12 Days of Downton: One Week Until Downton Abbey Series 2!

It’s officially the New Year, and while that means fresh starts and new beginnings and all that manner of thing, it also means we’re officially one week way from the US premiere of Downton Abbey Series 2!

We’ve still got a whole week of Downton celebrations coming up for you here at Telly Visions this week, but do drop us a comment if you’ve something specific you’d like to see or talk about!

A couple quick Downton-related tune-in tidbits for you:

  • If you missed our re-broadcast of Series 1 and still need to catch up in time for the new episodes – or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about for yourself at last – we’ll be re-airing the entire first season one more time before new episodes start. Tune in at 3pm on Sunday, January 8, for another chance to see the whole thing. We’ll be showing all four episodes back-to-back-to-back-to-back, leading in to the Series 2 premiere at 9pm.
  • In case you weren’t aware, the Downton Christmas special that just aired in the UK last weekend, will be broadcast in the US, and you won’t even have to wait any extra time. It’ll air as the final episode in this Series 2 run, so we will be all caught up with the folks across the pond once we're through.

Happy New Year to All!

Happy New Year, Telly Visions readers! Wishing all of you all the best in 2012 – hoping you have a wonderful year, full of lots of love, laughter, and, of course, some really great British television.

Things I’m particularly looking forward to in the new year? New Sherlock obviously, as well as Downton Abbey’s return, new Absolutely Fabulous after a multiyear absence, and finally getting my teeth into Doc Martin to catch up and get myself ready for new episodes this Spring.

Other things I’m excited to try? The Fades, Merlin Series 4, finally having the time to get into Misfits Series 3, the BBC’s new Great Expectations, a new series of Doctor Who in the Fall, Julian Fellowes’ Titanic miniseries, a new series of Skins, Stella, more Poirot, another series of Upstairs Downstairs, Call the Midwife, Birdsong, and I imagine a bunch of other things I’ve managed to leave off this list or that I didn’t even know existed. If 2011 was anything to go by, the new year will doubtless bring us some fantastic programs, both new and familiar.

What are you most looking forward to in British TV in 2012?

A 2012 Wishlist: 5 Things That Would Be Awesome To See in Sherlock Series 2

With the UK premiere of Sherlock Series 2 roughly 24 hours away (give or take a bit), the internet is flooded with pictures, promos, and a palpable sense of excitement. Some might even say euphoria. (Don’t believe me? Just check out the Sherlock hashtag on Twitter. It’s a bit busy!)

At the beginning of December, a group of seriously lucky people in London attended a screening of the first episode of Series 2, “A Scandal in Belgravia,” and if that weren’t awesome enough, they got to watch the new installment in the company of many of the cast an production crew who made it *and* attend a panel Q&A session afterward with Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Benedict Cumberbatch and Lara Pulver. (Watch a video of this panel here; beware, it’s a tiny bit spoilery.) I was not one of those people unfortunately, but the event did serve as a bit of a catalyst to start the personal speculation gears turning about what Series 2 might actually look like. (And if it has since given me an occupation that has distracted me from looking for reviews and spoilers the past couple of weeks, well, that’s all to the good.)

After all, this new series is tackling what are probably Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most recognizable, iconic stories and, given the quality of the first season, there’s little doubt that the episodes will do the source material justice, it’s likely that both viewers and dedicated Holmes fans will have strong opinions on how they should be depicted. And from a personal perspective, I wanted to get this on paper before I inevitably found out too much about them. We will have to wait until May to see these episodes in America, but it’s never too early to start talking about them!

So, click through for some spoiler-free ramblings on what I’d like to see in the new series, and feel free to share what your ideal Season 2 would look like in our comments!

 

12 Days of Downton: Highclere Castle, or, The "Real" Downton Abbey

A character that is probably just as important to Downton Abbey as the Crawley family or the servants who work for them, is the house they all inhabit. Hands up: Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to live on such a gorgeous estate? I mean, just to get to stroll around those grounds regularly would probably be enough for me. It’s beautiful!

Click through for a look at the actual house that serves as our beloved Downton Abbey and learn about some of the things that make it unique.


The Friday News Roundup: The Last Roundup of 2011 Edition

Happy Friday, Telly Visions readers! And Happy New Year's Eve Eve! Hope everyone is planning to have fun (and be safe) ringing in 2012 this weekend. We're looking forward to lots of great things in the New Year.

But, onward! Click right on through because there are plenty of goodies of all shapes and sizes in the Roundup this week - from playing catch-up with some holiday news (Christmas ratings and No. 1s, oh my!), to the Royal Family, to news updates on Sherlock, Downton Abbey , Bedlam, Great Expectations, Titanic, Upstairs Downstairs and more.

12 Days of Downton: A Guide to Forms of Address and Other Social Minefields in Downton Abbey

For those of us who’ve grown up on this side of the Pond, another potentially confusing bit of Downton Abbey is the complicated system of proper forms of address among the all the British upper classes. (Also known as the “Who are these people?” or “Who are they talking about, again?” effect.)

For example, though I used “Lord Robert” repeatedly in my post about Downton and the entail problem for the sake of clarity, this is actually a huge faux pas, as he would never be called that by anyone he interacted with, be they servants, family members or peers. But, why? What are we supposed to call him instead? (Answer: it often depends on who is doing the talking.)

But, click right on through to the rest of this post, and I’ll try to explain some of the occasionally bizarre rules of the British peerage and the forms of address that would be used by the characters who inhabit the world of Downton. (And please, British scholars out there, jump on in if you’ve got more in-depth reasoning for some of these rules or if you can add some clarity!)

More New Sherlock Season 2 Goodies: Photos and Premiere Q&A Video

Those lucky folks in the UK are just days away from the return of Sherlock (days, the jealousy!), but at least we Americans can partially console ourselves with all the new interviews, photos, clips and other promotional items that seem to be all over the internet right now as we ramp up for the premiere of Series 2.

Click through the cut for a few Sherlock bits and bobs, including a highlight reel of the cast Q&A which followed the British Film Institute screening of Series 2’s first episode and some lovely new photos, including one that has instantly became my new desktop background.

12 Days of Downton: Celebrate Maggie Smith’s Birthday with the Best of the Dowager Countess

Happy Birthday to the Dowager Countess herself! Dame Maggie Smith turns 77 today.

The Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning actress is well known for fantastic performances on both stage and screen, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Travels with My Aunt, A Room with A View, Gosford Park, and her turn as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films.

Her amazing performance as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, is a major highlight of Downton Abbey. The delightfully imperious head of the Crawley family gets all the best lines, and Smith’s impeccable delivery is fantastic.

So, what better way to celebrate the birthday of such a great lady than to relive some of her best Downton moments? Click through for the most memorable scenes from the Dowager Countess – and be sure to share any favorites that may have been left out in the comments!

Watch a Preview of Merlin Series 4: Coming to Syfy in January

Fantasy drama Merlin just aired its fourth series finale over the weekend in the UK, but American audiences won’t have to wait very long to see it for themselves. Merlin Series 4 is set to debut here in the States on Syfy this January.

Extra good news for Merlin fans: the show will be returning for a Series 5, though no word yet on when that will air on either side of the pond.

You can watch a full preview for the new series under the fold, as well as a sneak peek clip from season premiere, “The Darkest Hour”. Merlin returns to Syfy starting January 6!

12 Days of Downton: Photos from Series 2!

We’re 12 days away from Downton Abbey Series 2 – and yes, that means our 12 days of Downton celebration is really going to be more like 14, but consider it bonus material, really.

Today we’re taking a look at some of the gorgeous promotional photos from Series 2, and, while we’ll get around to talking about Downton fashion later in the week, it seems necessary to say that every character just looks exceptionally lovely in these! I am apparently doomed to covet Mary Crawley’s wardrobe.

Click through for a look, featuring Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith and more.

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