Drama

'Downton Abbey' Recap: Season 6, Episode 5

Maggie Smith, looking appropriately judgy as the Dowager Countess. (Photo: Courtesy of Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2015 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Downton Abbey: Tom returns home to Downton, but finds that he doesn’t quite know what to do with himself now he’s back. The cops want Baxter to testify against the man who helped turn her into a jewel thief and got her arrested years ago and she’s kind of anxious about it.  Gwen Dawson – now married and on a mission to improve the working lives of middle class women – returns to Downton for a surprise lunch visit and she tells the family how Sybil changed her life. (We all cried.) Despite Daisy’s increasingly terrible behavior over everything concerning Mr. Mason, the Crawleys decide to give him the tenancy at Yew Tree Farm anyway. Anna has a pregnancy scare, but ultimately the baby is saved and her prognosis looks good for the moment. She tells Mr. Bates they’re going to be parents, and he’s perfectly adorable about it, reminding us all why we used to love these two so much.

Oh and the never-ending debate over the future of the hospital continues, but the upside is that at least it brings the dishy Henry Talbot to Downton (he’s Lady Shackleton’s nephew), and back into Mary’s life. (If you need a more in-depth refresher, last week's recap is right this way.)

Martin Clunes and a very cute co-star in "Doc Martin". (Photo: American Public Television)

It Sounds as if ‘Doc Martin’ Will Likely Continue Beyond Season 7

The seventh season of megapopular British comedy Doc Martin is currently airing around the US on PBS stations, and fans everywhere are curious about what the future of the show will be.

Each installment of Doc Martin has been rumored to be its last since sometime around Season 5 or so, and since the show only films every other year, there’s plenty of time for fans to fill talking and/or worrying about its future. Happily it looks like viewers can spend this particular hiatus in a slightly more zen state of mind, because from all indications it looks pretty likely the show will continue into Season 8, and possibly beyond that.

While no official announcement has come from the folks at ITV, the UK network that produces the show, it’s hard to imagine them not greenlighting an eighth season if all the major parties involved are amenable to it. And, according to Current, the media outlet that covers public and nonprofit media in the US, Season 8 sure seems to be happening. 

Period Drama ‘Victoria’ to Air in Masterpiece ‘Downton Abbey’ Timeslot in 2017

Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria in "Victoria", coming in January 2017. (Photo: Courtesy of Des Willie/ITV Plc)

Rest easy, Downton Abbey fans – there will still be another prestige period drama to watch on Sunday nights in January come 2017.

Victoria, a lavish new series starring Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman as the titular nineteenth century queen, will be making its American debut on PBS stations nationwide next winter on Masterpiece.

The eight-part drama will focus on the early life of the Queen, from her ascension to the throne at the age of 18, through her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. Victoria went on to rule for 63 years, – Queen Elizabeth II just broke her record as longest-serving British monarch in September of 2015 – had nine children, and experienced both incredible triumph and agonizing heartbreak. 

The British Are Coming…to American Telly

The cast of "The Night Manager", airing on AMC. (Photo: Mitch Jenkins/The Ink Factory/AMC)

You may say that the title of this post is old news and, in a way, it is. British shows and actors have been making their way across the pond for quite some time with their main gateway being our favorite network, PBS.  In fact Masterpiece’s executive producer Rebecca Eaton estimates that since the early 1970’s, they have “put half a billion dollars into British drama. Either via financing it, acquiring rights or publicity, by flying over the casts to meet the American press.”

With the rise in popularity of British programming, premium pay channels have been following suit with collaborations on series such Rome and Extras for HBO, The Tudors and Episodes for Showtime and The Missing and The White Queen for Starz. It’s too complicated to tease the national origins of the money, locations and creative-types on any of the shows referenced above. Suffice it to say, American TV execs have sussed that their audiences like British stuff in general and they are doing all they can to cash in on that trend.

And if the beginning of 2016 is any indication, it appears it will be a banner year for British fare on American network and basic cable channels. 

'Downton Abbey' Recap: Season 6, Episode 4

The only good part about a "Final Season" is seeing old favorites again. Rose Leslie is back as Gwen! (Photo: Courtesy of Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2015 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Downton Abbey: After various disasters involving everything from the reception location to wedding attire, Carson and Mrs. Hughes finally tie the knot and everything is perfect forever and I can basically just stop watching this show now. Oh, wait, there are like five more episodes to go? What? In other news, Anna thinks she might be pregnant, Daisy is convinced Cora has a secret plan to rescue Mr. Mason, Edith has to pull an all nighter to get an issue of her magazine to press, but gets to spend it with a nice man, and Branson comes back from America.

Oh, and that hospital storyline no one cares about is still happening despite no one actually caring about it. (If you need more info, you can check out last week's recap right this way.) 

.Guys, our last ever Downton Episode 4 recap is here. (Sniff.) 

Let’s get it started. 

Get Your First Look at ‘Hollow Crown’ Sequel ‘The Wars of the Roses’

Benedict Cumberbatch, probably hoping for a horse, in "The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses" (Photo: BBC)

This week, the BBC announced that they are planning an all-out celebration to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death this spring. The month-long BBC 2016 Shakespeare Festival will kick off on the Bard’s birthday – April 23 – and include exiting new programming across all the corporation’s television, radio, online and educational platforms.

A centerpiece of this festival will be the premiere of the highly anticipated sequel to 2013’s critically acclaimed series The Hollow Crown.

Joanne Froggatt as Mary Cotton in "Dark Angel" (Photo: Courtesy of ©JustinSleePhotography2015/MASTERPIECE)

Joanne Froggatt’s ‘Dark Angel’ to Air on Masterpiece in 2016

Joanne Froggatt’s next project after Downton Abbey is kind of…against type. Best known for playing the beloved, long-suffering Anna Bates, Froggat will next take on the role of infamous Victorian poisoner Mary Cotton in an upcoming two-part drama entitled Dark Angel.

The series will be aired on ITV in the UK, and will come to America shortly thereafter on PBS stations nationwide as part of PBS’s 2016 Masterpiece slate.

‘Grantchester’ Season 2 US Premiere Date Set for March

James Norton and Robson Green in "Grantchester" Season 2. (Photo: Courtesy of Des Willie/Lovely Day for ITV and MASTERPIECE)

Good news mystery fans – the highly anticipated second season of popular series Grantchester has a US airdate!

Based on a series of novels by James Runcie, Grantchester follows the story of a charismatic clergyman who turns accidental crimefighter when one of his parishioners turns up dead. He joins forces with an overworked police inspector and the pair form an unlikely crime-solving partnership and friendship. 

Shaun Evans and Roger Allam looking all kinds of dapper in "Endeavour" Season 3 Photo: ITV

Take a Look at the Third Season of ‘Morse’ Prequel ‘Endeavour’

Mystery lovers, rejoice: Endeavour is back for a third season!

The new series of the popular Inspector Morse prequel kicked off in the UK this month although those of us in the US will have to wait a few months to see it for ourselves.

Shaun Evans is back as the young detective Endeavour Morse, who was last seen isolated and languishing in prison, after being framed for the murder of Chief Constable Richard Standish. He had discovered corruption at the very heart of the City Force, but his investigation (obviously) took something of a sinister turn.  Meanwhile, when we last saw Endeavour’s partner, DI Fred Thursday (played by Roger Allam), he had just been shot in the chest. So, you know, there’s kind of a lot going on. 

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