Drama

Tune-In Alert: Wallander Series 1 Marathon on WETA Tonight!

Heads up for Masterpiece Mystery lovers! We’ll be re-airing Series 1 of gritty crime drama Wallander in full tonight starting at 8pm, running all three episodes back-to-back-to-back.

If you’ve not seen this before, Wallander is based on a popular series of novels by Swedish author Henning Mankell. The series stars Kennth Branagh as titular inspector Kurt Wallander, who has been solving heinous crimes for his entire career while watching his personal life increasingly spiral out of control.

The series is a strange combination of dark, existential, complicated and gripping. Wallander is not exactly what I would call happy viewing, necessarily, but it’s certainly compelling and the mysteries that the Swedish detective must solve are all extremely well done and will keep you guessing through most of the episodes. That the show is a bit bleak is, in some ways, appealing – it’s very unlike most procedurals and mysteries currently on-air and that, in its way, is very refreshing. Plus, it’s a fantastic performance from Branagh in the lead role, and the supporting cast – including Sarah Smart, Tom Beard, Jeany Spark, Tom Hiddleston and more – is top-notch.

Click through for a preview and some details about tonight’s marathon. Enjoy!

Andrew Scott, Martin Clunes and More to Star in ITV’s New Drama The Town

Sherlock star Andrew Scott is set to headline a new three-part contemporary drama for ITV called The Town. Scott will star alongside what looks to be a truly outstanding ensemble cast, which includes many names you’ll recognize, including Martin Clunes (Doc Martin), Julia McKenzie (Miss Marple), Charlotte Riley (DCI Banks), Gerard Kearns (Shameless) and Kelly Adams (Holby City).

Scott, who recently won a BAFTA for his portrayal of Holmes’ nemesis Moriarty, will play Mark Nicholas, a man who returns to his hometown after ten years away and struggles to reconnect with those he left behind – including his family, friends and former sweetheart, who is now married with a child. MacKenzie plays his grandmother Betty, Riley is his first love Alice, and Clunes is the town’s alcohol-soaked mayor, Len.

The Town is being written by Laurence Olivier award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett and produced by Big Talk Productions, the company behind Rev, Friday Night Dinner and Him & Her. (All of which are outstanding programs, so this bodes well!)

“We’re thrilled to be making our first original drama series for the fantastic team at ITV. At the heart of The Town will be a family struggling to come to terms with change,” said Big Talk’s CEO and The Town’s co-executive producer Kenton Allen. “It’s also our hope to paint a picture of contemporary Britain through the magnifying glass of an ordinary market town.”

“These communities are desperate for a sense of purpose and direction. They face the same challenges we all do. A shrinking economy, under-employment, crime and a struggle to educate our children. Mike's real skill is to craft a compelling and entertaining drama at the heart of such a world,” added co-executive producer Simon Curtis.

Filming on the three-part series began this week. No word yet on possible screening dates in the UK, nor whether this series will be broadcast internationally. Here’s hoping that US Sherlock-mania will help bring this drama across the pond!

New Series of Inspector Lewis Coming This July – Watch Four New Trailers!

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox are returning to Masterpiece Mystery this summer a new series of the popular detective drama Inspector Lewis. The Inspector Morse spinoff will screen four new feature-length episodes on Sunday nights, beginning July 8.

Whatley – who played Morse’s Sergeant in the original Inspector Morse mysteries - returns as Robert “Robbie” Lewis to once again tackle murder and mayhem around Oxford with his partner DS Hathaway (Fox). Guest stars for the new series include Jane Eyre’s Toby Stephens, Little Dorrit’s James Fleet and Cranford’s Celia Imrie.

Click through for a look at four just-released previews – one for each of the new Lewis episodes. The new mysteries are called The Soul of Genius, Generation of Vipers, Faithful Symmetry, and The Indelible Stain (that’s also the order in which they’ll air, by the way). And they look pretty good!

Watch the four sneak peeks below for yourselves and let us know which of the set you think looks like it will be the most interesting mystery. And dont' forget to mark your calendars for the premiere on July 8!

Watch the First Ten Minutes of Inside Men, Premiering Wednesday on BBC America

BBC America will begin airing Inside Men, BBC One’s popular thriller from earlier this year, starting tomorrow, Wednesday, June 20. This cleverly plotted drama tells the story of three security company employees who plan a multi-million dollar heist from their own employer. Think Ocean's Eleven, but without the casinos and Vegas.

The four-part drama is the story of their armed robbery of a cash counting house and the events that lead up to it, as well as the psychological study of the motivations and morals of three simple, everyday men who become criminals.

Inside Men stars Luther’s Steven Mackintosh as John, manager of the counting house who has become fed up with his humdrum lifestyle. His two accomplices include depot security guard Chris, played by Hustle’s Ashley Walters and forklift driver Marcus, played by another familiar face from Luther, Warren Brown. It looks really good!

Want to see for yourself? Click through for a look at the series trailer, as well as a sneak peek at the first ten minutes of the first episode.

Watch the First PBS Preview for Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour

Coming this July to Masterpiece Mystery, Shaun Evans stars in Endeavour, a detective drama that serves as a prequel to the beloved, long-running Inspector Morse series.

Set in 1965, Evans plays a much-younger Constable Endeavour Morse at the very beginning of his career on the force in Oxford, when he is given the career making opportunity to investigate the murder of a fifteen year-old girl.

Have to say, the photo of Evans leaning on a car that exactly mirrors an earlier image of John Thaw and his red Jaguar? Pretty awesome. Click through for a look at the first PBS promo for the mystery special, as well as an update on what we might expect to see after Endeavour’s conclusion.

Benedict Cumberbatch Alert: The Last Enemy” is the WETA UK Movie This Saturday!

While we're waiting (ever so patiently and apparently for such a very long time) for Series 3 of Sherlock to both get filmed and appear on our TVs, why don't we take some time to appreciate the extensive back catalogs of the series’ stars? Luckily, we can all get started this weekend on this obviously very important project.

This Saturday on the WETA UK Movie, get your Benedict Cumberbatch fix - we’re airing The Last Enemy, a thriller set in the not-too-distant future which explores how technology and fear can create a dystopian society. It also stars Once Upon a Time’s Robert Carlyle, as well as Annamaria Marina and Hotel Babylon’s Max Beesley, but let’s face it, aren’t we really all most interested in the Cumberbatch Connection? (I may be projecting a bit, but still. I don’t think I’m too far off the mark.)

In The Last Enemy, Cumberbatch plays Stephen Ezard, a reclusive and brilliant mathematician who returns home to England to attend the funeral of his brother Michael, an aid-worker who was killed by a landmine in Afghanistan. Stephen’s kind of spent a lot of time on his own in China, and struggles to reconcile the isolated world he left behind with the brother he barely knew, a London that is now practically a police state and a government seriously obsessed with being able to monitor its citizens’ every move. Creepy!

It’s hard to explain a lot more about this without giving to much away, but the gist is that while trying to make sense of his brother’s death, Stephen starts to uncover a lot of secrets – about his brother’s life and the work he was doing, as well as some government secrets and the kind of society that its trying to create. Conspiracy theories and lots of plot twists ensue. Click through to check out a promo for yourself!

Coming Soon to WETA UK: Prime Suspect

While Prime Suspect is not quite a “new” program coming to WETA UK – in the sense that this is probably not a show with which the vast majority of our audience is unfamiliar – given that we’ve aired it before, it’s nevertheless a show that I’m very excited to see as part of the new channel’s lineup, simply because it’s fantastic.

Though Prime Suspect is a program that we’ve aired fairly recently on TV26, if you’ve never seen the full series or only watched it in a sort of piecemeal fashion, now is the perfect time to give it a try. It’s a fantastically gritty crime drama that features one of the most iconic British acting performances I can think of (by a lady I admire tremendously no less). It’s well worth a try if you've never seen it, and certainly worthy of a re-watch if you have. Click through for some basics, including trailers and a look at the cast and premise.

Get a Look at Call the Midwife with the Series’ First PBS Preview

Hit British drama Call the Midwife is coming to PBS stations this Fall starting September 30th. The series scored as BBC One’s highest-rated new drama since 2001 when it aired in the UK earlier this year.

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 navigate the crowded East End streets teeming with children, workers and a culture remarkably different from the wealth English countryside in which she was raised. It’s a sweet and generally moving story about poverty and class and love and community, and I’ve a feeling that everyone’s going to love it once it airs here.

So, click through for a look at the first PBS trailer for the show, which gives you a good feel for its tone and cast of characters.

Take a Look at Elementary, CBS’ New Sherlock Holmes Series

Last week during CBS’s upfront Presentation, an annual tradition where the big networks share their slate of new and returning series for the Fall season, it was announced that the “modern day take” on Sherlock Holmes known as Elementary had been picked up as a new series.

CBS President Les Moonves offered up a preview of Elementary during the network’s presentation – it’s a bit of a trailer and a behind-the-scenes featurette mashed up in one – that gives us our first look at the show and its stars Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Holmes and Watson. Personally, I’m not so crazy about the fact that this series exists, generally, but you never know, it could surprise me.

Click through and take a look at the promo for yourself and then let’s talk it out.

The 'Fall' Has Happened – Let’s Dish the 'Sherlock' Series 2 Finale

The Sherlock Series 2 finale screened last night here in America and it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that the photo below is an accurate representation of the reactions of almost everyone who watched it. (Plus probably some crying. I don’t know how to find a cat video where it’s simultaneously shocked and sobbing, but someone let me know if that exists.)

 

Just to put this out there: “The Reichenbach Fall” is the single best episode of television I’ve seen this year. Hands down, bar none, it’s that good. Funny, clever, tense, exciting, surprising and sob-your-guts-out emotional, I don’t think that there’s been an episode of TV in recent memory – for any show – that’s put me through the wringer like this one. I laughed, I cheered, I yelled at my TV screen, I sobbed. It was amazing.

So, let’s dish about it! Click through for a few of my thoughts on the Series 2 finale, loads of general emotional flailing, and a bit of speculation about where we go from here. Do come chat with me in the comments – would love to know what people thought about this episode, as well as your theories about what happens next.

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