Rumor Has It: Julian Fellows Planning a Downton Abbey Prequel?

A particularly exciting rumor surfaced last week – first reported by the Daily Mail, but subsequently picked up by BBC News, so I feel less like this story’s pulling my leg – we may have more Downton Abbey to look forward to! Well, sort of.

Downton writer/creator Julian Fellowes told a BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture that he’s been thinking about writing a prequel to the popular costume drama, which would focus on the courtship and early relationship of the Earl of Grantham and Lady Cora.

"I do actually have an idea of doing a prequel of the courtship of Robert and Cora, when all those American heiresses were arriving in London,” Fellowes said. "They had a slightly troubled courtship, because she was in love with him before they married, as we know, and he married her entirely for her money."

The series would cast a pair of younger actors in the roles made famous by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, and Fellowes insist that any prequel will have to wait until after Downton Abbey itself concludes. But just the possibility of this is intriguing! Click through and let’s chat about it – is the idea of a prequel interesting to you? Who would you cast as the leads?

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.

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