The Great Sherlock Debate: Holmes in the 21st Century

Something exceptionally cool is going on in the UK right about now – the start of the Great Sherlock Holmes Debate! This event features leading Holmes experts from the UK, USA, and Australia facing off in an attempt to answer the question – Which Sherlock Holmes adaptation makes the best contribution to Holmes in the 21st century? These experts have been split into teams – originally this event was supposed to only feature supporters of BBC’s Sherlock adaptation versus loyalists of Guy Ritchie’s recent Sherlock Holmes film, but a third team has been added for the “Traditionalists”, who feel that the traditional adaptations (Jeremy Brett’s series, especially) still have an important impact on modern audiences. How awesome is this? I’m intensely jealous of all the folks who get to sit in the audience (apparently fans from 23 countries scored tickets) and watch this all go down. If you’re really interested in the particulars, you can learn more about the folks representing each team here and the debate on Facebook as well.

As, I’m sure most of you have probably guessed by now, I’m firmly on Team Cumberbatch BBC Sherlock personally. Not that I would disparage any of these other fine adaptations, as they both have strong merits of their own, and, really, I’m generally of the opinion that the world can’t have too many versions of Sherlock Holmes running ‘round it. (Hey, I watch House too. Or at least I did, until that whole weird Cuddy storyline happened. But that’s another blog post.)

There’s plenty to like and debate about with each team though, so click through for a run-down on each.

 

The Song of Lunch This Sunday on Masterpiece Contemporary

Coming this Sunday night to Masterpiece Contemporary, The Song of Lunch is an innovatively presented drama starring the always awesome duo of Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson. While writing about Bill Nighy’s role in Page Eight last weekend, I was reminded of how very much I adore the film Love Actually and apparently all roads lead back to that film for me this week, because it’s the Rickman/Thompson storyline that’s my favorite bit there. They’re just incredible together. (It’s also the only storyline that I wish they’d continued a few minutes further on at the end of that film, but that’s a rant for another day.) So, I am especially looking forward to watching this, if only because it’s always a pleasure to see two people who are such excellent actors on their own work together.

The interesting thing is that The Song of Lunch is a narrative poem. Written by Christopher Reid, it’s the story of ex-lovers who meet for lunch at an old favorite restaurant. The film is largely a dramatic reenactment of the poem and uses minimal dialogue other than the text itself being read. I think this is a tremendously intriguing concept, so watch this space for an early review towards the end of the week. For now, take a look at the preview to get a feel for it, and marvel how both of these actors just keep aging so darn well.

Obvious: Five Reasons You Should Watch Sherlock’s “A Study in Pink” Tonight

For those who’ve yet to experience the excellence that is the BBC's modern re-imagining of Holmes, you’re in luck, because we’re re-broadcasting all three episodes from the brilliant first series of Masterpiece Mystery's Sherlock on WETA over the next three weeks. The first installment, “A Study in Pink,” airs tonight at 8pm, and its two subsequent episodes will air on November 15 and 22, respectively.

So do click through to read the rest of this article, and I’ll try my best to convince you why it will be of an ultimate benefit to your life to park yourself in front of the TV this evening.

Relevant to Our Interests: British TV Highlights on WETA This Week!

Thought it might be useful to start providing everyone with a handy reference guide to our upcoming must-see British programming of the week here on WETA, to make sure that no one ends up accidentally missing anything important. Let us know if this feature is helpful, or if I accidentally end up leaving off anything you'd particularly like to see covered!

Happy Monday, and hope you’ll find something you’re excited to watch this week!

Monday – Tonight William & Mary returns to its regular 10pm timeslot with two back-to-back episodes. Polish off Series 1 and get started on Series 2!

TuesdaySherlock’s “A Study in Pink” airs at 8pm. We’ll be airing all three episodes of the Masterpiece Mystery! hit on Tuesdays in November, so mark those calendars accordingly.

Thursday – WETA Mystery night means loads of British sleuthing going on. Watch Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett edition) in “The Problem of Thor Bridge” at 8pm, Agatha Christie’s Poirot in “The Underdog” at 9pm, and the two parts of Foyle’s War’s “Among the Few” start at 9:52pm.

Friday – An important note for our Eastenders fans: Due to special programming for Veterans’ Day, we won’t be visiting Albert Square this week. But not to fret – next Friday, November 18, will feature a four-episode block to make up for it.

Saturday – We’ve got Doc Martin at 8pm. Catch “Better the Devil” and “Uneasy Lies the Head” from Series IV.

Sunday – The amazing duo of Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson star in The Song of Lunch on Masterpiece Contemporary at 9pm. We’ll also wrap the first series of Hustle with back to back episodes starting at 10pm.

Preview Tonight’s Masterpiece Contemporary: Page Eight

The new season of Masterpiece Contemporary kicks off tonight at 9pm with a star-studded, twisty spy drama called Page Eight. The cast list is impressive – Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Judy Davis, Michael Gambon and more – and reason enough on its own for you to tune-in, but Page Eight is also a cracking good drama that’s much more focused on character than it is about the traditional trappings of spy films. (Nothing blows up and no one waves a gun at anything.)

Page Eight has a similar feel to some of the other conspiracy-themed dramas that have been popping up in recent years. If you’ve enjoyed Homeland, Rubicon, State of Play, or any of their ilk, you’ll like Page Eight. It’s familiar enough to fall into easily, but the story still feels fresh, despite the fact that “Higher Ups in Government Hide Information From General Public” is not exactly a new tale.

Watch a preview to get a feel for the film, and then click through for some (spoiler-free!) thoughts!

Time for the Friday News Roundup!

Happy Friday folks! Here’s a look at a bunch of the stuff I thought was interesting in British entertainment news this week. We’ve got Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, and more. (But if you only look at one thing, please click the link about Jonathan Ross’ Halloween party that’s first up. The pictures are comedy gold.)

News of the Day: Downton Abbey Renewed!

 

Exciting news for Downton Abbey fans – the period drama was picked up for a third series yesterday by ITV! [Pause for happy dancing and various forms of enthusiastic celebration. A long pause.]

Downton’s second season, which wraps in the UK this weekend and will air in America starting January 8, has been doing fairly gangbusters ratings for ITV, so this isn’t exactly shocking news, though it’s certainly very welcome. Downton Series 3 will be comprised of eight episodes, set over the two year period of 1920 and 1921. Crowleys in the Roaring Twenties? Yes, please!

Obviously, as this news was just announced yesterday, there’s no indication of when Series 3 will debut, either abroad or here in America, and it's highly likely no one involved has given any thought to any of that just yet. I wouldn't expect to hear anything on that front for quite a while, actually, but stay tuned for updates as news becomes available.

New Downton Abbey Series 2 Promo!

We’re now 66 days from the premiere of the new series of Downton Abbey on January 8, 2012. Just over two months to go!

To help get through the wait, here’s a brand new promo just released for the new season, with a few superquick scenes which should probably get everyone chomping at the bit for Christmas to just get over with already. (Personally, I’m definitely looking forward to a visit from the Dowager Countess way more than I am from Santa, that’s for sure.)

If you need more ideas on things to do while you’re waiting for new episodes to return, why not let Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton offer her suggestions on how to survive the hiatus, including several great ideas for the history buffs in our crowd.

All Things Sherlock: Series 1 Rebroadcast and Series 2 Gossip

All of you who’ve been wondering what the big deal is about Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ modern retelling of the famous Sherlock Holmes story are going to get another chance to see what all the fuss is about.

Starting a week from today, we’ll be re-broadcasting the entire first series of my current obsession Sherlock, every Tuesday night for three weeks. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch (♥) and Martin Freeman, Sherlock is a 21st century version of the world’s most famous detective (thankfully, minus deerstalker thus far), set in an exceptionally nice-to-look-at modern London. The first episode “A Study in Pink,” a retelling (mostly) of the story “A Study in Scarlet,” will re-air next Tuesday, November 8, at 8pm.

And, as I am always looking for an excuse to watch the trailer again, have a look at the Series 1 promo and get in the mood for a trip back to 221B Baker Street.

If that’s not enough Sherlock for you, click through and after the jump we’ve got some casting tidbits and Series 2 gossip that those of you seeking to remain entirely spoiler-free for the new episodes might want to avoid.

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!

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