Drama

The Curious Case of Spy Drama Hunted: Canceled by the BBC, Saved By American Network

Contemporary spy thriller Hunted starring Melissa George was purported to be a replacement for the BBC’s long-running MI-5 before its premiere earlier this Fall. However, despite fairly strong ratings for its first episode, the series lost half of its audience over its six episode UK run. By the time a BBC spokesperson confirmed that the drama would not return for a second series, claiming, “"It hasn't found the mainstream audience it was hoped,” the news didn’t really seem that surprising.

Pretty open and shut case of a fledging drama failing to live up to its expectations, right? Not so fast. Hunted has an American co-producer, which means that the drama is surprisingly going to get a second chance at life. Hunted airs on Cinemax here in the States, and the network is apparently very happy with the show and its performance in the American market – enough to give it a second series in some as yet to be determined form. Talk about a last minute stay of execution!

Downton Abbey Behind-the-Scenes Special Coming This November

For everyone who’s marking off days on a countdown calendar until Downton Abbey Series 3 arrives Stateside on January 6, there is a little bright spot coming up over Thanksgiving weekend to give you a bit of a Crawley fix while we wait. (Our countdown stands at 53 days, just in case you were keeping track.)

PBS stations nationwide are set to air Downton Abbey Revisited, a behind-the scenes preview special that will refresh everyone’s memory about the events of the series’ first two seasons, as well as offer some hints at what’s to come for all our favorite characters in the new episodes.

Hosted by Angela Lansbury, the 90-minute special will premiere on November 25. It will feature clips recapping all the major plot points from the first two seasons – but, let’s be honest, us loyal Downtonistas already know all that stuff (hands up if you can recite most episodes?). Don’t worry, there will be goodies includedfor us too, such as behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with creator Julian Fellowes and his Emmy-nominated cast and, most importantly, a few new clips and tidbits about the twists and turns waiting for us all in Series 3.

Click through and watch the promo for this special clip show - and let us know what potential Series 3 storylines you're most interested in finding out more about!

Get Your First Look at Series 2 of The Hour, Premiering on BBC America November 28

The Hour, the series that many called Britain’s answer to Mad Men last year, is back for a second series this month. If you’ve never seen The Hour, well, it’s sort of what would happen if you crossed Mad Men with HBO’s The Newsroom and also you were given the extra bonus present of Ben Whishaw in snazzy 1950s suits as the icing on top. (Yes, newly swoony geek girls everywhere, this is your new Q from the latest Bond film, Skyfall. He’s also quite a good actor. Enjoy.)

Series 1 ran here in America in the summer of 2011 and was one of my surprise favorite dramas last year –extremely well-acted, very suspenseful, and the sort of intelligent television that respects it viewers enough to assume that they’re going to keep up with it.

The news drama returns to BBC Two tomorrow night in the UK, but we won’t have to wait very long to see Series 2 for ourselves here in the States, as The Hour will premiere as part of BBC America’s Dramaville block on November 28, so we’ve only got a couple of weeks to wait! Huzzah!

Click through for all the latest on the return of this fabulous – two trailers, some cast interviews, and a quick way to catch yourself up on Series 1 in 90 seconds.

Upstairs Downstairs Dish: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Season 2 of Upstairs Downstairs (and actually this incarnation of the drama, period) wraps itself up with one of the craziest, most dramatic finales in quite some time – war is imminent, affairs are discovered, relationships are tested, spies are exposed, oh, and someone dies, among lots of other things. This episode is hard to like, but certainly fun to watch – and, in that, is really sort of a microcosm for this season as a whole in a lot of ways.

No introduction is really going to do this justice, so let’s just jump right ahead to dishing everything that went down as we say goodbye to this particular incarnation of 165 Eaton Place. Leave your thoughts on things in the comments - am very curious to hear how people felt about this season.

The Complete Sherlock: Coming This November to WETA UK

For those of you in the DC area who are also suffering the indignities of Severe Sherlock Withdrawal –here’s a little bit of news to help with some of that pain. As part of our ongoing series of special Saturday night programming on WETA UK – we’ll be airing the Complete Sherlock this November. That’s right, that means we’ll be broadcasting both Series 1 and 2 over the course of three weekends starting November 17. Mark your calendars and plan accordingly, because as I am sure you all know, there’s never a good reason to not watch Sherlock when it’s on, even if you’ve seen every episode approximately eighteen times. (Not that I speak from experience or anything.)

The BBC’s modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Rupert Graves, Una Stubbs and Louise Brealey and has garnered a dedicated (rabid?) fanbase all over the world, for a reason: it’s excellent. Personally, it’s the best drama I’ve seen in a very, very long time (yes, including Game of Thrones) and I think it should basically be required viewing for everyone who claims to appreciate quality television. If you’d like to read more specifics on this, just click here.

Bonus, if you still have that one random holdout friend that you’ve been trying to convince to sample the brilliance that is Sherlock or possibly know some Elementary enthusiasts who should also be exposed the superior BBC interpretation of Holmes, well now’s your chance to get them onboard. Plus, watching the complete series to date will give us something to do (and tweet about) while we wait for Series 3 filming to get started early next year.

Andrew Scott Weighs In on the Future of Sherlock’s Moriarty

Apparently I must have been the only person on the internet that wasn’t clamoring for – or creating elaborate conspiracy theories about – the possible return of Andrew Scott’s villainous Moriarty whenever Sherlock Series 3 finally gets around to existing. So, it’s a bit painful to have to break the hearts of all those people and report – straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were – that that’s not going to happen.

In a recent interview with the Sun, Scott finally said straight out that “Moriarty is dead,” claiming “I don’t think there could have been any better exit for a character like that.” So, there you go, Moriarty’s really most sincerely dead. Personally, I’m still fairly certain that he’ll show up again – either in flashbacks or in some sort of figment-of-Sherlock’s-mind capacity – but I do think that Moriarty’s days of crime are over for real. Here’s the thing, though – Scott is a great actor and he certainly has wonderful chemistry with co-star Benedict Cumberbatch – but this news is more likely than not a good thing for the series.

Upstairs Downstairs Dish: "The Last Waltz"

The penultimate episode of Upstairs Downstairs Series 2 (and actually of this version of Upstairs Downstairs, period) decides to go all out with soapy drama this week, including an illicit affair, a sudden engagement, emigration plans, a posh Servants Ball and a seriously shocking – nay, almost unbelievable – plot twist at the end. Who even knows where we’re heading with all this for the finale next week, and while it’s unclear if/how the dangling plot threads will be resolved, it should certainly be quite a ride. (And, seriously, who isn’t counting down to the inevitable showdown between Agnes and Persie? Get the popcorn ready.)

Click through and let’s dish the latest craziness and Hallam’s continuing moral decline and get our speculation on for the finale!

New BBC America Teaser for Ripper Street, Series Set to Premiere January 2013

BBC America has released their first preview for upcoming period thriller Ripper Street starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothberg. Set in the Whitechapel neighborhood in the immediate aftermath of the Jack the Ripper murders, Ripper Street will focus on the infamous H Division of the London police department and their attempts to keep the peace in the East End following these grisly crimes.

The first (supertiny) teaser for this highly anticipated series aired following the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics, but this is the first clip in which we can actually see some real footage from the show. Well done, BBC America, for starting the promotional wheels for this series turning earlier rather than later – and not just because the BBC’s tendency to drop trailers two weeks before series premieres is often occasionally frustrating.

Anyway, this clip is well worth a look – Macfadyen is looking predictably dishy in period dress and his performance seems predictably solid, even in these brief snippets. What’s most interesting here, though, is the show’s surprisingly dark and grisly tone. This shouldn’t be a total surprise, given that the series is set right after the Ripper murders, but sense of atmosphere, of place and moment in history, is palpable. I’m intrigued! Hopefully, this won’t doesn’t turn out to be some sort of boring procedural cop drama that happens to feature detectives in period dress, because I quite like the feel of this thing so far. Take a look for yourselves below.

Upstairs Downstairs Dish: “All the Things You Are”

Apologies for the fact that our Upstairs Downstairs recap is a smidge late – blame Hurricane Sandy! We hope that all of you in our area – and points north and west of us as well – are safe, warm and dry today, and have come through the storm successfully. Sending good thoughts your way!

The second series of Upstairs Downstairs continues along its jampacked way with its fourth episode, which includes all manner of eminently watchable strangeness, including servant boxing, illicit romance, marital woes, racial tension and Hallam being a huge jerk. It’s another entertaining episode even if it occasionally seems only tangentially connected to what we’ve seen before. Personally I’ve decided to accept that I just can’t get too emotionally invested in this show – Alex Kingston’s fantastic Lady Blanche aside – and am committed to just enjoying the ride for what it is And it’s super fun to watch, even if for about fifty percent of the time, the fun comes from hoping certain characters get punched in the face.

Click through and let’s dish everything important that happened this week, such as Harry the Driver’s sudden development of a meaningful past and Hallam’s new status as one of my most hated characters on TV. Leave your thoughts in the comments – should be fun to discuss!

Sherlock Holmes Series Elementary Gets a Full-Season Order From CBS: Four Things to Work On

CBS announced yesterday that it’s giving a full-season order to its freshman drama series Elementary. This news isn’t a huge surprise - the modern-day Sherlock Holmes adaptation has been performing admirably for the network on Thursday nights. It’s the second most popular new series of the season and averages somewhere in the 11-14 million viewers per episode range, even if their demos do skew rather on the older side. (This is CBS though, so I’m sure that fact wasn’t terribly unexpected, either.)

For many Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts, this is probably very welcome news – and I agree that more Holmes in any incarnation is almost always excellent. While Elementary did not turn out to be quite the trainwreck I had originally envisioned and I mostly enjoyed the pilot, personally, I’ve found its subsequent episodes to be somewhat mediocre. Since it’s now confirmed that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu for the rest of the year – American seasons run for 22 episodes after all – there’s plenty of time for the show to work out its kinks. Here are a few suggestions.

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