Undaunted, perhaps, by the middling success of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the BBC has once again decided to green-light an effect heavy science fiction fantasy series based on beloved novels. According to reports, the BBC has commissioned the first eight episodes of what they hope will be a several series long show for the Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials.
Now, as most people remember, this is not the first time someone has tried to bring the series to the big screen. In the initial wake of the Harry Potter movies, NewLine banked on The Golden Compass as their first installment of a successful franchise. (The title came from the US title of the first novel which in the UK is called Northern Lights.) Clearly, the BBC is betting that an eight episode season will give the production more room to better serve the first novel. And for those who still think of the BBC as home for cheap effects, may I remind you that MILK VFX does some impressive work.
Interesting side note–this commission for the show is with a brand new company called Bad Wolf. (Yes, like the Doctor Who reference.) Bad Wolf also has partnered with HBO to get a first look deal for the program. Chances are, if the series looks good, the US airing will then wind up on HBO, instead of BBC America or PBS.
Continue reading “His Dark Materials” Coming to BBC One
BBC One has released their Fall/Winter 2015 show highlight reel. In includes (but is not limited to!) Benedict Cumberbatch in the period set Sherlock for this Christmas, Idris Elba in the three-part Luther miniseries and Tom Hiddleston, because we all need more Tom Hiddleston in our lives.
We also need more gratuitous O Fortuna uses in our lives apparently. I suppose we’ll forgive them that one.
Continue reading First Glimpses Of Sherlock Christmas Special
From the book and the movie so scandalous, the UK had to censor both, BBC One is bringing us Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which supposedly (and hopefully) with acknowledge that in 2015, HBO’s Game of Thrones is regularly more racy.
Speaking of Game of Thrones, look who is playing the Lover of the movie’s title.
Yes, that’s Richard Madden, who seems to be on a streak to come down in the world–first from King in the North to Prince Charming, and now to gamekeeper Oliver Mellors.
Continue reading Promo Pictures from “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”
Now you can help Doctor Who not run out of ideas.
For the past seven weeks, I have been pretty obsessed with the BBC’s production of Susanna Clarke’s story of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I have been critical of it. For instance, I really felt it should have been ten episodes to really give the depth of stories that sometimes felt glossed over, with plot points not given enough room to breathe. But one place I could not fault was the world building that arrived on screen, and the level of gorgeous detail that went into making that happen. Oh, and of course, the magical effects.
BBC Productions are rightly proud of what they’ve done here, and to highlight all the work that went into it, they’ve created a web series that takes us behind the scenes in bring that story from page to screen. Strangecast is admittedly a bit of an experimental piece. Hosted by Frankie Ward, this twenty two video set covers everything from the video effects (VFX) to the script writing, the directing, plus interviews with actors Ariyon Bakare (Stephen Black) and Enzo Cilenti (Childermass) on developing and inhabiting their characters.
Don’t be daunted by the sheer amount of videos under the cut. Each is only around two to three minutes long. The result is a 44 minute or so behind the scenes special, much like one would see aired on TV, but in easy to digest bite sized pieces to watch a few at a time over the course of the day.
Continue reading Strangecast: The Making of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
Poldark has been one of the smash hits on BBC this past spring, so it’s no surprise to find that the eight part series will be riding over here forthwith. Poldark, for those who are not from the 1970s, was one of PBS’s great historical fiction series of the golden age of BBC importing.
It’s been a full generation since TV last remade Poldark, partly because the fans of the 1970s version simply wouldn’t allow it.But this version for a new century seems to have taken off, and with only one season fo Downton left in the tank, PBS is hoping for another multiple season hit. (Poldark Series 2 is already assured overseas.)
Continue reading Poldark Coming to PBS In June
I’ve come a little late to Wolf Hall. I’m aware for most, there’s only one episode left, but I’m only on episode 3. I sat down thinking I would mainline it, like I once did with Season 1 of Downton Abbey so long ago. And I’d probably get a jolly post about hats out of it too.
Going in, I knew Wolf Hall was, according to all the critics, an amazing piece of television, “PBS at its finest” etc. I knew many who raved about it, and others who watched because they had been told it was good, despite being massively bored–or otherwise not getting it. But there’s what one expects from PBS, and then… there’s this.
It’s hard to describe Wolf Hall in normal TV terms. One could say that the show is “complex.” But then again Game of Thrones is complex. And yet, Game of Thrones works hard to decomplexify itself, using themes to join together disparate scenes, and adding plenty of exposition and reminders of who characters are and their relationships at every point. Wolf Hall isn’t interested in decomplexing itself for you. It assumes you know your history when it comes to the subject matter and demands you worry about keeping up.
Continue reading A Meditation on Wolf Hall