Drama

First Look: BBC’s The Paradise vs. ITV’s Mr. Selfridge

The BBC and ITV look set to recreate their 2010 on-air period drama battle between Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, only this time the setting is posh department stores instead of Edwardian drawing rooms. BBC One has released their first promo for an upcoming drama called The Paradise, which ostensibly looks to be an answer to ITV’s Mr. Selfridge, the ten-part series focused on the life of the American founder of Selfridges that’s set to air next year.

Click through to see first look trailers for both The Paradise and Mr. Selfridge – and let the department store wars begin!

Everyone Get Excited: Here Are Two New Teasers for Downton Abbey Series 3

Finally! UK network ITV has released two new teaser clips for the highly-anticipated third series of Downton Abbey! Both are excellent and both – naturally – feature Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham being her trademark acerbic/utterly fabulous self.

While both snippets clock in at about twenty seconds long, for those of us who are feverishly counting the days until the Crawleys return to our television screens, they’re basically like water in the desert. And, yes, it’s a chance to get your first look at Smith’s Lady Violet facing off with newcomer Shirley MacLaine’s Martha Levinson. So, click through and watch for yourself!

Get Your First Look at Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch in Parade’s End

The first trailer for BBC Two’s sumptuous-looking costume drama Parade’s End starring Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch and The Town’s Rebecca Hall has been released. Finally. The whole idea of Cumberbatch + period drama + romantic angst is basically my personal kryptonite, so I’ve pretty much been refreshing my Google feeds daily for any information about this upcoming series. And in my obviously quite biased opinion, this looks fantastic. Lush and romantic and full of class issues, all the sorts of things that those of us who love costume drama tend to crave.

The five-part miniseries is written by no less than Sir Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Arcadia) and is based on a series of four novels by Ford Madox Ford. Parade’s End will follow the story of English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens (Cumberbatch) and his wife Sylvia (Hall) from the last years of the Edwardian era through the end of the First World War.

Click through, take a look for yourself, and leave your thoughts in the comments.

It's Tiny, But BBC One's Promo for Ripper Street Still Packs a Lot of Atmosphere

The BBC used the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics last night to kick off their promotional campaign for upcoming period/crime drama Ripper Street, with what I assume must be one of the shortest teaser trailers in existence.

“As the sun sets on the Olympics, darkness rises,” intones an ominous sounding voiceover, as three men chase (presumably) a criminal through a shadowy alley. That’s literally it as far as new footage goes, but since Ripper Street is pretty high on my list of 2012 programs I’m excited about, I don’t mind so much. It’s all terribly atmospheric.

Created by Mistresses’ writer Richard Warlow and starring MI-5’s Matthew Macfadyen, Game of Thrones’ Jerome Flynn, The Twilight Saga’s Myanna Buring and Luther’s David Dawson, this eight-part period drama will attempt to make the oft-depicted Jack the Ripper murders interesting again by focusing on the aftermath of the famous crimes instead of identity of the murderer. Ripper Street will dramatize the life of London’s H Division, the police precinct charged with keeping order in the Whitechapel neighborhood in the days following the Ripper killings.

Click through and take a look. There’s certainly not enough (any?) actual footage to make any sort of judgment about the series, but if this sort of thing is your cup of tea, it’s enough to get you excited for more.

New Trailer for CBS’ Sherlock Holmes Adaptation Elementary

CBS has released a new trailer for their upcoming Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary. This one is very heavy on the Jonny Lee Miller version of Holmes being sort of quirky and strange stuff, but at least seems to have backed off the Holmes/Watson vaguely relationship-oriented tension thing, which is nice.

Is it weird that it bugs me so much that Joan apparently doesn’t get a first name in this trailer? She’s just “WATSON”. So bizarre. That’s a kind of strange tick throughout the pilot actually – they’re forever calling her Watson, which I suppose is some kind of nod to the canon, but I am having a hard time imagining a woman who enjoys being addressed like that.

Click through and take a look for yourself - Elementary premieres Thursday, September 27. It will be so interesting to see what everyone else thinks of it.

Preview the BBC’s New Spy Thriller “Hunted”

The BBC has released the first trailer for Hunted, a new contemporary spy thriller from the producers of MI-5 starring Grey’s Anatomy’s Melissa George. The eight-part series features George as Sam Hunter, an elite operative for a private intelligence company who is trying to untangle the aftermath of an attempt on her life. Of course, the catch is that it might be her own team that’s trying to kill her, and she returns to her firm not knowing who she can trust. Dun dun dun!

George, already a veteran of spy dramas thanks to her turn on ABC’s Alias, seems much more interesting and likeable in this brief clip than she did during most of her run as Sydney’s nemesis Lauren. (Sidebar: I actually like George a lot as an actress, but I will never forgive that Alias subplot.)

Click through and take a look for yourself!

I, Claudius: Coming To WETA UK in September!

Exciting news about a bit of upcoming programming on WETA UK – I, Claudius, one of the most popular British mini-series of all time, will premiere on our all-British sub-channel channel starting September 1st.

For those of you who don’t know, I, Claudius is a thirteen-part series produced by the BBC in 1976 and it’s still one of the network’s most successful efforts. The drama stars Sir Derek Jacobi as Claudius and features a supporting cast that is stuffed full of awesome talent, including Sian Phillips, Brian Blessed, John Hurt, Patrick Stewart, George Baker, Margaret Tyzack, John Rhys-Davies and more.

Narrated by an elderly Claudius, the story follows the history of Rome from the death of Marcellus, nephew and son-in-law of Emperor Augustus, in the first episode, to Claudius’ own death in its last. (This is somewhere around from 24 BC or so to 54 A.D in Roman history. Ish.) The plot focuses on Augustus’ attempts to find an heir, the machinations of his wife Livia who wants to elevate her own son Tiberius, and what turns out to be several decades’ worth of plotting and double-dealing that culminates with Cladius’s own unlikely rise to power.

If you’ve never seen it before, I, Claudius is so well worth a look! WETA UK will be airing all thirteen parts in two separate blocks – we’ll be running four episodes at a time on Saturday nights starting September 1st. If you would prefer to see your Roman intrigue at a slightly more stately pace, we’ll also be running the whole thing on Mondays, one episode at a time (i.e. Episode 1 will air Monday, September 3 and continue on from there). Pick whichever airing schedule works best for you and mark your calendars now.

Thoughts? Have you always meant to try this classic out? Or are you looking forward to seeing the series again? Let us know!

David Tennant Talks Upcoming Drama The Spies of Warsaw

During last week’s Television Critics Association Press Tour, former Doctor Who star David Tennant was on hand to get the promotional wheels started for his new upcoming spy drama, a BBC/BBC America co-production called The Spies of Warsaw. Based on the Alan Furst novel of the same name, Tennant will be starring opposite a stellar ensemble cast that includes Torchwood’s Burn Gorman, The Hour’s Anton Lesser and White Heat’s Richard Lintern.

Tennant took the time to appear on G4’s Attack of the Show, where he was most adorable, used his real accent and talked a bit about both his latest project and his time on Doctor Who. Oh, and there’s also dancing. It’s definitely worth a watch. Click through and take a look for yourself!

Watch Three New Masterpiece Trailers for Wallander Series 3!

Sir Kenneth Branagh is back on Masterpiece Mystery next month in the highly anticipated third series of Wallander. Based on the character created by best-selling novelist Henning Mankell , the soul-searching Swedish cop Kurt Wallander returns for three new feature-length cases, starting Sunday, September 9.

Branagh, who has been nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in this role, will be once again joined by Sarah Smart (Wuthering Heights) as detective Anne-Britt Hoglund and Jeany Spark (Tess of d’Ubervilles) as Wallander’s daughter Linda. Prime Suspect’s Ingeborga DapkÅ«naitÄ— is also slated to guest star.

In the new episodes, Wallander’s hard-won and fragile new hope is put to the test when the most brutal of crimes – and his own demons – are unearthed. Click through for a look at three just-released previews – one for each of the new Wallander episodes. The new mysteries are titled An Event in Autumn, The Dogs of Riga and Before the Frost.

They look pretty good! Click through to get your first taste of Wallander Series 3 for yourself.

Want a First Look at the Elementary Pilot? Read on for an Early Review

CBS held a preview screening and cast Q&A with the stars and writers of their new modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Several thousand of us all got to watch the pilot together and then listen to folks behind the scenes talk about their new project.

Given that I have previously expressed more than a few varied and detailed issues with the fact that this CBS Holmes adaptation exists at all, you may be surprised by what I’m about to say here. Which is, basically, that Elementary – or the pilot at least – is not nearly as bad as I expected. In fact, it’s quite enjoyable.

The pilot isn’t perfect, and it seems apparent that this show will never hit anywhere close to the same level of quality as the BBC Sherlock that’s currently all the rage on both sides of the pond. That said, it’s very watchable, thanks in large part to the great cast. It’s enjoyable enough even that I’m going to give it a couple of episodes to see how it goes instead of just immediately writing it off. (Trust me, I’m as surprised as any of you about this fact.)

Why? Click through for a more detailed read on my early thoughts on Elementary, as well as a few tidbits about the show’s direction that were let out of the bag during their Comic Con panel.

 

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