September 2012

The News Roundup: Waiting on the Weeping Angels Edition

Happy weekend, Telly Visions readers! While you’re waiting for the Doctor Who mid-season finale to air – and let’s face it, isn’t that really what we’re all doing today? – help keep yourself spoiler-free by browsing through the total safety of this weekend’s News Roundup. (I will be forever be grateful for same-day Who airings, don’t get me wrong, but wow, these are the longest five hours ever, every week.)

Anyway, give yourself a clockwatching break and catch up on the latest from around the world of British television, including Merlin, Doctor Who, Primeval, Whitechapel, The Paradise, Hunted, Top Gear, Red Dwarf and more!

Hit British Drama Call the Midwife Premieres This Sunday!

The BBC’s highest rated new drama series is coming to America this weekend – Call the Midwife premieres on Sunday, September 30!

Call the Midwife is set in the East End of London in the 1950s and tells the story of young Jenny Lee (played by Jessica Raine), a newly qualified midwife who begins work at a nursing convent, Nonnatus House. The plot follows the stories of Jenny and her fellow midwives as they care for expectant mothers in the economically-deprived neighborhoods of London’s East End. It’s a very sweet and moving story about class and poverty and love and community and I think that almost everyone is really going to enjoy it. To be fair, the series can occasionally get a bit saccharine given the subject matter, but is generally excellent and a wonderful way to spend an hour on Sundays for the next six weeks.

Click through to preview this new drama for yourself, watch a couple of clips and take a look behind-the-scenes to see how much detail has gone into in recreating the atmosphere of 1950s London.

Amazing Internet Things: Sherlock Weighs in on the Fall TV Season

Traditionally, the week after the Primetime Emmy Awards (which, whatever, Academy, you let me down this year) marks the official kickoff for the American Fall television season. This tradition is less prevalent than it used to be – many new series have already started and some won’t debut until well into October – but this unspoken “rule” does still hold true for many properties on the four major networks.

Personally, I’m not terribly excited by much of 2012’s Fall slate, but that may actually be why I find this particular Amazing Internet Thing so hilarious. One of the most widely promoted – and possibly most anticipated? I can’t really get a read on public opinion here – is CBS’ new Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary, a drama which many have accused of being “a rip-off” of stellar BBC series Sherlock.

Comedy site Jest has made a fantastic spoof in which Sherlock himself deduces the why the current crop of Fall TV newcomers, including The Carrie Diaries, Nashville, Chicago Fire and The New Normal, all seem so familiar. Though he can’t quit put a finger on what’s going on with that CBS Elementary show. Click through and take a look for yourself!

CBS' Elementary Is Actually Better Than These Posters Would Indicate

My relationship with upcoming CBS Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary is already rather fraught and complicated, and the series hasn’t even premiered yet. Since way back when this was announced as a pilot – well before it was even greenlit to series – I have not been entirely thrilled about the prospect of another modern-day Holmes TV show, and transplanted to New York no less! (I know that I was not alone in this initial reaction either, so I don’t feel too badly about it.)

My opinions toward Elementary, however, have softened considerably since seeing the pilot episode at Comic Con this summer. While it’s certainly got nothing on BBC’s masterful Sherlock series, the CBS adaptation does have its moments and star Jonny Lee Miller is interesting enough in the role of Holmes to at least merit a couple of episodes’ worth of our attention. It will certainly be interesting to read all the initial reactions to this series once it premieres on September 27 (that';s day after tomorrow, if you're counting).

Unfortunately the promotional material surrounding the series’ debut seems determined to play up the most cliché, cringeworthy and even, yes, elementary elements prior to its launch. When everyone who follows any sort of entertainment television at all is automatically going to compare this show to the BBC’s highly stylized and super intelligent Sherlock series, the decision to release an initial series of promos and clips that appear designed to showcase the most banal and expected moments from the American version seems ill-advised. And that’s before we get to this, the latest set of promotional posters that have been released. Which are…not good. Like, really, really not good.

There is literally no way to prepare you for how bad this is, so click through and just look at them for yourselves.


The British Invade the 2012 Primetime Emmys, But Only Dame Maggie Smith Triumphs

It was a British Invasion at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards this year, with sixteen nominations for Downton Abbey and thirteen for Sherlock, along with several other UK series grabbing nods, including Page Eight, Great Expectations, The Song of Lunch, Luther and The Hour.

Sadly, while many of our favorite British stars were nominated for a variety of awards, only the Dowager Countess emerged victorious, as Dame Maggie Smith won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama. Smith was not present to pick up her statue, which is extra sad when one imagines how fantastic her acceptance speech probably would have been. Oh, well.

(And to be honest, I’m being a bit unfair – Damian Lewis also took home a Best Actor statue, but since his win was for his performance in American series Homeland, I therefore can’t in good conscience add him to the official Brit TV winners list. )

Click through for a full list of Emmys winners and a little ranting about how certain nominees (cough Benedict Cumberbatch cough) got completely robbed were sadly over looked in their respective categories. Let’s discuss this travesty the results in the comments!

Surviving the Wait: A Downton Abbey Series 3 Wishlist

Sadly, the highly-anticipated third series of Downton Abbey won’t air in the States until early January 2013, but our lucky duck friends in the UK are already watching all the latest Crawley drama as we speak. (Series 3 premiered in the UK last weekend and Episode 2 airs tonight.)

Personally, I have spent the past week studiously screening any entertainment news post with Downton in the title, avoiding popular blogs and cracking down viciously on my Twitter lists, because I wanted to get my Series 3 thoughts down on paper (er…so to speak) without getting spoiled first. It’s been something of a challenge, but here we are. While we’ll have to wait a few months to find out how accurate this list will turn out to be, what better way to pass the time until we can see Series 3 than by speculating wildly about what we’d like to happen in it. Right? Right.

Click through for thoughts on what I’d like to see happen in Downton Abbey Series 3 and add your own in the comments. I can’t guarantee that I’ll manage to stay spoiler-free the whole way through the wait until January, but in the interest of protecting others – please put spoiler warnings around things that could give away plot points, should you mention them in the midst of this discussion. All caps will do, if we have to!

News Roundup: Emmys Weekend Edition

Happy weekend, Telly Visions readers! Yet again, here’s hoping that everyone’s weather is as lovely as ours is here in the DC area (don’t worry, the way it works around here is that I’ll only be able to say that for maybe another week.)

The Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony is happing tomorrow night – with loads of Sherlock and Downton Abbey folks up for various awards, among other fantastic performers – so it seems appropriate to take a moment to say, “Go Team Brits!” In my not at all biased opinion (snort), these shows are two of the best things to have aired on television in the past year and hopefully they’ll be honored appropriately. (Especially Sherlock, because honestly, it deserves every award ever.)

While you’re waiting to watch the Emmys Red Carpet tomorrow night, catch up on all the news from around the world of British entertainment this week. Click through for updates on Doctor Who, Merlin, Sherlock, Endeavour, Hunted, Cuckoo, Downton Abbey, Red Dwarf and more!

'Foyle’s War' Set to Return to Masterpiece in 2013!

Good news for mystery fans – it’s official: three new feature-length episodes of Foyle’s War will air on Masterpiece in 2013! Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks are both set to return for Series 7 as Christopher Foyle (now a Senior Intelligence Officer) and his assistant Samantha Stewart, and filming is already underway in Ireland.

It’s been three years since the last time we saw new episodes of Foyle’s War. Originally, the series was set during World War II, as then-Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle battled domestic crime in the English countryside, though often with a war-related theme (German POWs, locals and American troops not getting along, etc.). The conclusion of the war makes a few shifts in the structure of the show for the new episodes necessary as well.

"World War II may be over, but Christopher Foyle's war against injustice and wrong-doing rages on," says Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "His very loyal American fans will be thrilled."

This new slate of episodes will focus on the years immediately following the war, and Foyle will shift his attention to the world of espionage. Promoted to Senior Intelligence Officer, Foyle will discover that Britain’s post-war establishment has many secret Communist sympathizers and traitors. He and his partner Sam must learn to navigate this dangerous new world and keep their country safe.

Click through for a look at the first two new images from Foyle’s War Series 8 – and let us know, what would you like to see in these new episodes?

Brand New Hobbit Trailer Shows Off Lighter Tone, More Characters and a Game of Riddles

The latest trailer for the first installment in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy has arrived and it is simply stunning! Our second full look at the festival of British acting talent known as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gives us lots of new footage, including trolls, Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy’s Radagast the Brown, a bunny sled, dwarf shenanigans, stone giants, wargs, Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel, Hugh Weaving’s Lord Elrond, a game of riddles between Bilbo and Gollum and lots, lots more.

While the film's first trailer was very heavy on the dark, theatrical feel - complete with mournful song performed by star Richard Armitage– the second manages to retain a similar epic sensibility, while conveying more of the lightness and humor of the Hobbit story. (Technically, it is a children’s book, after all.) Plus, we get to hear quite a bit of dialogue here, especially as compared to the first trailer, which lets this one be a bit more straightforward in terms of telling new fans what the story's all about.

Click through and give it a look for yourself – as well as the four additional bonus endings which were also released on the official site today. It’s enough new footage to make any hardcore Hobbit fan excited.

Amazing Internet Things: What Is a Cumberbatch?

The Primetime Emmy Awards are this weekend, and late night host Jimmy Kimmel gave Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch a special shout-out during his monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.

Cumberbatch, who is up for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series this year, has achieved a bit of notoriety not only for his outspoken opinions on popular culture, but for the, well, sheer oddity that is his name. (For the record: I think his name is perfect in practically every way, but apparently there are people out there who have yet to realize that fact. I don’t even know how to respond to this, except apparently to give a lot of Los Angeles residents the side-eye.)

At any rate, Kimmel’s studio audience – save one brave soul that the host dismissed as “British” – didn’t appear familiar with Cumberbatch or his work. Kimmel then sent a camera crew into the streets of L.A in order to put the question to random pedestrians on Hollywood Boulevard: “What is a Cumberbatch?”

The results are kind of hilarious. Click through and take a look for yourself!

Wuthering Heights Has A New Trailer, Maybe The Film Will Actually Get Released This Time?

Considering that this movie made my list of films for Anglophiles to get excited about last winter and we’re still waiting for a theatrical release ten months later, I’d pretty much given up hope on this latest adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights ever seeing the light of day in American theaters. The film screened at both the Venice and Sundance Film Festivals and then….apparently fell off the face of the earth. Except not really, as Wuthering Heights now has a brand new trailer and a new “limited” release date of October 5, 2012. Allrighty, then.

The film stars Skins’ Kaya Scodelario as Cathy and newcomer James Howson as Heathcliff, who is notably the first black actor to take on the famous role. Adapted by Oscar-winning director Andrea Arnold, this version attracted a fair bit of controversy last year due to its interracial casting and some rumored changes to key scenes.

This new trailer is actually completely different – and generally better, if you ask me – than the version released back in 2011 – so here’s hoping that means that the folks behind this film have regrouped, rethought their marketing strategy and are actually going to let us see this time. Click through to take a look for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments – is this interesting to you? Or has cinema in general gone to the tortured romance well too many times in remaking this story?

The News Roundup: Gorgeous Saturday Edition

Happy Saturday, Telly Visions readers! Hope it’s as gorgeous wherever you are today as it is here in the DC area. It’s actually painful to not be outside, it’s so pretty. But, I suppose we’d better enjoy it, as it will last at maximum two weeks.

It’s a slow news week around the world of British entertainment – largely I think because everyone in the UK has Downton Abbey fever, and can’t think or talk about anything except the fact that Series 3 premieres there tomorrow. Not that I am bitter or jealous or anything like that.

However, a few worthwhile tidbits have popped up this week that seem worth sharing – so take a look through this week’s News Roundup for bits and bobs on Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Wallander, Red Dwarf, The Paradise, Outnumberd, Strictly Come Dancing and more!

Preview Upcoming Hitchock Drama The Girl from HBO and BBC Two

Here’s an oddity – for once I get to post a preview of something British we’re going to get before the UK does. I kind of don’t know what to do! Premium cable channel HBO has been partnering with BBC Two on a variety of productions this year – including the period drama Parade’s End with Benedict Cumberbatch that’s currently airing across the pond – and has just released a trailer for The Girl, the upcoming one-off film about the making of Alfred Hitchock’s 1963 classic The Birds.

The ninety minute drama and will tell the story of Hitchock’s tense relationship (some would call it obsession) with actress Tippi Hedren, the young unknown model he cast in the film. The two shared an intense working relationship, and Hedren later claiming that Hitchcock ruined her career after she refused his sexual advances. The Girl stars Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Hedren, with a strong supporting cast that includes Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton and Harry Potter’s Imelda Staunton.

Honestly, the trailer is quite tense and a bit disturbing, albeit in a strangely fascinating way. This wasn’t really on my “to-watch” radar until I saw this clip, but now I think I’m going to have to put it on the calendar. (Plus, Jones is always fantastic, if you ask me.) Click through and give it a look for yourself.

Everyone Panicking About the Possibility of Sherlock Ending After Series 3 Needs to Calm Down

All week long I’ve been seeing news pieces about Sherlock pop up in my Google reader, with some variation on “OMG, Series 3 Will Be The Last For The Show!” or “No More Sherlock, Say It Isn’t So?!!” attached. I swear, I have seen some version of this article at least 36 times in the past three days, and that's not counting the emails I’ve received on the same topic. Everyone seems to be suddenly and absolutely convinced that Series 3 will be the show’s grand finale, and is freaking out accordingly.

My thoughts on this boil down to: Everyone, please chill out.

Since I am not best friends forever with either Steven Moffat or Mark Gatiss, I certainly don’t have any insider information that proves we’ll get a Series 4. But, I think Sherlock himself would berate the (many, many) authors of these articles for seeing without observing and/or not doing their research. Could Sherlock end next year? It’s certainly possible. But I think it’s unlikely, and I certainly think there’s no reason to panic at this juncture, particularly when the third series doesn’t even exist yet.

Excuse me while I put my earhat, John deerstalker on. (Translation: Click through for lots of thoughts on this apparently very hot topic.)

Amazing Internet Things: First Episode of Doctor Who Parody Inspector Spacetime!

Abed, the resident pop culture geek played by Danny Pudi on NBC’s Community, is probably very happy today – the first episode of the comedy’s beloved Doctor Who parody Inspector Spacetime actually exists!

Oops, I mean Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. The production ran into some copyright concerns from NBC and has now “regenerated” in this new, retitled incarnation. UWSAASTWCATTT was entirely fueled by a very successful Kickstarter campaign and will be comprised of six webisodes with (apparently) more to come, as creator Travis Richey says he’s already got an idea for Season 2.

An Embarrassment of Riches: Another New Downton Abbey Promo is Here!

Honestly, what are we all going to do for three months after this initial Downton Abbey press wave is over? The wildly popular period drama returns this month in the UK and while we Americans will have to wait until January to see Series 3 in the States, it’s still basically impossible not to get excited about all the new promos, clips and photos that are popping up everywhere online.

And there’s still more! Now with an official airdate in place, UK network ITV has released their first full trailer for Downton Abbey Series 3 and it’s a doozy. The promo is set to a choral version of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” and gives us a glimpse of virtually every character from the Downton world, including a few new faces.

Click through to give the new trailer a look for yourself, and then let’s chat about it in somewhat embarrassing detail. (There’s just so much going on!)

The News Roundup: Sunday Night Reading Edition

Good evening Telly Visions readers – hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend! Baltimore Comic Con was pretty fantastic – I saw some really outstanding costumes, including at least four different versions of the Doctor, met some lovely people, and got to give away a lot of goodies by quizzing people on British trivia. More details to come!

But, on to the really important things! While you’re winding down your weekend, catch up on the latest from around the world of British entertainment, including news on Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Red Dwarf, Sherlock, Sinbad, White Queen, Bedlam, and more!

Telly Visions is Heading to Baltimore Comic Con This Weekend to Celebrate the British Invasion

Heads up, Telly Visions readers – I’m headed to Baltimore Comic Con this weekend! I’ve never attended this particular event before, so I’m pretty excited. If you’re in the area and happen to be planning to or thinking about going yourself, leave me a comment below or shoot me a tweet here or here! Would love to get the chance to say hi to anyone that happens to be there (I’m fun, I promise!) – if only to convince myself that you all are real. (This is blatantly untrue, I’ve met several real live Telly Visions readers now and you’ve all been lovely. I am just hoping to make myself more sympathetic so some of you might be more likely to stop by!)

I’ll be spending the bulk of the day Saturday hanging out in the British Embassy’s exhibit area, as we celebrate the “British Invasion” of the comics world. I’ll also be doing a little promotion for WETA UK and handing out a few goodies, but I still plan to fit in some panel viewing, shopping and general wandering around if at all possible. Since I’ve never been to Baltimore Comic Con before (does it have a generally accepted abbreviation like SDCC?), I’m not quite sure what to expect, but the panels look quite interesting even to a comics beginner like me and, hey, Stan Lee is apparently going to be around, so it’s hard to go too wrong with that as a starting point.

Pictures, tweets and a full report to come!

Amazing Internet Things: Alan Rickman Makes the Most Dramatic Cup of Tea Ever

If I were to tell you that watching a seven minute video of Alan Rickman making a cup of tea is probably the coolest thing you will watch today, would you believe me?

Well, you should. Because it’s amazing. Why does this video exist? Where did it come from? I have no idea, but it’s brilliant. Set to that uber-dramatic music from the Inception trailer (you know what I’m talking about), it’s surprisingly not-boring, despite it’s length. What makes Alan so angry? What’s wrong with his tea? Why on earth is he using a tea bag, for heaven’s sake.

Click through and take a look at the sort of awesome silliness the internet was made for.

Extended Trailer For Downton Abbey Shows Us Some New Faces in Series 3

Finally, we get a bit of a longer look at Series 3 of Downton Abbey! Masterpiece has released a full trailer for the new season and despite its smaller-than-we’d-all-like size (it clocks in at a bit over a minute), it’s packed full of interesting tidbits about the continuing saga of the Crawley clan and everyone connected to them.

There are multiple zingers from Dame Maggie Smith, a few more seconds of the arrival of Shirley MacLaine’s Martha, a surprisingly hopeful moment for Edith, a look at Matt Milne as new footman Alfred, and a sweet scene between Anna and Bates. Unexpectedly, there’s basically no footage featuring Matthew and Mary – Dan Stevens has a blink and you’ll miss it line in an early snippet, but there’s no sign of Michelle Dockery at all. Wonder what that might mean for our favorite on-again/off-again couple? (I seriously don’t think I can take them having more problems. Just saying.)

Click through to take a look for yourself and leave your predictions for the new season in the comments (get them in before everyone from the UK starts trying to spoil us silly in a week or so!)

See the Full Q&A with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan From the Doctor Who NYC Screening!

The weekend before the Doctor Who premiere, a special fan screening of the Series 7 premiere, Asylum of the Daleks, was held in New York City. Not only did those folks lucky enough to attend get to see the latest episode a week before everyone else in the world, they also got to take part in a panel Q&A session with stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Executive Producer Caroline Skinner afterward.

Honestly, I was hoping for more discussion from Who folks about the giant twist that features in the Asylum episode, because I just need to talk this to death personally, apparently, and it only gets one question here. Nevertheless, it’s still a fun little segment and Smith, Gillan and host Chris Hardwicke from The Nerdist are as charming and adorable as ever.

Click through and give it a look for yourself. WARNING: Don’t watch this if you haven’t seen the Series 7 premiere yet. It will spoil you for something that, I promise, you are better off finding out for yourself.

Watch the Full Sherlock Masterclass From the Edinburgh International Television Festival!

Several members of the Sherlock cast and production team participated in the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, holding a masterclass session on the drama and dropping some exceptionally cryptic hints about Series 3.

Co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were both present, as was producer Sue Vertue and everyone’s favorite consulting criminal, Andrew Scott. While there a lot of last minute scheduling shifts surrounding this particular panel – at different points both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were slated to take part, but each had to drop out – the final product certainly sounded as though it was well worth the wait.

Luckily for those of us who are nowhere near Scotland, we can now watch this whole event ourselves. Thanks to the fantastic folks at the MGEITF, the full Sherlock Masterclass session is available to watch online. Other than the awesome Series 2 preview event in New York last spring – an easy victory in this category just by virtue of the fact that I was actually there – this is one of the more interesting panel Q&As with this group that I’ve seen.

Click through and take a look for yourself! Maybe you’ll be able to deduce something about those mysterious “three words” from Moffat and Gatiss’s facial expressions!

The News Roundup: Trying Out A New Timeslot Edition

Happy long weekend, Telly Visions readers! As you can see, we’re continuing this apparently new thing of doing the Friday News Roundup on Saturdays. I don’t know – I kind of like it, perhaps we’ll keep it here for a bit. (And just call it the News Roundup, since I think the grammatical error in the title would make me insane if it stayed as was.) Plus, this is giving me something excellent to do today while avoiding Doctor Who spoilers on the internet. (Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful BBC America does day and date with this at last, but seriously, worst seven hours ever.)

Anyway, it’s Labor Day weekend here in the States, which means we’re bidding goodbye to summer. (Sniff.) Give yourself something to do while you’re lounging pool or barbeque-side and catch up on the latest from around the world of British entertainment. Click through for this week’s update, including goodies on Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Vera, Red Dwarf, Bad Education, Lightfields and more.