Series Cancellation

‘Vicious’ Finale Special to Air This Summer on PBS

Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi in "Vicious" (Photo: Courtesy of Gary Moyes / © Brown Eyed Boy Ltd 2016)

Comedy series Vicious will air its last episode this summer.

The news the show would not be returning for a third season was announced by ITV late last year, though the cancellation blow was somewhat softened by the fact that it was given a final, extended one-off episode to wrap everything up. And, at last, now we have an official airdate for the series’ swan song.

The comedy will officially bow out with a one-night, series finale special that’s set to air on Sunday, June 19 on PBS stations nationwide. Reminder, however: June is a pledge month for most PBS stations, so it's highly likely your particular station may be moving this broadcast around on its schedule. Make sure you check your local listings! (WETA folks, we'll be airing this on WETA UK that day!)

‘The Paradise’ Season 2 Comes to America This September

So…there’s some good news and bad news for fans of period drama The Paradise.

I’m pretty sure that the number one question I get asked on the blog – regularly, repeatedly, and almost a year after Series 1 concluded in the US – is about The Paradise. When is Series 2 airing? How can we find it? Will there be a Series 3? What’s going on with all that?

Well, I can’t answer everything, but there is finally some news to share about the show’s US airdates and future prospects. Rejoice!

Superhero Drama Misfits Renewed for Fifth and Final Series

For fans of teen superhero drama Misfits, there’s some good news and there’s some bad news. Channel 4 has confirmed that the popular sci-fi series will return for a fifth season. But, as often happens, networks giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other – because Series 5 is also apparently going to be its last.

The show, which chronicles the adventures of a group of teenagers who develop superpowers in the aftermath of a freak lightning storm, had been a cult hit for the network and wrapped its fourth season late last year. Series 4 introduced an almost entirely new cast and suffered a few growing pains as a result, including going a bit heavy on the teen relationship drama, so in some ways the network’s decision to wrap things up seems logical. Series 4 was occasionally quite the slog to get through, no matter how much you loved it and Misfits seemed to struggle a bit to find its footing with all the new faces.

As always, there is a good and bad side to this situation – it’s a shame to see Misifts bow out as, on the whole, it’s one of the more innovative programs to come along in the past few years. And, despite some growing pains with all the newbies, it felt like things were back on track again by the end of this season. But, on the flip side, at least the decision was made early enough that they should be able to wrap the show up well and fans won’t be left hanging with one of those endings that doesn’t provide any closure for characters they cared about.

The Hour’s Time is Officially Up: Newsroom Drama Canceled by the BBC

Upsetting news for fans of the BBC’s 1950s drama The Hour – we won’t be going back to the newsroom for a third series. The Radio Times has confirmed that the award-winning period piece starring Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw as the staff of a fictional BBC current affairs program has been axed by BBC2 and will officially join the ranks of great shows left unfinished. (Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth from everyone who saw the Series 2 finale. Seriously, that’s unfair.)

“We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through,” the BBC said in a statement. The Hour was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries last year and its second series received a fair amount of critical acclaim. Sadly, the drama’s ratings weren’t particularly strong, especially as compared to its first series totals, and it struggled to find an audience last winter.

This news is especially disappointing given the fact that Series 2 ended on a cliffhanger and left a number of significant plot points unresolved. While The Hour’s news team successfully broke the organized crime story that served as Series 2’s central mystery, we’re going to be left forever wondering whether Whishaw’s Freddie survived a brutal beating at the hands of gangsters, what exactly was meant to happen with West’s Hector and his wife’s marriage and whether Freddie and Garai’s Bel Rowley ever worked out all their relationship issues or not (the show’s centerpiece will they/won’t they romance had finally managed to confess their feelings in the series’ final episode). Seriously, the last shot of Series 2 was gutwrenching – Freddie’s broken body lying in front of the BBC offices while he struggled to say Bel’s name – and it’s even more so now that this will serve as the final image for the show, too.

Obviously, I’m quite heartbroken at this news, as I quite loved The Hour’s smart writing, fantastic cast and commitment to presenting viewers with intelligent television (that you actually had to pay attention to). Given the way the last episode of Series 2 concluded, it would seem that there was no way that those involved in producing the drama expected that they wouldn’t get a third series (you don’t leave a major character in jeopardy like that if you don’t think you’ll get to tell people what happened afterward).

Apparently thousands of fans have already started a petition to convince the BBC to resuscitate the show. You can sign it here – in all honesty, it’s unlikely that any petition like this would do anything to move the needle once the network’s decision has been made, but if you’re a fan of The Hour it might make you feel a bit better. (Over 7,000 people have already signed it – so clearly those of us who are in mourning for the show are not alone!)

How about you all - will you miss The Hour?

Merlin to End with a Two-Part Special This Christmas


Sadly, the current series of fantasy drama Merlin is going to be the show’s last. After five series, the BBC’s youthful retelling of the Arthurian legend will wrap things up with what the producers call a “natural and dramatic” ending in a two-part Christmas special finale.

Creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy insist that the plan was always for Merlin’s story to wrap up in five series, but multiple factors – including the drama's ratings success and the fact that we’re four and a half series into it and Arthur still doesn’t know about the stupid magic – made it appear as though there was certainly more life to be had in the franchise. (At one point there were talks about a possible Series 6, as well.) Series 5 of Merlin doesn’t even air here in America until January on Syfy (preview); I hope that the Christmas finale will be tacked on to the end of the US broadcast so we’ll at least get to see everything up to the end in one go.