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Tag Archive: PBS Masterpiece


While we’re waiting around to find out if we’ll see more of the BBC’s Sherlock, here’s something worth watching.  This weekend Benedict Cumberbatch posted on Facebook a link to the unaired pilot for the series.  If you’re a diehard fan, here’s a way to catch a different look at the beginning of Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman’s John Watson as they created the chemistry the show is celebrated for across the globe.

“A Study in Pink” was re-shot from the 2009 pilot, tightening up bits and pieces only slightly and in subtle ways so you may think you notice a big difference from the version that first aired in the U.S. on October 24, 2010.  It’s been available on the DVD and Blu-ray releases, but only now has the show’s star pointed out the availability of the free streaming version.  This version never aired in the U.K. and wasn’t part of the original airings on PBS in the States.

This early poster shows the look of the actors you’ll find in the pilot:

The now familiar music wasn’t yet integrated in such a boisterous manner.  Mark Gatiss’s Mycroft Holmes–and any reference to Moriarty–are both absent from the unaired pilot.  Cumberbatch’s first run at Sherlock seems to be more cheery, charismatic, slightly less blunt than the version that ended up in the series. 

Or is it?

Watch the original pilot, streaming free now on Vimeo:

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victoria-coleman

Actress Jenna Coleman’s Clara, the cheery and sweet companion on BBC’s Doctor Who, moves on this year as a new companion joins the series in her place.  But Coleman is already off to new things, and first up is portraying young Queen Victoria in a new BBC series beginning tonight on PBS’s Masterpiece.  Victoria is a large-scale costume drama focusing on 18-year-old Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent and from her rise in power through her marriage to Prince Albert.  It includes an extensive romance thread–the unrequited love between Victoria and Lord Melbourne, played by Rufus Sewell.

Coleman’s Queen Victoria is both strong and passionate, and Melbourne as played by Sewell–known for countless roles in productions including Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Zen, Eleventh Hour, The Legend of Zorro, Pillars of the Earth, A Knight’s Tale, Dark City, and most recently, Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle–exhibits those good qualities and the more frustrating bits found in Jane Austen’s Lord Darcy from Pride & Prejudice.

victoria-pbs

The costumes, props of royalty, location filming, and production sets are not surprisingly lavish.  Victoria has the hallmarks of another successful BBC/PBS series, taking on the popular Downton Abbey timeslot.  Episode One tonight is 120 minutes, and the first season of the series continues for seven episodes this year.

Here are previews for BBC’s new series Victoria:

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sherlock-hound

Only with the BBC would you have a season of television that had two back-to-back episodes an entire year apart.  If you weren’t aware we were currently in Season 4 of Sherlock, you’re not the only one.  Apparently “The Abominable Bride” was episode one of Season 4 and the season will continue in January 2017.  Curiouser and curiouser.

The good news is that three episodes will air in January.  On January 1, 2017, “The Six Thatchers” premieres, followed by “The Lying Detective” on January 8, and “The Final Problem” on January 15.  Sherlock is one of those series that is brilliant when the episode is well done, and enormously disappointing for the rest–a classic “hit and miss” series.  Since each episode is its own mystery, each is like a mini-movie, so fans who love the series may be happy to hear the Season 4 finale is coming to the big screen for two days.

sherlock-family

January 16 and 18, “The Final Problem” will be heading to theaters as part of the Fathom Events series, including bonus content not seen on television.  The shows will be screened at 7 p.m. local time across the U.S.

sherlock-flood

Tickets for “The Final Problem” can be purchased online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices–nearly 350 movie theaters are participating.  For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website.

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Sherlock season 4

First off, Sherlock Clue is real.  Keep reading.

From the new trailer PBS Masterpiece released this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con it appears we have a dark season ahead as Sherlock enters its fourth season.  Unfortunately, like Doctor Who the wait seems to be endless.  Those British production companies sure aren’t in any hurry to supply fans with new content.  We won’t actually see the next season of Sherlock until sometime next year.

The good news is Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and all the key players are back.  The bad news?  Moriarty might be back.

Toby Jones plays a new menace in season four, Culverton Smith, an original Arthur Conan Doyle character in his original story “The Adventure of the Dying Detective.”

Amanda Abingdon Sherlock season 4

And that’s Secret Agent Watson (onscreen and offscreen partner to Martin Freeman, Amanda Abbington) with a gun.

Check out the trailer straight from SDCC 2016:

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Husbands of River Song

Forget about parades and bowl games.  The BBC has taken over your television set for the holidays in the U.S.A.  For the past few years Americans have been treated to the British tradition of gathering the family round for a Doctor Who Christmas special on the evening of Christmas day.  This year was no exception with one of the best Doctor Who Christmas specials so far, and our favorite recurring character across the Doctors–Alex Kingston’s River Song–in “The Husbands of River Song.”

If you missed “The Husbands of River Song” on TV last week and can’t find it on your OnDemand channel, tonight you have another chance to see it but on the big screen courtesy of the Fathom Event series.  Check out the Fathom Events website here for theater locations and tickets.  Here’s a preview for the show:

But it’s not just Christmas Day getting the BBC treatment this year.  On New Year’s Day Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return for their only 2016 appearance as Holmes and Watson in the Sherlock New Year’s Day special “The Abominable Bride.”

Sherlock special 2016

This special finds the duo back in the 19th century past of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories.  Here’s a preview:

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Freeman Watson

Almost if to prove that they can do the original Sherlock Holmes better than Guy Ritchie’s 19th century film adaptations, showrunners Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are promoting the next episode of their Sherlock.  This time stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return to the story’s roots instead of modern England, yet the latest trailer hints that they still live in a world well aware of Holmes’s crime-fighting fame.

“You’re Sherlock Holmes,” says Dr. Watson as he thrusts the famous deerstalker hat into Holmes’s hands, “wear the damned hat.”

The 19th century streets, the buildings, the entire environments are impeccable.  Would we rather have a Sherlock movie or a television series so long as either stars Cumberbatch and Freeman?  We may all answer “series” if only they could crank out more than three episodes every year or so.  But we’ll happily wait as we did for the equally good A&E Channel Horatio Hornblower episodes starring Ioan Gruffudd (Forever, Fantastic Four), Denis Lawson (Star Wars: A New Hope, Marchlands), Paul McGann (Doctor Who), David Warner (Tron, Star Trek, Twin Peaks, Time After Time), and Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica) that arrived piecemeal in a series of eight TV movies between 1998 and 2003.

retro Sherlock

So check out the latest from Sherlock here:

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Sherlock clip

It’s Comic Con weekend so why not release a clip from the next episode of the BBC’s Sherlock?  That episode, featuring a throwback to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original incarnation of the world’s greatest detective and his trusty companion Dr. Watson, is going to air… well, someday.  Like Doctor Who, the only thing unanimous that we all hate about these productions from Steven Moffat & Co. is the fact that we never know when they will air and they simply produce too few episodes for audience demand.

Yet we still can count of each new episode to be great fun, and from this new clip Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will again be in prime form.

Check out this first preview from the BBC of the next episode of Sherlock, followed by a message for attendees of San Diego Comic-Con from stars Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Mark Gatiss:

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Sherlock-Christmas-Special-Images-Featuring-Benedict-Cumberbatch-and-Martin-Freeman1

Like all good things that get a hold on generations of audiences, Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective Sherlock Holmes has been interpreted and re-interpreted over and over.  For more than 110 years, Holmes and his trusty companion Dr. Watson have appeared in more than 200 movies that adapted Doyle’s original stories–more than 70 actors have played Holmes–the most of any fictional character on-screen according to the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records.  Interest has never waned, and every new detective show and police procedural seems to borrow something from him, much like all science fiction seems to borrow something from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Batman was inspired by Holmes 75 years ago, and more recently TV series characters like Adrian Monk, Shawn Spencer, and Dr. Gregory House all were inspired incarnations of the character.

Modern Sherlock Cumberbatch as early Sherlock

Holmes was no bigger than with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law’s blockbuster films, Sherlock Holmes in 2009 and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows in 2011.  In that franchise director Guy Ritchie opted to showcase Holmes from Doyle’s original stories in his original setting of Victorian England.

Rivaling that series of movies after three seasons is BBC’s Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson.  Here creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat take Holmes in a completely new direction, present day London, including the clever incorporation of modern technology into Holmes’s sleuthing.  Despite the updated setting Sherlock borrows the spirit of Holmes faithfully from Doyle’s stories.

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Selfridge biplane 2015

British TV series that travel to U.S. audiences via PBS’s Masterpiece series usually take a year to get across the pond.  And it’s not just an England Proper thing.  The same is true of Canadian series that air in the U.S. an entire year after the original broadcast at home, like Syfy’s Lost Girl.  Before the popularity of Downton Abbey, most PBS viewers didn’t take much note of this.  Now fans of Mr. Selfridge, which returns tonight for Season 3 (“Series 3” in British parlance) have to face the same problem.  That problem is spoilers.

Fans of Mr. Selfridge will be thrown several sidewinders for Season 3, and dodging these new twists and turns before they air each Sunday night will be difficult, especially since entire story plots are scattered across the Web, and Episode 10 will air in England tonight the same time Episode 1 airs in the States.  Can’t wait to find out what happens next?  It’s right there waiting for you to read.  So what’s your best bet?  Pick up Season 3 on DVD or Blu-ray, available at Amazon.com now here, or stream it here, and start your binge watching before you learn too much, too early.

Mr Selfridge Season 3 store cast

If you’re interested in why Mr. Selfridge has the most realistic historical costumes of any series on TV, series costumer designer James Keast reveals one of his secrets in an interview done for the show:  Many of the costumes are vintage–actual garments worn more than 100 years ago and found in the department store archives.  Check out that video after the break, as well as some insights and a preview on what is certain to be a tumultuous Season 3:

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