Drama

A Look at the BBC’s New World War I Drama “Birdsong"

The BBC’s long-awaited television adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' best-selling novel Birdsong premiered in the UK last night, taking over the Sunday night drama spot from Sherlock. (And given that Sherlock got nearly 10 million viewers an episode – huge numbers for the Beeb – Birdsong has some rather big shoes to fill!)

Reviews from the UK are rather glowing thus far and people are throwing around phrases like “achingly bleak and romantic,” “a triumph,” and “a glorious tale of love and war.” Okay, okay, you got my attention TV reviewers. I'm intrigued.

The World War I drama stars Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn, The Pillars of the Earth) and Clémence Poésy (In Bruges) as Stephen and Isabelle, two young lovers who have a fairly all-consuming – and, yes, tragic – affair. Longing looks and angst abound. And then, of course, there’s the whole problem of the war.

Birdsong is written by Abi Morgan, who also penned recent films The Iron Lady and Shame. According to the BBC press release, the series “moves between 1910 and 1916, telling the story of Stephen Wraysford's passionate and erotic, but ultimately doomed, affair with Isabelle Azaire before the war, and the enduring effect it has on him as he fights amidst the blood and gore of the trenches.”

Click through for a look at a BBC preview for yourselves. Birdsong is slated to debut in America this Spring on Masterpiece.

Get a Sneak Peek at Downton Abbey’s Third Episode!

A brand new episode of Downton Abbey airs tonight at 9pm on Masterpiece Classic! Hope everyone is suitably excited! (You should be. I watched a screener of this episode. It’s really good.)

Click through to whet your appetite for tonight with a sneak peek at a scene from the newest installment. If you’ve missed anything – you can catch the first two episodes online or read up on what happened.

It's Elementary: Sherlock Set to Return for Series 3

Series 2 of Sherlock concluded this past weekend in the UK to excellent ratings, loads of critical acclaim and a generally rapturous fan reaction all over the internet. While Americans have to wait until May 6 (109 days!) to see the drama’s second season for themselves, a happy piece of news has surfaced that might make everyone feel a little (a lot) better while they’re counting down the days.

Immediately after the conclusion of the second series finale, titled The Reichenbach Fall, Sherlock co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss both tweeted some fantastic news - Series 3 of the popular detective drama is confirmed.

This news comes despite some…how shall we put this…delicately phrased statements to the press from both cast and crew in the days leading up to the finale which implied that the second series might be Sherlock’s last. But, apparently, Series 3 has always been planned. Both showrunners confirmed that a third outing was commissioned by the BBC at the same time as Series 2. Basically, this means everyone involved did a fairly masterful job of keeping this news under wraps all year, so, well played gentlemen!

No word yet on when we can expect the third series of Sherlock on either side of the pond, though it’s looking like early in 2013 as the soonest possibility, though it’s likely that it could get pushed back a bit further than that, due to the schedules of all involved.

Moffat will have to juggle some heavy Doctor Who production (rumor has it that they’re shooting the entire next 13 episode season in one go), and stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both busy doing some major Hollywood filming (Star Trek and The Hobbit) for the next few months. Neither actor has commented on Series 3 as yet, though they’ve both said they’d like to do it in recent interviews, and, well, it’s doubtful that we’d be making a third season without Sherlock or John. Thus, the (waiting) game is on!

Downton Discussion: What You Need to Know About Episode 2

The second series of Downton Abbey continues! In the season’s second episode, the main plots revolving around the war didn’t advance very far, but we got lots of smaller character moments to make up for it.

We continue to see how the war is affecting everyday life at Downton, as well as impacting those who live there. Click through for a look at some of the big moments from this week’s episode, and share your thoughts in the comments!

Preview the Sherlock Series 2 Finale, “The Reichenbach Fall”

Viewers in the UK are watching the Series 2 finale of Sherlock tonight, and while we have to wait a bit longer (112 days! Not that I am counting or anything!) for the new episodes to air here in America, that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a little taste of what’s coming for ourselves.

The Reichenbach Fall is written by Steve Thompson, who wrote Series 1 episode The Blind Banker. Based on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story The Final Problem, this episode features the return of Sherlock’s nemesis Moriarty. Click through for a look at BBC’s trailer for the finale, set to haunting song “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone, as well as a new scene from the episode, courtesy of a recent talk show appearance by star Martin Freeman.

Take a Sneak Peek at a Scene From Tomorrow’s New Downton Abbey!

A brand new episode of Downton Abbey airs tomorrow on Masterpiece Classic and, obviously, everyone’s excited to see what happens in the next chapter of this addictive period drama.

Click through to whet your appetite for Sunday night with a sneak peek at a scene from the newest installment. And if you missed the premiere last weekend, you can watch the full episode online or get caught up on the important things you need to know from the first episode.

Britwatch: You're Probably Going to Like the Guest Star in Tonight's Miss Marple Mystery

One of the best things about British actors is their tendency to just pop up everywhere: in any sort of role, seemingly at random, as part of a show you never would have expected.

So, with that in mind, let me encourage you to tune-in tonight for the WETA Mystery at 10pm. We're airing Miss Marple's "Murder is Easy" and I think a lot of you - especially if you're Sherlock fans - are probably going to get a kick out of the guest star. (I didn't even know he was in a Miss Marple mystery? I am such a bad fan!)

Trailer and a New Cast Photo for Skins Series 6

Skins, E4’s sometimes risqué, often hilarious, and generally compelling drama focused on the lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol, will return for a sixth series in the UK starting January 23.

Created by the father-and-son writing team of Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain, Skins’ first season aired in 2007 and the show received both critical acclaim and complaints for its dedication to realistically depicting the issues facing modern teens, including family problems, sexuality, drugs, eating disorders, mental illness, death and, of course, loads of relationship drama. If you’ve only heard of this show via the dreadful American adaptation that appeared on MTV – well, suffice it to say that the original is extra superior in this particular case.

Click through for some goodies from the new series, including the first trailer and a new cast photo, which features stars Dakota Blue Richards, Will Merrick, Alexander Arnold, Freya Mavor, Sean Teale, Laya Lewis, Sebastian De Souza and Jessica Sula, as well as newcomer Sam Jackson (who will play a new character named Alex.)

Downton Discussion: What You Need to Know About the Downton Abbey Series 2 Premiere

The highly anticipated second series of Downton Abbey returned to America this past Sunday with strong ratings, plenty of drama, and lots of twists to get fans talking. So…let’s do that, shall we?

The two-hour first episode introduced war to Downton, offered lots of changes to relationships both new and old, and brought some new characters into the fold. Click through for a recap of the big plot takeaways and share your thoughts on the episode in the comments!

William and Mary: Watch the Full Series in Order Starting Sunday, January 15

Time for a quick programming update that's sure to make a lot of you smile!

Charming romantic drama William and Mary, starring Doc Martin’s Martin Clunes and Survivors' Julie Graham, is moving to Sundays at 4pm on WETA starting this weekend on January 15th. The series will be part of a new block of British programming on Sunday afternoons, which will also feature Sherlock Holmes and Prime Suspect.

WETA will be starting William & Mary over from the very first episode this Sunday, so now’s the perfect time to jump in if you’ve been thinking about trying it out. In additional great news, the entirety of the series will now air in order during this Sunday timeslot! We’ve got all three seasons - 18 episodes - so you won’t have to worry about missing out on anything!

 

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