably going to want to make sure that they tune in to CBS news program 60 Minutes this weekend (February 17) because it’s going to be a rare opportunity to see an interview with the Dowager Countess herself, Dame Maggie Smith!

We all love Dame Maggie and her fantastic portrayal of Downton’s indomitable Dowager Countess, but it’s common knowledge that the star rarely makes public appearances like this. The two-time Oscar winner has a shelf full of awards for her portrayal of Violet Crawley , including multiple Golden Globes and Emmys, but the actress has never picked any of them up herself. Smith is notorious for never attending awards shows and the actress hardly ever does promotional appearances or interviews like this. (Read: Also pretty much never.) Get a sneek peek at Dame Maggie's CBS interview after the jump.

Category:Drama

'Call the Midwife' Renewed for Third Series and Christmas Special

Woohoo! It’s confirmed: Popular BBC drama Call the Midwife has been officially renewed for a third series by the BBC! We’ll be seeing a lot of the ladies of Nonnatus House in future - the series will return with another special holiday installment this Christmas, followed by an eight-part third season slated to screen at some point in 2014.

The period drama is the BBC’s biggest new drama series in the last decade, and it’s doubtful that anyone is surprised by its renewal. (The first episode of Series 2 scored the drama’s highest tune-in figures to date.) Per the official press release, Call the Midiwife Series 3 will take us to 1959 and the eve of the “Swinging Sixties”.  The winds of change that are blowing through the country will impact Nonnatus House as well, as its residents all wrestle with their own momentous changes.

Interestingly enough: Call the Midwife’s run up to this point has been based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth and by the time we get to Series 3, the show will have run out of stories to adapt. Showrunner Heidi Thomas, however, has said that Worth had already given her blessing for the show to move past her original stories before she died in 2011, so it seems a safe enough bet that someone will be found to pen new original adventures for Nurse Jenny Lee and company.

Series 2 is currently airing in the UK and will premiere here in America on March 31 on PBS stations nationwide. Though the series can occasionally toe the line of dangerously saccharine, it’s got a tremendous amount of charm and heart, as well as a great set of characters, so I’m personally pretty excited we’ve got more Midwife to look forward to. What about you? Pleased that we’ll get more time at Nonnatus House? Let us know in the comments.

Category:Drama

The Hour’s Time is Officially Up: Newsroom Drama Canceled by the BBC

Upsetting news for fans of the BBC’s 1950s drama The Hour – we won’t be going back to the newsroom for a third series. The Radio Times has confirmed that the award-winning period piece starring Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw as the staff of a fictional BBC current affairs program has been axed by BBC2 and will officially join the ranks of great shows left unfinished.  (Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth from everyone who saw the Series 2 finale. Seriously, that’s unfair.)

“We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through,” the BBC said in a statement. The Hour was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries last year and its second series received a fair amount of critical acclaim. Sadly, the drama’s ratings weren’t particularly strong, especially as compared to its first series totals, and it struggled to find an audience last winter.

This news is especially disappointing given the fact that Series 2 ended on a cliffhanger and left a number of significant plot points unresolved. While The Hour’s news team successfully broke the organized crime story that served as Series 2’s central mystery, we’re going to be left forever wondering whether Whishaw’s Freddie survived a brutal beating at the hands of gangsters, what exactly was meant to happen with West’s Hector and his wife’s marriage and whether Freddie and Garai’s Bel Rowley ever worked out all their relationship issues or not (the show’s centerpiece will they/won’t they romance had finally managed to confess their feelings in the series’ final episode). Seriously, the last shot of Series 2 was gutwrenching – Freddie’s broken body lying in front of the BBC offices while he struggled to say Bel’s name – and it’s even more so now that this will serve as the final image for the show, too.

Obviously, I’m quite heartbroken at this news, as I quite loved The Hour’s smart writing, fantastic cast and commitment to presenting viewers with intelligent television (that you actually had to pay attention to). Given the way the last episode of Series 2 concluded, it would seem that there was no way that those involved in producing the drama expected that they wouldn’t get a third series (you don’t leave a major character in jeopardy like that if you don’t think you’ll get to tell people what happened afterward).

Apparently thousands of fans have already started a petition to convince the BBC to resuscitate the show. You can sign it here – in all honesty, it’s unlikely that any petition like this would do anything to move the needle once the network’s decision has been made, but if you’re a fan of The Hour it might make you feel a bit better. (Over 7,000 people have already signed it – so clearly those of us who are in mourning for the show are not alone!)

How about you all - will you miss The Hour?

Category:Drama

More Parade's End Goodies: HBO Releases New Trailer, Cast Conversations

Premium cable network HBO has released some more goodies for those of us who are eagerly anticipating the American broadcast of Parade’s End, starring Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch alongside Rebecca Hall.

Am I spamming you guys about Parade’s End? I feel like I might be. But, I so want everyone to watch it and get swoony with me and I’ve been swooning in a fairly limited bubble since October so my basic feeling on this topic is hurry up, HBO! The five-part drama premieres on February 26 and will air over three consecutive nights.

However, HBO apparently approves of my at least being quasi-spammy about it, as they keep releasing new things for us all to look at. Click through for a look at a new trailer and a new cast conversations clip where the stars and production team discuss the project. 

Category:Drama

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know About Episode 6

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Tragedy drives a wedge into Robert and Cora’s marriage, Isobel tries to make a kind gesture, everyone gets in arguments about a variety of topics from religion to Ethel’s PROSTITUTE ways, I am the only person in America who is apparently on Team Robert, Violet awesomely brings her son and his wife back together, and Bates is finally going to be released from jail, for reasons that really don’t bear looking at too closely.

We arrive at the penultimate episode of Series 3 tonight (can you believe it’s almost over?), but at least it’s a two-hour installment so there are plenty of new things to discuss. This is also probably the part where I should apologize for the length of this post in advance. (Just remember, it is two hours! A lot happens!)

Benedict Cumberbatch Guest Stars on The Simpsons

Awesome news: Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is lending his (distinctive) voice to long-running animated series The Simpsons this weekend, on Sunday, February 10.

Sad news: His appearance will not be as the world’s only consulting detective, despite the fact that I couldn’t resist using this amazing Sherlock fan art as the main image on this post. Yes, I know, I was pretty upset about this revelation too. I can only imagine how his particular brand of Sherlock Holmes would feel about the residents of Springfield (What’s it like in your funny little brains/it must be so boring?)

Anyway, because we all need to take what bits of Cumberbatch we can get as we suffer through our own personal versions of the Great Hiatus, it’s likely that we’re all fine with this. And what better sign that an actor we all love has really hit it big than the chance to do The Simpsons? (Everyone, it would seem, has done a guest bit on this show.) Go on, you know you want to read more. 

Category:Online

Amazing Internet Things: The Office Meets The Hobbit

Apologies for my slight absence around here – yours truly’s been laid up with the flu. Downside: It’s gross. Upside: I’ve had a lot of time to look at random things on the internet, one of the more interesting of which is below.

This is one of those Amazing Internet Things that’s simultaneously awesome and sort of really creepy – so, sort of, the internet, in a nutshell, at times.

Long before Martin Freeman played the world’s most famous crime-solving sidekick on Sherlock, he was known for starring as the put-upon but loveable Tim Canterbury on the original UK version of The Office. (If you’ve never seen the UK version of this series – for shame! –Tim is the equivalent of Jim in the American adaptation.) Given his recent turn as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, this mash-up should probably not be entirely unexpected. The real surprise it’s probably that it’s taken this long. 

Category:Drama

Sherlock’s Lara Pulver: From Irene Adler to Bond Girl (Sort Of)

Sherlock guest star Lara Pulver, who stock has risen considerably in the wake of her turn as an often intriguingly dressed (or not) Irene Adler in A Scandal in Belgravia, will soon star as another rather infamous woman. Pulver has been tapped to portray the wife of James Bond creator Ian Fleming in a new drama for Sky Atlantic.

The new-four part series, tentatively titled Fleming, will explore the life of the 007 scribe, which was frequently as dramatic as any Bond film. According to Variety, the series will be set during World War II when British Naval Intelligence recruited the future author for its undercover campaign against the Nazis. Fleming’s wartime experience provided much of his inspiration for Bond and in true art-imitating-life fashion, Fleming himself was also a bit of a womanizer with a taste for alcohol. (What do you want to bet he liked his martinis shaken, not stirred?)

Category:Drama

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know About Episode 5

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Everyone cries. That’s all. Oh, all right, fine – tragedy strikes the Crawley family when Sybil has unexpected complications following the birth of her daughter, Thomas gets a little too up close and personal with the Hottest Footman in Northern England, Isobel’s crusading ways leave her stuck having to eat Ethel’s cooking, and supersleuths Bates and Anna finally clue in to the fact that Vera killed herself (keep your day jobs, kids).

As Series 3 rolls on, it’s not quite clear how Downton is going to manage to top the emotional rollercoaster of last week’s episode, but you’ll have to read on to find out.

Category:Online

Amazing Internet Things: Sesame Street Does Downton Abbey

You knew this had to happen sooner or later. Everyone’s favorite children’s show Sesame Street has finally taken on everyone’s favorite costume drama Downton Abbey, and the result is basically as adorable as you’d expect. This parody will officially air on Sesame Street on Monday when Season 43 debuts, but you can get an early look at it right now because, well, that’s what the internet is for, right?

The Upside Downton Abbey skit features a clever take on the opening-piano-music theme song, as well as super cute Sesame Street muppet versions of the Dowager Countess and Mr. Carson. (Oh, how I wish that it also had Robert or Mary in it, because, well, I would just love to see a puppet version of either of them. Imagine Mary’s dress!) The Dowager is having a bit of a struggle to enjoy her tea and crumpets, because at Upside Downton Abbey, their house is, as you may have guessed, upside down. And, as one might expect with this character in any iteration, the Dowager is a bit resistant to change, even when tea is involved. Watch for yourselves below.

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