Drama

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.

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.

 

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!

'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?

Preview Upcoming Hitchock Drama The Girl from HBO and BBC Two

Here’s an oddity – for once I get to post a preview of something British we’re going to get before the UK does. I kind of don’t know what to do! Premium cable channel HBO has been partnering with BBC Two on a variety of productions this year – including the period drama Parade’s End with Benedict Cumberbatch that’s currently airing across the pond – and has just released a trailer for The Girl, the upcoming one-off film about the making of Alfred Hitchock’s 1963 classic The Birds.

The ninety minute drama and will tell the story of Hitchock’s tense relationship (some would call it obsession) with actress Tippi Hedren, the young unknown model he cast in the film. The two shared an intense working relationship, and Hedren later claiming that Hitchcock ruined her career after she refused his sexual advances. The Girl stars Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Hedren, with a strong supporting cast that includes Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton and Harry Potter’s Imelda Staunton.

Honestly, the trailer is quite tense and a bit disturbing, albeit in a strangely fascinating way. This wasn’t really on my “to-watch” radar until I saw this clip, but now I think I’m going to have to put it on the calendar. (Plus, Jones is always fantastic, if you ask me.) Click through and give it a look for yourself.

Everyone Panicking About the Possibility of Sherlock Ending After Series 3 Needs to Calm Down

All week long I’ve been seeing news pieces about Sherlock pop up in my Google reader, with some variation on “OMG, Series 3 Will Be The Last For The Show!” or “No More Sherlock, Say It Isn’t So?!!” attached. I swear, I have seen some version of this article at least 36 times in the past three days, and that's not counting the emails I’ve received on the same topic. Everyone seems to be suddenly and absolutely convinced that Series 3 will be the show’s grand finale, and is freaking out accordingly.

My thoughts on this boil down to: Everyone, please chill out.

Since I am not best friends forever with either Steven Moffat or Mark Gatiss, I certainly don’t have any insider information that proves we’ll get a Series 4. But, I think Sherlock himself would berate the (many, many) authors of these articles for seeing without observing and/or not doing their research. Could Sherlock end next year? It’s certainly possible. But I think it’s unlikely, and I certainly think there’s no reason to panic at this juncture, particularly when the third series doesn’t even exist yet.

Excuse me while I put my earhat, John deerstalker on. (Translation: Click through for lots of thoughts on this apparently very hot topic.)

An Embarrassment of Riches: Another New Downton Abbey Promo is Here!

Honestly, what are we all going to do for three months after this initial Downton Abbey press wave is over? The wildly popular period drama returns this month in the UK and while we Americans will have to wait until January to see Series 3 in the States, it’s still basically impossible not to get excited about all the new promos, clips and photos that are popping up everywhere online.

And there’s still more! Now with an official airdate in place, UK network ITV has released their first full trailer for Downton Abbey Series 3 and it’s a doozy. The promo is set to a choral version of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” and gives us a glimpse of virtually every character from the Downton world, including a few new faces.

Click through to give the new trailer a look for yourself, and then let’s chat about it in somewhat embarrassing detail. (There’s just so much going on!)

Extended Trailer For Downton Abbey Shows Us Some New Faces in Series 3

Finally, we get a bit of a longer look at Series 3 of Downton Abbey! Masterpiece has released a full trailer for the new season and despite its smaller-than-we’d-all-like size (it clocks in at a bit over a minute), it’s packed full of interesting tidbits about the continuing saga of the Crawley clan and everyone connected to them.

There are multiple zingers from Dame Maggie Smith, a few more seconds of the arrival of Shirley MacLaine’s Martha, a surprisingly hopeful moment for Edith, a look at Matt Milne as new footman Alfred, and a sweet scene between Anna and Bates. Unexpectedly, there’s basically no footage featuring Matthew and Mary – Dan Stevens has a blink and you’ll miss it line in an early snippet, but there’s no sign of Michelle Dockery at all. Wonder what that might mean for our favorite on-again/off-again couple? (I seriously don’t think I can take them having more problems. Just saying.)

Click through to take a look for yourself and leave your predictions for the new season in the comments (get them in before everyone from the UK starts trying to spoil us silly in a week or so!)

Watch the Full Sherlock Masterclass From the Edinburgh International Television Festival!

Several members of the Sherlock cast and production team participated in the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, holding a masterclass session on the drama and dropping some exceptionally cryptic hints about Series 3.

Co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were both present, as was producer Sue Vertue and everyone’s favorite consulting criminal, Andrew Scott. While there a lot of last minute scheduling shifts surrounding this particular panel – at different points both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were slated to take part, but each had to drop out – the final product certainly sounded as though it was well worth the wait.

Luckily for those of us who are nowhere near Scotland, we can now watch this whole event ourselves. Thanks to the fantastic folks at the MGEITF, the full Sherlock Masterclass session is available to watch online. Other than the awesome Series 2 preview event in New York last spring – an easy victory in this category just by virtue of the fact that I was actually there – this is one of the more interesting panel Q&As with this group that I’ve seen.

Click through and take a look for yourself! Maybe you’ll be able to deduce something about those mysterious “three words” from Moffat and Gatiss’s facial expressions!

Another New Downton Abbey Clip Arrives: Watch the Dowager and Martha Face Off

It seems pretty clear that while everyone ever is eagerly (rabidly? fanatically? intensely?) anticipating the return of Downton Abbey, what we all most want to see in Series 3 is Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess throw down with newcomer Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine. As Cora’s American mother, Martha will obviously be bringing a new sensibility into the stoic English estate, and seems certain to clash quite frequently with the more traditionalist Violet.

Luckily, we can get another taste of what's in store for us in Series 3 now - Masterpiece has released another new clip from the new season, and it's basically made to satisfy our need to see as much of Dame Maggie vs. Shirley as we can possibly get.

Click through for another sneak peek at the new season for yourself and let us hear your thoughts in the comments. Just 133 days to go! (Sigh. Yet another reason I wish I lived in the UK!)

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