There and Back Again: Round Up the Latest on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit

The other title of this post was basically, guys, I’ve seen twelve minutes of The Hobbit now, so please indulge my need to flail a little bit about this movie and hopefully it will also be relevant to some of your interests?

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is one of the most highly anticipated movie franchises of the next few years. The first installment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will premiere on December 14, 2012 (coincidence that it’s my birthday? I think not!) with the second installment, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, slated to hit theaters a year later, and the recently announced third film coming…well, sometime after that. I also wouldn’t count on that There and Back Again part of the second film’s title sticking for much longer now that we’re dealing with a trilogy either. (Sigh – I liked it!)

 

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy novel of the same name, the film stars Sherlock’s Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins alongside the great Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Robin Hood’s Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Being Human’s Aidan Turner as Kili the dwarf, and Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, as the voice of Smaug the dragon. Many cast members from Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy are also returning including Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee and Elijah Wood.

While The Hobbit now-trilogy isn’t strictly British entertainment, I figure with its British author, largely British cast, and the tremendous amount of crossover going on between this film and British shows we all love, it mostly counts. (Also, as you will be able to discern for yourselves momentarily, I’m kind of a big fan.) So, what’s the latest on all things Middle-Earth? What can we blame the fact that Sherlock Series 3 filming got pushed back on? And what’s up with this whole trilogy thing? Click through for a roundup on all things Hobbit-related and let’s talk about it after.

Amazing Internet Things: Doctor Who Meets The Hunger Games

The Doctor Who fandom is no stranger to fan-made YouTube videos – there are recaps and trailers and odes to favorite characters and romantic pairings, set to virtually every kind of sappy pop song in existence. Yet, still, despite the veritable flood of all manner of Whovian videos online, there still manage to be a few that are just the tiniest bit more awesome than the rest.

This particular Amazing Internet Thing imagines Doctor Who done in the style of popular teen series The Hunger Games, featuring several different Doctors as well as some other familiar faces about to face off in the in the Capitol for a fight to the death.

The clip is wonderfully put together; in fact, it’s so well done you could easily see this as the trailer for an actual episode. And in fact, other than the majority of the characters having to kill each other problem – which surely Steven Moffat could figure out a way to get around – it would probably be the best premise ever for the 50th anniversary. So click through and take a look 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!

Amazing Internet Things: James Bond: Friendship is Magic? Sort of.

So, did you all know that My Little Pony is a thing again? Embarrassing personal confession time: growing up this was totally my favorite cartoon; yet, somehow I only realized that ponies are popular again very recently. The animated series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic kicked off in 2010, but it wasn’t until I went to Comic Con and experienced the phenomenon of “bronies” firsthand (yes, that’s a real thing) that I had any inkling about how big a deal these little animals have become.

What does this have to do with British anything, you may ask? Well, as far as I’m aware, there isn’t a tiny Union Jack pony on the show yet (though there should be!), but this pony-themed mash-up video is far and away one of the most creative things I've seen on the internet in the past couple of weeks, thanks to Anglophenia.

The full trailer for upcoming James Bond film Skyfall – or James Bond 23, if you’re counting – was recently released, and a very enterprising YouTube fan has already managed to create a ponified version of Bond called Skydash using Friendship is Magic footage.

Click through to check out Skydash for yourself, and compare it to the actual Bond trailer. You’re probably going to be surprised by the fact that it’s actually kind of awesome. This should not work at all, and yet, it totally does.

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.

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